VYD recognises and acknowledges that it is the responsibility of all staff/volunteers and Board members to safeguard the welfare of every child, young person and vulnerable adult who has been entrusted to its care and is committed to provide a safe environment for all participants in its projects, activities and events. VYD is committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in line with national legislation and relevant national and local guidelines.
VYD is committed to ensuring that all participants in its projects, activities and events feel safe and protected by creating a zero tolerance of harm which necessitates that the recognition of those who may be at risk and the circumstances which may increase risk; knowing how abuse, exploitation or neglect manifests itself; and being willing to report safeguarding concerns.
VYD acknowledge that every child and vulnerable adult should be able to take part in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from poor practice and abuse.
The organisation will ensure that all participants are listened to and responded to if a safeguarding concern and/or allegation is reported. The safeguarding policy and procedures will be activated if a concern and/or allegation is made.
For the purposes of this policy children and young people are classed in the policy as being a child and/or children. These children are under the age of 18 years of age and vulnerable adults over the age of 18 years of age. ‘Participants’ are classed as any child or vulnerable adult who takes part in a VYD project, activity and/or event.
VYD recognises that although refugees and people seeking asylum may not come under the government’s definition of an adult at risk as stated in the Care Act 2014, the trauma caused by war, famine, torture, exploitation, persecution, denial of human rights and destitution brings about a different kind of ‘risk’ or ‘vulnerability’.
VYD subscribe to the Football Association (FA) Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults – Policy and Procedures and endorse and adopt the Policy Statement contained in that document.
1. Key Principles
VYD has an important role to play in safeguarding the welfare of all children and vulnerable adults by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm and neglect and bullying. It is noted and accepted that the FA’s Safeguarding Children’s regulations (see the FA Handbook) apply to everyone involved in VYD whether in a paid or voluntary capacity including coaches, volunteers, project managers and supporters, operational and administration staff and Board members.
VYD endorses and adopts the key safeguarding principles as set out in the FA’s safeguarding policy.
These principles are as follows:
- The welfare of the child and vulnerable adults is and must always be the paramount consideration.
- All children and vulnerable adults have the right to be protected from any forms of abuse regardless of their age, gender, ability, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, socio economic status, faith or belief.
- All concerns, suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously as soon as they are reported. These will be responded to swiftly and appropriately working in partnership with parent/s, carers, and other organisations.
2. Policy Statement
VYD believes everyone has the right to live free from abuse or neglect regardless of age, ability or disability, sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or gender status.
VYD is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and positive environment and an open, listening culture where people feel able to share concerns without fear of retribution.
VYD acknowledges that safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and is committed to prevent abuse and neglect through safeguarding the welfare of all participants involved.
VYD recognises that health, well-being, ability, disability and need for care and support can affect a person’s resilience. We recognise that some people experience barriers, for example, to communication in raising concerns or seeking help. We recognise that these factors can vary at different points in people’s lives.
VYD recognises that young children and young people who are seeking sanctuary in the UK may be particularly vulnerable due to language barriers, not having a designated parent/carer, being an unaccompanied minor (they are likely to have a designated social worker), not having a fixed abode and being at greater risk of being exploited, abused and/or trafficking. VYD takes its responsibilities extremely seriously when supporting this group and will ensure there is a named contact for each individual before they join any activities. VYD coaching staff and employees will immediately report any concerns (however low level) to social services and any other person/s responsible for their safety.
VYD recognises that there is a legal framework within which sports need to work to safeguard children and vulnerable adults who have needs for care and support and for protecting those who are unable to take action to protect themselves and will act in accordance with the relevant safeguarding adult legislation and with local statutory safeguarding procedures.
Actions taken by VYD will be consistent with the principles of child and adult safeguarding ensuring that any action taken is prompt, proportionate and that it includes and respects the voice of those concerned.
