Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 Care4Calais is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its ultimate beneficiaries, volunteers and staff and to taking reasonable steps to ensure those who come into contact with Care4Calais or Care4Calais’ activities do not, as a result, come to any harm.

1.2 This policy relates to Care4Calais’ commitments to safeguarding (as defined by the Charity Commission) and protecting its beneficiaries, who are largely a migrant community.1 Where any suspected wrongdoing is in relation to volunteers or staff, the procedure set out in Care4Calais’ Complaints Policy should be followed. A list of relevant policies can be found under the section entitled ‘Other relevant policies’.

1.3 Over recent years there has been increasing recognition of the way in which people can be at risk of harm from organisations and institutions that are supposed to help them, either as a result of abuse and exploitation by individuals in positions of trust, or via programme activities in general.

1.4 As a consequence, there has been a significant increase in the efforts made by charities to ensure that no harm comes to beneficiaries or target communities from contact with their staff, volunteers and associates or as a result of any of the organisation’s activities.

1.5 This duty extends beyond statutory safeguarding requirements. Care4Calais does not engage in any activity with children or vulnerable adults that is regulated by domestic safeguarding legislation or any equivalent legislation in the countries in which it operates but it does take seriously its obligations to operate in a way that ensures, so far as is possible and in line with best practice, that its work does no harm to anyone with whom it engages.

1.6 Given these values and in light of widely recognised risks, Care4Calais has developed this policy to promote protection for all those people it comes into contact with, as well as staff and volunteers within Care4Calais itself and the partner organisations with which it has relationships.

1.7 Should it come into contact with vulnerable groups (including children), Care4Calais will seek to ensure it is doing all it reasonably can to protect such groups from all forms of harm, including abuse, neglect and exploitation and to ensure appropriate action is taken if such harm occurs.

2. Understanding Risks

2.1 It is clear that vulnerable persons can be harmed, or put at risk of harm, by organisations and institutions, and that abuse of vulnerable groups (including children) can happen in all types of organisations. Such harm may result from unintentional acts or deliberate actions.

2.2 Unintentional acts may lead to harm due to a lack of ‘due diligence’ or competence or through organisational negligence, such as inadequate care and supervision, lack of policies, procedures and guidance to inform programming and practice, or lack of staff compliance with legal requirements. Also, deliberate actions may be taken by people with intent to abuse vulnerable people.

2.3 Care4Calais will maintain a risk register, which will be regularly reviewed, which identifies risks to the charity and how they will be managed and mitigated.

3. Scope of this policy

3.1 For Care4Calais staff, long-term volunteers and contractors

3.1.1 Compliance with this policy is mandatory for all Care4Calais staff. For the purposes of this policy ‘staff’ is defined as anyone who works for, or is engaged by, Care4Calais either in a paid or unpaid, full time or part time capacity. This includes directly employed staff, contractors, agency staff, consultants, long-term volunteers, interns and equivalents.

3.2 For trustees

3.2.1 Trustees must act at all times in the best interests of Care4Calais and its ultimate beneficiaries and they are also expected to comply with this policy.

3.3 For partnership organisations

3.3.1 This policy also applies to other organisations with whom Care4Calais works. Care4Calais expects that the principles and approaches already shared with partnership organisations mean that they will fully support the values and commitments set out in this policy. Care4Calais recognises that some will already have protection policies and associated measures in place. Where this is the case they should have no difficulty in also complying with the standards set out in this policy.

3.3.2 Care4Calais will ensure that each partner has appointed a member of staff who will be responsible for promptly reporting to the Care4Calais Designated Safeguarding Officer (or, in the event that they are unavailable the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer or other appropriate person) any safeguarding concerns that arise in, or are relevant to the context of the partnership.

4. Definitions

4.1 ‘Abuse’ or ‘harm’ are used to encompass all types of harm and abuse, including neglect and exploitation. See the Code of Conduct for further information.

4.2 Child means anyone under the age of 18 irrespective of the age of majority in the country where a child is located, or in their home country.

