Published: 21 Sept 2023
Next Review: 20 Sept 2024
Our practice described below is underpinned by the following documents:
- Keeping children safe in education – Statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding children and safer recruitment. (DfE updated September 2021) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education–2
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (DCSF updated February 2019). http://www.workingtogetheronline.co.uk/chapters/contents.html
- Safeguarding children and young people who may be affected by gang activity (DCSF March 2010) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/189392/DCSF-00064-2010.pdf.pdf
- NSPCC Writing Safeguarding policies and procedures https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/safeguarding-child-protection/writing-a-safeguarding-policy-statement
- London Child Protection Procedures (updated March 2020) http://www.londonscb.gov.uk/
- SAFEGUARDING POLICY
Safeguarding covers more than the contribution made to child protection in relation to individual children. It also encompasses issues such as health and safety and bullying and a range of other issues, for example, arrangements for meeting the medical needs of children, providing first aid, drugs and substance misuse, positive behaviour etc. There may also be other safeguarding issues that are specific to the local area or population.
YES Outdoors is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young people and vulnerable adults by taking all reasonable steps to protect them from neglect, physical, sexual or emotional harm. Permanent staff, and volunteers will at all times show respect and understanding for the rights, safety and welfare of all children and young people with whom YES Outdoors comes into contact and conduct themselves in a way that reflects our principles.
All management, staff, and volunteers have a duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. Everyone working with children and young people should be familiar with these procedures and have a duty to report any child protection or welfare concerns to the CEO. All employees of YES Outdoors must recognise and accept that children have a fundamental right to be protected from harm. In upholding this fundamental right, we recognise that there are four definitions of child abuse, including neglect, as defined in Chapter 4 of the London Child Protection Procedures and as précised in this policy, which should be consulted as a reference document for full details of the definitions and recognition & response.
YES Outdoors will:
- Ensure that staff and volunteers know how to recognise signs of abuse or neglect.
- Ensure that staff and volunteers know which procedures to follow if there is a suspicion of risk or significant harm.
- Ensure that staff and volunteers know procedures to follow when working with children or vulnerable adults.
- Ensure that all staff and volunteers listen to and respond appropriately to the concerns of children, vulnerable adults, their family, carers and advocates.
- Audit recruitment and staff checking procedures to ensure that references are verified and properly recorded in staff files, a full employment history on file for every member of staff with gaps in employment history checked and accounted for and qualifications checked.
- Take up Enhanced / Plus Barred List Check DBS checks for new staff and all staff and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults including temporary or contract staff and renew Enhanced / Plus Barred List Check DBS at least every three years for all staff and volunteers involved in the delivery of activities.
- Treat all convictions, cautions and bind overs identified by the DBS as a risk.
- Determine whether or not to proceed with an offer of employment or volunteering where risks have been identified from a statutory check. In cases where the option is to proceed with employment or volunteering, we will undertake a Risk Assessment using the attached Risk Assessment Form.
- Review existing safeguarding policies to ensure that they take full account of the needs of children and vulnerable adults and assess the professional development needs of staff who work with them to enable them to communicate effectively, identify concerns, track and monitor behaviour patterns and follow appropriate child protection procedures.
- We shall ensure that there is a Single Central Record for collating DBS information.
- ARRANGEMENTS AND PROCEDURES
The CEO is responsible for co-ordinating these arrangements and procedures.
- SAFER RECRUITMENT OF STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
- YES Outdoors has a Vetting and barring procedure and will not employ any person in the provision of the Activities who has committed any offence listed in the document ‘Convictions and Circumstances relating to employment’ which outlines convictions or circumstances which would automatically exclude an offer of appointment.
- Two references must be obtained for all candidates before confirming an appointment; if possible one of these should be from a referee who has experience of the candidate working with children. In this instance, it is essential that the referee is asked explicitly if the candidate is suitable for the role and for working with young people. References should be obtained in writing – it is acceptable for these to be in the form of notes taken during a telephone or face-to-face conversation with a referee. Staff responsible for the appointment should speak personally to at least one of the referees and copies must be retained.
