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Policy Statement

We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which children, young people, vulnerable adults and adults can learn, develop and succeed and where all aspects of their welfare will be protected. We have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (Prevent Duty).

We believe it is unacceptable for anyone to experience abuse of any kind and recognise our responsibility to safeguarding by a commitment to practices which protect them and to following Devon County Council procedures. Our duty of care also extends to staff and volunteers and we endeavour to ensure their wellbeing and health and safety are a priority at all times.

We recognise that

  • the welfare, safety and security of our learners and their children, where engaged, is paramount.
  • all learners, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse including being drawn into terrorism.
  • working in partnership with children, young people, vulnerable adults their parents, carers and their agencies is essential in promoting their welfare and addressing issues that may arise.

The purpose of this policy is to provide

  • protection for the children, young people and vulnerable adults who use the services delivered by Learn Devon or an external provider formally sub-contracted by Learn Devon (hereafter referred to as Learn Devon).
  • staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child, young person or vulnerable adult may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm including risk of being drawn into terrorism.
  • awareness of the vulnerability of Young Carers: a child or young person under 18 who provides regular or ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, disabled or misuses substances. · Awareness of the Council’s whistle-blowing policy.

This policy

  • outlines Learn Devon’s policy on identifying and responding to concerns regarding the safeguarding and protection of children and young people and protection of vulnerable adults
  • provides guidance for all staff, volunteers and supervisors in workplace learning settings working for the service and everyone else working for or on behalf of it who may come across concerns.

Expectations of staff

  • everyone must be aware of what to do in the event of having concerns about the safeguarding, welfare or protection of a child or learner or receiving allegations of a safeguarding or extremist nature.
  • to provide a safe environment where children, young people and vulnerable adults can learn and develop.
  • leaders and managers to create a culture of vigilance where children’s and learners’ welfare is promoted and where timely and appropriate safeguarding action is taken for children or learners who need extra help or who may be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding action may be needed to protect children and learners from:

  • neglect
  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying
  • racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse
  • gender-based violence/violence against women and girls
  • radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour
  • child sexual exploitation and trafficking
  • the impact of new technologies on sexual behaviour, for example sexting
  • teenage relationship abuse
  • substance misuse
  • issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence
  • modern slavery
  • domestic violence
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • fabricated or induced illness
  • poor parenting, particularly in relation to babies and young children
  • other issues not listed here but that pose a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act. It relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:

  • children’s and learners’ health and safety and well-being
  • the use of reasonable force
  • meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
  • providing first aid
  • educational visits
  • intimate care and emotional well-being
  • online safety and associated issues
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s and learners’ security, taking into account the local context.

Any risks associated with children and learners offending, misusing drugs or alcohol, self-harming, going missing, being vulnerable to radicalisation, modern slavery, trafficking, or being sexually exploited that are known by staff are reported as required by the guidance issued, including to the Designated Officer or one of the Advocates. Please see the Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent guidance for staff.

Strategies are in place to keep children and learners safe when using technology and the risks posed including the internet, to bully, groom, radicalise or abuse children or learners are understood. See the Learn Devon Computers, Internet and Email Acceptable Use Policy

Emergency contact details are obtained for parents / carers of children, young people, vulnerable adults and adults on Independent Living and Life Skills courses and parents / carers who attend a course accompanied by their children.

Safeguarding children and young people

In relation to children and young people, Ofsted adopts the definition used in the Children Act 2004 and the Department for Education (DfE) guidance document: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education–2

which define safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care, and
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

The above statutory guidance defines child protection as part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. Child protection is the activity undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

Learn Devon works with children in the following ways:

  • children aged 0-16 who accompany their parent / carer on learning i.e. Family Learning courses
  • Young people (aged 16+) taking part in courses provided by Learn Devon infilling into adult learning sessions or apprenticeships
  • invigilating and assessing young people taking exams. An additional member of staff will also be present on the rare occasions a single young person is taking an exam.

Before a young person is enrolled onto an adult education class, the suitability of the setting and times of the class to be identified with arrangements for arrival / collection agreed and discussed with the young person and their parent / carer and suitably risk assessed. Parent / carer consent must be obtained for under 19s. The teaching staff must have a safer recruitment checks (including DBS) and have completed safeguarding children training within the past year.

Children and young people who do not arrive or go missing from the setting they attend receive well-coordinated responses that reduce the harm or risk of harm to them, including appropriate checks when children and learners stop attending the setting. Please see the Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent guidance for staff.

Safeguarding vulnerable adults

The legal and policy basis for responding to concerns regarding the safeguarding and welfare of vulnerable adults is different from that of children and young people under 18. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 only applies to children and young people until they reach the age of 18. Any incidents or concerns relating to a young person of 18 years and over, even if still at school, are not covered by Local Safeguarding Children Boards or their procedures.

The term vulnerable adult is used for any person over the age of 18 who meets the statutory definition. Following amendments to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, by the Protection of Freedom Act 2012, adults are no longer deemed vulnerable because of their personal attributes, characteristics or abilities. An adult is considered vulnerable if they receive a health, personal or social care service from a professional. Personal services would include, for example, help with financial matters, feeding, washing or dressing.

The definition of abuse of adults is contained in ‘No Secrets’ (para 2.5): ‘Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. Abuse may consist of single or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or omission to act, or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it’.

Within this context abuse can take the form of:

  • physical abuse – including hitting, pushing, kicking, misuse of restraint or inappropriate sanctions
  • sexual abuse – including sexual assault or acts to which the adult did not, or could not, consent
  • psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats, deprivation of contact, humiliation, intimidation, coercion, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services
  • financial or material abuse – including exploitation and pressure in connection to wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • neglect or acts of omission – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, withholding of medication or adequate nutrition and failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services discriminatory abuse – including racist, sexist and other forms of harassment.

Prevent duty

The following is taken from Devon County Council’s health and safety pages:

Prevent is part of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. Devon County Council has a statutory responsibility to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

An individual exposed to extremist viewpoints may, over time, be encouraged to carry out an act of violent extremism or terrorism. Strong evidence shows that an intervention can stop someone supporting violent extremism. Extremism is not illegal. Anyone who is identified through Prevent is not automatically criminalised. We all have a role in ensure that our communities remain safe.

Terrorism can occur anywhere in the world. However, terrorism can be motivated by a range of ideologies or other factors, including religious or political beliefs and racial prejudice. In Devon, extreme right-wing groups, and single-issue groups such as radical animal rights campaigners can pose a significant threat. You can make a difference by sharing any concerns you may have about individuals or groups you meet at work, socially or in any other context.

The following signs might indicate that someone is being radicalised:

  • a change in behaviour, their circle of friends, the way that they interact with others and spend their time.
  • accessing extremist material online
  • use of extremist or hate terms to exclude others or incite violence
  • writing or artwork promoting violent extremist messages.

These possible indicators should not be viewed in isolation; judgement will be required to determine the significance of any behaviour. If you believe that someone may be at risk of radicalisation you should raise your concerns.

Guidance on Prevent for further education and skills providers is available on the Education and Training Foundation’s website.

We seek to fulfil our commitment to safeguarding and keeping children and learners safe from the dangers of radicalisation and extremism through:

Effective communication with learners

  • valuing, listening to and respecting our learners and children
  • seeking to create a safe environment for learners and, where engaged, children
  • ensuring information for learners about their safety and wellbeing is readily available to them and sufficiently clear in learner information.

Effective communication and support with staff

  • providing staff with appropriate guidance so they know how to deal with and report any concerns
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training
  • access to policies and procedures for whistle-blowing and complaints.

Whistle-blowing

Concerns raised under the Whistleblowing Policy should be about something that is in the public interest and is or may be:

  • unlawful or a criminal offence; or
  • a breach of a legal obligation (but not a personal contractual breach unless such breach involves a matter of public interest); or
  • a miscarriage of justice; or
  • mistreatment or abuse of a client or a member of the public for whom the Council has a responsibility; or
  • in disregard of legislation governing health and safety at work; or
  • seeking undue favour over a contractual matter or a job application; or against the Council’s Financial Regulations; or
  • amounts to improper conduct or unauthorised use of public funds;
  • has led to or could lead to damage to the environment; or
  • deliberately covers up information tending to show any of the above.

