Safeguarding policy

 

  1. Policy Statement

  2. Purpose

  3. Responsibility

  4. Control Measures

    1. Enhanced DBS-checks

    2. Information for Applicants

    3. Code of Conduct for Mentors

Policy Statement

Project Access is committed to the safeguarding of children and young people that participate in any of its activities.

 

Purpose

This document is an outline of the measures Project Access will take to fulfil its moral and legal responsibility to look out for the safety and protection of all involved in our mentoring programme.

Responsibility

The Welfare Officer has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the effectiveness of Project Access’s child protection arrangements and the welfare of all those affected by its operations.

The Trustees are responsible for ensuring that Project Access’s child protection and welfare arrangements are reviewed, meet known legal requirements, represent current best practice and are communicated effectively.

Welfare Officer

To provide a single point of contact for welfare and child protection arrangements the Charity’s appointed Welfare Officer is: Anna Gross.

The main responsibilities of the Welfare Officer are as follows:

  • To be the first point of contact for parents/guardians/carers, children, employees, workers, consultants, volunteers, Trustees and external agencies in all matters of child protection;

  • To co-ordinate the child protection procedures in the Charity;

  • To maintain on-going training on child protection for volunteers and trustees;

  • To monitor the keeping, confidentiality and storage of records in relation to all child protection matters; and

  • To liaise with the Local Authority Designated Officer (‘LADO’) appointed by the Social Services Department, as appropriate.

The Welfare Officer will:

  • Advise and act upon all potential or actual abuse reported to them;

  • Keep the Trustees informed of all actions unless one of the Trustees is the subject of the concern, in which case, the Welfare Officer shall consult with the unconflicted trustees (not subject to the concern).

The Welfare Officer will advise the LADO in cases where it is alleged that a person has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child;

  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child; and/or

  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that has indicated that he/she is unsuitable to work with children.


Definitions

Project Access uses the definitions set out by the Children’s Commissioner for safeguarding.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purpose of statutory guidance under the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 respectively as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment

  • protecting young people from maltreatment

  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development

  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care

  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Control Measures

Monitor and moderate email conversations

Mentors and applicants will have to copy in the Project Access email address hi@projectaccess.co when they correspond via email. This email will be monitored between 9-5 every weekday and anything of concern will be immediately flagged (and raised with the Project Access Welfare Officer).


Enhanced DBS-checks

All British mentors are required to have an Enhanced DBS-check prior to coming on board as a mentor with Project Access, in accordance with UK safeguarding regulation. These are supervised by the campus teams.  


Training

All mentors are trained on their campuses prior to being accepted as mentors. The training covers our expectations for the mentorship, how to professionally structure it, coaching practices, data protection and our safeguarding code of conduct.


Information for Applicants

The following information will be sent out to applicants immediately after signing up. They will have to confirm that they have read this before being assigned a mentor.

Here is some information that we ask you to confirm that you’ve read before being assigned a mentor. At Project Access, we take the welfare of both our mentors and applicants very seriously. Your mentor should always behave professionally towards you: if this is not the case, then you should immediately let the Programme Coordinator know at access@projectaccess.co.

For the safety and welfare for you and your mentor, in all emails to your mentor, you must CC in the email hi@projectaccess.co so that all emails between you and your mentor also go to this Project Access email address.

Professional behaviour means the following:

  • Your mentor should always treat you with respect, and work with you to achieve your goals  

  • Your mentor should always let you know if they will be unable to make a mentor session for any reason. This requires you to have a working email address which you check regularly.  

  • Your conversations with your mentor (whether on Skype or via email) should always be focused on your mentoring and/or university application.  

  • Your mentor should not make inappropriate remarks.

  • Your mentor should not make close physical contact with you.

Code of Conduct for Mentors

The following information will be sent out to mentors for them to agree to before they start mentoring. The document contains three parts: a) Summary/Overview; b) Complying with Project Access’s Safeguarding Children Policy; c) Code of Conduct.

Summary/Overview

  • All those in regular contact with children and young people are in a position to get to know those individuals well, to develop trusting relationships, observe changes in behaviour and may be chosen by the young person to share confidence and concerns. Regrettably, there are occasions where child abuse is alleged or suspected. All such situations must be taken seriously.

  • It is the policy of Project Access to safeguard the welfare of children and all others involved in Project Access’s activities by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm, and neglect.

  • It is the responsibility of each adult to ensure that his/her behaviour is appropriate at all times. A Code of Conduct is included in this document to give positive guidance for all adults. It is essential that all adults follow the Code of Conduct whether they work with children, young people or adults. Details of the steps to take if abuse is alleged or suspected are also included in this document, although more detailed Safeguarding Children Guidelines are also available upon request.

  • If there is an allegation or you have identified signs and indicators of abuse then this information MUST be passed immediately to the Welfare Officer via email. It is the Welfare Officer’s responsibility to collect all relevant information and make decisions on how to proceed, (this may include contacting the Children’s Social Care or police, who are the investigative agencies). At all times the welfare of the young person is paramount. Swift reporting will enable the investigative agency to give advice and take appropriate action. You have a legal duty of care to pass on all relevant information regarding any allegations of abuse, or identified signs and indicators of possible abuse.

  • These procedures exist not to discourage adults from being involved in this service but to ensure that people who may abuse children do not get the opportunity to do so.

  • Project Access also has a responsibility to safeguard and protect the personal data of young people. Any personal information relating to under 18s needs to be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Complying with Project Access’s Safeguarding Children Policy

All adults coming into contact with children and young people through Project Access must comply with the Safeguarding Children Policy and Code of Conduct.

As one such person, you are required to confirm that you’ve read this document. By signing, you agree to comply with the policy and follow the Code of Conduct. You need to read and understand the form prior to signing it. If you have any queries, please speak email anna@projectaccess.co for assistance.

If you have identified any signs or indicators that a child/young person is being abused:

1. Immediately contact the Welfare Officer (Anna Gross) at anna@projectaccess.co

2. Record the known facts in writing in the email and include any other information your feel is relevant, and pass on this as soon as possible to the above person.

If a child or young person discloses information relating to abuse

1. Allow him/her to speak without interruption, encouraging them to tell you only what they feel comfortable telling you, and be accepting of what is said. Do not ask leading questions, for example ‘did they do this to you?’, as any testimony resulting from leading or closed questions is inadmissible. Only ask ‘what happened?’

2. Let him/her know that you MUST pass information to the Welfare Officer

3. If they refuse to tell you anything unless you promise to keep it a secret, inform them that you want to help and that there is one person you have to tell. If they then refuse to tell you any more, please respect their decision and report this incident.

4. Immediately after a disclosure, contact the Welfare Officer.

5. Record the facts as you know them in writing, including the account given to you by the young person using the words that they used as well as including any other information your feel is relevant. Everything must be written in the words used by the children themselves. You cannot use words like ‘abuse’ if they haven’t used them.

6. Provide this written information to the Welfare Officer as soon as you are able.

If you receive an allegation about any adult or about yourself:

1.     Immediately tell the Welfare Officer.

2.     Record the facts as you know them in writing and give them to the Welfare Officer.

If you deal with the personal data of young people:

1.     Handle all information with sensitivity and confidentiality.

2.     The information should be kept securely and not be made available to others.

3.     Where necessary, dispose of data relating to under 18s in a confidential manner.

4.     Do not use the information inappropriately, especially if it will cause harm to the young person concerned.

If a mentee behaves inappropriately towards you:

1.     Close down the conversation as soon as possible if you are talking online. If you have met up in a public place, find an excuse to leave.

2.     Immediately report the incident to the Welfare Officer, Anna Gross, at anna@projectaccess.co.

Code of Conduct

You must:

  • CC in the Project Access email hi@projectaccess.co in all correspondence with your mentee.

  • Treat all young people with respect.

  • Treat all information and data (including photographs and video footage) pertaining to a young person with sensitivity.

  • Avoid being alone with a young person. If you meet in person you should be in a public place, like a coffee shop, a public meeting room, or a co-working space.

  • Be sensitive to the needs of young people.

  • Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well-intentioned.

  • Be aware that any physical contact with a young person can be misinterpreted and should always be avoided.

  • Potentially sensitive issues are not to be discussed unless directly relevant to university mentoring.

  • Recognise that special caution is required when discussing sensitive issues with young people.

  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse to the Designated Safeguarding Point Person.

  • Operate within Project Access’s Safeguarding Children Procedures in the event of any disclosure/concern.

You must not:

  • Act in a manner that excludes the young people you are working with.

  • Make suggestive or derogatory remarks in front of young people.

  • Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with young people.

  • Be under the influence of alcohol or other substances when working on activities involving young people.

  • Transfer the personal data of young people to third parties without express permission from relevant Project Access staff, the young person or their family.

  • Allow your own priorities to compromise the care, happiness or wellbeing of young people.

  • Jump to conclusions about others without checking the facts.

  • Either exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues.

I confirm that I have read Project Access Terms of Conduct for mentors; that I will adhere to Project Access’s Safeguarding Children Policy; and to follow the Code of Conduct for Mentors.