4.3 Safeguarding children means taking reasonable steps in connection with protecting them from maltreatment, preventing impairment of their health or development, ensuring that they grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and acting to enable all children to have the best outcomes. The welfare of the child is paramount, which means no other considerations should be allowed to override the duty to protect children from harm.

4.4 Safeguarding vulnerable adults means taking reasonable steps in connection with protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

4.5 Vulnerable adult means any person aged 18 or over who is or may be in need of care and support (e.g. health care, relevant personal care or social care) and is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect and, as a result of this, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk or experience of neglect or abuse.

5. Statement of Commitments

5.1.1 Care4Calais commits to taking all reasonable measures to ensure vulnerable groups (including children) impacted by projects and programmes delivered and/or supported by Care4Calais are protected as far as possible from harm, including exploitation, neglect and abuse of all kinds.

6. Care4Calais commits to:

(a) Developing a zero tolerance ‘safety culture’ within Care4Calais that creates and maintains protective environments.

(b) Placing safeguarding at the heart of recruitment practices by carrying out the highest level of DBS or other criminal record checks 2 to which we are entitled, requesting two written references, considering gaps in work history and checking qualifications and certifications.

(c) Ensuring Care4Calais staff and board members are fully cognisant of protection issues and adhere to Care4Calais’ Code of Conduct.

(d) Increasing understanding and raising the awareness of staff and trustees of risks relating to safeguarding within Care4Calais and in connection with its activities.

(e) Taking appropriate and proportionate action if this policy is not complied with.

(f) Ensuring that staff understand what constitutes non-compliance.

(g) Maintaining adequate insurance in relation to Care4Calais’ activities and the people involved, to the extent that is reasonably available.

(h) Carrying out appropriate due diligence on partners, ensuring they have appropriate controls and safeguarding measures in place, and integrating safeguarding and onward reporting requirements in Care4Calais’ agreements with partners, taking account of the Charity Commission’s relevant guidance 3.

(i) Making sure protection considerations are integrated into all aspects of the organisation’s operation.

(j) Ensuring all staff are aware of their responsibilities to report concerns and of steps to take/who to go to in order to report such concerns.

(k) Ensuring that safeguarding concerns are addressed promptly and through the appropriate channels.

(l) Reporting safeguarding incidents, allegations or concerns to external authorities and regulators, as appropriate, and in accordance with best practice. Care4Calais will fully risk assess such reporting to ensure that making a report is not likely to cause further harm to the individual(s) to whom harm (actually, allegedly or potentially) has already been caused.

(m) Ensuring that its privacy policy remains suitably updated so that it is clear that, in keeping with Care4Calais’ zero tolerance policy, it will report wrongdoing on the part of its trustees, staff and partners to appropriate authorities; will share such information as may be necessary to protect individuals from harm; and will provide fair and accurate references, which appropriately reflect Care4Calais’ experience and interaction with trustees, staff and partners.

7. Embedding organisational commitment

7.1 In order to make its policy commitments a practical reality, Care4Calais will instigate or strengthen on an ongoing basis a range of measures that focus on making sure this policy and associated procedures are in place, that people are supported to understand and work within the provisions of the policy, that it is fully and effectively integrated into all of our activities, and that it is subject to monitoring and review.

7.2 Care4Calais staff and trustees will receive regular training/briefing on their responsibilities and obligations under this policy and it will form part of the induction for new staff and trustees. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will receive safeguarding training every two years.

7.3 Staff and trustees will be expected to acknowledge and accept their responsibilities under this policy. Breaches of this policy by staff will be treated seriously and will be treated as a potential cause for disciplinary action or termination of the relationship by other means. Breaches by trustees may result in the termination of their trusteeship.

8. Criminal record checks for individuals who, or who previously did, live in the UK

8.1 Not all roles are eligible for all types of DBS check. The designated person’s advice should be sought on all DBS related issues in the first instance. Persons who are on the DBS Barred Lists cannot work in regulated activity in relation to children or vulnerable adults and accordingly we will not employ or accept volunteered assistance from such persons. Where we become aware that any current staff may pose a risk to these groups we will comply with the legislation in respect of referring that person to the DBS.

