SAFEGUARDING POLICY

 

 

Purpose and Policy Statement

SwopItUp CIC (“SwopItUp”) has developed a Safeguarding Policy to protect children who receive SwopItUp services from coming into harm.

 

We believe that:

  • all children have the right to enjoy the activities of SwopItUp in a happy, safe and secure environment.

  • children should never experience abuse of any kind.

  • we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children, to keep them safe and to carry out activities in a way that protects them.

 

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take.

  • all children, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse.

  • some children, such as those from minority ethnic groups and those with disabilities, are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues.

  • working in partnership with children, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting children’s welfare.

  • effective safeguarding requires proactively identifying, preventing and guarding against all risks of harm, exploitation and abuse and having mature, accountable and transparent systems for response, reporting and learning when risks materialise.

 

Scope

This policy applies to all SwopItUp staff, directors, volunteers and any associated personnel (including but not limited to consultants, volunteers, contractors, and programme visitors including journalists, celebrities etc.) whilst engaged with work or visits related to SwopItUp. This policy informs these individuals of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding. Although not all of SwopItUp’s work involves direct contact with children, it is important that all staff, volunteers and associated personnel are aware of this policy and know where to seek further guidance as required.

 

This policy relates to all children who use SwopItUp and its services, including those who actively take part in organising SwopItUp events and those who simply attend/participate in SwopItUp events in schools.

 

SwopItUp recognises that each school that runs SwopItUp events will have its own policies and responsibilities for the safeguarding and protection of children, and that any school staff or teachers taking part in SwopItUp will be subject to these policies. This policy is intended to complement any such existing policies and procedures and help SwopItUp work closely with schools to ensure the protection of children and observation of proper procedures.

 

Implementation

We will seek to implement this policy and keep children safe by:

  • valuing, listening to and respecting all children who participate in SwopItUp.

  • appointing a nominated child protection & safeguarding lead and deputy.

  • adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies & procedures.

  • providing a copy of this policy to all staff, volunteers and associated personnel and ensuring that they are aware of their responsibilities under this policy.

  • recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance.

  • ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place.

  • ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, in accordance with our health and safety policy and measures and the law and regulatory guidance.

  • building a safeguarding culture where staff and volunteers, children, young people and their families, treat each other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.

  • Making our Safeguarding Policy available on www.swopitup.org for anyone with whom we work (including children and their families) to have access to this information at any time.

 

Legal Framework and key terms

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seek to protect children in the UK. In the UK, for the purposes of safeguarding a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.  Safeguarding means protecting peoples’ health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. Harm includes psychological, physical and any other infringement of an individual’s rights.

 

To help our staff, volunteers and associated personnel identify situations which may result in harm or child abuse, some key terms and examples are included below. Further information and guidance can also be provided by SwopItUp’s Safeguarding Lead or Deputy, details of which are set out below.

 

Identifying abuse

Child abuse is when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child – it can be over a period of time but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention – this is neglect.

 

Examples of Child Abuse include:

  • Bullying and cyberbullying

  • Child sexual exploitation

  • Child trafficking

  • Domestic abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Female genital mutilation

  • Grooming

  • Neglect

  • Non-recent abuse

  • Online abuse

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

 

Some common signs that there may be something concerning happening in a child’s life include both physical signs of abuse (such as injuries which are unexplained or not consistent with the explanation given for them), as well as emotional signs of abuse such as:

  • Unexplained changes in behaviour or personality

  • Becoming withdrawn

  • Seeming anxious

  • Becoming uncharacteristically aggressive

  • Lacks social skills and has few friends, if any

  • Poor bond or relationship with a parent

  • Knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age

  • Running away or going missing

  • Always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.

 

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which may make you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing.

 

If in doubt, you should seek guidance in accordance with the notification procedure set out below.

 

Protecting children and recognising their needs

SwopItUp recognises that certain children, such as children from minority ethnic groups and disabled children, may have specific needs. SwopItUp seeks to recognise and meet these needs by:

  • Designing communications materials so that they are clear and accessible for different audiences (especially when creating information or materials that will be used within schools), for example by using infographics, symbols and bold styles.