The purpose of this policy is to demonstrate the commitment of VYD to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and to ensure that everyone involved in VYD is aware of:
- The legislation, policy and procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. • Their role and responsibility for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. • What to do or who to speak to if they have a concern relating to the welfare or wellbeing of a child and/or vulnerable adult within the organisation.
This safeguarding children and vulnerable adult policy and associated procedures apply to all individuals involved in VYD including Board members, Staff, Coaches, Volunteers and Members and to all concerns about the safety of children and vulnerable adults whilst taking part in our organisation, its activities and in the wider community.
We expect our partner organisations, including for example, affiliated clubs, suppliers and sponsors to adopt and demonstrate their commitment to the principles and practice as set out in this Safeguarding Adults Policy and associated procedures.
In order to implement this policy VYD will ensure that:
- Everyone involved with VYD is aware of the safeguarding procedures and knows what to do and who to contact if they have a concern relating to the welfare or wellbeing of a child and/or vulnerable adult. Concerns can include ‘low-level concerns’. These are behaviours towards a participant by a member of staff that is inconsistent with the staff code of conduct and may be as simple as causing a sense of unease or a ‘nagging doubt’.
- Any concern that a child and/or vulnerable adult is not safe is taken seriously, responded to promptly, and followed up in line with the VYD Safeguarding Policy and Procedures.
- The well-being of those at risk of harm will be put first and the child and/or vulnerable adult actively supported to communicate their views and the outcomes they want to achieve. Those views and wishes will be respected and supported unless there are overriding reasons not to.
- Any actions taken will respect the rights and dignity of all those involved and be proportionate to the risk of harm.
- Confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored in line with our Data Protection Policy and Procedures.
- VYD acts in accordance with best practice advice, for example, from Sussex FA, UK Sport, National Football Governing Bodies and the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport and local social care services safeguarding teams.
- VYD will cooperate with the police and the relevant local authorities in taking action to safeguard a child and/or vulnerable adult.
- All Board members, staff, and volunteers understand their role and responsibility for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and have completed and are up to date with safeguarding training and learning opportunities appropriate for their role.
- VYD uses safe recruitment practices and continually assesses the suitability of volunteers and staff to prevent the employment/deployment of unsuitable individuals in this organisation and within the sporting community.
- VYD will share information about anyone found to be a risk to adults with the appropriate bodies. For example: Disclosure and Barring Service, Police, Local Authority Safeguarding Board and Social Services.
- When planning activities and events VYD includes an assessment of, and risk to, the safety of all children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect and designates a person who will be in attendance as a safeguarding lead for that event.
- Actions taken under this policy are reviewed by the Board and senior management team on an annual basis. This policy, related policies (see below) and the Safeguarding Procedures are reviewed no less than on a two yearly basis and whenever there are changes in relevant legislation and/or government guidance as required by the Local Safeguarding Board, Sussex FA, UK Sport, Sport England and/or National Governing Bodies or as a result of any other significant change or events.
VYD is committed to developing and maintaining its capability to implement this policy and procedures. In order to do so the following will be in place:
- A clear line of accountability within the organisation for the safety and welfare of all children and vulnerable adults.
- Access to relevant legal and professional advice.
- Regular management reports to the Board detailing how risks to safeguarding are being addressed and how any reports have been addressed.
- Safeguarding procedures that deal effectively with any concerns of abuse or neglect, including those caused through poor practice.
- A Designated Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Operational Lead (see Appendix 1). • A delegated Safeguarding Lead for activities/sessions/training/trips
- Arrangements to work effectively with other relevant organisations to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, including arrangements for sharing information.
- Codes of conduct for Board members, staff, coaches, volunteers and other relevant individuals that specify zero tolerance of abuse in any form.
- Risk assessments that specifically include safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. • Policies and procedures that address the following areas and which are consistent with this Safeguarding Adults policy.
