Safeguarding and DBS Policies

Safeguarding Children and Adults Policy (Dec 2020)

Introduction

This policy applies to all Horsham Sports Services (HSS) staff (permanent or casual contract) and volunteers who may come into contact with children and vulnerable adults in the course of their work. It is designed to ensure that staff and volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and information to enable them to undertake their safeguarding responsibilities for HSS.

Policy Statement

Everyone has the right not to be abused. HSS recognises the need to ensure the welfare of all individuals when they come into contact with services it provides. Some staff members have regular contact with the general public and are in a position to observe signs which might indicate that a person is at risk. If signs which cause concern are observed staff and volunteers have a responsibility to refer suspected cases of abuse to an appropriate agency or person.

All staff and volunteers have a duty to report allegations, disclosures and suspicions of abuse or neglect.

It is not the HSS company’s role to establish whether or not abuse is taking place but it is it’s responsibility to report any concerns over the welfare of individuals. This duty extends to the identification of abuse, poor practice by staff and volunteers as well as allegations brought to the attention of the company by a member of the public/community such as a customer.

Scope

A range of services provided by or on behalf of HSS have the potential to impact upon the lives of individuals. In respect of this policy the term ‘Child’ means a person under the age of 18 years.

A vulnerable adult means any person age 18 years or over who meets the following criteria:

  1. Has needs for care and support (whether or not HSS is meeting any of those needs) and;
  2. Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  3. As a result of care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of, abuse or neglect.

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Carers are also included and are entitled to an assessment of their needs, where they meet the tests set out above.

HSS aims to safeguard and promote the welfare of all individuals irrespective of their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socio-economic status, religious belief marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy/maternity status and/ or sexual orientation.

There are three parts to safeguarding

  • a duty to protect children from maltreatment
  • a duty to prevent impairment
  • a duty to safeguard adults in accordance with the Care Act (2014)

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HSS intends to safeguard children and adults from the following types of abuse

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse and Exploitation (CSE and Modern Slavery)
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Bullying (including psychological /cyber abuse)
  • Risk of injury
  • Radicalisation
  • Cyber/internet abuse

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Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Individuals may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. Promoting welfare refers to creating opportunities to enable children to have optimum life chances in adulthood namely:

  1. Physical and mental health and emotional well-being
  2. Protection from harm and neglect
  3. Education training and recreation
  4. The contribution made by them to society
  5. Social and economic wellbeing

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The emphasis in HSS’s work with adults is to promote the empowerment and well-being of adults through the services it provides and; to act in a way which supports the rights of individuals to lead a life based on self-determination and personal choice as well as recognise people who are unable to take their own decisions and/or protect themselves and their assets.

Accountability

HSS’s Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) is responsible for ensuring that all safeguarding and welfare concerns are reported to the relevant investigating agencies in accordance with this Safeguarding Policy and ensuring that information is recorded appropriately.

All staff and volunteers:

  • have a duty to report allegations, disclosures and suspicions of abuse or neglect.
  • are responsible for ensuring that the activities in which they are involved during the course of their work are carried out in accordance with this policy, and as set out in staff and volunteer role profiles.

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Commitment – HSS’s Safeguarding Policy

HSS will seek to meet its safeguarding responsibilities by

  • not employing people or recruiting volunteers who are a risk to others.
  • identifying potential risks
  • directly positively influencing lives through the services it provides.
  • learning from lessons of high profile cases
  • not placing staff and volunteers in situations where they could be accused of inappropriate behaviour

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HSS accepts its moral and legal responsibility to:

  • implement procedures
  • provide a duty of care
  • safeguard well-being and
  • protect individuals from abuse when they are engaged in services that it organises and provides

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HSS will achieve this by:

  • respecting and promoting the rights, wishes and feelings of individuals.
  • raising awareness of the duty of care throughout the company.
  • promoting and implementing appropriate procedures to protect individuals from harm.
  • ensuring, where services are provided by third parties, that these organisations have appropriate policies and procedures in place to comply with their safeguarding duties.
  • creating a safe and healthy environment within all our services, avoiding situations where abuse or allegations of abuse may occur.
  • recruiting, training, developing, supporting, managing and supervising staff and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard individuals from abuse, and in doing so minimising risk.
  • responding to any allegations of misconduct or abuse in line with this policy as well as implementing, where appropriate, relevant disciplinary and appeals procedures.
  • having a formal process for notifying and recording warnings with other agencies about potential abuse or risk of harm.
  • having clear communication channels in case of suspicions of abuse, or other risks.
  • requiring staff and volunteers to adopt and abide by the HSS’s ‘Children and Adults Safeguarding Policy’ and associated procedures.
  • reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of this policy and associated procedures document on an annual basis
  • maintaining a dedicated web page, in the staff-only access section, that its staff can access

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Recruitment

All staff and volunteers will be appointed in accordance with HSS’s Recruitment and Selection Procedures. These are designed to provide a rigorous and thorough selection process and will include all necessary checks. HSS’s Recruitment and Selection Policy takes account of this Safeguarding Policy.

