1.1. The protection of individuals at risk, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those with mental and/or physical health issues, families coping with trauma and women and girls who are survivors of abuse, is the single most important concern at The Tinnis Trust.
1.2. As an organisation, we believe that it is always unacceptable for any individual to be abused or harmed in any way.
2.1. This document specifies our Safeguarding Policy. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that individuals at risk, such as those described above, are safeguarded and are protected from abuse.
3.1. This policy applies to all members of staff, volunteers and Board members.
3.2. This policy demonstrates how The Tinnis Trust:
undertakes its legal commitments in the field of Safeguarding,
give assurance that there are clear arrangements in place to safeguard and protect vulnerable individuals,
provides staff and volunteers with clear guidelines to identify when an individual may be at risk of harm.
3.3. This policy covers the following areas:
Responsibilities and Duties,
Recruitment and Training,
Safe Working Practices,
Definitions of Abuse,
Dealing with Allegations of Abuse.
RESPOSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
4.1. Our Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that there is an effective safeguarding policy and that procedures for vulnerable individuals in place and that these are implemented.
4.2. The Board is also responsible for satisfying all statutory requirements. The Director of Operations is responsible for the day-to-day management of safeguarding issues.
4.3. The Director of Operations is the named safeguarding officer and reports regularly to the Board regarding the operation, monitoring and improvement of safeguarding systems within the organisation.
4.4. The Board and Director of Operations are jointly responsible for:
Acting as a key source of advice and support for staff and volunteers on safeguarding issues
Being familiar with both this policy and References 11.3 and 11.4.
Ensuring that there are effective internal procedures to deal with concerns within the organisation by working closely with Social Services to achieve this
Ensuring that staff and volunteers are appropriately checked through the Disclosure and Barring Service and conform to this policy
Ensuring that all staff and volunteers receive the training which they need, proportionate to their responsibilities.
4.5. Every employee and volunteer must bring issues of concern regarding the safety and welfare of vulnerable individuals to the attention of the Director of Operations as soon as is practicable.
RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING
5.1. New staff/volunteers who are eligible due to their contact with vulnerable individuals will undergo a DBS check on completion of application process and before they work with service users.
5.2. All staff and volunteers who work with vulnerable individuals are provided with information on safeguarding issues as described in paragraphs 5.3 and 5.4, in order to ensure that they:
Understand the principles of safeguarding,
Are aware of relevant legislation,
Can identify the signs of abuse,
Know how to deal with individual cases.
5.3. As part of their Induction Programme, all staff and volunteers are made aware of their responsibilities in respect of safeguarding including how to keep themselves and others safe.
5.4. Staff who have direct or indirect contact with service users will complete Safeguarding Awareness Training (Reference 11.1) within 6 months of starting their role. Volunteers who have contact with services users will access this course as appropriate to their role.
5.5. All staff and volunteers complete Safeguarding refresher training at the level appropriate to their role at least every two years.
SAFE WORKING PRACTICES
6.1. When undertaking their day-to-day duties, staff and volunteers should adhere to the following working practices in order to keep themselves and others safe.
6.2. Any staff member or volunteer who fails to adhere to these safe working practices may face an investigation and/or disciplinary action.
6.3. General. Staff and volunteers should respect individuals’ rights to privacy, equality, respect and dignity and provide them with safe and positive environment. They should give priority to the welfare and safety of vulnerable individuals before concerns regarding performance or other issues. Staff and volunteers should not enter areas that have been specifically set-aside for the other sex except in response to an emergency. If a child or adult arrives at an activity or service exhibiting signs which cause concern, or they make allegations or disclosures of abuse, this must be reported immediately following the procedures set out section 8.
6.4. Lone Working. As far as possible, staff/volunteers should avoid working alone with a service user. When working alone with a service user is unavoidable, staff/volunteers must never work behind a closed door or in an area where they cannot be seen by a third person.
6.5. Photographs/Videos. Photographs/Videos which show or might identify individuals can only be taken with prior permission of the individual and their parent/carer. Prior permission is explicitly obtained through the completion and signing of a consent form.
6.6. Physical Contact. Physical contact with a service user should be avoided. In situations where it is necessary, verbal consent should be requested from the service user before the contact occurs and in the presence of a third person. In the case of an emergency, essential physical contact can be made to ensure the safety of the individual.
6.7. Transport. Vulnerable individuals will usually only be transported by staff or volunteers in an emergency. In this situation, a third person should be present if possible. Staff and volunteers may also offer to transport vulnerable individuals as part of a pre-arranged trip/outing. These trips/outings are subject to separate arrangements including risk assessments, insurance and DBS checks.
6.8. Professional Boundaries. Staff and volunteers should ensure they have a safe and appropriate professional relationship with participants. Service users should not be invited to come to your home. Staff and volunteers should set an excellent example – this includes not smoking, drinking alcohol or swearing in the company of service users. Staff and volunteers should where possible, avoid socialising with service users to avoid the danger of creating a dual relationship.
DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE
7.1. There are many ways in which a vulnerable person may be abused. It is not unusual for an abused individual to suffer more than one kind of abuse. Accordingly, the impact of abuse and its seriousness for the individual must be evaluated in every case.
7.2. There are several types of abuse. They are identified in Reference 11.2.
7.3. The definitions and indicators below are not meant to be definitive, but only serve as a guide to assist staff and volunteers. It is important to remember that many individuals may exhibit some of these indicators at some time, and that the presence of one or more should not be taken as proof that abuse is occurring. There may well be other reasons for changed in behaviour such as a change in the family dynamic or relationship problems between parents/carers.
7.4. In assessing whether indicators are related to abuse or not, Social Services will always want to understand them in relation to the individual’s development and context.
7.5. Physical Abuse. Physical abuse is the hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to an individual. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates or induces illness in a child whom they are looking after.
7.6. Emotional Abuse. Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of an individual such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their emotional development. It may involve conveying that they are worthless, unloved, inadequate or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on individuals, causing them to feel frightened or in danger and/or the exploitation or corruption of them.
7.7. Sexual Abuse. Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing an individual to take part in sexual activities, whether or not they are aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
7.8. Neglect. Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a vulnerable individual’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, an individual’s basic emotional needs.
7.9. Financial or Material Abuse. Financial or material abuse is any theft or misuse of a person’s money, property or resources by a person in a position or, or expectation of, trust to a vulnerable person. Common forms of financial abuse are misuse by others of a vulnerable individual’s state benefits or undue pressure to change wills.
8.1. Suspicion about abuse may take the form of ‘concerns’ rather than ‘allegations' or 'disclosures'. Safeguarding suspicions can arise in many different contexts, including when they are already known to social services.
8.2. Any staff member or volunteer who has reasonable cause to suspect that an individual is at risk should:
Inform whoever has made the disclosure that the information cannot be kept confidential and will have to be passed on to the appropriate agencies/people (if applicable).
Contact the Director of Operations immediately. If the Director of Operations is unavailable, contact the Equestrian Director.
Make notes as soon as possible of what has caused the concern and what was done in response.
Record the dates and times of all these events and sign and date the record to show when the record was made. All notes should be kept safely as they may be required by the appropriate authorities.
Contact the relevant Social Services Department. Contact details are contained Appendix A of this policy.
The Police must be contacted immediately if the child or adult is in imminent danger from themselves or another individual on 999.
DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OF PROFESSIONAL ABUSE
9.1. Individuals can be subjected to abuse by those who work with them in any and every setting. All allegations of abuse or maltreatment of service users by a staff member or volunteer must therefore be taken seriously and treated in accordance with agreed procedures. These procedures are based on the framework for dealing with allegations of abuse in References 11.2, 11.3 and 11.4.
9.2. Compliance with these procedures will help to ensure that allegations of abuse are dealt with expeditiously; consistent with a thorough and fair process and we will establish systems and processes to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of these procedures.
9.3. An employee/volunteer who has received an allegation about, or who has a suspicion about a colleague must immediately report this to the Director of Operations or the Equestrian Director. In the case that the Director of Operations or Equestrian Director is the subject of the allegation or concern the employee/volunteer must report the allegation/their concern to the Chair of Trustees.
9.4. The employee/volunteer should make a written record of the information (where possible in the individual’s own words), including the time, date and place of the incident(s), persons present and what was said. Pass the record immediately to the Director of Operations, Equestrian Director or Chair of Trustees as necessary.
9.5. The employee/volunteer should not:
Confront the colleague
Investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification
Make assumptions or offer alternative explanations
Promise confidentiality, but give assurance that the information will be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis only so that the matter can be investigated.
9.6. When informed of a concern or allegation, the Director of Operations/Equestrian Director/Chair of Trustees will:
Record any additional information about times, dates and location of incident(s) and names of any potential witnesses
Record discussions about the vulnerable individual and/or employee/volunteer, any decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions
Ensure all documents are signed and dated by the appropriate staff and/or volunteers
9.7. The Director of Operations/Chair of Trustees will report the allegation within 1 day to the Chair of Trustees, Social Services and, if necessary, the police.
9.8. The Director of Operations and/or Chair of Trustees will keep a clear and comprehensive summary of the case record on the employee/volunteer’s confidential personnel file and give a copy to the individual.
9.9. Staff and volunteers should be aware that an allegation may lead to disciplinary action by the Board of Trustees and action by the police. We may also be required to report the allegation to the Disclosure and Barring Service if the accused staff member/volunteer is working in a regulated activity.
REPORTING, MONITORING AND REVIEWING
10.1. The Board and Director of Operations are responsible for monitoring the application of our Safeguarding Policy.
10.2. Our Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed every 12 months.
10.3. Should an urgent need, or extenuating circumstance arise, our Safeguarding Policy can be reviewed at any time at the request of the Board.
11.1. Safeguarding children: Working together under the Children Act 2004. (Welsh Assembly Government February 2007)
The Tinnis Trust