✓ Safeguarding Children
✓ Bullying and harassment
✓ Social Media
✓ Equality, diversity and inclusion ✓ Safe activities risk assessments ✓ Code of Conducts and a process for breach of these
✓ Discipline and grievance
✓ Concerns, Complaints and Compliments
✓ Safe recruitment and selection ✓ Contract compliance
✓ Information policy, data protection and information sharing
VYD Safeguarding Reporting Protocol
About the behaviour of a VYD member of staff, coach and/or volunteer
- Concerns arise about the behaviour of a member of staff, coach, volunteer towards a child/young person/vulnerable adult e.g. concern, suspicion or allegations of poor practice or possible abuse
- Individual alerted to the concern reports to the VYD Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). Incident form is completed by DSL
- Incident forms can be completed by the person expressing the concern and/or allegation and sent to the DSL who will acknowledge the form, check the contents.
DSL (if appropriate in consultation with the VYD Director) determines the route for further action to be taken e.g. if this matter appears to be poor practice or possible abuse. Records action to be taken. Referrals to be made to statutory agencies as necessary.
- Poor practice/Breach Code of Conduct
- Possible Child Abuse/Criminal Offence
- Concern dealt with as a misconduct issue/disciplinary procedures as appropriate (in consultation with LADO)
- Disciplinary investigation undertaken and hearing held
- Outcome of disciplinary process (e.g. no case to answer, advice or warning given, training/support required, other sanctions, exclusion)
- Disciplinary Appeals Process
- In consultation with statutory agencies and LADO. LADO consults with DSL re initial disciplinary procedures, immediate temporary suspension (without prejudice) and notification to other organisation
- Disciplinary process initiated – investigation may be delayed pending outcome of statutory agencies processes. Support from LADO
- Full disciplinary investigation undertaken and hearing held. Outcomes and possible appeal
- DSL consults with/refers to LADO/Children’s Social
- Services/Police and follows this up in writing within 24 hours
- Children’s Social Care and/or Police hold strategy meeting (may include sports organisation rep) and agree investigation process
- Outcome of Children’s Social Care or Police Investigation (e.g. No further action, criminal prosecution, assessment of risk)
NB VYD may take further action if necessary to do so in relation to disciplinary procedures
VYD Process for managing a Safeguarding concern/allegation
Once a concern or allegation has been reported the VYD Safeguarding protocol will be enacted and adhered to. It will be important to ensure that if it is a child/young person/vulnerable adult then they are in a position of safety and they are listened to if they are reporting a concern/making an allegation. An incident report will be completed which will contain factual information only. The member of staff/volunteer that the concern/allegation relates to may be subject to immediate temporary suspension from their role (without prejudice).
Where abuse or other criminal behaviour is suspected a referral to the children’s social care services and/or the police will be made by the DSL and/or the Operational Safeguarding Lead. The Local Area Designated Officer (LADO) for Brighton and Hove will be contacted. Consultation with the statutory authorities will take place before any investigation takes place by VYD. This is required because sometimes the police will initiate enquiries before putting concerns or allegations to the individual. Statutory agencies have specific roles to play in responding to safeguarding concerns. Children’s social care services have duty officers to receive referrals on a 24 hour basis.
The LADO will support VYD with advice and guidance from the initial phase of the concern arising to the conclusion of the case regardless of whether a police investigation continues.
All safeguarding investigations will be carried out in a clear, documented and transparent procedure that embeds a individual focussed approach to the child, young person or vulnerable adult. The aim of the investigation is to gather evidence and information and produce a comprehensive report in a a recognised, standardised format to inform the next stage of the process.
The VYD investigation process can begin at the conclusion of any statutory agency investigation, during or before statutory agency investigations (with agreement from those agencies), when it has not been deemed appropriate to refer the concern to statutory agencies and/or when referrals made to statutory agencies have been passed back to the organisation for action.