  • Encouraging an inclusive approach among participating students.

  • Liaising with schools where required in relation to needs of particular students, access requirements etc.

 

Practices when recruiting staff and volunteers: 

For all staff, directors, volunteers and associated personnel engaged with work or visits related to SwopItUp:

  • A copy of this policy will be provided to inform them of their obligations in relation to safeguarding.

  • The individual will be asked to confirm in writing (i) that they have read and understood the Safeguarding Policy and (ii) if they have any past convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, or any pending cases, or if they have ever had any complaints of abuse against them. If so, they will be asked to provide details for careful consideration by SwopItUp.

 

In addition, where there is the potential for the applicant to have unsupervised contact with the children that we work with (in person or online) the following practices will be followed:

  • A written application form will be completed, which will ask about any past convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, as well as any pending cases or if they have ever had any complaints of abuse against them.

  • A face-to-face interview will be held, where relevant.

  • Applicants must provide proof of identification, referees where relevant and original copies of any necessary qualifications before appointment.

  • An Enhanced DBS check will be undertaken. We use the uCheck service to carry out our DBS checks.   

 

On-going training for staff and volunteers

  • Supervision and support of all volunteers and staff will include monitoring of safeguarding practice and reviews of progress, for example asking them to periodically review the policy or any changes.

  • The organisation will access further training and learning about safeguarding issues

when these are relevant and required, for example to update knowledge.

  • If staff and volunteers have questions or concerns regarding their safeguarding obligations, they should address these to SwopItUp’s nominated child protection & safeguarding Lead or Deputy.

 

Running a safe organisation

SwopItUp implement a number of policies and procedures to ensure its safe operation:

  • Risk Assessments – SwopItUp keeps an up-to-date Risk Assessment of its activities, which includes identification of potential risks associated with SwopItUp and actions to address these risks. When in the care of a participating school, volunteers will also be covered by the school’s own risk assessment, and SwopItUp continues to liaise with schools, volunteers and employees where appropriate to identify any other risks of an activity in advance and to take precautions to prevent accidents.

  • Checks – SwopItUp events usually take placing using the premises and equipment of participating schools. However, where SwopItUp does use any other equipment, premises or transport, SwopItUp will carry out regular checks in accordance with its Health and Safety Policy.

  • Supervision – SwopItUp liaises with schools to ensure that any school events are adequately supervised. For any events outside of schools, SwopItUp will maintain an adequate ratio of children to adults and balance of males/females to ensure that children are safely supervised at all times.

  • Insurance – SwopItUp has insurance in relation to public liability and professional indemnity, and periodically reviews its insurance policies to ensure they are up to date and provide adequate cover.

 

The majority of SwopItUp’s events and activities take place within schools. SwopItUp therefore works closely with schools to ensure that activities are conducted in a safe and controlled manner.

 

Where activities take place outside of school premises, SwopItUp ensures that it:

  • has the signed consent of parents, guardians or carers for their children to take part in our activities, and keeps a record of their contact details.

  • has an accident book for recording incidents or accidents.

  • keeps up to date information on each child’s medical and dietary needs, any allergies or extra support needs they have.

 

Where our activities take place within schools, SwopItUp ensures that the school has confirmed responsibility for the above three points (parental or guardian consent, incident reporting, specific needs), and that if any child has specific medical, dietary or additional needs, the school advises us of this.  

 

Confidentiality, Recording and Storing Information

SwopItUp recognise the importance of properly recording and storing information, particularly when information relates to children and safeguarding concerns.

 

A lot of SwopItUp’s work involves working with teachers and other adults to help facilitate SwopItUp’s work. However, whenever SwopItUp’s staff, volunteers or associated personnel have direct unsupervised contact with a child*, that individual is responsible for ensuring that the safeguarding lead or deputy is aware of that contact so that SwopItUp can maintain adequate records. SwopItUp’s safeguarding lead or deputy will maintain a dated record of all such contact, which is proportionate to the activities and contact in question. These records will be retained for six years from the date of contact. *Where contact is with children who are themselves SwopItUp staff members or directors (including Zaqiya Cajee), SwopItUp will maintain more general records, unless any contact raises specific safeguarding concerns (in which case more detailed records will be maintained).  