- All staff and volunteers are subject to a DBS check (see below).
- All appointments are subject to a personal interview that explores attitudes, motivation, temperament and personal qualities as well as skills and experience.
- Candidates must provide proof of identity before an appointment is confirmed and a copy should be made and kept on file. In line with the Bichard Inquiry Report (2004), documents produced to confirm identity should, wherever possible, include a photograph.
- Checks must be carried out to confirm all relevant significant qualifications claimed by candidates.
- All employment offers must be made conditional to satisfactory references, checks and DBS Disclosure. If it is necessary for someone to start work at short notice a risk assessment must be undertaken and they must be supervised by an appropriate DBS checked member of staff whilst working with children and young people / vulnerable adults, until these are completed.
- All staff will be made aware of the policy and these arrangements and procedures, and their obligations regarding child protection, as part of their induction. Staff with substantial access to children will receive further ongoing training as appropriate.
- The CEO should maintain confidential records of all incidents relating to child protection, and of any decisions made regarding staff DBS Disclosures.
- DBS CHECKS
YES Outdoors operates safe recruitment practices and takes up at least two references for all employees and associates. All staff working directly with, or having access to, children and young people are subject to enhanced DBS checks. In addition:
- Candidates who produce a DBS check obtained through previous employment must obtain a new DBS check.
- DBS checks must be renewed every three years. It is accepted that the renewal process may take up to six months to complete and therefore we will accept a DBS clearance certificate for up to three and a half years, after which the DBS certificate will be considered invalid.
- YES Outdoors has a separate policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, and the disclosure of an offence does not necessarily bar an applicant from appointment. However, failure to declare a conviction, caution or bind-over is a serious matter, and may disqualify staff from appointment, or result in summary dismissal.
- It is a condition that all employees and volunteers at YES Outdoors have an ongoing obligation to promptly report any convictions, police cautions or warnings to the CEO.
- YES Outdoors maintains a database which records the status of DBS checks obtained for staff and volunteers.
- We are clear about staff and volunteer responsibilities to safeguard and promote young people’s welfare.
- We check that there are no known reasons or information available that would prevent staff, associates or volunteers from working with children and young people.
- We have procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers
- We ensure staff and volunteers receive training that helps them do their job well.
- We will ensure, where we are working with other organisations and statutory bodies that they have up to date agreements in place in relation to safeguarding.
- INDUCTION AND TRAINING FOR BOARD MEMBERS, STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
YES Outdoors will ensure that:
- All board members, staff and volunteers have access to this policy as part of their induction process.
- All members of the governing board understand and fulfil their responsibilities.
- We have a nominated designated member of staff – The CEO of YES Outdoors, who is responsible for co-ordinating these arrangements and procedures.
- We have a member of staff who will act in the designated member of staff’s absence.
- All members of staff and volunteers receive Safeguarding Training within six months of being employed by YES Outdoors and thereafter every three years.
- All new staff and volunteers are adequately supervised, and their progress reviewed on a regular basis.
All board members, staff and volunteers know:
- The signs and symptoms of concern.
- How to respond to a young person who discloses abuse.
- What to do if they are concerned about an individual.
- All parents/carers are made aware of the responsibilities of YES Outdoors staff members with regard to safeguarding
- STAFF AND VOLUNTEER TRAINING
YES Outdoors expects all staff to comply with the safeguarding policy and procedures. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will be trained to Level 3/4 standards, with the training refreshed every 3 years. In addition, the Designated Safeguarding Lead will undertake ongoing Continual Professional Development (CPD) in safeguarding annually which will be recorded on the central staff training record. All Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads will be trained to Level 3, or equivalent, but ideally to the same level as the Designated Lead. This will be refreshed every 3 years. All new staff are required to have a safeguarding induction as soon as they start in their role (ideally on their first day, but definitely within the first week of starting their role).
This is followed by mandatory safeguarding training within the first 3 months of employment. For staff who deal with learners, this should meet the Level 2 safeguarding training standards. Such training can be written and delivered by a recognised safeguarding expert or a Designated Safeguarding Lead. YES Outdoors has a ‘Safeguarding Induction’ PowerPoint presentation for use as part of the safeguarding induction.
All new staff also need to attend a ‘Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent’ (WRAP) training which is available online. Annual Continual Professional Development (CPD) for all staff is to be delivered by the Designated Safeguarding Lead in each provider. This is certificated and recorded on the central staff training record. All staff should complete formal refresher training every three years delivered by the Designated Lead. This is in addition to annual CPD activity. If there are any updates to policies or procedures in between these times, these will be explained to relevant staff through email, updates or team meetings.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Designated Deputy are also available to offer generic and specific information, advice and guidance to staff around day-to-day safeguarding matters either by phone or by email.
- GOOD WORKING PRACTICE
YES Outdoors has a friendly relaxed atmosphere. However, staff should always conduct themselves in such a way as to avoid compromising situations and to protect themselves against false allegations of abuse.
- Identity badges must be worn at all times while dealing with participants.
- There may be occasions when staff need to touch a young person (e.g., when they are being guided in performing a technical operation). In these situations, contact should be transparent and minimal.
- Whilst it is important to reassure a young person who may be nervous in coming into a bicycle maintenance workshop or rock climbing centre, workers must avoid being over familiar. Never permit ‘horseplay’ which may cause embarrassment or fear.
- Children and young people should be treated equally, and with respect and dignity.
- Where possible, staff members should avoid being in an isolated or closed space with a young person. A fellow worker should be present during situations that may be sensitive or leave a door ajar with another worker in ear shot and/or visible. This is for the staff member’s protection as well as being a reassurance to the young person.
- A group should have a minimum of two workers (excluding any workers that may attend with the group or individual). For any offsite activity the offsite activity checklist must be completed.
- Young people should NOT be taken off the premises without written permission from either their school/organisation or parent/carer.
- Those placed directly in charge of young people should be competent in their work-role.
- DEFINITIONS OF CHILD ABUSE
All employees of YES Outdoors must recognise and accept that children have a fundamental right to be protected from harm. In upholding this fundamental right, we recognise that there are four definitions of child abuse, including neglect, as defined in Chapter 4 of the London Child Protection Procedures http://www.londonscb.gov.uk/ and as précised in this policy below. The four categories of child abuse are as follows:
The persistent neglect of a child or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger including cold, lack of food, or failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in significant impairment of the child’s health or development including non-organic failure to thrive.
Actual or likely physical injury to a child or a failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child including deliberate poisoning, suffocation or Munchhausen Syndrome by proxy.
Actual or likely to have a severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment (this category also includes bullying).
Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child including exposure to sexually explicit material and sexual harassment as well as all forms of physical sexual contact.
Criminal Exploitation (County Lines)
Criminal exploitation is also known as ‘county lines’ and is when gangs and organised crime networks groom and exploit vulnerable people (including children and young people) to sell drugs. Often these people are made to travel across counties, and they use dedicated mobile phone ‘lines’ to supply drugs. We have a duty to be vigilant and look for the signs of criminal exploitation in order to protect our learners. Useful videos to support your understanding of County Lines can be found at:
- Child abuse is often difficult to recognize unless the child makes a disclosure.
- Injuries may not be conclusive.
- There must always be concern if the parent or carer shows no anxiety about the child’s condition or coldly blames the child. Most parents or carers express guilt about accidents involving their children, even if this is misplaced.
- Suspicion is raised when: 1) there is a delay in seeking treatment, 2) inadequate explanations are given, or the child has injuries of different ages or there is a history of injury 3) there is evidence of a failure to thrive.
N.B. Different categories of abuse may be inter-related e.g., emotional abuse in some form is apparent in all other forms of abuse.
Recognising Child Abuse
Recognising the signs of child abuse is one of the first steps in protecting children. The following is by no means a comprehensive list, but it demonstrates some signs, which may give, rise for concern.
- Unexplained bruising, injuries, burns or illnesses
- Changes in behaviour/character e.g., becoming very withdrawn
- Sexually explicit language, behaviour or mode of dress
- Being left outside the home for long periods of time without food or drink
- Showing uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour
- Showing unexpected fear of an adult
- Refusing to attend school, or other school related issues
- Low self-esteem
- Depression and/or self-harm which may lead to suicide
- Developmental delay – mentally, physically or emotionally
- Reluctance to go home
- Reluctance to disclose personal details i.e., contact details
- Too much money or lots of new possessions
It is important to remember that changes in behaviour or signs that you have noted may not necessarily mean that a child is being abused. There may be other issues involved e.g., bullying or domestic problems. It is not your responsibility to decide if it is abuse – it is your responsibility to act on your concerns.
Responding to a Disclosure
- Take seriously whatever the child tells you.
- Just listen and be supportive.
- Do not ask detailed or leading questions or press the child for more information than they want to give you, instead ask ‘do you want to tell me more?’
- Report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, or nominated deputy as soon as is possible. Be very careful that you have not led the child in any way, as this can have legal implications.
- Do reassure the child that it is not their fault.
- Do not make judgments or say anything about the alleged abuser.
- Do not promise to keep secrets. Be honest about your own position and if possible name the person you will talk to about this matter.
- Do not ask the child to repeat the disclosure to anyone else.
- Do not display shock or disapproval when the child is making the disclosure.
- Remember the child may not regard the experience as wrong or painful. They may not feel angry or guilty.
- Keep the child informed of any action you are going to take.
- Inform the CEO (or the nominated deputy in case of the CEO’s absence) as soon as possible.
- Make a written record of everything as soon as possible. This record must state everything the child has said, these records must be precise and state only what the child has said, do not add anything which you think the child may have meant or implied similarly if the child uses ’pet’ words do not translate them. Sign and date the record – this should then be given to the designated person who must keep it in a secure, locked place.
- Do not destroy any evidence. Initial disclosure, even if retracted may still be referred to.
- Take care of yourself – make sure that you have the opportunity to discuss your feelings (in confidence) with a fellow professional.
It is vital to follow these guidelines as closely as possible. Any failure to do so may prejudice legal proceedings.
- SUSPICION OF ABUSE OR OF INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOUR
- If any member of staff suspects abuse of a child or suspects inappropriate behaviour towards a child by anyone (including a member of YES Outdoors staff), then they must make their concerns known to the CEO who will investigate and record all the facts concerning the incident and decide upon appropriate action. (See Appendix 1. Incident reporting form)
- In the case of abuse alleged to have taken place while a child is in the care of YES Outdoors, the following details will be recorded: the child’s name, address, sex, date of birth, parent(s)’ or guardian(s)’ names and contact point, name of staff making the referral, details of the incident or allegation, action taken including dates and time.
- Staffs involved are advised to keep an independent record of this information.
- The CEO will inform the relevant Local Authorities Children’s Social Care Services.
- It may be necessary to suspend without prejudice any YES Outdoors members of staff against whom an allegation is made.
- In the case of a child disclosing information about their welfare or safety (including abuse for example), staff should report the disclosure to the CEO.
- If necessary, YES Outdoors staff should explain to young people that when they are at risk, they are unable to maintain confidentiality. For example, if a young person confides information about sexual abuse, staff are required to report this.
- WHISTLEBLOWING PROCEDURES
- We recognise that young people cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.
- All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the management of child protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues.
- Any concerns for the welfare of the child arising from suspected abuse or harassment by a member of staff or volunteer should be reported to the CEO immediately.
- Our full Whistleblowing Policy can be accessed on the YES Outdoors website: https://yesoutdoors.org.uk/whistleblowing-policy/
- YOUTH PARTICIPATION
YES Outdoors encourages youth participation, which entails the active, informed, voluntary and meaningful involvement of young people in decision-making that affects them. This means working in partnership with young people and supporting them to lead on efforts to improve young people’s life choices. It also means creating space for young people to be involved in decision-making processes within YES Outdoors. This has consequences for the safety, security and well-being of those young people, and of those working with young people. It is therefore important that young people are empowered to participate in the development of safeguarding mechanisms that apply to them.
- OFF-SITE & RESIDENTIAL EVENTS
YES Outdoors is not responsible for a child, young person or adult at risk while they are travelling to and from YES Outdoors’ events unless agreed beforehand. It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian or school/local authority to make appropriate travel arrangements for them.
YES Outdoors requires leaders organising residential events for children, young people and adults at risk to make appropriate sleeping arrangements to ensure the safeguarding of individuals and minimise risk.
All residential visits (i.e., an adventure excursion with a third-party provider) must be submitted for Health & Safety approval, at least 3 weeks before the visit is due to take place. Any residential trips must complete all relevant risk assessment forms.
The External Provider Form must be completed if there is an element of instruction, staffing or guiding as part of the agreement with the accommodation provider.
Mixed Groups should, where possible, be accompanied by at least 1 male and 1 female member of staff.
If the residential accommodation has not been used before, a preliminary visit is strongly recommended. If this is not practical, for example due to distance, the group leader should make sufficient enquiries with the accommodation provider to be satisfied that it will be suitable for the group involved.
On arrival it is advised that staff inspect the accommodation, rooms, campsites etc and report any damage to the head of the centre/manager before young people access the rooms.
Teachers should be accommodated on every floor where there are children or young people.
In the absence of 24 hour staffing of hotel/hostel reception areas, external doors and windows should be made secure to prevent unauthorised visitors or intruders.
All staff and young people should be aware of the emergency procedures and escape routes in the event of fire.
- REFERRAL PROCESS
Abuse discovered/suspected or a disclosure is made to you. Complete the Incident Reporting Form (Appendix 1) as accurately as possible.
Immediately inform your Designated Safeguarding Lead in person or by telephone:
Tony Quinn – telephone: 020 8446 2387
In non-emergency situations, the DSL can also be contacted by emailing email@example.com
If the person is at risk in immediate danger/in need of medical assistance provide appropriate medical attention or call the emergency services if necessary
The Designated Safeguarding Lead should:
- Gather further information
- Take advice
- Make judgements to decide if further action is necessary.
If further action is necessary the following actions should be taken;
- If a crime is suspected or has been committed the Designated Lead reports the matter to Police.
- The Designated Lead telephones the relevant MASH or borough Child Protection Designated Lead (contact details in Section 17) on
providing the name of the person, their address and if known their date of birth. If a referral is made, this must be confirmed in writing by the Designated Lead to the appropriate agency within 24 hours.
If NO further action is necessary;
- The matter is dealt with internally and the Designated Lead records and monitors. The Designated Lead will brief the person reporting the issue where it is appropriate or does not breach confidentiality.
- HEALTH & SAFETY
We understand the requirement to ensure that young people are able to use the Internet and related technologies appropriately and safely. It is part of our wider duty of care, as mentioned above, to ensure that young people are safe and are protected from potential harm, both within and outside YES Outdoors.
- Have an up to date awareness of online safety matters and of the YES Outdoors online safety policy and practices.
- Report any suspected misuse or problem to the senior staff or CEO for investigation/action.
- Ensure that all digital communications with students/parents/carers is on a professional level.
- Support young people in understanding and following the Online Safety Policy and acceptable use policies.
- Monitor the use of digital technologies, mobile devices, cameras, etc. in planned sessions and other activities.
- Guide young people to sites checked as suitable for their use and ensure that processes are in place for dealing with any unsuitable material that is found in internet searches.
- Be aware of the potential for serious child protection/safeguarding issues to arise from:
- Sharing of personal data.
- Access to illegal/inappropriate materials.
- Inappropriate on-line contact with adults/strangers.
- Potential or actual incidents of grooming.
- Inform young people about the importance of reporting abuse, misuse or access to inappropriate materials and know how to do so.
E Learning and online Delivery
E-safety will be embedded into all teaching and learning so that learners know how to stay safe online. All learners will receive a safeguarding induction at the beginning of each course providing information on safeguarding processes for the project.
- The email or personal website addresses of children or vulnerable adults should not be disclosed by staff under any circumstances and are not to be used to make contact with those individuals except for approved professional purposes.
- Material submitted by children or vulnerable adults to the organisational website should be treated in the same way as photographs (see point above), i.e., any information which could be used to identify or trace individuals should be withheld unless written permission is obtained.
- Contributors of user generated content (UGC) are made aware of any content that is personal and likely to put people at risk.
Epidemic or Pandemic
In situations, for example caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19) YES Outdoors will follow the government guidelines and understand that the guidelines will be subject to change. Unless classified as an essential service, YES Outdoors will remain closed until instructed otherwise, to ensure that staff volunteers and young people remain safe.
If staff or volunteers were working remotely during an outbreak, as experienced with COVID-19, they will:
- Continue to process and store personal information in line with our Data Protection policies.
- Not use personal devices to communicate with young people, store personal information on personal devices or download and use apps onto work or personal devices (phones/laptops/tablet computers) without express authorisation from senior staff.
In the case of blended delivery YES Outdoors will ensure that government advice in relation to Covid safety is followed and that the appropriate signage, hygiene and cleaning and social distancing protocols are adhered to.
Government published the Prevent Strategy in 2010 and this raised awareness of the need to safeguard young people and extremism and radicalization.
The Government in the Prevent Strategy as defines extremism:
Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
At YES Outdoors we understand that our Prevent policy is to keep the young people safe and within the law. Staff will respond to suspicions by making a referral to the relevant borough’s Prevent Duty.
Our Health & Safety policy, set out in a separate document, reflects the consideration we give to the protection of young people both physically within YES Outdoors, including internet use and prevent as well as when on offsite activities
YES Outdoors’ evacuation procedure is outlined in detail in our Health and Safety and Fire Safety policy documents available on request.
- STAFF PROTECTION
YES Outdoors is committed to ensuring that our staff are safe and protected at all times. The YES Outdoors Staff Code of Conduct provides guidelines for staff to follow which have been designed to ensure that staff are protected in their work.
- REPORTING – CONTACTS & NUMBERS
YES Outdoors – Designated Safeguarding Lead
Phone: 020 8446 2387 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
YES Outdoors – Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Phone: 07769 369235 E-mail: email@example.com
Childline: 0808 1111
London Metropolitan Police Service: non-emergency 101
London Metropolitan Police Service: emergency 999
MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) contacts
Camden: 020 7974 3317 or 020 7974 4444 (out of hours)
Islington: 020 7527 7400
Hackney: 020 8356 5500 or 020 8356 2710 (out of hours)
Harringay: 020 8498 4470 or 020 8489 0000 (out of hours)
LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) contacts
Camden: 020 7974 4556
Islington: 020 7527 8102
Hackney: 020 8356 4569
Haringey: 020 8498 2968
- POLICY REVIEW
YES Outdoors management board will review this policy annually ensuring that this policy reflects developments in theSafeguarding of children and young people. We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually. The policy is always responsive to change, reviewed as necessary, always following a serious incident and at least once a year. The latest version of the policy is always available to the public on our web-site. We welcome feedback from service-users, the wider public, and partner organisations alike. We carefully evaluate all feedback and implement changes as necessary.