Investigations will vary widely in their scale and complexity and may involve:
- Direct communication with the alleged victim
- Direct communication with any witnesses
- Direct communication with the individual the concern has been raised about • Examination of documents and reports (as part of evidence gathering)
- New criminal records check
- Contact with statutory agencies and other sports bodies
- Review of submitted references
The investigation will be carried out by the DSL and the Operational Safeguarding Lead who have experience and knowledge of safeguarding policies and procedures, knowledge of the nature and context of VYD projects and its policies and interviewing, recording and presentation skills. The initial stages of investigation and decision making process will include any risk posed to participants in VYD projects and if these can be managed. An interim suspension of someone potentially causing a risk should be considered.
Possible conclusions from the investigations may include:
- – The child/young person/vulnerable adult has suffered abuse or is likely to suffer abuse or a criminal offence may have been committed which means a referral to a statutory agency should take place at the earliest opportunity
- – The concerns relate to a low-level concerns or small breaches of the code of conduct or low level poor practice thorough to serious poor practice and abuse. A referral to the LADO could be considered.
- – The concern/allegation is without foundation – no further action will be taken.
- If required, an external safeguarding consultant will be specifically commissioned to carry out the safeguarding investigation.
Decisions about safeguarding cases and investigations can be made a number of stages. These may include the following stages of the process.
Initial decisions may be made at various points during the investigation depending on VYD internal procedures. They may determine the route the investigation takes, whether further investigation is required or whether to begin disciplinary process. Referrals involving statutory agencies will include guidance of those agencies in making decisions. Disciplinary action and sanctions may be made by the DSL and Board of Directors.
All decisions made by VYD will be required to be defensible and withstand any subsequent scrutiny. A defensible decision is one where:
– All reasonable steps have been taken to gather as much relevant information as possible. – Information is collected from within and outside the organisation and evaluated – An assessment has been undertaken of static and dynamic risk factors
- – Decisions and rationale are recorded
- – There are transparent and consistent processes
- VYD recognise that important considerations for the decision making process across all stages will include:
- – The nature of the concerning behaviour
- – The impact on the child/young person/vulnerable adult involved and their views – The probability of continuing concerns
- – Balancing an assessment of the factors that are known to increase both static and dynamic risks
- Consideration will be given to if disciplinary sanctions, mentoring, education and support are required for all concerned. If this is the case set timescales and actions will need to be agreed as part of the decision making process.
Decisions will be reached on the ‘balance of probability’. This is a threshold applied in civil cases, care proceedings and disciplinary processes. It is a lower burden of proof than the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ level required for criminal cases.
Outcomes of safeguarding investigations
The following (non-exhaustive) list will be the outcome of VYD safeguarding investigations. Each case will be assessed to consider and agree the most suitable outcomes.
- Disciplinary Process
Staff and/or volunteers may be subject to VYD’s disciplinary processes and this will be agreed as part of the decision making processes.
Mediation services may be accessed as effective method of resolving safeguarding disputes which arise as a result of misunderstandings in communication and relationships. An independent mediator would be employed.
- Education and training
Individuals may benefit from further training and awareness raising to remind them of their safeguarding responsibilities and code of conduct. This may include the individual attending a safeguarding course.
Individuals may be allocated a manager to monitor the outcome of their training and/or when someone returns from suspension. This arrangement will be communicated to the person concerned as well as monitoring period arrangements and timescale agreed.
- Ongoing risk management
Risks will be reassessed following a safeguarding investigation. These will include any risks identified as part of the investigation, personnel risks, health and safety risks and/or where working practice needs to have additional control measures in place in order to mitigate risk.
Individuals have a right of appeal to the outcome of safeguarding and disciplinary processes. The appeal will be held by a panel consisting of the DSL and a member of the VYD Board of Directors. An external independent safeguarding consultant will be employed as required. The decision of this panel will be final.
VYD Safeguarding Roles
Sarah Hawke is the appointed Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for VYD. Sarah is a member of the VYD Board.
Gary Pleece is the Operational Safeguarding Lead. Gary is responsible for the oversight of the day-to-day operational management of VYD and the safeguarding risk assessments that are required for each VYD project. He is the Director of VYD.
All staff, volunteers and Board members are responsible for the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy.