Safeguarding means protecting people's health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. The Family Support Centre (FSC), Shirley recognises its responsibility to safeguard all those who access their services, irrespective of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity.
The aim of the policy is to ensure that all staff at the Centre adopt safe working practices towards all people they encounter through the Centre and respond appropriately when abuse is disclosed or suspected, as well as promote the welfare of their clients and their families.
The policy applies to all those who access the Centre’s services be it adults, adults at risk of harm (vulnerable adults) and people under 18. Although we don’t see clients under age 16, we also have a responsibility towards the children of adults who use our services.
An adult at risk of harm, also known as a vulnerable adult, is described as ‘a person aged 18 years or over who, due to disability, mental function, age, or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves against the risk of significant harm, abuse, bullying, harassment, mistreatment or exploitation’.
The policy applies to all staff/volunteers working at the Centre. The term staff includes all those working as volunteers in an advisor role, an administrative role or as a trustee.
This policy will come into force October 2022 and will be reviewed every 3 years, the next review date being October 2025.
All staff will have an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check performed before they encounter clients at the Centre. Trustees, however, do not need to have an Enhanced check as they have been removed from the new definition of regulated activity. There will be systems in place to check that current staff’s checks are kept up to date.
It is understood that it is a criminal offence to undertake regulated activity, or even apply for work that meets the definition of regulated activity, by a person who is barred.
Equally, if the Centre allows someone who is barred to undertake regulated activity, they are also committing a criminal offence.
The Centre also has a legal duty to make referrals to DBS when they believe a person has caused harm to vulnerable groups.
Prior to working at the Centre, all staff will have satisfactorily completed the Centre’s application form for work and accepted the terms and conditions of employment as a volunteer. This includes agreeing to be familiar with the Centre’s policies and procedures including this Safeguarding Policy and the procedures attached to it. In particular, new volunteers will further be made aware at induction and any changes or updates will be brought to the attention of staff at team meetings and/or through email correspondence.
Trustees, managers and the Safeguarding Officer/deputy officer will ensure that Safeguarding Training sessions are arranged. The Centre has a close partnership with Shirley Baptist Church (SBC) and training will often be undertaken jointly with them and information pertinent to FSC will be included.
Staff will attend these sessions and a record of staff attendance will be kept. Each volunteer should attend a session at least once every 3 years.
The sessions will train staff in recognising signs of possible abuse or where there is a concern and what to do in cases of disclosure and how to raise a concern.
They will also train staff in how to respond both practically and supportively and what their responsibility is.
Staff will follow safe working practices:
This will ensure protection of clients as well as protection of staff against any false allegations.
Safe working practices include:
The FSC has a named Safeguarding Officer, Hilary Stone. If staff at the Centre have any concerns, they must raise this with Hilary in the first instance. If Hilary is unavailable, then staff are to contact Liz Warner (deputy safeguarding officer) A record of the discussion must be made (see attached procedure for reporting concerns) and Hilary or Liz will have final responsibility for the further reporting of any concerns to Social Services if they feel this is necessary. Any allegations or concerns must be discussed with Hilary or Liz. Advisors may want to speak to a team leader if they are unsure about contacting the Safeguarding Officer.
However, if you feel that the client or their family members are in any immediate danger and there is any delay in getting hold of Hilary or Liz, then it might be applicable for the volunteer to contact Social Services themselves or even emergency services on 999 in cases of more imminent danger.
Confidentiality and clients:
Storage and retention of Safeguarding records:
Any records of concerns raised will be kept securely at the Centre for a period of 75 years. The Safeguarding Officer may keep any records they make securely, and to the satisfaction of the Trustees, in their own home and should they step down from their role, hand these over to the Centre. Historically, these records have been kept to a minimum.
Details regarding who has been working at the Centre and their DBS checks will also be held for a period of 75 years. This is in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and relatively new current practice in many churches and voluntary sectors.
The Team Leaders and Trustees of the Family Support Centre approved this policy on 26th October 2022.
Please see our separate detailed procedure and guidelines associated with this policy entitled: