We recognise that children and vulnerable adults (as defined below) represent a particular safeguarding risk and our equally dedicated to the safeguarding of all of our visitors. This policy together with the training provided by Life provides a framework to support all of our team (including employees, trustees, contractors, temporary workers, volunteers and casual workers) in their safeguarding practices. It also clarifies our expectations that we understand and meet our responsibilities regarding the protection of all of our visitors and in particular children and vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately.
At Life we come in to contact with children and vulnerable adults in numerous ways including: -
- visitors to our ScienceCentre and ice rink;
- school visits to Lifelab, our education facility and the Science Centre;
- out of hours events (summer camps, field trips, science club etc.).
The principles of this policy apply equally to all of our visitors and should be used alongside our safeguarding guidance and training programme.
For the purpose of safeguarding at Life, a child, as defined in the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004, is anyone under the age of 18. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education does not change their status or entitlements to services or protection.
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.
This may include a person who:
- is elderly and frail;
- has a mental illness including dementia;
- has a physical or sensory disability;
- has a learning disability;
- has a severe physical illness;
- is a substance misuser;
- is homeless.
At Life we are committed to ensuring all of our visitors are safe and protected from harm whilst on our premises and that the welfare of all of our visitors remains paramount in all circumstances. We aim to: -
- respect the rights of all children and vulnerable adults;
- provide an environment which is safe and welcoming for children and vulnerable adults and which protects them from all forms of abuse;
- ensure that everyone working in the Life Science Centre is aware of the need to protect children and vulnerable adults and knows how to reduce the risks to them; and
- provide procedures and guidance for everyone working at the Science Centre for their own protection.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility at Life.
It is important that anyone who suspects that a visitor or employee is at risk of harm or abuse takes personal responsibility to act. Not sharing worries or concerns may put visitors or employees and particularly children and vulnerable adults at further risk of harm. It is better to report something and be wrong than not to report at all. It is your responsibility to ensure that: -
- your behavior is appropriate at all times;
- you observe the rules established for the safety and security of young and/or vulnerable people and understand the consequences of not adhering to these rules; and
- you recognise the position of trust in which you have been placed and seek to protect yourself.
Whilst there may not be a personal or organisational responsibility to investigate a safeguarding complaint, there is a responsibility to refer concerns on to the relevant local authority or the Police and this should be done immediately in cases where there is a concern that the child or vulnerable adult is suffering significant harm or is likely to do so.
We will be responsible for investigating any potential breaches of this policy involving any member of staff.
Our Board of Trustees take safeguarding very seriously, and every year the trustees receive an anonymized update on any safeguarding incidents to make sure that they were handled properly, and to identify and address any trends and lessons learned.
Codes of conduct for safeguarding
This Safeguarding Code of Conduct sets out our expectations for everyone who works for or represents our organisation in their contact with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Any member of the team who fails to comply with this Safeguarding Code of Conduct may be subject to a formal disciplinary procedure.
All members of our team are required to: -
- act professionally in all matters to promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults;
- ensure children aged 13 or over entering the Science Centre without direct supervision are welcomed if they are behaving appropriately. Children under 13 should not be permitted entry without adult supervision;
- approach any child, young person or vulnerable adult apparently in distress and ask if they can help;
- keep a look-out for children aged of 12 and under apparently unaccompanied and follow the ‘Lost Child Procedure’;
- actively contribute to Life’s culture that inappropriate, violent or aggressive behaviour is not tolerated;
- if a child or vulnerable adult wishes to talk in confidence then try to find a quiet space in a public area where this is possible but avoid spending time with children or vulnerable adults unobserved and always keep other members of the team aware of where you are and what you are doing;
- be aware of appearances and avoid any situations which might appear compromising;
- report any allegation (even if this is just a suspicion) of abuse or inappropriate conduct immediately to the duty manager or your line manager using the Safeguarding Incident Form attached to this policy;
- always do your utmost to accommodate if the child / vulnerable adult expresses a wish to talk to a male or female member of staff;
- be aware and confident in the application of this policy and the attached guidance;
- take part in any safeguarding training required by Life.
You should not: -
- engage in inappropriate behaviour or contact;
- give out personal details to any children or vulnerable adults;
- develop social relationships with children or vulnerable adults;
- arrange meetings with children or vulnerable adults outside of working hours;
- physically restrain a child or vulnerable adult except in exceptional circumstances (e.g., to prevent injury) and even then, be careful to use only the minimum restraint necessary;
- do things of a personal nature for children or vulnerable adults that they can do for themselves or that a parent / leader can do for them.
Managers and senior staff will: -
- promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults;
- ensure that when concerns are received the appropriate statutory authority is contacted without delay;
- ensure any safeguarding concerns that are raised are documented as soon as possible afterwards using the Safeguarding Incident Form attached to this policy;
- support staff who are reporting any safeguarding concerns;
- ensure any whistleblowing or reported allegations are treated with confidentiality and are reported to People Services and/or Senior Management without delay;
- ensure that all members of the team are aware of this policy and that it is implemented throughout the organisation;
- ensure staff are confident in recognising safeguarding risks and in the appropriate reporting of such risks.
Life will: -
- promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults;
- ensure everyone understands and are fully trained in their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding;
- ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of abuse and support provided to the individual/s who raise or disclose the concern;
- share information about concerns with agencies who need to know;
- follow robust procedures for the recruitment and selection of staff and ensure individuals who are working with children / vulnerable adults have the appropriate DBS checks in place;
- promote safeguarding widely across the organisation and ensure that appropriate training is given to all employees;
- ensure no contractors are allowed in Education unaccompanied when the area is occupied unless confirmation that DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks have been completed;
- ensure that any accompanying individuals (parents, guardians, schoolteachers etc.) are aware of their own responsibilities in relation to safeguarding;
- address any failures to comply with this policy appropriately and inform staff that not adhering to the policy and guidelines will lead to formal disciplinary action;
- ensure appropriate risk assessment procedures are followed;
- ensure Life’s complaints procedure is accessible to all visitors.
Who to contact
In an emergency or when someone is at risk of immediate harm, you should always contact 999.
Otherwise, you should discuss concerns immediately with your line manager or if not available, with the Duty Manager and / or a member of the Senior Management Team.
Liz Dean, Trading and Operations Director is the designated child protection officer within the Science Centre and will have overall responsibility for implementation of this policy and managers should ensure that she is informed of any concerns reported to them by staff.
Initial Response Service is the first point of contact for anyone who is worried about a child’s safety or welfare.
Initial Response Service
Children’s Social Care
Wellbeing, Care and Learning Directorate
Newcastle upon Tyne
Phone: 0191 277 2500
Newcastle Community Health and Social Care Direct (8am – 5pm) – 0191 278 8377
Outside of these hours call – 0191 278 8377
In an emergency always dial 999
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding refers to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm, abuse or neglect.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding is defined in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’ as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children’s health and development;
- ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and
- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Harm and abuse can take a number of forms, including but not exclusively the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial (or material) abuse
Talking to and listening to children
If a child chooses to disclose, you SHOULD: -
- ensure the child is not at immediate risk and that any medical attention needed is addressed as a priority;
- be accessible, receptive and maintain an open mind but do not ask probing or leading questions designed to get them to reveal more;
- listen carefully and uncritically at the child’s pace and never stop a person who is freely recalling significant events;
- take what is said seriously and check your understanding of the situation without asking leading questions;
- reassure the child that they are right to tell;
- explain that you cannot keep such information confidential, and that you have a responsibility to report what they have said. If there is an opportunity you can tell the person who you will be passing on your concerns to. It is important to record if the person has consented to having the information shared but if the concern involves wider public interest the person’s wishes may have to be overridden;
- make a note of the discussion as soon as possible afterwards, taking care to record the timing, setting and people present as well as what was said. Try to record the words that were actually spoken and not your own interpretation of them.
You should NEVER:
- take photographs of injuries;
- examine marks/ injuries solely to assess whether they may have been caused by abuse (there may be a need to give appropriate first aid);
- investigate or probe, aiming to prove or disprove possible abuse – never ask leading questions;
- make promises to children about confidentiality or keeping ‘secrets’;
- assume that someone else will take the necessary action;
- jump to conclusions or react with shock, anger or horror;
- speculate or accuse anybody;
- confront another person (adult or child) allegedly involved;
- offer opinions about what is being said or about people allegedly involved;
- forget to record what you have been told;
- fail to pass the information on to the correct person;
- ask a child to sign a written copy of the disclosure or a ‘statement’