Safeguarding - policy and procedure

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

 

This document outlines HSA’s policy on responding to concerns regarding the safeguarding and protection of children and young people. This policy, combined with the associated procedures, provides guidance to all staff who may come across concerns of this nature within the context of their work for HSA.

 

Contents

Part 1. Safeguarding children and young people policy  4

       Purpose of this document 4

       The definition of safeguarding  4

       Aims and objectives of the policy  5

       HSA’s responsibilities  6

       Future action  6

Part 2. Procedures for responding to specific child protection concerns about
          children at risk of significant harm   7

Section 1. Scope of the procedure  7

Section 2. Immediate action to take if, as a member of Heritage Skills Academy       

               staff, you observe abuse while it is taking place  8

Section 3. Immediate action to take if you receive an allegation of possible     

               significant harm to a child or young person  9

Section 4. Identification of level of concern and next steps  11

Section 5. Subsequent action in all cases  12

Section 6. Allegations about a member of Heritage Skills Academy staff 13

Part 3. Safeguarding vulnerable adults  13

Policy and procedures  13

Annex 1. Definitions  16

Annex 2. Complaints or concerns about our staff 22

Annex 3. The legislative context 25

Annex 4. Prevent 29

Annex 5. Safeguarding Team                                                                                30

Annex 6. Safeguarding Flowchart                                                                                                       31

 

Part 1. Safeguarding children and young people policy

  1. HSA’s aim is to ensure, that outcomes for children and young people are improved by the receipt of better care, services and education. Improved outcomes can only be achieved if children and young people are safe from harm. Therefore, safeguarding the welfare of children and young people is part of our core business.

Purpose of this document

  1. The purpose of this document is to outline HSA’s policy on responding to concerns regarding the safeguarding and protection of children and young people aged under 18 years. This policy, combined with the associated procedures, provides guidance to all staff who may come across concerns of this nature within the context of their work for Heritage Skills Academy. This includes:
  • all members of HSA’s workforce, Tutors, Assessors and office-based staff
  • HSA contract staff, sub-contractors, partners and stakeholders
  • individuals, consultants and agencies contracted by Heritage Skills Academy

Heritage Skills Academy offer work-based training and teaching and learning for young people and adults. HSA has a policy and procedure for responding to concerns regarding the protection of vulnerable adults when these are identified. This can be found in Part 3 of this document. While the legislative and policy base is different when responding to the safeguarding needs of vulnerable adults, most of the principles and procedures for staff are the same.

The definition of safeguarding

  1. HSA adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and the Department for Education guidance document Working together to safeguard children , which focuses on safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare and can be summarised as:
  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully
  • For the purposes of this policy a distinction is drawn between:
  • specific safeguarding concerns that need to be raised with the Designated Person within the responsible provider. For example, such concerns could include but may not be limited to:
  • no designated person for child protection within a school or college
  • inadequate safeguarding arrangements in a school, college or workplace
  • incomplete records of serious incidents
  • inadequate response to bullying within a college or workplace
  • poor and unsafe social work practice by other agencies in the recent past
  • incomplete records of recruitment checks
  • the role of designated staff in HSA’s Safeguarding Team in responding to notifications of serious incidents.
  • responding to specific child protection concerns about children at risk of significant harm that are likely to need to be referred through to social services and possibly the police.

Aims and objectives of the policy

  1. Heritage Skills Academy as well as responding to immediate concerns will ensure that appropriate measures and practice to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people are in place and bring matters requiring attention to the relevant authorities.
  2. All Heritage Skills Academy staff are required to complete ‘Education & Training Foundation’ online safeguarding training and assessment programme appropriate to their role, supplemented by ongoing training. Staff are therefore expected to have a good understanding of safeguarding concerns, including potential abuse and neglect of children and young people, which may come to light in the workplace as well as in the provision. Staff who work in areas involving vulnerable adults are also expected to complete an online training and assessment module on this aspect of safeguarding. At whatever level we identify risks we will highlight them and seek to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to safeguard the children and young people concerned.
  • We will ensure that all HSA’s employees and those who undertake work on our behalf maintain a proper focus on safeguarding children and young people and that this is reflected both in sound individual practice and our internal policies and guidance. All permanent and contracted staff working with children and young people must:
  • give highest priority to children’s and young peoples welfare
  • recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people
  • respond appropriately to disclosure by a child, or young person, of abuse
  • respond appropriately to allegations against staff, other adults, and against themselves
  • be alert to the risks which abusers, or potential abusers, may pose
  • contribute as necessary to all stages of HSA’s safeguarding and protection processes

HSA’s responsibilities

  1. Heritage Skills Academy will investigate all Safeguarding cases or referrals. All staff need to follow the procedures to ensure that all allegations or suspicions of abuse or significant harm to any child are reported to the Designated Person.
  2. Heritage Skills Academy will ensure that it fulfils its responsibilities to work jointly with others to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and, where necessary, to help bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against children or young people.
  3. Heritage Skills Academy will also fulfil its own responsibilities and take whatever enforcement action is deemed necessary to protect children and young people.

