This safeguarding policy seeks to guide staff on how to:
- Understand what constitutes a safeguarding concern,
- Protect children, young people, staff, volunteers and the organisation,
- Report suspected or alleged abuse,
- Support victims of and those reporting abuse.
COG Youth Services Ltd are committed to promoting the welcome of children and young people to ensure that they feel safe and are protected by effective interventions if they are thought to be suffering, or at risk of, significant harm.
Procedures related to safeguarding are attached in appendix along with a glossary of key terms and background information on the relevant legislation.
Safeguarding children and young people is vital for organisations like ours. Our directors have a duty of care towards the children and young people with whom we have contact. Having safeguards in place not only protects and promotes the welfare of children and young people but also enhances the confidence of trustees, staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.
Safeguarding children and young people protects the reputation of COG Youth Services Ltd and helps us to effectively meet our objectives and protects our finances.
We will always ensure we work in compliance with child protection, safeguarding and data protection legislation. Our Safeguarding policy should be reviewed every three years.
Safeguarding and child protection depend on effective collaboration between agencies sharing information across organisational boundaries. The COG Youth Services Ltd board has overall responsibility for adherence to safeguarding policy and practice. We have to ensure we are responsive to best practice at a local and national level and have positive partnership and data sharing arrangements with the relevant agencies.
Partnership working with other agencies (in particular local authorities) is key to ensuring we take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of harm to the welfare of the children/young people we work with. As such, COG Youth Services Ltd will always work in full partnership with other local agencies. Where we have concerns about children/young people’s welfare, we will always inform appropriate local agencies so that they can take appropriate actions to address those concerns.
COG Youth Services Ltd has a commitment to children’s rights, as set out in the UN Convention, as such we will:
- Promote the welfare of children and young people.
- Safeguard children and young people from abuse and ensure that action is taken to support and protect them wherever and whenever abuse is suspected.
- Create safe, secure and supportive environments where children and young people can develop and fulfil their potentials.
- Encourage children and young people to express their views and have their views taken into account. Listening to them and respecting what they have to say is paramount in ensuring their safety.
- Provide training and information to all staff, directors and volunteers on:
- Child abuse awareness.
- Good practice to safeguard children and young people.
- Signs and symptoms of significant harm and how to report any concerns.
- How to respond appropriately when abuse is discovered or suspected.
- Provide appropriate assistance to help children and young people communicate their concerns.
- Treat any abuse as an act of gross misconduct and disciplinary procedures will be followed.
- Be committed to equally meeting the needs of all children and young people. Working in a multi-cultural society does not justify, explain or condone acts, values or attitudes attributed to culture, religion or ethnicity which put children and young people at risk of harm.
All staff and volunteers should be made aware of the COG Youth Services Ltd safeguarding policy and procedures at induction or through regular training. As such staff and volunteers should understand their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding children and young people. To ensure staff and volunteers are updated of new information, guidelines and developments, regular training in safeguarding is offered to staff. Each member of staff and volunteer aged 16 (minimum) working directly with children and young people will attend safeguarding training at least once every three years.
COG Youth Services Ltd keep our policies and code of conduct under continuous review so ensure they meet the requirements of local safeguarding Boards. No individual barred by the Independent Safeguarding Authority will engage in any activity with children or vulnerable adults whether paid or unpaid.
The designated Child Protection Officer for COG Youth Services Ltd is responsible for ensuring compliance with the standards of the local Safeguarding Board. The CPO should be trained to Level 2 through local Safeguarding Board courses.
All staff and volunteers (aged at least 16 years old) undergo enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on recruitment and these are reprocessed every three years.
In the case of a staff member or volunteer starting work before an enhanced DBS check is in place, all previous employment references are thoroughly checked and written records kept. Staff or volunteers for whom an enhanced DBS has not yet been received will not be permitted to work unsupervised with children or young people until the enhanced DBS check has been received.
- Abuse cases involving young people are highly sensitive and confidential and should be treated as such.
- They should not be the subject for casual conversation in the workplace, family or neighbourhood. It is essential that as little attention as possible is drawn to the situation. However, in some cases other young people may know about the abuse and some work may be needed around their reactions/ feelings, particularly if they are close to the victim or the perpetrator of the abuse.
- It is important for any staff or volunteer when faced with the possibility of a case of abuse to:
- Be aware of their role in such a situation
- Have knowledge of procedures for reporting such cases
- Be able to give immediate assistance to the young person at risk.
- Under no circumstances should any staff or volunteer attempt to act as a “go-between” the young person and the alleged person/s.
- Staff or volunteers should not approach the young person, family or individuals about allegations or suspicions.
- All staff and volunteers should be inducted with internal safeguarding training within the first month of their appointment and then undertake external Child Protection Training within 12 months, unless they attended such training within the last 2 years prior to their employment. The following Child Protection Procedures are intended only as instruction for the recording and reporting of suspected/ actual abuse. The skills, attitudes and awareness that are required to support young people making disclosures or who are suspected as being victims of abuse, are the subject of directed training, and the support of your line manager.
- It is the responsibility of the Managers to provide information, and organise for the staff to attend to appropriate training with the exception of sub-contractors who must organise their own training.
- It is the responsibility of the CPO to suspend any member of the staff or volunteer who is accused of child abuse pending investigation. The CPO will inform the Board of Directors immediately.
- COG Youth Services Ltd will provide counselling or other professional support to staff who may be badly affected by abuse cases.
- COG Youth Services Ltd staff and volunteers have a duty to co-operate fully with the investigating agencies in line with the Area Child Protection Committees.
- It is not COG Youth Services Ltd’s responsibility to investigate an allegation of child abuse; this is the job of police, social services or the contracting school. No staff should interview the child or any possible witnesses, nor should they ask anyone to write an account of what happened
- To ensure that all staff is aware of the policy and that it is fully implemented.
- To fully co-operate in the case of a police investigation.
- To raise safeguarding as part of the process of recruitment and to ensure that all the checks with the relevant agencies are made through the Criminal Records Bureau.
- To implement the necessary mechanism to protect the staff from malicious allegations while operating under the presumption that children and young people are to be believed.
- It is the responsibility of the Board to suspend the CPO if accused of child abuse pending investigation.
- To ensure that sufficient resources are available to provide appropriate child protection training.
COG Youth Service Ltd’s first priority is to ensure that no child or young person is exposed to unnecessary risk. The CPO will, as a matter of urgency, take any necessary protective measures.
It is the responsibility of the CPO to suspend any member of the staff or volunteer who is accused of child abuse pending investigation. The CPO will inform the Board of Directors immediately.
COG Youth Service Ltd will keep written records of all actions taken.
Information about any allegations will only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis to avoid prejudicing any future criminal or disciplinary process.
Staff members should never discuss any abuse allegations with the press under any circumstances. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary procedures.
It is not COG Youth Service Ltd’s responsibility to investigate any allegation of child abuse; this is the job of police, social services or the contracting school. No staff should interview the child or any possible witnesses, nor should they ask anyone to write an account of what happened.
Project planning for pieces of work involving children and young people should consider any safeguarding implications.
Written risk assessment should be undertaken for all residential trips with young people (pro forma in appendix under procedures).
Staff and volunteers should ensure that appropriate risk assessment is incorporated into the planning and preparation for all work directly with children and young people. This should be in line with COG Youth Service Ltd’s strategy for involving children and young people.
COG Youth Services staff and volunteers should be trained in risk management.
Whistleblowing, or public interest disclosure, is when a worker reports a concern about the improper actions or omissions of their colleagues or their employer which may cause harm to others or harm to the organisation. Obvious examples of such improper actions include theft and breaches of health and safety.
COG Youth Services ltd staff and volunteers have an individual responsibility to bring matters of concern to the attention of senior management and/or relevant agencies. Although this can be difficult, this is particularly important where the welfare of children or young people may be at risk.
Although a member of staff or volunteer may be the first to recognise that something is wrong, they may not feel able to express their concerns out of a feeling that this would be disloyal to colleagues, fear harassment or victimisation. Although these are natural feelings, COG Youth Services Ltd staff and volunteers should recognise that their failure to act could result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk or put other children or young people at risk.
It is often the most vulnerable children or young people who are targeted and these children and young people need others to safeguard their welfare.
COG Youth Services Ltd take the safeguarding of children and young people extremely seriously. We will ensure any allegations are fully investigated.
Any suspicion or allegations should be reported to the line manager. In the event of this not being possible, staff should refer to the CPO or any Director on the Board of Directors for COG Youth Services Ltd.
Line managers have a responsibility to protect staff and volunteers from harassment or victimisation as a result of whistleblowing.
COG Youth Services Ltd will not take any action against any staff or volunteer if their concern proves to be unfounded and was raised in good faith. However, malicious allegations could be considered a disciplinary offence.
There may be occasions when a member of staff or volunteer has a personal difficulty, maybe a physical or mental difficulty, which they know to be impinging on their professional competence. Staff and volunteers have a responsibility to discuss such a situation with their line manage so professional and personal support can be offered or reasonable adjustments to their role and responsibilities can be made for the person concerned. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed where personal difficulties raise concerns about the welfare of safety of children or young people.
There must be no delay in communication once a suspicion arises. The sharing of relevant information at the earliest opportunity within an environment of strict confidentiality is essential.
A child or young persons right to confidentiality is important and should be kept informed of any sharing of information and participate at an appropriate level in decisions that directly affect them.
COG Youth Services Ltd will review the Safeguarding Policy at least every three years. Staff and volunteers are expected to attend appropriate training to keep up to date with legislative changes at least every three years.
Child Protection Officer (CPO): Risha Budhdeo – firstname.lastname@example.org