Safeguarding

Children and Vulnerable Young Adults

Introduction

Ensuring the safety of everyone involved with the Foundation is of the upmost importance to us and due to our day-to-day contact with children and young people, Foundation employees and volunteers are well placed to observe the outward signs of abuse.

We believe everyone has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practice in a way that protects them. We will make sure that all children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Purpose

This policy sets out the responsibilities and procedures for everyone involved in and with the Foundation to protect and safeguard the welfare of all children and young people.

Scope 

This policy applies to all London Irish Foundation employees and volunteers working on behalf of the Foundation. 

The policy has five main elements:

  • Ensuring we practice safe recruitment in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children and young people.
  • Raising awareness of children and young people protection issues and equipping staff and volunteers with the skills needed to keep them safe.
  • Developing and then implementing procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse. 
  • Supporting children and young people who have been abused in accordance with their agreed young person protection plan.
  • Establishing a safe environment in which children and young people can 
    learn and develop.

Policy Definitions 

  1. Children and young people – Anyone who is under the age of 18. However, where a 17-year-old is playing in the adult game and/or training session it is essential that every reasonable precaution is taken to ensure their safety and wellbeing are protected.
  2. London Irish Foundation – Community Foundation employees, volunteers and Trustees.
  3. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – The DBS is responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks, taking decisions on whether it is appropriate to place a person on or remove a person from the DBS Children’s or Adults’ Barred List for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Adoption of policies and procedures 

The London Irish Foundation adopt and adheres to the Rugby Football Union’s Safeguarding Policy and the procedures, practices and guidelines contained within it and any successor policy (see appendix A for summary)

The Foundation will also follow the children and young people and adult protection procedures set out by the Slough Safeguarding Partnership https://www.sloughsafeguardingpartnership.org.uk/ or the West Berkshire Local Safeguarding Children Board https://www.westberkslscb.org.uk/ this will take account of the national guidance issued by the Department of Education:

  • Ensure we have a Designated Safeguarding Officer (Foundation CEO Andy Keast) and Deputy Safeguarding Officer (Foundation Manager – Joseph Pegg) who have received appropriate training and support for these roles. We will ensure all employees and volunteers know the name of the Designated and Deputy Safeguarding Officers.
  • Employees and volunteers understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for recording any concerns and referring them to a safeguarding officer.
  • Ensure all staff who will be working with and alongside children receive children and young people protection awareness training and that lead safeguarding persons are trained every two years.
  • Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding children and young person’s protection matters including attendance at case conferences where needed.
  • Keep written records of children and young people’s welfare and protection concerns, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately. These are to be kept confidentially in accordance with relevant General Data Protection Regulations.
  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed. This includes obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificates for any new staff and ensuring they are renewed at least every three years.
  • Ensure that all employees provide references from previous employers.
  • Ensure that until a satisfactory DBS has been received, a member of staff will not be permitted to work unsupervised with children.
  • London Irish Foundation will ensure that all temporary staff and external consultants identified in roles that are working with children, sign a Self-Declaration Form and in any case, will not have unsupervised access to children during their time with the Foundation.
  • Ensure coaching and staffing arrangements must always meet the needs of all children and ensure their safety. London Irish Foundation staff must ensure that children are adequately supervised and decide how to deploy staff to ensure children’s needs are met.
  • Ensure staff and volunteers understand their responsibilities for safer working practices.
  • Ensure that any allegations against Foundation members of staff or volunteers, with a child and young person’s protection aspect, are dealt with urgently, with concerns about staff and volunteers to be reported to a Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • Ensure that all other London Irish Foundation policies which have a safeguarding element are all consistent with this policy and with each other and where appropriate make cross-reference to this policy.
  • Ensure all staff and volunteers receive and sign a copy of this policy. 

Safeguarding Procedures 

All Foundation staff and volunteers are expected to adhere to the Foundation’s Code of Conduct and or staff handbook and are trained on what defines ‘inappropriate behaviour’ towards children and young people in our care. London Irish Foundation prohibits the below practices and actions. 

All members of staff and volunteers must never: 

  • Be inappropriate or have unnecessary physical contact with children and young people.
  • Participate in any dynamic contact games or training with children and young people.
  • Work alone with a child and/or young person.
  • Consume alcohol whilst responsible for children and young people.
  • Provide alcohol, drugs or other harmful substances to children and young people or allowing its supply.
  • Smoke in the presence of children and young people.
  • Have an intimate or sexual relationship with any child and young person developed as a result of being in a position of trust, including making sexually explicit comments or sharing sexually explicit material.
  • Use inappropriate language or allow children and young people to use inappropriate language.
  • Allow allegations by children and young people to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Depart the school, activity centre or rendezvous point until the safe collection of all children and young people.
  • Cause an individual to lose self-esteem by embarrassing, humiliating or undermining the individual.
  • Treat some children or young people more favourably than others. 

Position of Trust 

London Irish Foundation considers all staff and volunteers who work with our children and young people to be in a position of trust which has been invested in them by parents, the referring provider and the child and young person. This relationship can be described as one in which the Foundation staff member or volunteer is in a position of power and influence by virtue of their position. 

It is unlawful for an adult in a position of trust to have an intimate or sexual relationship with children and young people under 18, even where there is apparent consent from the young person. 

All those within London Irish Foundation have a duty and are encouraged to raise concerns about the behaviour of any London Irish Foundation member of staff, volunteer, outside contractor or anyone in a position of trust with children and young people through following the Foundation’s whistleblowing procedures.

Support to children and young people at risk 

We recognise that children and young people who are abused or witness violence may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth. They may feel helplessness, humiliation and some sense of blame. London Irish Foundation may be the only stable, secure and predictable element in the lives of children and young people at risk. When participating in London Irish Foundation activities their behaviour may be challenging and defiant or they may be withdrawn. 