 

Where applicable, SwopItUp ensures that children and their families are aware of our policy on records, their purpose and how we will use them by making this safeguarding policy available on SwopItUp's website and directing people to it as appropriate. Our Privacy Policy is also available on our website and sets out what types of information we collect through the website, why we collect such information, how we store this information, and circumstances where we may be required to disclose this information.  Any child or their family has the right to inspect the relevant records kept by SwopItUp, unless there is reason to believe that it would be contrary to the child’s best interests.

Recording safeguarding concerns

In the event that a safeguarding concern is raised, it is essential that confidentiality is maintained at all stages of the process. Information relating to the concern and subsequent case management should be shared on a need to know basis only, and should be kept secure at all times. SwopItUp follow the latest NSPCCC guidelines on child protection records retention and storage (the “Records Retention Guidance”). In particular:

  • In the event that any of SwopItUp’s staff, directors, volunteers or associated personnel has concerns about a child’s welfare or safety, all relevant factual details (including but not limited to the date and time of the incident/disclosure and of the report, details of the person to whom the concern was originally reporting, the names of all persons involved in the incident and any witnesses, etc.) must be recorded in accordance with the Records Retention Guidance.

  • Information about child protection concerns and referrals will be kept confidential and stored securely, in a separate file for each child concerned in accordance with the Records Retention Guidance.

  • Concerns that a child may be in need or at risk of abuse must be recorded and placed on file, together with a record of how the concerns have been dealt with. Any referrals made to a statutory agency about concerns for a child must be confirmed in writing within 48 hours.

  • SwopItUp acknowledges that schools have legal obligations to retain records of child protection information. Accordingly, where safeguarding concerns have been raised, SwopItUp’s standard policy is to maintain records until the child is 25 (in accordance with guidance issued by the Information and Records Management Society), unless there is clear reason otherwise such as following a request from the child or their family.

 

How to raise concerns

Any safeguarding concerns should be raised to SwopItUp’s Safeguarding Lead, Sarah Sawyerr (SwopItUp Director) who takes the lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, or to the Safeguarding Deputy, Gayle Cajee, using the following contact details:

 

Safeguarding Lead:

 

Sarah Sawyerr

sarah@swopitup.org

 

Safeguarding Deputy

Gayle Cajee

gayle@swopitup.org

 

Sarah undertakes regular training and keeps updated on issues relating to safeguarding children and is the first point of contact for advice and support if a safeguarding issue arises. Sarah also has knowledge of reporting procedures for incidents should they occur, and knows who to contact if any concerns are raised.

 

Allegations Procedure

Any allegation or concern that any staff, volunteer or associated personnel has behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child must be taken seriously and dealt with seriously and promptly. Any allegation should be raised with the Safeguarding Lead. Once an allegation is raised, SwopItUp will IMMEDIATELY follow its allegation procedure in accordance with the current guidelines issued by NSPCC, including notifying the relevant agencies where required.  

 

Staff and volunteers should feel confident about challenging the behaviour of others and voicing concerns. If they feel unable to report an incident within SwopItUp, they can make a report to the police or local child protection services, or by contacting the NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line - 0800 028 0285, help@nspcc.org.uk

 

Any SwopItUp staff and volunteers who work directly with children should also know what to do in the event that a child tells them about abuse. SwopItUp recommends that staff and volunteers who work directly with children read the guidance provided by NSPCC on what to say to a child and how to respond. Any concerns should be raised to SwopItUp’s Safeguarding Lead or Deputy.

 

Policy Review

This Safeguarding policy was last updated on 03/01/2020. It will be reviewed every 2 years or sooner. The Safeguarding Lead or Deputy is responsible for its review.