8.2 We will carry out DBS checks on our trustees and long term volunteers as appropriate and in accordance with the Charity Commission’s guidance. In reality, this means we carry out

8.3 Basic DBS checks on these individuals, which is the highest level of DBS check to which we are entitled at this time.

9. Reporting concerns

9.1 A safeguarding concern may arise in a number of ways. For example:

(a) You may witness abuse taking place.

(b) An individual may tell you that they or someone they know has suffered harm.

(c) You may notice behaviour which gives rise to a suspicion or concern that an individual has been harmed or is at risk of harm or that an individual has acted inappropriately or in breach of this policy.

(d) You may hear a rumour or be part of an informal discussion about a suspicion, concern or allegation.

(e) You may receive a letter, e-mail, text or message on social media.

9.2 In line with its principle of ‘zero tolerance’, Care4Calais staff and trustees are required to immediately report any concerns or suspicions of possible/actual harm to a beneficiary (or other person connected to Care4Calais), including abuse, exploitation and neglect and policy non-compliance, or risk of such, resulting from action or inaction by anyone covered by this policy. This includes any suspected, alleged or actual historical abuse.

The person making the report should otherwise keep the matter strictly confidential and not seek to investigate the incident or suspicion.

9.3 You should follow the procedure set out below for making a report:

(a) Listen carefully

(b) Avoid asking detailed or leading questions, but do try to confirm basic information about who, when, where, what, but not why

(c) Explain to them:

  • (i) You (and Care4Calais) take what they are saying seriously
  • (ii) You cannot keep the information a secret and anything they say will likely need to be shared with others
  • (iii) Their report will only be shared on a need to know basis

(d) Assess the risk and take steps to ensure the person is not in immediate danger.

(e) Arrange any medical treatment which is urgently required, notifying them that evidence should be preserved.

(f) Keep yourself and others safe.

(g) In the first instance any concerns should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible. Use the person’s words or explanations – do not translate into your own words in case you have misconstrued what they were trying to say.

  • (i) If the Designated Safeguarding Officer is not available or is implicated in the concern in any way, the concern should be reported to the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer.

(h) Prepare a written record using the designated form in Annex 1 and send that report to the Designated Safeguarding Officer (or, if necessary, the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer) as soon as possible and no later than 24 hours of being informed of the concern.

(i) If you do not have all the information available to make a complete report, you should not delay in raising the concern and must not investigate further to obtain additional information.

(j) Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.

9.4 Any materials in writing concerning a report of concerns will be kept securely if in hard copy or password protected if stored electronically, with appropriate access restrictions.

9.5 The Designated Safeguarding Officer, who sits on Care4Calais’ board of trustees, will have oversight of safeguarding and welfare arrangements and will receive reports of any safeguarding and welfare incidents that arise. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will have a regular slot at meetings of the board of trustees to ensure that trustees are appropriately apprised of matters that arise.

9.6 The names and contact details of the Designated Safeguarding Officer and Deputy Safeguarding Officer can be found in the ‘Contact Information’ section at the end of this policy.

10. Responding to concerns

10.1 We are committed to reporting all relevant incidents to the Charity Commission for England and Wales via a serious incident report.4 We will also report incidents to other regulatory bodies and government departments or funding bodies, where appropriate. Where there is evidence that criminal activity may have taken place, or concerns have been raised in relation to a child or vulnerable adult, we will report to the relevant police (in the UK and/or in the areas Care4Calais is operating) and/or safeguarding authorities as

10.2 Appropriate (for example to the relevant Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or Adult Safeguarding Board in the UK or other relevant authorities) in the areas Care4Calais is operating, taking appropriate account of the Charity Commission’s guidance in this respect.5

10.3 Decisions to report to external authorities will be fully risk assessed and anonymisation/pseudonimisation considered when necessary. Reporting will not be avoided on the basis that it may harm Care4Calais’ reputation or give rise to litigation and any concerns in relation to data protection will not act as a barrier to reporting, although they will be carefully considered to ensure that the disclosure is made within the legal framework for so doing.