All employees are required to have basic safeguarding knowledge and with coaches undertaking specific training and to apply these principles as part of their day-to-day working practice.

In accordance with Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) procedures, we will report any individual to the DBS who come to our attention through the recruitment process who have caused harm to a child or vulnerable adult.

Training and Development

Training and development are key to ensuring that this Safeguarding Policy is implemented effectively. Staff and volunteers receive safeguarding training (notably the relevant UK Coaching workshop). The DSO may access more in-depth training as suitable opportunities arise.

Staff training, development needs and opportunities relating to safeguarding and protection issues will be identified and addressed through induction, (initial) probation reviews and appraisals, as well as in response to any changes in legislation. Training may include internal courses/workshops, externally accredited courses/seminars or workshops organised by child protection/vulnerable adult safeguarding agencies.

Contractors and Partners

Partners or contractors working for, with and on-behalf of HSS will be required to meet HSS Safeguarding Policy requirements which should include safeguarding and recruitment where appropriate.

HSS supports the principle of sharing information with other agencies and will document information where appropriate to support this process. HSS is committed to close working with partners in all matters relating to safeguarding.

Procedures

This Safeguarding Policy informs all staff and volunteers of what actions they should take if they have concerns or encounter a case of alleged, disclosed or suspected abuse.

The primary responsibility of staff and volunteers is to ensure that any relevant information is passed to HSS’s DSO, who will then discuss any action or referral to the relevant authority or authorities including the Police or West Sussex County Council Children’s Access Point and Adult Care Point without delay. In addition to this, if a staff member receives a Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) disclosure, Sussex Police (Operation Kite) will be notified.

It is not HSS’s responsibility to decide whether or not a child or adult has been abused. It is however, HSS’s responsibility to report all concerns.

Responding to Disclosures

If a child or adult is in immediate danger, telephone the police on 999.

Disclosure of details of abuse is likely to be to a trusted person, someone with whom an individual feels safe. By listening and taking seriously what is being disclosed, staff and volunteers are already helping the situation. The following points are a guide to help staff and volunteers respond appropriately.

If an individual discloses abuse to you, you must:

  • Stay calm and be sensitive.
  • Inform the individual that you may need refer this to HSS’s DSO and depending on the severity of the information disclosed, it may need to be referred to the Police and Children’s Access Point and Adult Care Point.
  • Record all observations and everything that is said.
  • Contact HSS’s DSO at the earliest possible opportunity.

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Responding to Observations and Suspicions

If you suspect abuse, you must:

  • Stay calm and be sensitive.
  • Record all observations and everything that is said.
  • Contact the HSS DSO at the earliest possible opportunity.

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Out of Hours Arrangements

If a child or adult is in immediate danger, telephone the police on 999.

Otherwise: If you suspect abuse or abuse is disclosed to you outside normal office hours, you must:

For Adults: Contact the West Sussex Adults’ Services out-of-hours service directly on 01243 642121.

For Children: Contact the Children’s Access Point 01403 229900 (office hours) 033 022 26664 (out of office hours 5.00pm to 8.00am weekdays and for emergencies at weekends and bank holidays (24 hours)

Record all observations and everything that is said.

Report the disclosure / suspicions and subsequent action to HSS’s DSO the next working day.

Allegations against Staff and Volunteers

It is important that any concern in relation to abuse, harassment, inappropriate conduct or neglect by a member of staff or volunteer be reported immediately.

Where an allegation of abuse has been made, the priority must be to ensure the wellbeing of the individual. However, if the allegation is of abuse by a HSS staff member, volunteer or third party working on behalf of the company, it is the responsibility of HSS to investigate immediately, and cooperate with the relevant authorities.

If during working hours the member of staff, making or receiving the allegation against another member of staff, should initially report it to the HSS Managing Director.

If an event or activity takes place outside of normal working hours then the staff member who has received or is making the allegation must report his or her concerns as above the next working day.

HSS will support all staff that in good faith report incidents where an individual may be harmed. However staff should be aware allegations made maliciously will be dealt with under HSS’s Disciplinary Procedures.