Future action

  1. Heritage Skills Academy has established a Safeguarding Team, accountable to the MD, to:
  • coordinate the implementation of the policy and procedures and associated staff training/briefings
  • conduct investigations in accordance with safeguarding policy and procedure
  • record incidents of safeguarding concern
  • monitor compliance with the policy
  • ensure that procedures, advice and guidance work effectively and are revised as needed
  • report to the MD on matters relating to safeguarding

 

 

Part 2. Procedures for responding to specific child protection concerns about children at risk of significant harm

Section 1. Scope of the procedure

  1. Heritage Skills Academy staff (that is, those employed directly by Heritage Skills Academy, those working under contract and sub-contractor stakeholders) may encounter child protection concerns. Such concerns could emerge from direct observation, discussion with individuals or employers, from a member of the public contacting Heritage Skills Academy or by a parental complaint.
  2. The concern might relate to:
  • what is or may be happening (or happened in the past) to a child or young person in an organisation we work with (for instance a school or work placement)
  • what is happening (or happened) outside that organisation (for instance in their own family).
  1. The concern may be brought to our attention by the child or young person themselves, alleged by others or through direct observation or discussion.
  2. The concerns may therefore be about the behaviour of a:
  • member of staff (for instance a tutor, assessor or office worker)
  • provider of a service (volunteer, contacted staff)
  • peer (for instance another young person)
  • child or young person or adult in the community (for instance a relative or family friend)
  • member of HSA’s sub-contractors (for instance a tutor, assessor or office worker).
  1. The concern could relate to actions or inaction (for instance an insufficient response by a staff member to information regarding the risk of significant harm to a child or young person).
  2. The concern may be about a current situation or past events and may be about allegations or disclosures of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect, or a combination of one or more of these categories.
  3. Heritage Skills Academy staff may receive this information by one or more means, such as a telephone call, a letter, an email, through observation, discussion and the examination of documents.

Any member of Heritage Skills Academy staff or sub-contractor stakeholder could receive such information. In all circumstances they must respond in accordance with the following procedure.

 

  1. The procedures apply both to situations where staff including sub-contractors are acting as members of a team or where they are working individually, in all instances they must act accordingly.
  2. Staff receiving a parental complaint need to decide whether any matters need to be dealt with under the child protection procedures. This may be particularly relevant when considering complaints about bullying. If in doubt seek advice from Heritage Skills Academy Safeguarding Officer. The Designated Person in charge of Heritage Skills Academy is John Pitchforth 07973 425276.
  3. These procedures give guidance on necessary actions up to the point at which referral is made to the Heritage Skills Academy. The Designated Person for Safeguarding is Cherry Maddern 07769 298105.

Section 2. Immediate action to take if, as a member of Heritage Skills Academy staff, you observe abuse while it is taking place

  1. This could take a number of forms, for instance seeing an adult hit a child, observing a member of staff using inappropriate restraint on a young person or witnessing the neglect of basic care needs of a disabled child.
  2. First, do all you can to stop the abuse immediately without putting the child or young person, or yourself, at undue risk. Inform the perpetrator of your concerns. Advise them to stop the action immediately. Ask them to move themselves to an area where there is no contact with children and young people. Advise them that you will immediately be informing the senior manager on site or elsewhere within the organisation, if appropriate, and the Heritage Skills Academy Safeguarding Officer or Designated Person.

Then:

  • if the perpetrator fails to desist – take appropriate action to stop the abuse and call for assistance
  • if the perpetrator does desist, and even if they leave the scene as requested, it is essential that you stay with the child until you can transfer them to the care of another responsible adult.

Then:

  • report the incident immediately to the line manager (when working alone)

 

And:

  • Inform the Safeguarding Officer or Designated person of the incident. It will almost always be appropriate to inform the senior person on site but if you have any doubts discuss this first with a safeguarding officer or the designated person. The designated person can also advise on whether it is necessary to inform an offsite senior manager (for example when the perpetrator is the senior person on site or the only person on site).
  1. Take notes of what has been said, what you have heard or seen – if it is not possible to take notes at the time, do so immediately afterwards. Keep the notes taken at the time, without amendment, omission or addition, whatever subsequent reports may be written. The notes should be dated and signed. The notes should cover what you saw, who said what, what action you took, and the details of date, time and location and names of the child and perpetrator.
  2. Then follow the steps in Section 5.

 

Section 3. Immediate action to take if you receive an allegation of possible significant harm to a child or young person

If you are in direct contact with the person raising the concern, for instance through a telephone call, receipt of a complaint or as part of a review or interview.

 

  • Stop other activity and focus on what you are being told or have just seen. Responding to suspicion of abuse takes immediate priority.
  • Do not promise confidentiality or agree to ‘keep it a secret’. Explain clearly to the person raising the concern about what you expect will happen next. You can assure them that you will only tell those you have to tell to try to get the matter dealt with. You can and should express support and reassurance to the person giving you the information, particularly if it is a child or young person, that the matter will be dealt with quickly and appropriately.
  • It is absolutely vital that you avoid any action that could jeopardise subsequent investigations, including legal proceedings. In particular, avoid asking leading questions like ‘Did he do X to you?’ or ‘How did he hurt the young person’ but confine yourself to open questions like ‘Can you tell me what happened?’ and ‘What happened next’ or ‘Who said that?’
  1. Ask only what you need to know to come to a judgement about whether abuse may have taken place and to gather factual details. You do not need full details but do need sufficient information for an informed referral:
  • details of the concern or allegation
  • name, date of birth and address of the child or young person
  • details of the location if employed or on work experience including contact details of manager on site, and so on
  • if possible, additional relevant information regarding the child, for example ethnicity and details of other agencies involved.
  1. If talking with a child then work at their pace – do not rush them. Avoid expressing opinions.
  • Consider whether immediate action is needed to secure the protection of any children or young people who may be at risk. Think about the child or young person who is the immediate subject of the concerns, and any other child or young person who may be at risk, in light of what you have been told or suspect.
  • If you are onsite with any children or young people, who may be at immediate risk, consider what action may be necessary to secure their safety. You will need to stay with those you think are at immediate risk until you can transfer them to the care of another responsible adult. Then you will need to contact the senior staff member on site, if there is one, so they can take responsibility for further action (for example, the immediate suspension and removal of the staff member). If there is no-one on site you will, in discussion with the designated person, need to decide on any further action you may need to take to ensure children’s safety.
  • If you are not onsite with a child or young person, discuss how they may make themselves safe. Take into account the child’s or young person’s wishes about any immediate protection. Check whether any other children may be at risk and consider what action is necessary to secure their immediate safety.
  • Take notes of what has been said, what you have heard or seen and what you did – if it is not possible to take notes at the time, do so immediately afterwards. Keep the notes taken at the time, without amendment, omission or addition, whatever subsequent reports may be written. Wherever possible, try to write down what was said verbatim, and make it clear (for example, by using quotation marks) where your notes record somebody’s actual words. Notes should be dated and signed.
  • Follow the steps in Section 4.

If you are not in direct contact with the person raising the concern, for instance if you have received a letter or email.

 

  • Stop other activity and focus on what you are being told. Responding to suspicion of abuse takes immediate priority.
  • Retain any written records including emails and letters.
  • Follow the steps in Section 4.

Section 4. Identification of level of concern and next steps

  1. In all cases:
  • Do not, at this stage, tell the person who is the subject of an allegation or suspicion what you have been told or what you suspect – that may put a child or young person at further risk and/or jeopardise any subsequent enquiry.
  • Do not investigate the case yourself. While professionals should seek, in general, to discuss any concerns with the child and family and, where possible, seek their agreement to making referrals to local authority children’s social care, this should only be done where such discussion and agreement-seeking will not place a child at increased risk of suffering significant harm.
  • Decide whether the allegation or suspicion indicates that a child or young person may be suffering, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm (‘significant harm’ is the trigger for children’s social care services and/or subsequent police enquiries). You will need to discuss with the designated person whether:
  • the allegation or suspicion would constitute a child or young person suffering, or being at risk of, significant harm
  • the actual or likely harm is of a sexual, physical, emotional or neglect nature, or involves witnessing domestic violence, sufficient to affect the child’s or young person’s normal physical, sexual, emotional, educational or social development.
  • Remember, whether or not you personally believe what is said, the benefit of the doubt must always be in favour of making the report. You do not personally have to believe the concern to be true to make a referral to the designated person. False allegations, even anonymous ones, are relatively rare.
  • If the concerns are identified outside of normal office hours and the designated person is unavailable, decide whether there is an immediate risk to the child. If so, contact the relevant Emergency Duty Team of the children’s social care services. This will usually be via the main switchboard number of the local authority. If this presents a problem, contact the police. Inform designated person and your line manager of your action as soon as practicable.
  • Follow the steps in Section 5 below.

