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Safeguarding & Protection Policy

The purpose of this policy

To protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who receive Ladders4Action’s services or who
engage with Ladders4Action through the course of our work. To provide staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Who it applies to

This policy applies to anyone employed directly or indirectly by Ladders4Action and includes Directors, staff, volunteers, work placements, trainers and consultants. This policy is available to independent contractors and should be implemented as good practice. While this policy focuses on the workplace responsibilities of staff, responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults extend to an individual’s personal and domestic life.

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all staff who, during the course of their employment have direct or indirect contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults, or who have access to information about them, have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare.

Our policy

Ladders4Action personnel come into direct and indirect contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults through delivery of a range of services. Ladders4Action believes that every individual who accesses our services or engages with our organization should be treated with dignity and respect, have their choice respected and not be forced to do anything against their will.

Ladders4Action believes that a child, young person or vulnerable adult should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all those we engage with – to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them. Ladders4Action is committed to safeguarding [1] all children, young people and vulnerable adults regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity,
have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse

What this means

Ladders4Action will seek to keep children, young people and vulnerable adults safe by:

  • We will respect all individuals: Ladders4Action fundamentally believes in valuing, listening to and respecting all individuals. In our work we build a culture that values and respects all individuals and models appropriate conduct in line with our values. We believe that listening to and respecting individuals is essential to ensuring adequate protection and safeguarding mechanisms. (Please also view our Equal Opportunity Policy)
  • We will ensure child protection & safeguarding concerns are integrated within our practice
  • We adopt child protection practices through several of our staff procedures and through our staff code-of-conduct. In addition to our safeguarding and protection mechanisms have been integrated into many of our other policies and procedures. (Please also view Annex A)
  • We will provide a safe environment Ladders4Action ensures the checking the suitability of childcare providers we use.
  • We ensure that all our services and work is undertaken in safe environments and that sufficient safeguards are in place. (Please also view our Health, Safety & Environment Policy)
  • We will provide, training supervision and support
  • We will provide effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training. Raising awareness of child and adult protection situations, and our procedures for identifying and reporting concerns or suspected cases. We will ensure all staff members, volunteers and third parties are aware of the role and responsibilities in regards to child protection and safeguarding.
  • We also provide all staff, volunteers and third parties with a clear code-of-conduct. (Please also view our Staff Induction & Training Policy; staff code-of-conduct; Volunteer Policy)
  • We will ensure safe and ethical recruitment Ladders4Action practices safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff, freelancers and volunteers to work with vulnerable adults and have contact with children. In recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made. (Please also view our Recruitment & Selection Policy; Volunteer Policy)
  • We will maintain, principles of confidentiality, data protection and consent Recording and storing information professionally and securely in accordance with our data protection policy. Consent will always be asked in relation to media and photography in accordance with our media and photography policy. (Please also view our Confidentiality & Data Protection Policy; Information, Information Technology and Website Policy ; Media & Photography Policy)
  • We will communicate and collaborate Ladders4Action recognizes the importance of ethical and effective communication and collaboration. In accordance with this policy we share relevant information with those who need to know. We believe that sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers is essential in safeguarding and protection.

Quality Assurance

An annual audit of safeguarding concerns, action taken and staff training and support will be
conducted annually and safeguarding policy and procedures will be reviewed every three years or in
the light of significant changes to best practice or legislation.
(Please also view our Quality & Assurance Policy)

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POLICY

Staff

Ladders4Action’s Staff Recruitment & Selection policy puts in place procedures to ensure that thorough checks are made prior to appointment of staff, volunteers and freelance consultants, in order to prevent a person using their position to harm a child or vulnerable single parent.

For all posts at Ladders4Action the following vetting checks are carried out prior to confirming the appointment:

  • a Self-Disclosure form to disclose previous spent/unspent convictions and disciplinary or capability procedures.
  • Identity documents including photographic identity
  • Proof of right to work in the UK
  • References including a professional reference using a pro-forma template
  • Qualification certificates if required for the role
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check if eligible. All appointments to posts involving direct work with children and/or vulnerable adults will be subject to an Enhanced Disclosure from the DBS, and agreement to re-check every 3 years. (Please also view our Staff Recruitment & Selection policy; staff code-of-conduct; Volunteer Policy)

Volunteers, freelance consultants and other actors

Volunteers and freelance consultants post the same level of risk to clients as paid staff. Vetting checks

include:

  • a self-disclosure form to disclose previous spent/unspent convictions
  • References including a professional reference using a pro-forma template
  • DBS check if eligible.
  • All volunteers and freelance consultants working directly with children and/or vulnerable adults will
  • be subject to an Enhanced Disclosure from the DBS, and agreement to re-check every 3 years.
  • (Please also view our Staff Recruitment & Selection policy; staff code-of-conduct; Volunteer Policy)

Recruitment of ex-offenders

In line with Ladders4Action’s Policy on the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders, a criminal record does not prevent employment at Ladders4Action. A thorough Risk Assessment is carried out by the HR Manager and line manager if convictions are revealed on the declaration form or criminal record check or it is not possible to obtain a criminal record check from abroad, prior to confirming or withdrawing an appointment. (Please also view our Staff Recruitment & Selection policy; staff code-of-conduct; Volunteer Policy)

Induction

Ladders4Action’s Induction Policy ensures a thorough induction for new staff into the organisation. As part of Induction, the line manager must ensure new staff read key corporate policies, including Safeguarding, Child Protection, Vulnerable adult protection, Data Protection and Confidentiality policies, and understand their personal responsibilities within these, and that any training needs are identified and addressed. (Please also view our Staff Recruitment & Selection policy; Volunteer Policy; Staff Induction & Training Policy)

Supervision

Ladders4Action’s Supervision and Appraisal Policy ensures that all staff receive regular on going management support and feedback on performance, to ensure that performance meets appropriate standards and training and development opportunities are discussed. (Please also view our Quality Assurance Policy)

Childcare providers

If Ladders4Action arranges childcare for training courses or events. Ladders4Action policy is to use only an established nursery of childcare facility or reputable mobile crèche service that is contacted to provide on-site childcare. All providers should be OFSTED registered for provision longer than 2 hours a day and all workers should be DBS checked.


Our premises

Ladders4Action will ensure that all environments where services activities are delivered will not cause harm to vulnerable adults or children. As well as ensuring that suitable staff deliver activities, all service delivery environments will be assessed in line with Ladders4Action’s Health and safety policy and the event checklist. (Please also view our Health, Safety and Environment Policy)

Media and photography

Case studies may be used to support and illustrate our work. Our Media & Photography Policy and staff Code-of-conduct, provides clear guidelines on the use of media and photography. In accordance with the Ladders4Action staff code-of-conduct

  • The purpose and reason for any form of image capturing must be explained to any person whose image is identifiable. When possible, the child, their parents or guardians should be told how the image will be used
  • Informed consent of all individuals whose image is identifiable involved is required. When the individual informed is less than 18 years their duty-bearer’s consent must be sought in addition to their personal consent
  • If someone does not want to be photographed or wishes to remain anonymous, you must respect this
  • If an image is captured of an individual who did not give informed consent (for example an image of a person is captured at a distance), then their identity must be non-identifiable
  • Ladders4Action does not authorise any staff member or third parties to take photographs of child’s or any individual’s naked or deceased body.
  • Inappropriate and unauthorised photography may result in the prosecution of the photographer.
  • All photography must be respectful of the dignity of the person, to their religion and personal perception of cultural appropriateness
  • Photography must never put any person at risk of harm
  • All persons undertaking photography or digital recording whilst working for Ladders 4 Action, or under the auspices of Ladders4Action, require permission from the appropriate line manager in order to proceed
  • Staff or third parties may only take photos or capture data where this is a properly planned and executed exercise. Image capture and photography should not be a spontaneous or ill-considered exercise; it must have value and purpose.
  • Ladders4Action’s use of images policy and consent form for use of photographs ensures informed consent is given before images can be used. (Please also view our Media & Photography Policy; Staff Code-of-Conduct; Information, Information Technology and Website Policy; Confidentiality & Data Protection Policy)


Signposting adults to support

A number of staff come into contact with adults who may be particularly vulnerable, experiencing distress (for example due to family conflict or experience of domestic violence) or have mental health issues. For the majority of these adults their situation will not be of a nature that requires a member of staff to report a concern. However, Ladders4Action believes it is important to recognise the vulnerability of these adults.

Ladders4Action does not have appropriate expertise to deal directly with these issues although our intervention may be helpful, nor do we provide counselling support, so it is vital that staff understand how to identify signs and signpost effectively.

Ladders4Action will support frontline staff to recognise the signs of distress, to handle this and their own reactions, and to signpost clients to services that can provide support.

Ladders4Action will provide up to date signposting information for use by staff and volunteers which details organisations that can be contacted to support single parents in a range of situations ranging from domestic violence, to mental health, drugs and alcohol and child safety.

Home visits and lone working

It is Ladders4Action’s policy not to undertake home visits for example to carry out interviews for research.
Staff are not likely to be alone with a child face to face in any of the above situations but they may be providing telephone or online services on a one to one basis. Staff will also sometimes observe directly, infer from statements made or hear information that raises concerns about a child’s welfare. (Please also view our Staff Code-of-Conduct)
Awareness of Ladders4Action’s policies All staff are required to read Ladders4Action’s this Safeguarding and Protection Policy, to ensure that they know their responsibilities in their role and to provide signed confirmation of this on the
Induction checklist. (Please also view our Staff Induction & Training Policy; Quality Assurance Policy)


Duty to report

Our role in protecting children and vulnerable adults is to pick up cues that the child or adult may need protecting and pass this information to those who can assess the situation and act when required. Staff are required to be aware of the different types and signs of abuse and the circumstances in which it can occur (see Guidance on recognising abuse).
All concerns and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to appropriately (this may require a referral to children’s services and / or emergencies, the Police). Staff have a duty to report concerns in line with Ladders4Action’s procedures. Failure to comply with these responsibilities will be seen as a serious matter which may lead to disciplinary action. (Please also view our Staff Induction & Training Policy; Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints Policy; Whistle blowing Procedure; Incident Reporting Procedure; Quality Assurance Policy)


Acting on safeguarding concerns

Staff should follow Guidance highlighted in the Incident Reporting Procedure.
All incidents should be recorded on the recording form and emailed to their manager and copied to
the Executive Director. This form will be stored securely in compliance with relevant legislation and
kept in accordance with the archive policy. Allegations of abuse or concerns raised against members of staff, volunteers, trainers or trustees, will always be treated seriously. Where there is an allegation against a member of staff the Executive Director should be informed and a disciplinary investigation will be carried out. There may also be
criminal (police) investigations. Where the allegation concerns the Executive Director, then they should be reported to another Director who will be involved in the investigation. Staff Should be aware of the organisation’s whistle blowing policy and how to report if initial system of reporting fail. (Please also view our Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints; Whistle blowing Procedure; Incident Reporting Procedure; Quality Assurance Policy)

Confidentiality

Recognising that “the welfare of the child is paramount” Children’s Act 1989, considerations of confidentiality which might apply to other situations should not be allowed to override the right of children to be protected from harm. Ladders4Action’s Confidentiality policy therefore requires staff to act in any situation in which a child is at risk and in particular situations when a vulnerable adult is at risk.
While all staff should be open to the possible abuse of vulnerable adults in all situations, we envisage that there will be very few instances where staff will need to report adult protection concerns. The situations where this is most likely to happen and where staff will be expected to act are  an adult has been assessed as being at high risk of suicide (see guidance on reporting concerns)

  • There is a significant risk that the adult will be seriously physically harm another person.
  • In respect of vulnerable adults all action, including referrals to Social Services and the police, must be subject to the consent of the service user. In every situation it will be assumed that a person can make their own decisions and action will only be taken in the absence of consent from the service user where; they or others are in physical danger; after seeking advice from an appropriate agency you have been advised to report the concern as it is believed that the vulnerable adult is unable/incapable of making an informed decision for himself or herself.
  • Staff should never give absolute guarantees of confidentiality to anyone wishing to tell them about something serious.(Please also view our Confidentiality & Data Protection Policy; Information, Information Technology and Website Policy )

Complaints

Ladders4Action’s complaints procedure is an important way in which concerns can be surfaced and should be easily accessible to clients. (Please also view our Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints Policy; Whistle blowing Procedure)
Staff are encouraged in line with “how we work” and the equality and diversity policy to value diversity and respect the contribution of each individual. Employees are encouraged to raise concerns about employment practices and concerns will be taken seriously. Unlawful discrimination, bullying or harassment will not be tolerated. The Disciplinary,
Grievance & Complaints Policy sets out how to raise concerns both informally and formally, how concerns will be investigated and support for individuals raising a concerns as well as for employees who are the subject of a complaint. Employees will not suffer any negative treatment for giving constructive criticism or raising a genuine grievance.
(Please also view our Equal Opportunities; Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints Policy; Whistle blowing Procedure)


Whistle Blowing

Ladders4Action’s whistle blowing policy provides guidance for staff on confidential reporting of concerns about wrong doing in the workplace. (Please also view our Equal Opportunities; Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints Policy; Whistle blowing Procedure)

IT Usage

Ladders4Action also has a clear policy for staff on IT usage forbidding inappropriate use of materials which includes sexually explicit material, obscene remarks and abusive or discriminatory messages. Online forums and Facebook
Ladders4Action works to ensure that our online forums and Facebook page are safe and supportive places where single parents feel comfortable to express themselves and share their experiences. While we encourage lively debate, we do not tolerate behaviour which makes other users feel uneasy or unable to contribute to the page. As such, we reserve the right to remove posts which are aggressive in tone, abusive towards other users or disruptive to how the forum or page operates. Racist, sexist, homophobic or bullying posts will be removed without delay. This is common practice and corresponds with Facebook’s terms and conditions. The forum netiquette is available on the forum home page and members using the forums agree to abide by this code of conduct. This guide details the behaviour expected of forum users as well as how to report posts that are of concern. (Please also view our Staff Code-of-Conduct; Information, Information Technology and Website Policy )


Roles and responsibilities

Safeguarding and Child Protection Responsibilities are set out as follows:

  • Directors are accountable for Ladders4Action and therefore all safeguarding within the organisation and will receive annual reports on safeguarding.
  • The Executive Director will ensure a clear framework for the management accountability for safeguarding is in operation.
  • The Senior Management Team is accountable to the Executive Director for safeguarding within their departments, for giving leadership on safeguarding as a corporate issue and ensuring it is integral to their department’s plan.
  • All managers provide advice and support to staff unsure about how to proceed with a particular case, and take line management responsibility for the safe delivery, quality and effectiveness of their services.
  • Directors will also be responsible for assessing at the start of a project whether there are Local
  • Adult Safeguarding Board procedures that should take precedence over Ladders4Action’s procedures where there are significant differences.
  • The Executive director will stay abreast of developments on safeguarding best practice, advise on changes to policy and practice and coordinate Safeguarding audits and reporting. They may delegate this role

Director’s Responsibilities

This policy has been approved and endorsed by the Ladders4Action Board of Directors. All directors have a duty of care to their organisation which will include taking the necessary steps to safeguard and take responsibility for those children and vulnerable adults. They must always act in their best interests and ensure they take all reasonable steps to prevent any harm to them. Directors also have duties to manage risk and to protect the reputation and assets of the organisation.

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person/vulnerable adult is paramount
  • working in partnership with children, young people and vulnerable adults their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting welfare.

Related policies and resources

This policy relates to measures in a range of other Ladders4Action policies that have been referred to and highlighted throughout this policy where relevant.


Annex A: Related Policies and Procedures

  • Safeguarding and protection mechanisms have been integrated into many of our procedures, such as:
  • Confidentiality & Data Protection Policy
  • Disciplinary, Grievance & Complaints Policy
  • Equal Opportunity Policy
  • Health, Safety and Environment Policy
  • Information, Information Technology and Website Policy
  • Lone Working Policy
  • Media & Photography Policy
  • Protection & Safeguarding policy
  • Quality Assurance Policy
  • Staff Code-of-Conduct
  • Staff Induction & Training Policy
  • Staff Recruitment & Selection policy
  • Volunteer Policy
  • Whistle Blowing Policy
  • Related Procedures
  • Safeguarding and protection mechanisms have been integrated into many of our procedures, such as:
  • Incident Reporting Procedure
  • Whistle blowing Procedure
  • End of Session Review Procedure

Annex B: Definitions

  • Child: An individual aged under 18 year
  • Young Person: An individual aged under 25 year
  • Vulnerable Adult: For the purpose of this policy a vulnerable adult is defined as “anyone over the age of 18 who: is or
  • may be in need of Community Care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and is or may be unable to take care of himself or herself or is unable to protect themselves against significant harm or serious exploitation” No Secrets, DOH (2000). It is important to note that no mention of capacity or competence appears in our definition.
  • People who may be included in a definition of a Vulnerable Person: People with learning disability; People with physical disabilities; People with sensory impairment; People with mental health needs including dementia; People who misuse substances of alcohol; People who are physically ill or mentally frail; Individuals outside these definitions may also be vulnerable due to low self-esteem, social exclusion, offending history, homelessness, domestic abuse, ethnicity, immigration status etc.
  • Abuse: The 1989 Children Act recognises four categories of abuse (1) Physical Abuse: Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury. (2) Sexual Abuse: Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent or developmentally immature. (3) Neglect: The persistent, or severe neglect of a child, or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, resulting in the significant impairment of a child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive. (4) Emotional Abuse: Severe or persistent emotional ill treatment or rejection likely to cause adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment.
  • Safeguarding: The term ‘safeguarding’ refers to inward facing procedures such as awareness raising, reporting concerns, responding appropriately to issues of abuse and exploitation and preventing harm through sound recruitment and safe programming. (Organisation Commission’s Strategy for dealing with safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Issues in Charities, April 2012)
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