Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy
1. The GUITAR Circus Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy will provide a secure framework for staff and volunteers in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of those children and young adults who attend GUITAR Circus events. The policy aims to ensure that GUITAR Circus, as an organisation working with young people, through its staff, contractors and volunteers is committed to practices that aim to protect young people* from harm through:
- Establishing and maintaining an environment in which the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
- Ensuring that its policies and procedures protect young people from all types of harm regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity
- Ensuring all concerns and allegations of abuse are taken seriously and responded to appropriately
*A child is defined as a person under age of 18 (Children Act 1989). The use of the term “young person” in this policy refers to all members that are aged 13 – 18 years old and not just children.
2. This policy will:
- Set out how GUITAR Circus will safeguard and provide protection for the children and young people.
- Provide staff and volunteers with guidance on best practice principles when working with children and young people.
- Provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt if they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.
3. This policy comprises of (see links):
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- Appendix 1 – Categories and Indicators of Abuse
- Appendix 2 – Anti Bullying Policy
- Appendix 3 – Code of Behaviour and staff guidelines
- Appendix 4 – Flowchart: Concerns about a young person
- Appendix 5 – Flowchart: Concerns or allegations about a staff member
4. Guitar Circus will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
- Valuing them, listening to and respecting them
- Adopting safeguarding guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff, contractors and volunteers
- Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
- Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training.
- Assessing risk in all activities by focusing on prevention and minimising risk.
DESIGNATED STAFF WITH SAFEGUARDING RESPONSIBILITIES
5. The following staff hold safeguarding positions of responsibility at GUITAR Circus:
NYGE HEAD OF PASTORAL CARE & DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING LEAD (DSL): Georgina Bashford
DESIGNATED SAFEGUARDING LEAD (DSL): Sandra Dukes
Nominated GUITAR Circus Trustee: Charlie Fraser
6. If a member of staff, contractor, volunteer, parent/guardian or participant has a safeguarding concern they should contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately.
7. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) carries ultimate responsibility for decisions making around safeguarding.
8. All allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse must be taken seriously, including matters raised by staff, contractors, volunteers, members, parents/guardians, etc., and reported immediately to the DSL. The DSL will then take the necessary action to put procedures into place.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF TRUSTEES, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
9. It is important to note that safeguarding is not just about protecting children and young people from deliberate harm. It includes issues such as health and safety, bullying, racist abuse, harassment and discrimination, use of physical intervention; meeting the needs of those with medical conditions, providing first aid, drug and substance misuse and internet safety.
10. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all staff at GUITAR Circus must aim to create the safest environment for all young people and consider at all times what is in the best interests of the young person.
11. In line with these principles GUITAR Circus will adopt the following as best practice:
- To ensure that all staff, contractors and volunteers are aware of and comply with the Guitar Circus Child Protection and Anti-Bullying Policies.
- To provide parents/guardians/carers with access to the GUITAR Circus Child Protection and Safeguarding and Anti-Bullying policies, to ensure they know about the complaints procedure and the fact that this may require circumstances to be referred to investigative agencies in the interest of the young person.
- To secure parental consent for GUITAR Circus to act in loco parentis which includes; if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or medical treatment, and also if the staff, contractors and volunteers are required to transport young people in cars.
- To provide information for children/parents/guardians when membership is offered, including the Rules & Regulations. These rules and regulations must be read and accepted by both the member and parent/guardian on the registration form.
- To ensure that the members and staff have submitted the GUITAR Circus medical form before a course takes place so that relevant medical and food allergy/dietary information can be passed on to the residential venue staff and support team.
- To ensure that any travel arrangements made whilst members are in the care of Guitar Circus, are pre-arranged with parent/guardians. Parents/guardians that request the shuttle service must pre-book the members place and give details of the members expected time of arrival prior to the course taking place. Arrangements will be made for a member of the support team to greet and register arrivals at the railway station and transport them (preferably in groups) in the designated car/taxi to the residential venue.
