Safeguarding Policy

This is the safeguarding policy of The Mullany Fund
Felicity

The Mullany Fund Safeguarding Policy

Registered Charity Number 1126302

‘Brearking the barriers to social mobility’

Children and Adults At Risk Protection Policy

All staff including volunteers and part-time workers employed by The Mullany Fund, together with members of the board of Trustees accept and recognise their responsibilities to safeguard and promote the well-being of children and adults at risk with whom they come in contact, either in person or online.

The following principles underpin The Mullany Fund’s child and adults at risk protection policy:

  • The welfare of the young person is paramount
  • All young people, without exception, have the right to be protected from harm and abuse
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • The Mullany Fund’s staff and Trustees have a responsibility to report concerns about any child or adult to the relevant authority

The Mullany Fund recognises the particular needs of children and adults at risk from minority ethnic groups, children who are disabled and all policies and procedures adopted by the Fund apply to children and adults regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or religion. We aim to ensure all participants are safe from abuse and any suspicion of abuse is appropriately and promptly dealt with. Whenever possible and appropriate, The Fund will seek the child’s permission before undertaking any action on her/his behalf to safeguard and promote his/her well-being. In exceptional circumstances where there is reasonable case to suspect a child is suffering or is at risk of abuse, neglect or other forms of harm to be a danger to themselves or to be a danger to another person, confidentiality may need to be broken. The child will be informed of our intended action, or in exceptional circumstances the action may already have been taken before the child can be informed.

In order to achieve this we will ensure that:

  • At all times staff within the Organisation will provide a trusting and supportive relationship to families/guardians, new staff and volunteers within the programme.
  • The Organisation will do all it can to support and work with the participant’s family, to ensure the participant’s care and safety is paramount at all times.
  • Applicants for any position within the organisation, whether voluntary or paid, will be made aware that the position is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that since the position is working with children or adults at risk the Trust are within their rights to ask questions about a person’s convictions both spent and unspent. All applicants will be interviewed prior to appointment and at least two references will be followed up. Applicants will be asked to provide an employment history, which will be discussed during interview, ensuring explanations for any gaps in employment are justified.
  • Any appointments made, paid and voluntary, will be subject to at least six months’ probationary period at the end of which a review of this time will be carried out by the Supervisor.
  • In relation to individuals providing e-mentoring programmes for young people and adults at risk, staff are eligible for an Enhanced Disclosure due to provision made within the DBS Enhanced Eligibility regulations which make provision for the following "prescribed purpose"

"considering an individual's suitability for any work which is normally concerned with the provision of any form of information, advice or guidance wholly or mainly to children which relates to their physical, emotional or educational well-being and is provided by means of telephone or other form of electronic communication including the internet and mobile text messaging" The Mullany Fund Child Protection Policy and Code of Conduct 2013

 

This provision would only extend in relation to 'children' and adults at risk, however ultimately the responsibility as to whether such positions fall within this category rests with the DBS. All of our staff, volunteers and trustees will undergo an enhanced DBS check every three years.

Code of conduct

When working directly with children the following code of practice will be adhered to.

  • All children and young adults are treated with respect.
  • Ensure that whenever possible there is more than one adult present during activities with children and/or adults at risk, or at least that you are within sight or hearing of others.
  • Respect a young person’s right to personal privacy and confront attitudes or behaviour that you do not like.
  • Always remember that someone else may misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.
  • Special caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children
  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of harm or abuse to appropriate contact in school and a member of The Mullany Fund senior management team.

1.Relationships with children and adults at risk

  • Do not spend time alone with a child or adult at risk. If this is unavoidable, reduce the risks as much as practicable. For example
  • Get appropriate permissions before you start work
  • Let somebody else know that you will be working with the young person
  • Work in an open space where other people can see you and you can see them.
  • Never be alone with a child in a room with the door shut
  • Do not take children or adults at risk alone in a car / on journeys – however short
  • Do not arrange to meet children or adults at risk with whom you come in contact as part of the work of the Trust outside the confines of the project work
  • Do not agree to escort a child to and from any activity without written permission from the local authority responsible for the child’s care
  • Staff during their probationary period, if they undertake activity work or training with young people will not accompany children to the toilet without supervision

 

NB: Foster carers cannot give written permission for a child to engage in a particular activity or to be escorted to and from such an activity. It is the responsibility of the local authorat rty to give this permission. In circumstances where a child is not subject to a care order, but is looked after by the local authority, the written permission of birth parents should also be sought by the local authority. The Mullany Fund does not have the responsibility to gain permission from birth parents of children who are not subject to care orders – it is the responsibility of the local authority.

Never:

 Engage in rough physical games including horse-play

 Engage in sexually provocative games

 Allow or engage in inappropriate touching in any form, remember physical contact with a child maybe misinterpreted.

 Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged

 Make sexually suggestive comments about /to a child, even in fun

 Allow allegations a child makes be ignored or go unrecorded

 Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves

You must not:

 Have inappropriate physical or verbal contact with children

 Allow yourself to be drawn into attention seeking behaviour/make suggestive or derogatory remarks or gestures in front of children

 Exaggerate or trivialise child-abuse issues

2. Supervision of young people & planned activities

The Fund will ensure, (and undertake to ensure that to the best of our knowledge, our partner organisations), make arrangements for proper supervision of young people minimise their risk of suffering harm or abuse of any kind whilst in our care. Our code of conduct in this respect includes:

  • Prepare a detailed programme of activities for the children
  • Welfare and safety of the children are your responsibility while they are in your care
  • Children should be adequately supervised and engaged in suitable activities at all times
  • Local authority, and/or parental consent should be obtained in writing for children to participate in activities
  • Carry out a ‘risk assessment’ of the environment where the activity is taking place
  • Workers should know at all times where children are and what they’re doing
  • Dangerous behaviour by children should not be allowed
  • Staff will encourage all participants to develop self-awareness and independence in making choices and in finding names for their own feelings and encourage acceptable ways to express them. This will encourage the participants to develop their self-confidence within a group setting.
  • Activities which fall under regulated activity will require the supervisor to hold an enchnaced DBS check with barring lists check i.e any activity where the child is under 16 and it is carried out by an unsupervised person for whom arrangements exist principally for that purpose.

3. Responding to a suspicion of abuse

Through constant contact between staff, mentors and participants, observations of any changes in behaviour or appearance will be monitored within the Fund. The strictest confidence will be maintained at all times within the Fund with the appropriate people being informed:

o School contact

o A member of The Mullany Fund Senior Management Team

If undertaking external face to face sessions (workshops, seminars, summer schools etc.) and staff observe any changes in the child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance information will be recorded confidentially. Should concerns persist this information will be recorded through detailed observations without comment or interpretation from staff, the exact words spoken by the child will be recorded, dated and timed and signed by the member of staff running the sessions. These records will be filed confidentially and separately. If requested these will be passed on to the relevant outside agencies.

If, through the monitoring of communications between mentors and mentees there is any suspicion of abuse the matter is immediately reported to the appropriate person within the Fund. The communication is archived along with all online communications as part of the standard audit trail implemented by the Fund (see Policy statement on website security).

4. Responding to a child making an allegation of abuse

If an allegation of abuse is made by a child the following procedures should be observed.

  • Stay calm
  • Listen carefully to what is said and keep on listening
  • Find an early opportunity to explain to the child that the information will need to be shared with others – do not promise to keep secrets
  • Only ask questions for clarification and avoid asking questions that suggest a particular answer
  • Don’t promise confidentiality
  • Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling you
  • Tell them what you will do next and with whom the information will be shared
  • Record in writing what was said using the child’s own words, as soon as possible
  • Note date, time, any names mentioned to whom the information was given and ensure that the record is signed and dated and keep safely
  • Contact the person responsible for child protection in the Fund.

The person who first encounters a case of alleged or suspected abuse is not responsible for deciding whether or not abuse has occurred. That is the task of the professional child protection agency (the local authority responsible for the child’s care) following a referral to them of concern about a child.

5. Allegations of abuse made against a member of The Mullany Fund staff or Trustees

In the event of a child making an allegation to the responsible authority (the local authority who is responsible for their care) against a member of The Mullany Fund staff or a Trustee, the Chief Executive of The Mullany Fund or a Director (in the Chief Executive’s absence) will be informed by the local authority. If the allegation was against The Chief Executive, the Chair of Trustees will be informed.

The person subject to the allegation will be offered guidance and support and where necessary, legal advice by the proper authority (i.e. Chief Executive, Director or Chair of trustees) within The Mullany Fund, pending an enquiry. Should the allegation be escalated, the member of staff or the member of the trustee board may be suspended, pending the outcome of an enquiry.

Feedback/Complaints Procedure

Within this policy, the term ‘you’ refers to you the mentee.

We are commited to providing a high quality mentoring service, in relation to this your safety and well being is paramount during your involvement in the project. Therefore, if you have any concerns about your mentor, the communication between you or your experience on this session at any time during the project, please contact us immediately at office@themullanyfund.org

The Mullany Fund treats any concern of missue of the e-Mentoring relationship seriously and will investigate any concern in an appropriate time and manner. Once the concern is investigated, there may be a need to escalate it further, for example in cases where there has been any misuse of the mentoring relationship.

In relation to your privacy, if you feel that your privacy has been breached at any point during your involvement with the project, you have the right to complain. We will be treat you complaint with due care and diligence and

We will do everything we can to put things right and will review our procedures where necessary to ensure that we are being fair to you.

In exceptional circumstances where there has been a significant breach of security, we may need to report the concern to an independent authority.