If a member of staff or volunteer is disturbed by the incident then counselling may be recommended and they should contact the HSS DSO.

Where a complaint is found against a member of staff or a volunteer, then this will be considered under HSS’s Disciplinary Procedure as gross misconduct, but any internal investigations will be conducted in consultation with Social Services or the Police.

Designated Safeguarding Officers

All disclosures or suspicions must be reported to the DSO who is responsible for ensuring that all safeguarding and welfare concerns are reported to the relevant investigating agencies in accordance with the company’s Safeguarding Policy, and ensuring that information is recorded appropriately.

The specific functions of the DSO include:

  • Acting as a source of support, advice and expertise when deciding whether to make a referral through liaison with the relevant agencies.
  • Supporting staff and volunteers to write referrals and facilitate a letter being sent to the family informing them of the referral.
  • Ensuring that detailed, accurate and secure written records of referrals/ concerns are recorded and kept and provide advice to staff that have concerns on what to record.
  • Having a working knowledge of the joint Sussex Safeguarding Protocol and the Common Assessment Framework.
  • Challenging a referral not taken up by Children and Adult Services when it is considered an appropriate case.
  • Monitor the number of safeguarding referrals and the outcome of each.
  • Co-ordinate and deliver training to staff and volunteers
  • Ensure policy and procedures are in place and up-to-date.
  • Ensure that arrangements are made to identify staff requiring training in child and vulnerable adult protection issues

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Responding to, Recording and Reporting, Allegations, Disclosures and Suspicions

Staff and volunteers must fill in a Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form for all allegations, disclosures and suspicions relating to the safeguarding of children and adults.

All forms must be completed and records updated as soon as immediately practical to ensure all the facts are recorded properly and accurately. Copies of the Incident Report Form are available from the staff section of the HSS website and from the DSO. A flow diagram for reporting is provided in appendix 1. A referral form is provided in appendix 2. All completed forms must be passed to the DSO dealing with the allegation, disclosure or suspicion.

All completed forms and related correspondence will be held in a single, corporate database.

All staff and volunteers must report safeguarding allegations, disclosures and suspicions to one of the DSO immediately. It is the responsibility of the DSO to take a lead on and report allegations, disclosures and suspicions to Police and/or Children’s Access Point and Adult Care Point. It is also their responsibility to take any other action appropriate.

Support for the Reporter of the Alleged Abuse

Strong feelings may be generated by an allegation, disclosure or suspicion of abuse to, or neglect of children, and adults, especially if the allegation relates to a member of staff or volunteer. This can raise concerns among other staff, volunteers or elected members and create difficulties in reporting such matters.

HSS will fully support and protect all staff and volunteers or elected members who, in good faith and without malicious intent, report his or her concern about a colleague’s practice or the possibility that a child or adult may be being abused.

Background Papers

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Disclosure and Barring (DBS) Policy Statement (Dec 2020)

The safety of children and young people is paramount, and Horsham Sports Services (HSS) is committed to implementing the Disclosure and Barring (DBS) procedures and arrangements. We will comply with the DBS Code of Practice and National Care Standards guidance regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Certificates.

HSS has a written policy and procedure on the recruitment of people with a criminal record* and is committed to the principle of equal opportunities and, subject to the overriding consideration of protecting children, we will endeavour to prevent unfair discrimination against those with a criminal record.

This policy applies to the appointment of all employees, paid and unpaid, including volunteers. It is designed to assist in ensuring that all persons working for HSS are trustworthy and reliable and are not subject to any offences, which are a risk to children and vulnerable adults. This policy is designed to supplement the company’s recruitment procedures.

* A criminal record is a record of a person’s convictions, whether spent or unspent, under the Rehabilitation of

Offenders Act 1974, cautions, reprimands, final warnings and other non-conviction information such as acquittals.

Procedure

Disclosure and Barring Scheme and Background

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) make it a criminal offence:

  • for an employer to knowingly employ (either on a paid or voluntary basis) a barred person in Regulated Activity.
  • to allow someone to work in Regulated Activity without carrying out the required checks. Where a person is removed from Regulated Activity by an employer because the person has caused harm to a child or a vulnerable adult, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) must be notified.

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Regulated Activity

Any position undertaken on behalf of HSS, will amount to “regulated activity” if it is carried out:

  • frequently, meaning once a week or more; or
  • overnight, meaning between 2.00 am and 6.00 am; or
  • satisfies the “period condition”, meaning four times or more in a 30 day period; and
  • provides the opportunity for contact with children.