- That consent has been given from the parent/guardian for their child to take part in a timetable swimming activity and that they are able to swim unaided.
- To risk assess all situations, activities, buildings and trips and to ensure all potential dangers have been identified and risk minimised.
- Have a system is in place for recording any incidents or accidents while the child is in the care of Guitar Circus.
- To have a Senior Designated Person with responsibility for ensuring the operation within the legislative framework and to co-ordinate action within and liaise with other agencies in relation to safeguarding.
- To ensure that all activities are adequately and properly supported by the Support Team, meeting legal ratios adult / young person as recommended by the NSPCC (see Guidelines, below).
- To ensure that all staff, volunteers and contractors have undertaken the appropriate
Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check and have presented their certificate before
commencing their engagement. No person shall be engaged if they are deemed a risk to young people.
- To ensure that all staff, volunteers and contractors who hold a Safeguarding position attend a Safeguarding course and all other staff will undertake Safeguarding training.
- The DSL will review and update the Child Protection and Safeguarding and Anti Bullying policies annually, and/or in the event of an incident or change in legislation, and ensure that all staff are up-to-date with the relevant safeguarding training.
RECEIVING A DISCLOSURE
12. If a child makes an allegation or disclosure of abuse against an adult or other child or young person, staff and volunteers will:
- Stay calm and listen carefully.
- Re-assure the child that s/he has done the right thing in telling you.
- Not investigate or ask leading questions.
- Let the child know that s/he will need to tell the DSL.
- Not promise confidentiality.
- Inform the DSL as soon as possible.
- Make a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident which will be signed and dated.
- If in doubt about recording requirements staff and volunteers should discuss this with the DSL.
13. If staff or volunteers have concerns about a young person (as opposed to the young person being in immediate danger or at risk of harm) they will need to decide what action to take. All staff and volunteers should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help, that is, support as soon as a problem emerges. Such problems should be discussed in the first instance with the DSL.
14. If a child is in immediate danger or at risk of harm, this must be reported to the DSL, who will make a referral to children’s social care and/or the police immediately. It is not the responsibility of GUITAR Circus to investigate suspected or alleged abuse; this is the role of the Police and Social Services.
15. Whistleblowing encourages and enables staff to raise serious concerns within the organisation rather than overlooking a problem or ‘blowing the whistle’ outside. Guitar Circus is committed to the highest possible standards of openness, probity and accountability. In line with that commitment we expect staff, and others that we deal with, who have serious concerns about any aspect of NYGE’s work to come forward and voice those concerns.
16. As a first step concerns must be raised verbally or in writing with the DSL. The DSL will then inform the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) of any concerns that are raised or any action is taken regarding a member of staff. The LADO will help to co-ordinate information-sharing with the right people and will also monitor and track any investigation, with the aim to resolve it as quickly as possible.
17. If the member of staff feels they cannot raise the concern with the DSL they can seek advice from the NSPCC, the charity ‘Public Concern at Work’ or may contact the Children’s Commissioner r LADO. GUITAR Circus acknowledges that it is against the law for Employees to be dismissed for whistleblowing.
18. All concerns about staff will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made not to reveal the identity of the person who has raised the concern if they have requested confidentiality. At the appropriate time, however, the member of staff may need to come forward as a witness. The whistle blowing policy does however encourage staff to come forward and put their name to their concern whenever possible. Staff should note that they should:
- disclose the information in good faith
- believe it to be substantially true
- not act maliciously or make false allegations
- not seek any personal gain
ALLEGATIONS INVOLVING GUITAR CIRCUS STAFF
19. Any such allegations will be taken seriously and the person to whom the allegation is made must immediately inform the DSL.
20. If anyone has reason to suspect that a member of the staff, contractor or volunteer may have abused a young person at a GUITAR circus event or elsewhere, they must inform the DSL immediately. A record will be made of the concerns, including a note of anyone else who witnessed/has information about the incident or alleged incident. If the concern is about the DSL, or if it is felt that policies are not being observed or enforced the nominated GUITAR Circus Trustee is to be contacted.