10.4 On a case by case basis, the Designated Safeguarding Officer will consider what steps are necessary and appropriate. In addition to potential external reporting discussed above, in summary the steps which may be taken include:

  • (a) Consider whether the Designated Safeguarding Officer has the relevant knowledge, expertise and capacity to address the concern. If necessary, Care4Calais will arrange appropriate external support and/or arrange for an independent person to investigate or consider the concern further.
  • (b) Clarify what, how and with whom information will be shared relating to this concern. Information must be shared on a need-to-know basis only, with appropriate consideration of the need to ensure that sharing the information is necessary for the purposes for which it is shared, the information is accurate and up to date, the information sharing is timely and the information is secure in how it is shared and stored.
  • (c) Consider whether the Board of Trustees need to be informed straight away or whether it can be reported at the next board meeting.
  • (d) At all times provide appropriate support to the survivor. All decision making on what support is provided should be informed by the survivor’s wishes.
  • (e) For reports relating to serious incidents: undertake an immediate risk assessment to determine whether there are any current or potential risks to any stakeholders and develop a mitigation plan if required. This should be kept under review and updated on a regular basis throughout and after the case, as required.
  • (f) If at this stage or any stage in the process criminal activity is suspected, consider reporting to the relevant authorities in accordance with paragraph 10.1 and 10.2 above.
  • (g) Check and action any other reporting obligations. These may include:
    • (i) Partner organisations in accordance with an obligation in an agreement or contract;
    • (ii) Statutory or regulatory bodies (such as the Charity Commission or the Information Commissioner’s Office);
    • (iii) Insurance provider.
  • When submitting information to any of these bodies, confidentiality implications must be very carefully considered. The default position is that all information must be anonymised.
  • (h) Consider what next steps are appropriate. These could be (but are not limited to):
    • (i) No further action (for example if there is insufficient information to follow up, or the report refers to incidents outside the organisation’s remit and there are no reasonable steps that Care4Calais may take)
    • (ii) Investigation is required to gather further information
    • (iii) Immediate disciplinary action of a member of staff if no further information needed
    • (iv) Review, and possible termination, of agreement or relationship with the partnership organisation
    • (v) Referral to relevant authorities
  • (i) Document all steps and decisions made clearly, with access appropriately restricted. All records, information and confidential notes will be kept in separate files: hard copy files will be stored in a locked drawer or filing cabinet and electronic files will be restricted so that only those people who need access are able to do so.
  • (j) Record anonymised data to feed into organisational reporting requirements (e.g. serious incident reporting to the Trustees) and to feed into learning for dealing with future cases. This will include removal not only of individuals’ names but also such information that may otherwise make them identifiable.

10.5 Care4Calais will develop strategies and tools to ensure effective implementation of this policy and to enable the Designated Safeguarding Officer, Trustees and others to monitor its performance.

10.6 Existing systems for risk management, due diligence, monitoring and evaluation, audit and review, and other organisational performance mechanisms will be adapted to include indicators and processes by which implementation of the safeguarding policy can be measured and these processes will be periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain effective and up-to-date in respect of best practice.

10.7 Care4Calais will implement and keep updated a Complaints Policy aimed at encouraging a culture of openness and accountability wherein staff and members of the public are, respectively, confident that they can raise any matter of genuine concern without fear of reprisal in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and that matters will be investigated appropriately and managed on a need-to-know basis, with appropriate remedial action taken.

11. Policy Review

11.1 We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice regularly. This policy will be reviewed by the board of trustees at least annually, when there is a change in UK law and/or best practice or when an incident occurs that highlights a need for change – whichever occurs first.

12. Other relevant policies

12.1 The following Care4Calais policies relate to contexts in which serious incidents may arise:

13. Contact information

  • (a) Care4Calais’ Designated Safeguarding Officer is Jane Wing. The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer is Donna Leech.

These individuals have access to the email inbox for reporting concerns, which is safeguarding@care4calais.org

If you are not comfortable with submitting your report via email to that address, please call +447891948263 and ask to speak with the relevant person.

14. Publishing this policy

14.1 Care4Calais will ensure that this policy is at all times publicly accessible on its website.

Date of policy: 17 December 2019

 

 

 

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