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Roles which are carried out on an unpaid / voluntary basis will only amount to regulated activity if, in addition to the above, they are carried out on an unsupervised basis.

HSS is not permitted to check the Children’s Barred List unless an individual will be engaging in “regulated activity”. HSS is required to carry out an enhanced DBS check for all staff and volunteers who will be engaging in regulated activity. The company can also opt carry out an enhanced DBS check on a person who would be carrying out regulated activity but for the fact that they do not carry out their duties frequently enough i.e. roles which would amount to regulated activity if carried out more frequently

Enhanced Certificates

All HSS DBS Certificates will be requested at an Enhanced level. This involves an extra level of check with local police force records in addition to checks with the Police National Computer and the government department lists held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and Department of Health, where appropriate.

DBS Update Service

The online DBS Update Service allows:

  • Applicants to keep their DBS certificates up-to-date
  • Employers to do an instance DBS check against a DBS certificate previously issued.

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When the applicant initially applies for a DBS check they can register to use the Update Service with a registration cost of £13 per year. There is no charge if the applicant is a volunteer.

The DBS tracking service can be used to check the progress of the DBS certificate.

Where an applicant subscribes to the DBS Update Service the applicant must give consent to the company to check there have not been changes since the issue of a disclosure certificate.

To check a DBS Certificate on the Update Service, the original DBS Certificate must be provided before the online check is completed. The company will obtain the applicant’s permission in the first instance. The company can then see the results from the check straight away.

Reliance On Prior Issued DBS Checks

Government guidance on its website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/dbs-check-requests-guidance-for-employers advises it’s the employers’ decision to decide whether to accept a previously-issued DBS  check.

If the applicant has not joined the Update Service employers should consider the following before making a decision:

  • whether the applicant’s criminal record or other relevant information may have changed since its issue
  • whether the level of that check is right for the position being recruiting for
  • whether the checks correctly shows the workforce ‘child’ or ‘adult’, ‘child and adult’ or ‘other’
  • the police disclose information on an enhanced  DBS  certificate based on child or adult workforce, for which the criminal record check was originally applied for
  • the information revealed was based on the identity of the applicant, which was validated by another Registered Body
  • that the identity details on the certificate match those of the applicant

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In addition to the above stipulations the company will rely on a previously issued DBS Certificate where the following conditions apply:

  • The Certificate is less than 3 years old
  • The Certificate was issued through Horsham District Council as an umbrella body linked to deployment through its sports development team
  • The Certificate holder has been consistently (with no breaks of more than 3 months) known to the HSS Managing Director between the issue date of the certificate and the date of being taken on for work with HSS

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Recruitment of Staff

Job applicants will be asked to state any convictions on a self-declaration form that forms part of the recruitment documentation. Those invited to attend an interview will be advised in writing that relevant criminal convictions will be discussed to assess job-related risks.

To speed up the recruitment process, applicants invited to attend an interview will be asked to complete a DBS form and requested to bring the relevant ID with them to be verified by the School.

All applicants for a DBS check should read the DBS Code of Practice, this can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-code-of-practice  

The company will apply for a DBS Certificate only for an applicant offered a position. The information obtained will be used to help establish whether that person has a background that might make him/her unsuitable for the job or voluntary position in question.

If a DBS Certificate reveals any convictions the company will follow a fair process – see Recruitment of Ex-offenders’ Policy and Procedure.

Overseas Checks

Applicants who have lived/travelled abroad for more than 3 continuous months will need to obtain a criminal record check from the relevant country. The applicant will not be permitted to commence work until the overseas information has been received and is considered satisfactory by the company.

Renewal of DBS Certificates

The DBS Certificate does not recommend a specific renewal interval for DBS checks. It is the company’s policy to not to renew DBS Certificates unless there is a break in the employee/worker’s service with the company that extends beyond 12 months.

Storage and Access

DBS Certificate information will be kept securely with access strictly limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties. It is a criminal offence to pass this information to anyone who is not entitled to receive it.

Usage

Certificate information is used only for the specific purpose for which it was requested and for which the applicant’s full consent has been given.

Retention

Once a recruitment (or other relevant) decision has been made, we retain DBS Certificate information generally for a period of up to six months. This is to allow time to consider and resolve any disputes or complaints.

Disposal

Once the retention period has elapsed, any Certificate information will be destroyed by secure means, ie by shredding, pulping or burning. We will not keep a copy of the Certificate or record its contents. We may, however, keep a record of the date of issue of a Certificate, the name of the subject, the type of Certificate requested, the position for which it was requested, the unique reference number of the Certificate and the details of the recruitment decision taken.