Naming designated officer and advocates

There is a designated senior member of Learn Devon staff in charge of safeguarding arrangements and two advocates at management level who have been trained to the appropriate level and understand their responsibilities with respect to the protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults and the safeguarding of all learners. Their role is to:

  • keep up-to date on ’best practice’ in safeguarding
  • work with external agencies, whilst always placing the welfare of the individual at the centre of any action take
  • regularly review the safeguarding and prevent duty policy and procedures
  • receive any concerns, make decisions on how to proceed and ensuring the procedure is followed on such matters as making a referral, confidentiality and recording
  • share information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving others as appropriate
  • receive outcomes of any safeguarding or prevent duty investigations where there are relevant issues to Learn Devon through the Council’s communications.

In addition, there is a single point of contact for Prevent Duty within Devon County Council.

Staff and volunteer recruitment

Staff and volunteers working with children, young people and learners are carefully selected and vetted according to statutory requirements. There is monitoring to prevent unsuitable people from being recruited and having the opportunity to harm children or learners or place them at risk.

Learn Devon follows Devon County Council recruitment procedures to ensure the safe recruitment of staff, volunteers and workplace supervisors ensuring all necessary checks are made.

Learn Devon ensure that all teaching staff: Tutors, Learning Support Tutors, Higher Level Learning Support Assistants, Learning Support Assistants Invigilators and Assessors, have been checked by the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and that a status check on the DBS Update Service has been carried out. This is because these staff could and do work with children aged 16-18 and vulnerable adults. In addition teaching staff work alongside parents, carers and their children. All records are kept in a single central record. The information recorded on individuals is whether or not the following checks have been carried out or certificates obtained and the date on which the checks were completed:

  • an identity check
  • barred list check
  • an enhanced DBS check/certificate
  • an Employers Status Check with the DBS Update Service
  • a prohibition from teaching check
  • further checks on people living or working outside the UK
  • a check of professional qualifications
  • a check to establish the person’s right to work in the UK.

If there are concerns about an existing staff member’s suitability to work with children or learners, all relevant checks will be carried out as if the person were a new member of staff. Similarly, if a member of staff working for Learn Devon moves from a post that did not require vetting activity into work that requires it.

Staff training

There are clear and effective arrangements for staff development and training (including volunteers and sub-contracted staff) in respect of the protection and care of children and learners ensuring:

  • staff have an understanding of the factors that make people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism and what action to take in response:
    • all front line staff are to undertake an online training package
    • online training specific to the adult education sector is available on the Education and Training Foundation website for the Prevent Duty along with teaching resources and guidance.
  • staff receive the appropriate awareness raising training in safeguarding following the guidance issued by Devon County Council’s Safeguarding Board:
    • all teaching staff (tutors, learning support tutors, learning support assistants) to undertake DCC’s e-learning training on Safeguarding Adults as part of their induction. DCC guidance does not require refresher training however this can be undertaken where the need is identified through observation / appraisal.
    • Additionally, teaching staff (tutors, learning support tutors and learning support assistants) who work with children/young people aged 0-16 years providing pastoral support, information and advice alongside parents/carers, or teaching children/young people aged 16-18 on specific programmes (including apprenticeships) are to undertake Safeguarding Children training at level 2, refreshed every 2 years. The PowerPoint presentation used in the training can be a useful refresher of what is covered (not to be used in place of the training).
    • the Designated Officer and Advocates complete a basic level of safeguarding children and safeguarding adults training (level 3), renewable every 2 years (Ofsted requirement)
    • Guidance for staff in handling a safeguarding issue or cause for concern is provided. Please see the Learn Devon Safeguarding and Prevent guidance for staff.

Secure record keeping

Secure records of safeguarding and cause for concern reports are kept centrally summarising the issue, the action taken and outcome (where known) Safeguarding Spreadsheet (restricted access)

Records provide evidence that staff have an understanding of when to make referrals when there are issues concerning sexual exploitation, radicalisation and/or extremism or that they have sought additional advice and support.

 

Risk assessing venues

Using appropriately insured venues and risk assessing all venues, checking for compliance with health and safety regulations and safeguarding, with specific checks if the premises are to be used by children or vulnerable adults. Organisers of children’s groups already using the premises will be made aware that an adult group will be sharing some facilities at the same time. Reference should be made to the Learn Devon Health and Safety Policy including guidance and risk assessments on lone working.

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