The Foundation will endeavour to support children and young people through:

  • The London Irish Foundation content of activities.
  • The London Irish Foundation ethos which promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment and gives children and young people a sense of being valued.
  • London Irish Foundation’s code of conduct ensures the children and young people know some behaviour is unacceptable, but they are valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred. 

Use of Images

The London Irish Foundation takes its guidance on the use of images from guidelines issued by the RFU and PRL. All images taken by any official will have been briefed by the member of the Foundation staff (and where possible a designated safeguarding lead) responsible for the activity being photographed and or filmed. The following will apply in order to protect children:

  • Before taking or publishing images of children (for example on our website or on a newsletter) parental consent is sought in writing at the start of each session or event.  Parents/Legal Guardians are responsible for informing London Irish Foundation of any change of circumstances which may affect consent.
  • Parents/Legal Guardians will be informed of how the image will be used. The Foundation will not allow an image to be used for something other than that for which it was initially agreed.
  • All children featured in London Irish Foundation publications will be appropriately dressed.
  • Only use the first name of the child on any publication if consent has been given.
  • Encourage children to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that have been taken of them.
  • Were possible, the image will focus on the activity taking place and not a specific Child.
  • Where appropriate, images represent the broad range of people participating safely in the event.
  • Designated Foundation photographers will, where applicable, undertake a DBS and complete a Safeguarding Children workshop and in any case will be personally responsible for keeping up to date with the latest guidelines on the ‘Use of Images’. Where feasible Foundation identification will be worn.
  • Children who are subject to family, care or legal proceedings, or who are under a court order will not have their images published in any London Irish Foundation document.
  • No images of children featured in London Irish Foundation publications will be accompanied by personal details such as their school or home address.
  • Any instances of inappropriate images in rugby should be reported to a designated safeguarding lead immediately.
  • Photography is forbidden in private areas such as changing rooms, toilets, showers, whilst a child is in a state of undress.
  • Photos will only be taken on company cameras and phones.

Match Day Photography

Children attend games as spectators. Images of children may appear as part of the crowd on match days and be reproduced in official London Irish Rugby Club promotional material and appear in the public domain. London Irish Rugby Club’s terms and conditions of ticket purchase and standard ground regulations state that that images can be taken of fans within the crowd and used in promotional material. Ticket holders agree to these conditions when purchasing a ticket. Any queries on promotional material featuring a child should be addressed to the London Irish Foundation designated safeguarding lead. 

Transportation 

The London Irish Foundation should make it clear that in most instances it is the responsibility of parents, not the Foundation to transport their child or vulnerable adult to and from the nominated meeting point. If parents decide between themselves this is a private arrangement and at the parents’ discretion.

If the Foundation formally arranges transport e.g. using minibuses or people carriers then the London Irish foundation should ensure that:

  • Drivers have a full valid driving licence which covers the driving of the respective vehicle.
  • Ensure that insurance and breakdown cover is in place for the vehicle concerned.
  • Ensure the vehicle is suitable for the number of passengers and has operational safety belts.
  • Ensure that parents have given their consent including their contact numbers.
    • If consent is not obtained, then the child or vulnerable adult will not be allowed to travel.
  • If the London Irish Foundation has hired a vehicle from a reputable commercial company, it is entitled to assume that the company provides properly maintained and insured vehicles and properly licensed drivers.
    • However, children must never travel unaccompanied.
    • A member of the London Irish Foundation or appropriate adult must travel with the children and ensure that the adult’s contact details must be readily available to any parent who has reason to contact them during the transportation period.
    • In the event of a late collection of children or vulnerable adults, London Irish Foundation or appropriate adult should attempt to contact the parents whilst waiting with the child or vulnerable adult, preferably in the company of others.

NO transportation of children or vulnerable adults will be permitted in London Irish Foundation staff members own vehicles except in exceptional circumstances. In these instances, approval from the London Irish Foundation Manager of Chief Executive must be obtained.

  • If permission is granted, then a risk assessment must be put in place prior to transportation.

Home visits

London Irish Foundation members of staff or appropriate adults should:

  • Avoid home visits unless necessary.
  • Should a home visit be required then permission needs to be obtained from the Foundation Manager before any further actions.
  • A minimum requirement of two adults (Foundation staff) will be required.
    • No lone visits under any circumstances.
  • Ensure a full risk-assessment is in place.
  • Ensure that a parent and or legal guardian is present throughout the duration of the visit.
  • A full written report of the entire visit must be submitted within 24hours to the London Irish Foundation Manager.

Consistency of Policies 

This policy should be read alongside other London Irish Foundation policies which include a safeguarding element. 

Policy Review 

The responsibility of reviewing and maintaining this policy is London Irish Foundation’s Designated Safeguarding Officer and will be reviewed annually.

Start date of policy: January 2019

Last review date: March 2020

Date of next review: March 2021

Appendix 1

The Key principles of the RFU Safeguarding Policy are: 

  • The welfare of children and young people are, and must always be, paramount to any other considerations. 
    All participants regardless of age, gender, ability or disability, race, faith, culture, size, shape, language or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse or harm.
  • All allegations or suspicions of abuse, neglect, harm and poor practice will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately. 
  • Working in partnership with other organisations, statutory agencies, parents, carers, young person and young people is essential for the welfare of children and young people.
  • Children and young people have a right to expect support, and personal and social development delivered by an appropriately recruited, vetted and managed person in relation to their participation in rugby union, whether they are playing, volunteering or officiating in the community or professional areas of the sport. 

Full details of the RFU Safeguarding Policy can be found on the the RFU website

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