Section 5. Subsequent action in all cases

Contact immediately by telephone Safeguarding Officer Cherry Maddern 07769 298105. The Designated Person in charge of Heritage Skills Academy Safeguarding is John Pitchforth 07973 425276.

For any referral to be made to the designated person for investigation you will need to know:

  • details of the concern/allegation
  • name, date of birth and address of the child or young person
  • details of the location if employed or on work experience including contact details of manager on site, and so on
  • if possible, additional relevant information regarding the child, for example ethnicity and details of other agencies involved.
  • Discuss the concerns and next steps with the officer or designated person. The discussion with the designated person will decide whether the concerns should be referred to the local authority Emergency Duty Team and/or police. The designated person will normally make that contact. The designated person may also contact the local authority designated officer if they wish to discuss the case before making the referral. In some circumstances it may be agreed, in discussion with the designated person, that direct contact be made by you. In all circumstances the designated person will retain the overall coordinating function and responsibility for the process.
  • In all cases you should inform the officer, designated person or a senior person of the circumstances and the action you have taken or will be taking next. However, you should not do so if the concern relates to that senior person or if there are any other factors that might affect a subsequent investigation or place any person at risk.
  • Confirm your oral report, including the nature of the allegation/incident, the nature of the suspected harm or likely harm and your subsequent actions by email to the designated person within 24 hours.
  • Written reports should be clear and unambiguous since any evidence, including written reports and any notes or other information, are open to disclosure in any subsequent proceedings.
  • Circumstances not requiring any further action. If after discussion with the designated person it is decided that no further action will be taken through child protection procedures, the designated person will advise on the next steps to take.

 

Section 6. Allegations about a member of Heritage Skills Academy Staff

Decide whether any immediate action needs to be taken in line with Sections 2 and 3 of the procedure and then contact the designated person.

  • Where concerns are reported about any Heritage Skills Academy staff member, they should always be passed to the designated person
  • The designated person is who all allegations or concerns that a member of staff, or someone working on behalf of Heritage Skills Academy, may have abused a child or young person should be reported to.

 

 

Part 3. Safeguarding vulnerable adults

Policy and procedures

Introduction

  1. The legal and policy basis for responding to concerns regarding the safeguarding and welfare of vulnerable adults is entirely different from that for children and young people. Working together to safeguard children only applies to children and young people up to when they reach the age of 18. Any incident or concerns relating to a young person or adult of 18 years and over, even if still at school, are not covered by Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards or their procedures.

Policy statement

  1. Heritage Skills Academy is committed to working with other agencies to ensure that people in settings that we work with are safeguarded. People who use services have a right to live and work in environments free from abuse, neglect and discrimination.
  2. Heritage Skills Academy does not investigate issues of concern in relation to vulnerable adults. Local councils and the police hold the lead responsibilities for responding to allegations of abuse in relation to adults and in coordinating the local interagency framework for safeguarding adults.
  3. Heritage Skills Academy will bring to the attention of the social services and police any concerns or allegations identified through any part of its work.

The definition of abuse of adults

  1. Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by other person or persons. Abuse may consist of single or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. A vulnerable adult is defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as a person who is aged 18 years or over and who:
  • is living in residential accommodation, such as a care home or a residential special school
  • is living in sheltered housing
  • is receiving domiciliary care in their own home
  • is receiving any form of healthcare
  • is detained in lawful custody (in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training centre or attendance centre, or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999)
  • is under the supervision of the probation services
  • is receiving a welfare service defined as the provision of support, assistance or advice by any person, the purpose of which is to develop an individual’s capacity to live independently in accommodation or support their capacity to do so
  • is receiving a service or participating in an activity for people who have particular needs because of their age or who have any form of disability
  • is an expectant or nursing mother living in residential care, or
  • is receiving direct payments from a local authority or health and social care trust in lieu of social care services.
  1. Within this context abuse can take the form of:
  • physical abuse – including hitting, pushing, kicking, misuse of restraint or inappropriate sanctions
  • sexual abuse – including sexual assault or acts to which the adult did not, or could not consent
  • psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats, deprivation of contact, humiliation, intimidation, coercion, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services
  • financial or material abuse – including exploitation and pressure in connection to wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • neglect or acts of omission – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, withholding of medication or adequate nutrition and failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services
  • discriminatory abuse – including racist, sexist and other forms of harassment.

Procedure for responding to safeguarding concerns relating to vulnerable adults

  1. The principles for staff in identifying and responding to incidents of concern in relation to adults are the same as those for children and young people. In most cases exactly the same process and guidance outlined in Part 2 – Sections 1 to 5 will need to be followed by the staff member. There are differences in the definition of abuse and in the response of the statutory agencies to concerns raised with them by Heritage Skills Academy.
  2. In summary if an act of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult is identified or suspected then the Heritage Skills Academy staff member should:
  • stop everything else and concentrate on what you are observing or being told
  • ensure the immediate safety of the vulnerable adult (and any other persons)
  • do not promise confidentiality or agree to keep something secret
  • do not investigate yourself and avoid asking leading questions
  • obtain the necessary information to make an informed referral
  • contact the Heritage Skills Academy Safeguarding Team - The designated person in charge of Safeguarding John Pitchforth – 01438 718224 / 07973 425276 to discuss next steps and appropriate action -
  • make and keep a record of the incident and actions taken.

 

Annex 1. Definitions

Abuse and neglect

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber-bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

 

Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

The concept of significant harm

Some children are in need because they are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children, and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm.

A court may make a care order (committing the child to the care of the local authority) or supervision order (putting the child under the supervision of a social worker, or a probation officer) in respect of a child if it is satisfied that:

  • the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, (including impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another); and
  • the harm or likelihood of harm is attributable to a lack of adequate parental care or control.

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm. Consideration of the severity of ill-treatment may include the degree and the extent of physical harm, the duration and frequency of abuse and neglect, the extent of premeditation, and the presence or degree of threat, coercion, sadism and bizarre or unusual elements. Each of these elements has been associated with more severe effects on the child, and/or relatively greater difficulty in helping the child overcome the adverse impact of the maltreatment. Sometimes, a single traumatic event may constitute significant harm, for example, a violent assault, suffocation or poisoning. More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and long-standing, which interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development. Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. For them, it is the corrosiveness of long-term emotional, physical or sexual abuse that causes impairment to the extent of constituting significant harm. In each case, it is necessary to consider any maltreatment alongside the child’s own assessment of his or her safety and welfare, the family’s strengths and support services, as well as an assessment of the likelihood and capacity for change and improvements in parenting and the care of children and young people.

Other contexts

Protection of vulnerable adults

Alongside HSA’s responsibility to safeguarding children and young people, it has equal regard and concern for safeguarding vulnerable adults who are not covered by child protection legislation.

Heritage Skills Academy staff should be aware of their responsibility towards vulnerable adults and to contribute to preventing further abuse if they are made aware of it.

A vulnerable adult is defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as a person who is aged 18 years or over and who:

  • is living in residential accommodation, such as a care home or a residential special school
  • is living in sheltered housing
  • is receiving domiciliary care in their own home
  • is receiving any form of healthcare
  • is detained in lawful custody (in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training centre or attendance centre, or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999)
  • is under the supervision of the probation services
  • is receiving a welfare service defined as the provision of support, assistance or advice by any person, the purpose of which is to develop an individual’s capacity to live independently in accommodation or support their capacity to do so
  • is receiving a service or participating in an activity for people who have particular needs because of their age or who have any form of disability
  • is an expectant or nursing mother living in residential care
  • is receiving direct payments from a local authority or health and social care trust in lieu of social care services.

Note, however, that people are not vulnerable adults just because of any learning difficulty or learning disability. They will be defined as vulnerable adults when they receive health, social care or other services, or activities specifically for those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

As such HSA’s staff may have contact with vulnerable adults in the workplace as well as in general further education, sixth form or other colleges and, occasionally working in partnership with other providers or stake holders.

Adults considered to be vulnerable in the above definition may have a range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities, including: mental health difficulties, significant behavioural and emotional difficulties; cognitive learning difficulties, including severe and complex learning disability; sensory disability; and speech and language disability and communication disorders, including autistic spectrum difficulties and Asperger's Syndrome.

