- FIT Education recognises that it has a duty of care towards children and vulnerable adults to ensure they are safeguarded against abuse and/or radicalisation to create a learning environment which promotes health, safety and welfare. FIT Education also recognises that it has a responsibility to protect staff from unfounded allegations of abuse.
- Legal obligations have been extended to include the same or similar standards of care and protection to vulnerable adults as for children. This policy will be applicable to vulnerable adults where staff or learners have regular unsupervised access to people falling within this definition.
- FIT Education accepts this responsibility and undertakes to keep the policy and the accompanying guidelines under review to ensure that children, vulnerable adults, learners, and staff are safeguarded wherever this falls within their remit under the relevant legislation.
- To support this policy FIT Education will provide staff training where required and issue guidelines if needed to ensure there is a procedure in place to deal with child and vulnerable adult protection issues also any radicalisation as in accordance with our PREVENT strategy.
- In addition, FIT Education takes steps to ensure all staff that has contact with children and vulnerable adults are subject to the appropriate clearance procedures in regards to enhanced disclosure in accordance with employment terms and conditions and our staff induction procedure.
- FIT Education undertakes to ensure that allegations and suspected incidents of abuse are reported in a timely and appropriately sensitive manner. .
- FIT Education is committed to setting and maintaining the highest standards of protection of children and vulnerable adults, and monitors the implementation of this policy framework as a matter of routine.
Child or Children
- A person or persons under the age of 18.
- The process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect.
Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and Vulnerable Adults
- The process of protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children and vulnerable adults to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.
- A person may be considered a vulnerable adult if they are 18 years or over and have either a learning or physical disability, a physical or mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction or a reduction in physical or mental capacity which leads to reduced ability to protect themselves from assault, abuse or neglect.
- FIT Education recognises that we have a responsibility towards all children and vulnerable adults attending or visiting FIT Education, to safeguard and promote their welfare and to take appropriate steps to ensure this can be achieved. This will include:
- Issuing written guidance to staff responsible for activities involving children and vulnerable adults.
- Issuing guidance on risk assessments.
- Issuing guidance on any radicalisation in accordance with our PREVENT strategy.
- Pre-screen potential staffs’ identity and request enhanced DBS checks for before candidates are employed.
- The above also extends to our partners and any individual sub-contractor or freelance / self-employed worker undertaking employment on behalf of FIT Educations.
- FIT Education has a duty to act if there is cause for concern and to notify the appropriate agencies so that they can investigate and take any necessary action.
Good Practice Guidelines for Staff
- It is recommended that staff take steps to ensure that they do not put themselves in a position where an allegation can be made against them. Therefore staff must give special consideration to ensuring that they do not become involved in circumstances where an allegation can be raised. Such consideration might involve, but is by no means limited to:
- Treating children and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity at all times, reflecting their age, background, culture and additional needs.
- Ensuring that interaction with children and vulnerable adults is within the range of other learners or members of staff wherever possible.
- Retaining a professional approach to children and vulnerable adults which will involve behavior such as not divulging home telephone numbers or addresses, sharing personal information on social media, ensuring there is no inappropriate contact, avoiding inappropriate familiarity, discussing matters of a sexual nature, losing self-control and being sensitive to issues that can be misconstrued.
- All safeguarding concerns should be raised with the Director immediately.
Guidelines for Responding to an Allegation of Abuse
- It is important that children and vulnerable adults are protected from abuse.
- All complaints, allegations or suspicion will be taken seriously.
- The following procedure shall be followed whenever an allegation is made that a child or vulnerable adult is been abused or when there is a suspicion that a child or vulnerable adult is been abused.
- Promises of confidentiality should not be given as the matter may develop in such a way that these cannot be honored.
- Evidence suggests children and vulnerable adults with disabilities are more likely to be abused, more vulnerable to abuse and may have difficulty in communicating the abuse; members of staff must be vigilant in the protection of these groups of children and vulnerable adults.
