SAFEGUARDING POLICY

  1. Introduction
    EPIC is committed to ensuring that all people at risk including children, young people and adults at risk taking part in our programmes, volunteering and working with us are protected and safe. We recognise that safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone in our organisation, whether a person is working full time or volunteering their time. If you are working with EPIC, it is your responsibility to know and understand this policy and your responsibilities.

    1. The purpose of this document is to clearly specify EPIC’s Safeguarding policy and procedures for the protection of people at risk. A child is defined as up to the age of 18. We also consider all young people and adults on our programmes deserving of protection from harm and able to say that EPIC is a safe place.
    2. The Children’s Act 2004 clearly outlines the duty of organisations to safeguard and promote the well-being of children and young people, including the need to ensure that all adults who have contact with children and young people are trained and competent to do so.
    3. Within EPIC, we define Adults at Risk in line with the NSPCC Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedure1; “An adult at risk is ‘any person who is aged 18 years or over and at risk of abuse or neglect because of their needs for care and support’ (Care Act 2014 [England]). This definition is broadly consistent with definitions across the devolved nations. In Scotland, the definition of an ‘adult at risk’ or ‘vulnerable adult’ applies to those aged 16 years and over.”
    4. Within EPIC we strive to:
      1. Protect children from maltreatment and harm
      2. Prevent the impairment of children’s health or development
      3. Take action to enable all children to have the best life chances.
    5. Anyone who comes into contact with people at risk in their work has a duty of care to safeguard and promote their welfare. Child protection refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.
    6. The document applies to anyone who comes into contact with people at risk including all EPIC staff, all staff in the Martin James Network, apprentices, trustees, volunteers, freelancers and consultants.
    7. The policy and procedures apply to all of EPIC’s activities, even when not taking place within EPIC’s offices, including all partners working on EPIC projects.
  2. Policy
    1. EPIC believes that all people at risk have a right to be able to engage safely with our activities and enjoy programmes provided by EPIC or in partnership with other agencies and/or community voluntary sector organisations, and understand that many of the people we work with have experienced adverse childhood experiences. We endeavor to ensure that all programmes, events and projects are created to be safe and enjoyable for everyone.
    2. We aim to provide a safe environment where young people are protected from neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
    3. It is EPIC’s policy to:
      1. Adopt an organisation-wide Safeguarding Lead and Deputy, currently this is the Head of EPIC and CEO of Martin James Foundation, respectively.
      2. Ensure that all those engaging in our services, as staff, volunteers, apprentices and trustees, as well as participants, understand the safeguarding policy and reporting procedures, have Safeguarding Training as part of their onboarding, and receive the relevant ongoing training and refreshers as needed.
      3. Ensure that all legally responsible adults part of the Martin James Network (MJN) working on a regular basis or unsupervised by EPIC staff with people at risk are screened by MJN HR, and subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
      4. Consultants and volunteers (legally responsible adults) working with people at risk on a regular basis or unsupervised by EPIC staff are recruited with care and able to provide two references, are checked by the DBS and are trained to understand and accept their responsibility for the safety of people at risk in their care.
      5. Ensure that our services are fully inclusive with equal priority given to keeping all people at risk safe regardless of their age, disability, gender (reassignment), race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.
      6. Respond swiftly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations of abuse, and to ensure confidential information is restricted solely to the appropriate external agencies.
      7. The Head of EPIC will monitor and review the effectiveness of this policy on a regular basis, at least twice a year, and after any major incident to ensure efficacy.
      8. Ensure that the principles of this policy are adopted by all organisations or individuals with whom EPIC work through the adoption of a policy which meets the same level of determination with regard to the safety of people at risk.
  3. Responsibilities
    1. The implementation of this policy is mandatory across all areas of EPIC. Specific responsibilities are outlined below:
      1. The Head of EPIC is ultimately responsible for safeguarding in the EPIC programme, supported by the CEO of the Martin James Foundation and Martin James Network’s Director of People.
      2. All trustees, staff (including apprentices), volunteers, freelancers and consultants are expected to adhere to the requirements of this policy and procedures and operate within codes of conduct outlined within the various policies that support the work of the Charity. This includes those working for the Martin James Network who partake in work inside or outside work time for EPIC.
      3. Any behaviour by a Trustee, member of staff, apprentices, volunteer, freelancer or consultant that contravenes the terms of this policy and procedure will be considered for disciplinary action, which in turn may lead to termination of any contract and/or obligation for apprentices, volunteers, freelancers, consultants or Trustees.
      4. Any Martin James Network staff working with or for EPIC who acts outside the terms of this policy and procedure will be considered for disciplinary action, which in turn may lead to termination of any contract and/or obligation.
      5. The appointed Safeguarding Lead is Head of EPIC, Eleanor Covell, eleanor.covell@martinjames.foundation, +44 7745 531416
      6. The Leadership Team of EPIC and the Martin James Foundation will ensure the policy and its accompanying procedures and practice guidelines are implemented across their geographical and functional areas of responsibility
      7. All those responsible for anyone interacting with people at risk as required to ensure that:
        1. Staff, trustees and volunteers are able to discuss safeguarding, child protection and abuse issues confidentially and receive guidance and support on action if situations arise.
        2. The Safeguarding policy is fully implemented on each programme, at each event on each programme and that procedures to support the policy are set up as outlined, complied with and communicated.
        3. All events, projects and programmes have undertaken the needed risk assessments, considering the safeguarding implications.
        4. Any and all safeguarding issues are referred to the Safeguarding Lead.
        5. All reporting staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities under this policy in their induction and ensuring that this is raised at one to ones and staff reviews to check knowledge and the need for follow up training.
        6. All new staff members and volunteers have the required disclosure certificate in place if engaging in regulated activity with people at risk and that they cooperate with the internal DBS procedure to include checking ID and provision of signed copies of documents with application forms to Martin James Network’s HR department.
  4. Procedures
    1. EPIC requires all those working directly with people at risk on behalf of EPIC in any situation to follow the procedures below, in order to create a safe environment.
    2. Staff must give due regard to issues of safety at all times. This includes carrying out appropriate risk assessments before all events, programmes and projects, noting the appropriate mitigation strategies to keep people at risk safe from harm.
    3. Staff working with people at risk will:
      1. be appropriately trained and qualified to ensure the safe provision of services, coaching and use of equipment and;
      2. will carefully plan sessions with the care and safety as their primary concern.
    4. There must be a minimum of two responsible people (this can be staff, volunteers, trustees, apprentices or MJN staff with a DBS check) with legal responsibility present at all times when working with young people under the age of 18.
    5. When working with young people under the age of 18, or young people or adults at risk, the appropriate consent from parent/guardian must be obtained.
    6. People at risk and their parents/guardians will be given a ‘named appointment’ to whom they may report any worries or concerns. The contact names and telephone numbers will be visibly displayed at events.
    7. Meetings with people at risk will only take place within EPIC working hours and within the Martin James Network building or online, unless the express consent of the parent/guardian is sought.
    8. Staff should avoid being alone in private spaces with people at risk, including online and in text conversations, and staff must not take them to their own home.
    9. Staff must not offer a lift to a person at risk unless they have written consent from their parent/guardian (if under 18) and a second staff member or parent/guardian present.
    10. For programmes where young people (regardless of age or vulnerability) need to communicate with staff, volunteers, trustees or apprentices online or in text conversations, a member of EPIC staff should be included in these conversations. If the programme participants are under the age of 18, or adult at risks, the Safeguarding Lead should be included in all conversations online or in text. It is recommended that a WhatsApp group chat be used, with the relevant member of EPIC staff included.
    11. Staff are expected to promote, demonstrate and incorporate the values of inclusiveness, fairness, trust and ethical practice – Staff must respect all individuals whatever their age, development stage, ability, sex, sexual orientation or ethnicity throughout the session.
    12. Staff will behave and dress in a manner that promotes recognised good practice in relation to safeguarding.
    13. Events, meetings or programmes involving with people at risk will be alcohol free.
    14. Staff should complete a full risk assessment and gain consent from parents/guardians if engaging in any physical activity, such as sports, with people at risk.
    15. All accidents/incidents involving staff or people at risk will be recorded using the Martin James Network’s accident forms immediately or as soon as practicably possible.
      1. Staff and volunteers are responsible for familiarising themselves with building/facility safety issues, such as, fire procedures, location of emergency exits, location of emergency telephones and first aid equipment.
      2. Staff are responsible for reporting suspected incidents that contravene this policy, or any form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse to the Head of EPIC, or if unavailable, the CEO of Martin James Foundation as quickly as possible.
  5. No person working on behalf of EPIC should:
    1. Engage in any kind of relationship with any person at risk who is involved in EPIC projects.
    2. Engage in sexual or sexually provocative activities with any people at risk who are involved in EPIC projects.
    3. Allow people at risk to engage in inappropriate touching of any form.
    4. Allow people at risk to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
    5. Make sexually suggestive comments about or to a person at risk.
    6. Let an allegation a person at risk makes during a group session go unchallenged or unrecorded.
    7. Place yourself in a situation where you will be left alone with a person at risk.
  6. Photographs, Case Studies, Press and Interviews
    1. No photographs will be taken of any person at risk without their informed consent, including discussion of what will be done with the photographs.
    2. This also applies to cases where people at risk have supplied photographs for the use in communications, fully informed consent to what the photos will be used for must be sought.
    3. No photographs of under 18’s will be taken without the informed consent of both the young person and their parent/guardian.
    4. No person engaged in EPIC programmes or at EPIC events is obliged to give their consent to participate in photographs or communications materials that contain their image, although any businesses created through EPIC programming will be obliged to participate in publicity/marketing material. This participation does not have to include the individual(s) or photographs of individuals.
    5. EPIC understands that people have a right to control their image, and what is said about
    6. Photographs and any communications on EPIC social media, website and press should be portrayed accurately, with consent and dignity, with pseudonyms used where appropriate.
  7. Safeguarding in working practices
    Reporting Structures in EPIC

    1. Within EPIC, we understand that the people working with and for us will develop connections with the people at risk who we work for, however it is important to be clear that it is not the responsibility of staff or volunteers to investigate suspected abuse.
    2. It is everyone’s responsibility to report concerns in line with guidance on reporting child abuse, or abuse of an adult at risk. Reporting abuse could be supported by other reports, so regardless of the nature or individual’s opinions, all concerns made must be reported.
    3. It is also important to note that no member of staff or volunteers should investigate allegations or concerns but must report them.
    4. Below is how to respond to common scenarios in which allegations or concerns about abuse may be raised:
      1. If a person at risks’ behaviour/appearance gives reason for concern or they have an unusual physical injury or they confide about abuse, the procedure below MUST be followed:
      2. Immediately inform your Manager/Director or the Head of EPIC
      3. Use the Incident Record Form at Appendix (XX) to make a record of your actions, include anything the person at risk said, anything you asked the person, and your observations. This may be used as evidence later. Record only the facts and do not be tempted to give opinions or speculation.
      4. Ensure the person at risk has access to an independent adult (e.g. teacher/group leader/youth worker);
      5. If abuse is suspected, you or the Manager or Director will report concerns directly to the Head of EPIC immediately or in their absence the CEO of Martin James Foundation. It is the responsibility of the Safeguarding Lead to report it to the relevant authorities.
      6. However, the above does not stop any person working with EPIC reporting an incident to the relevant authorities.
      7. The following are some key Do’s and Don’ts if a person at risk reports abuse:
      8. Always:
        1. Stay calm. Assure the person at risk that they are safe, but do not make assurances to keep secrets or that you will not tell anyone.
        2. Make notes and as soon as possible after the event write up a detailed account of what you and the person at risk discussed.
        3. Make sure that you record what the person at risk has actually said, as changing the words or phrases used can change or distort the disclosure.
        4. Allow the person at risk to speak without interrupting or asking invasive and leading questions.
        5. Reassure the person at risk that they were right to tell you and offer support. Ensure that you make it clear that you will have to inform others and what will happen next.
        6. Tell the person at risk that you will try to offer support, but do not offer personal promises.
      9. Never:
        1. Rush into details that may be inappropriate.
        2. Make promises you cannot keep.
        3. Take sole responsibility – consult someone else so that you can protect the person at risk and gain support for yourself.
    5. If you receive an allegation from an adult about another adult or yourself you must:
      1. Immediately inform your Manager or the Head of EPIC.
      2. Record the facts as you know them and give a copy of the record to your Manager
      3. If an allegation is suspected, concerns should be reported directly to the Head of EPIC or in their absence the CEO of Martin James Foundation. It is the responsibility of the safeguarding lead to inform the appropriate authorities.
    6. If you receive a request for advice from anyone external of the Charity about suspected/reported abuse of a person at risk the procedure that MUST be followed is:
      1. Advise them to make a note as soon as possible detailing the facts as known and, if they spoke with the person at risk, what was discussed.
      2. Advise them to contact the nearest Children’s Social Care (in the case of anyone under 18) with details of the concerns/report, including a copy of the written notes.
      3. Immediately inform your Manager or Head of EPIC.
      4. Record the facts as you know them and give the original document to your Manager of Head of EPIC. This will be saved as a password protected document on the server and will be the only copy.
      5. If abuse is suspected you or the Manager will report concerns directly to the Head of EPIC or in their absence the CEO of Martin James Foundation. It is the responsibility of the safeguarding lead to inform the appropriate authorities.
    7. If you are concerned that a person at risk is, or may be, subject to abuse or harm:
      1. Make a written, dated note of observations and immediately inform your Manager or the Head of EPIC or in their absence the CEO of Martin James Foundation as soon as possible, who will, within the appropriate timeframe, either make enquiries without raising the question of abuse and evaluate the matter and/or make a referral to the appropriate external authority.
    8. If you are concerned that the behaviour of a member of staff or other person is threatening, or potentially threatening, the well-being of a person at risk.
      1. You must report your concerns immediately to your Manager or Head of EPIC or CEO of Martin James Foundation immediately.
      2. You can contact Children’s Services, Adult Services or the Police. If you have urgent concerns about the safety of a person at risk and are unable to contact any of the above do not hesitate to contact Children’s Services, Adult Services or the police.