This is not a complete list nor does it imply that all learners who have such learning difficulties and/or disabilities should be considered to be a vulnerable adult. All incidents and concerns must be reported to the designated person.

What is meant by abuse in the context of vulnerable adults?

  • In addition to definitions provided above, in the context of vulnerable adults the following outlines the main forms of abuse:
  • physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions
  • sexual abuse, including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting
  • psychological abuse, including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation, or withdrawal from services or supportive networks
  • financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
  • neglect and acts of omission, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
  • discriminatory abuse, based on disability, gender, race, age, religion or belief, gender reassignment and sexual orientation and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

Incidents of abuse may be multiple, either to one person in a continuing relationship or service context – or to more than one person at a time. Patterns of abuse and abusing vary and reflect very different circumstances. These include:

  • serial abusing in which the perpetrator seeks out and ‘grooms’ vulnerable individuals. Sexual abuse usually falls into this pattern as do forms of financial abuse
  • long-term abuse in the context of an ongoing family relationship such as domestic violence
  • opportunistic abuse such as theft
  • situational abuse which arises because pressures have built up and/or because of difficult or challenging behaviour
  • neglect of a person’s needs because those around him or her are not able to be responsible for their care, for example, if the carer has difficulties attributable to such issues as debt, alcohol or mental health problems
  • institutional abuse which features poor care standards, lack of positive responses to complex needs, rigid routines, inadequate staffing and insufficient knowledge base within the provider or service
  • unacceptable ‘treatments’ or programmes with sanctions or punishments such as withholding food and drink, seclusion, unnecessary and unauthorised use of control and restraint, or over-medication
  • failure to ensure staff receive appropriate guidance on anti-racist and anti-discriminatory practice
  • failure to access key services such as health care and dentistry
  • misappropriation of benefits and/or use of the person’s money by other members of the household
  • fraud or intimidation in connection with wills, property or other assets.

Some instances of abuse will constitute a criminal offence. In this respect vulnerable adults are entitled to the protection of the law in the same way as any other members of the public. In addition, statutory offences have been created which specifically protect those who may be incapacitated in various ways. Examples of actions which may constitute criminal offences are assault, whether physical or psychological, sexual assault and rape, theft, fraud, and other forms of financial exploitation, and certain forms of discrimination, whether on racial or gender grounds.

Alleged criminal offences differ from all other non-criminal forms of abuse in that the responsibility for initiating action invariably rests with the state in the form of the police and Crown Prosecution Service. While private prosecutions are theoretically possible, they are exceptional in practice. Accordingly, when complaints about alleged abuse suggest that a criminal offence may have been committed it is imperative that reference should be made to the police as a matter of urgency. Criminal investigation by the police takes priority over all other lines of enquiry.

Non-criminal forms of abuse must be also treated with the highest priority. These should be brought to the attention of the designated person. Such instances may also require referral to other statutory agencies, including local social service departments.

The guidance on the Adults List (previously the Protection of Vulnerable Adults) requires providers who provide services for vulnerable adults to carry out stringent pre-employment checks on all staff.

The procedure to be followed by Heritage Skills Academy staff is identical to suspected abuse involving children or young adults. The designated person is the main point of contact for all Heritage Skills Academy staff that suspect any form of abuse or receive allegations of abuse. The designated person will liaise initially with the police and other agencies as required.

Forced marriage

Forced marriage and honour-based violence are human rights abuses and fall within the Government’s definition of domestic violence. Forced marriage is defined as a marriage conducted without the full consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. There is a clear distinction between forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families may take a leading role in arranging the marriage, but the choice of whether or not to accept remains with the prospective spouses. In a forced marriage, one or both spouses do not consent to the marriage. The young person could be facing physical, psychological, sexual, financial or emotional abuse to pressure them into accepting the marriage.

Many of these acts are committed against children. The Government's Forced Marriage Unit has produced guidelines, in conjunction with DfE, on how to identify and support young people threatened by forced marriage.

Procedure

Again, the procedure to be followed by all Heritage Skills Academy staff is similar to that when other types of abuse involving children or young adults is suspected. However, if a child appears to be at immediate risk, refer to section 3 of this policy for further advice on action to be taken. The designated person is the main point of contact for all Heritage Skills Academy staff that suspect any form of abuse or receive allegations of abuse. The designated person will liaise initially with the police and other agencies such as the Forced Marriage Unit as required. You can find more advice on how the Forced Marriage Unit works at: www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/partnersandfamilies/forcedmarriage/forcedmarriageunit/

 

Annex 2. Complaints or concerns about our staff

Heritage Skills Academy will seek to ensure that children and young people, parents and carers, members of the public and service providers and our employees have ready access to us if they have concerns about the conduct of our staff or those undertaking work on our behalf.