Procedure when Abuse is suspected (not involving a member of staff)
- The member of staff or learner who has concerns about possible abuse or radicalisation makes a record of the nature of the incident/allegation and any other relevant information using a recording and referral form as soon as possible. It is not the responsibility of the member of staff to investigate the matter but to immediately bring it to the attention of the Director.
- It is not the responsibility of the member of staff to investigate the alleged or suspected abuse or radicalisation but to obtain sufficient information in order to advise the Director (who will contact the appropriate authorities), therefore questions must be kept to the minimum necessary to understand what is being alleged and leading questions must be avoided. (Leading questions do not solicit information on a voluntary basis but, in the way it phrased or the terminology used, can suggest a pre-determined response. The use of leading questions can cause problems for the subsequent investigation and court proceedings.)
- The child or vulnerable adult must also be advised of the reporting procedure.
- If the child or vulnerable adult seeks to withdraw their complaint at that point, the member of staff receiving the allegation should still refer the matter to the Director so that relevant action can take place.
- Any suspicion, allegation or incident of abuse must be reported to the Director as soon as possible. Staff are instructed that it is better to act on a suspicion than to ignore.
Procedure when Abuse is suspected (involving a member of staff)
- If an allegation of abuse or radicalisation is made against a member of staff the matter should be referred immediately to FIT Educations Director either via phone: 07950849453 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Timescale of Events
- FIT Educations Director will acknowledge receipt of an incident/allegation and investigate the matter immediately.
- Upon initial investigation of events the Director shall inform the relevant involved parties, on the course of action to be taken, as soon as practically possible after the incident/allegation has been made.
- Where it is deemed necessary to alert the relevant authorities than FIT Educations Director will do this immediately, and liaise with these authorities to support them in the immediate investigation of the incident.
- Where it is deemed necessary to further investigate the matter internally, than then a timeline schedule of events shall be disseminated to the relevant associated parties within 48 hours of first acknowledgment.
- Where an internal investigation is appropriate, then the conclusion of the investigation shall be concluded no longer than 7 days after the initial acknowledge incident/allegation and all the relevant associated parties shall be informed of the outcomes.
- FIT Education Director will provide a programme of training events for staff with child protection responsibilities and for staff responsible for activities involving children and vulnerable adults along with radicalisation training in accordance with our PREVENT strategy training.
Dissemination of Policy
- Staff will be advised of the policy and their responsibilities; the policy will be accessible for reference via the web site and on request to email@example.com it shall also be included in FIT Education’s induction process.
- Parents of children and vulnerable adults involved in activities related to FIT Education will be offered access to the policy, via the aforementioned means.
Storage of Records
- Records will be kept of all referrals to the Director and their outcomes held in accordance with our Data Protection & Information Policy.
- Any report sent to Local Authority children and vulnerable adults’ services or police.
- Any notes, memoranda or correspondence dealing with the matter.
- Any other relevant material
- These reports and other documents will be stored securely at all times by the Director of FIT Education. All reports and documents should be kept in an electronic format on an external device. The storage device will be password protected and kept in a lock cupboard in the Directors office. Access would be restricted to authorised personnel only.
Record Retention Periods
- Records of allegations against staff (even where the allegation is unfounded) will be retained up until the staff member’s standard retirement age, or 10 years from the date of the allegation, whichever is the longest i.e. allegation against a 30 year old should be retained until the age of 65 whereas an allegation against a 64 year old will be kept until they are 74 (Employment Practices Code: Supplementary Guidance 2.13.1 (Records of Disciplinary and Grievance).
- Children’s records need to be retained until they reach the age of 25 (Education Act 2002, s175,)
- Learners aged 17 will be subject to FIT Education’s standard learner record retention of. 6 years from termination of the relationship with FIT Education or until the age of 25 if that is longer (to accommodate anyone who drops out at 17)
- Vulnerable adults will be subject to the standard learner record retention of 6 years from termination of the relationship with FIT Education.
Definition of Abuse and FIT Educations Responsibilities
This code of practice and guidelines set out the corporate arrangements for securing the safety and welfare of children and vulnerable adults in FIT Education’s care or engaging in activities controlled by FIT Education.