21. The DSL will record the nature of the allegation and report it to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) without delay. The DSL will be required to liaise with the LADO and discuss further details of the allegation and the circumstances in which it was made. The LADO will provide support and guidance to the DSL on next steps and probable plans of action.
22. If the LADO decide that a referral is not necessary, the DSL will consider if there needs to be an internal investigation. The DSL will discuss the situation with the nominated Guitar circus Trustees. If deemed necessary, the member of staff can be suspended at any stage of an investigation.
23. If a referral is made the member of staff against whom the allegation has been made should not be informed of the allegation until action is agreed with the LADO. Action may include suspension until the matter has been investigated and internal disciplinary action may be taken following the conclusion of such investigation.
24. In the event of a false allegation the young person’s parent/guardian will be informed as this may be a strong indicator of problems elsewhere.
25. Privacy and confidentiality will be respected however, in cases where there is concern about a young person’s welfare GUITAR Circus staff are legally able to share information. In matters of child abuse staff and volunteers will not promise to keep any information which has been divulged to them a secret. It will be explained to the young person that this information cannot be kept secret but only those who need to know, will be told. Information will only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis and the number of people that need to be informed will be kept to a minimum. If questions are asked, then the recommended response will be to say that a concern has been raised and it is being dealt with following the GUITAR Circus Safeguarding procedures.
CONCERNS / COMPLAINTS UNRELATED TO SAFEGUARDING
26. If a parent or young person has a concern to do with the running of an event that is not a safeguarding issue, they can raise the issue with the Head of Pastoral Care or contacting a GuitarCircus Trustee.
INCIDENTS OF DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR
27. GUITAR Circus ensures that the safety and welfare of the young people is a priority and that staff will deal sensitively and professionally with any difficult issues that may arise. Where instances of challenging or disruptive behaviour occur with young people, a record will be kept of this where the instance requires the intervention of a worker or volunteer or where the safety and wellbeing of others are at risk. In a case of such behaviour, two members of staff should be present in dealing with the situation and all staff involved should complete an incident/accident report form.
28. GUITAR Circus welcomes and encourages parental involvement. Parents and carers are regarded as valuable partners in promoting positive behaviour and in the event of their child becoming the subject of behaviour sanctions they will be informed and involved.
29. The Children Act 1989 does not make any physical contact with a child unlawful. Any form of physical punishment of young people, however, is unlawful as is any form of physical response to misbehaviour unless it is by way of restraint. Staff and volunteers do have the right to ‘use such force as is reasonable’ to restrain a young person physically and prevent them from inflicting injury to others, self-injury, damaging property, or causing disruption.
30. If the need arises to intervene in a situation then reasonable force maybe used to a restrain a young person in self-defence or because of imminent risk of injury. Before intervening the young person will be told to stop, and what will happen if they do not stop. It will be made clear that physical contact maybe necessary and communication will be maintained throughout what is happening.
31. Where a member of staff has taken action to physically restrain a young person they will make a written report of the incident and report it to the DSL.
THE USE OF IMAGES OF YOUNG PEOPLE AT GUITAR CIRCUS EVENTS
32. Parents, legal guardians and family members may take photographs and video at Guitar Circus events except in the following circumstances:
- Whilst young people are changing for an activity.
- During performances unless prior approval has been granted by the director.
- Unless it contravenes performance rights.
33. Parents, legal guardians and family members are encouraged to share the photographs and video taken at events for possible inclusion in Guitar Circus publications, marketing, publicity or on the website.
34. Guitar Circus will ensure that the use of images for any purpose is appropriate by
adhering to the following guidelines:
- No photograph of a young person under the age of 11 will be released for publication that includes their full name, unless prior written consent from the parent has been given.
- No photos taken at Guitar Circus events will be sanctioned for use in media image libraries.
- Where parents have expressly asked for their children’s images not to be used in the media Guitar Circus will respect this request absolutely.
- Where individuals are interviewed, permission will be sought by GUITAR Circus from parents/guardians prior to filming.