We have rigorous procedures in place to ensure that the individuals who are recruited into Heritage Skills Academy posts are fit and suitable for those posts and we have robust policies which enable us to follow up quickly any allegations about the conduct of our own staff.

The Heritage Skills Academy designated person will work closely together to ensure that any safeguarding concern relating to a Heritage Skills Academy employee is dealt with quickly and appropriately.

 

Pre-employment

Recruitment and pre-appointment checks

During the recruitment process, Heritage Skills Academy routinely checks an individual’s suitability for working in Heritage Skills Academy in various ways.

We analyse CVs to assess that the individual has the appropriate skills, knowledge and background to undertake the duties of the post they are applying for. We also look for any gaps in employment and will challenge these with the individual if necessary. During interviews we will ask specific questions around the protection of children to ascertain whether the individual is suitably aware of potential risks to children, young people or vulnerable adults.

When an offer of employment is made, we routinely check the individual’s suitability for the post though occupational reference checking. Individuals have to provide two referees, one of whom must be their last employer. Where any information is falsely submitted or where information is provided which gives cause for concern we may withdraw any conditional offer of employment if considered necessary. We also check the individual’s eligibility to work in the EU, and whether the individual is medically fit for the post.

Disclosure & Barring Service checks

We carry out enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks for all staff and their managers, all senior managers at director level and above, and staff who work as contractors, sub-contractors and stakeholders who routinely deal with child protection issues. We also carry out DBS checks on any staff who may find themselves alone with children. From the point when new members of staff are required to be registered, Heritage Skills Academy will receive notification of any change in their approved status with regard to safeguarding; we will also recheck employees every three years with the DBS. Where any offence is disclosed by the DBS we will investigate this fully, having consideration of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and may withdraw an offer of employment or move to dismiss a current employee where necessary. We will also require Heritage Skills Academy staff to inform us of any pending notifications relating to them as individuals as soon as they know of these.

During employment

Complaints

A complaint about the conduct of a Heritage Skills Academy employee may come through various routes. These include:

  • through our formal complaints procedure
  • through learners
  • through employers
  • Parents/Carers/Guardians
  • through other correspondence from the public
  • through our helpline
  • through one Heritage Skills Academy employee making a complaint about the conduct of another Heritage Skills Academy employee. This may be made through HSA’s whistleblowing policy but any subsequent investigation and action would be carried out according to the safeguarding procedure and the disciplinary policy.

However we receive the complaint, Heritage Skills Academy will ensure that all complaints are treated with due care and attention, considering the expectations of the public and also the fair treatment of our employees. Where the complaint involves a safeguarding issue, this should immediately be referred to the designated person who will take the appropriate action. If this involves an allegation about a Heritage Skills Academy employee, they will immediately refer as appropriate.

HSA’s external complaints procedure

Heritage Skills Academy has a formal complaints policy in place for anyone wishing to make a complaint about the conduct of any Heritage Skills Academy staff or anyone working as a partner of Heritage Skills Academy. This policy provides details of how to make a complaint and to whom it should be addressed.

An internal complaints/grievance procedure is available to our employees, which outlines the actions that will be taken if a complaint is made against a Heritage Skills Academy employee. On occasion, and where appropriate, HSA’s disciplinary procedure may be invoked against an Heritage Skills Academy employee, where the initial stages of investigation under the complaints procedure show that disciplinary action may be warranted.

Disciplinary process

This escalated disciplinary process will apply where an employee is suspected and/or accused of, or deemed to have acted in contravention of the safeguarding policy. This applies where there is a child protection issue because of an employee’s action or as a result of their inaction, whether wilful or because of negligence. Depending on the circumstances, this may also include a capability review. Additionally, the policy may apply where a family member or an acquaintance of a Heritage Skills Academy employee is implicated in, suspected and/or accused of a matter related to abuse of a child or children where there is evidence that the employee had knowledge of the activity and did nothing.

Legal proceedings

Heritage Skills Academy may be able to support employees who are the subject of legal proceedings, whether related to their work or in their private life, where this is appropriate and provided this does not put HSA’s reputation at risk, such as where the allegation is related to a failure to safeguard the welfare of children or young people.

Post employment

Recruitment and pre-appointment checks

Heritage Skills Academy reserves the right to disclose information about an ex-employee where they have been disciplined and/or dismissed for misconduct, including where that is related to a safeguarding issue.

HSA’s subcontractors and partners

Heritage Skills Academy has commercial contracts with sub-contractors and partners. Although not employees of Heritage Skills Academy staff who work for these organisations are expected to fulfil the same expectations in regard to professionalism and conduct as those expected of Heritage Skills Academy staff. Heritage Skills Academy has an understanding with its sub-contractors and partners that, should a safeguarding allegation be made against their employee, they will notify the Heritage Skills Academy designated person and follow suitably robust procedures to deal with that allegation.

 

Annex 3. The legislative context

Working together to safeguard children (DCSF (now DfE), 2010) sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, in accordance with the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004. These Acts are the primary legislation from which Working together to safeguard children derives its legislative basis.

Part I of Working together to safeguard children is statutory guidance and includes in chapter 6 supplementary guidance on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:

  • sexually exploited children
  • children affected by gang activity
  • fabricated or induced illness
  • investigating complex (organised or multiple) abuse
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage and honour-based violence
  • allegations of abuse made against a person who works with children
  • abuse of disabled children
  • child abuse linked to belief in ‘spirit possession’
  • child victims of trafficking.

Part II is non-statutory practice covering lessons from research, working with children and families, safeguarding children who may be particularly vulnerable and managing individuals who pose a risk to children.

Working together to safeguard children provides helpful guidance on the roles and responsibilities of organisations and providers in the safeguarding of children and young people.

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 place duties on organisations and individuals to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places the same duties on organisations and individuals to achieve this by:

  • creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for children and young people; and,
  • identifying where there are child welfare concerns and taking action to address them, in partnership with other organisations where appropriate.

Under the Education Act 1996, corporal punishment was outlawed in all schools and many other settings. In March 2010, the government indicated that it was accepting the recommendation by Sir Roger Singleton that this ban should be extended to all settings outside the context of the family. The law forbids a teacher or other member of staff using any degree of physical contact which is deliberately intended to punish a pupil, or which is primarily intended to cause pain or injury or humiliation. The use of reasonable force to control or restrain pupils under certain circumstances is allowed, provided authorisation has been granted to have control or charge of pupil’s. Other staff may also do so, in the same way as teachers, provided they have been authorised by the head teacher to have control or charge of pupils. All schools should have a policy about the use of force to control or restrain pupils and all Heritage Skills Academy staff working in schools must read and retain a copy of the policy.

Further guidance about this is at: www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/atoz/r/restrainingpupilsuseofforce/.

Early Years and Childcare Services – All organisations providing group day care must have a designated person who is responsible for liaison with local child protection agencies and Heritage Skills Academy on child protection issues, and other staff should be able to implement child protection procedures in the absence of that person.

Vetting staff who work with children and young people

It is the responsibility of Heritage Skills Academy to ensure it has secure evidence that staff have their identity, qualifications and criminal records checked.

The following checks are made on all people working for Heritage Skills Academy :

  • references
  • identity
  • UK residence or permission to work in the UK
  • Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure
  • overseas criminal record check (where necessary)
  • check against the Independent Safeguarding Authority barred list
  • medical fitness
  • explanations of any gaps in employment or academic history
  • qualifications
  • professional status
  • complete induction and/or probationary period, as required for the position.

 

The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) is an executive agency of the Home Office. It provides access to criminal record information to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work. The DBS now offers one type of effective disclosure:

  • enhanced disclosure shows current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer. In the case of a post which involves working with children, the Protection of Children Act 1999 list and information that is held under the section 142 of the Education Act 2002 – commonly known as List 99 and now being replaced by the ISA children’s barred list – will be searched. Any person whose name is on List 99 (now the ISA list) is barred from working with children. Enhanced disclosures also show any relevant information held by local police forces such as details of acquittals, pending prosecutions or other non-conviction information.

Existing staff should not be asked to apply for a fresh disclosure unless the employer, school, further education institution or training provider has grounds for concern about their suitability to work with children.

Applications for enhanced disclosures are usually made on paper and must be signed by the applicant and authorised by an employer.

The disclosure is sent to the applicant and a copy sent to the employer. The decision concerning the suitability of an applicant in light of the disclosure rests with the employer. The record of the disclosure must be kept in secure conditions.

Providing a person is