Safeguarding Policy

Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO):                 

Nick White nick@wassailtheatre.co.uk / 01935 509706

Nominated safeguarding trustee: Lindsay Baker

Policy Statement

Clause 1

  1. Wassail acknowledges its responsibility for the safety and welfare of children and vulnerable adults is paramount.

  2. Wassail recognizes that good safeguarding policies and procedures are of benefit to everyone involved in activity at Wassail and is committed to providing a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults.

  3. Wassail believes that all children and vulnerable adults regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm and/or abuse.

  4. Wassail believes working in partnership with children, young people, vulnerable adults, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential to promoting welfare.

  5. A child or young person is defined as a person up to the age of 18 years who has not yet reached their 18th birthday (The Children’s Act 1989).

  6. A vulnerable adult is defined as anyone over the age of 18 who is or may be in need of safeguarding by reason of mental health challenges, physical impairment, age or illness. Or who may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.

  7. The Safeguarding Policy is provided to all Wassail employees and is available on request to parents, carers, children, young people and outside organisations. 

Purpose and Function of the Wassail Safeguarding Policy

Clause 2

 

  1. To ensure all children and vulnerable adults working with the Wassail, whatever their culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual orientation have the right to protection from harm or abuse.

  2. To ensure all employees and volunteers understand how to identify and respond to safeguarding concerns.

  3. To ensure all employees and volunteers have a clear understanding of the principles and practices involved in the safeguarding and protection of children and vulnerable adults.

  4. To provide information to children and vulnerable adults participating in Wassail activities, outlining the responsibilities of, and approach taken by, Wassail in the protection of children and vulnerable adults.

  5. To ensure that employees, children and vulnerable adults participating in Wassail activities understand that all disclosures of harm and abuse will be reported by Wassail to the appropriate agency/authority. 

The Safeguarding Policy Applies to:

Clause 3

 

  1. All employees, children, vulnerable adults, their parents, their carers and any other agencies involved in activity with Wassail.

  2. For the purposes of this document, a Wassail employee includes but is not limited to full time employees, freelance/casual workers, interns, apprentices, workshop assistants, chaperones and volunteers.

Employing and Recruiting Staff

Clause 4

 

  1. Wassail asserts that employees working routinely with children and vulnerable adults as part of their role at/for Wassail, undertake an enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) every three years as recommended by the DBS.

  2. Wassail does not require administrative staff or volunteers who do not have routine contact with children and vulnerable adults to undertake a DBS disclosure as recommended by the DBS.

  3. Wassail will verify on first employment, and yearly thereafter, DBS enhanced disclosures online where the employee is registered for online tracking.

  4. All full time Wassail employees are required to provide two references. For employees working directly with and responsible for children, young people and vulnerable adults, the line manager. in conjunction with the DSO, will  check all references with particular attention to the employee’s suitability for working in close proximity with children and vulnerable adults.

Addressing Safeguarding Incidents

Clause 5

 

  1. All reported and/or identified child and vulnerable adult safeguarding incidents will be taken seriously by Wassail and its employees and recorded.

  2. It is the responsibility of all Wassail employees to report all incidents relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults to the DSO or in their safeguarding child, young person and vulnerable adult’s committee. 

  3. All Wassail employees recognise that collective accounts from several Wassail employees may highlight trends and all concerns, no matter how small, should be reported to the DSO or in their absence the relevant member of the safeguarding committee.

  4. In the event of an incident being reported to or identified by the DSO, the DSO, in conjunction with the relevant member of the committee will convene and identify and agree on the necessary course of action.

  5. All decisions taken by the committee will be recorded and securely retained for a period of 25 years.

  6. All decisions taken by the committee will remain confidential and be communicated only to the child, young person, vulnerable adult, their parent, their carer and any other agency as appropriate.

The Role of the DSO and Committee 

Clause 6

 

  1. To liaise with, and make referrals to, appropriate agencies where there are concerns/incidents relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

  2. To ensure that the Safeguarding Policy is updated annually, and that all staff have read and understood the policy.

  3. To ensure that policies and procedures relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults are fully implemented.

  4. To manage clear, accurate and secure record keeping systems. 

  5. To ensure own safeguarding training is up to date.

  6. To ensure all safeguarding and child protection training is cascaded to other staff.

  7. To ensure that a register is kept of staff who have completed child protection training.

Anti-Radicalisation 

Clause 7

 

  1. Wassail recognises and understands that children and vulnerable adults ‘play out’ reality and current topical subject within sessions. Within this context Wassail promotes democracy, rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. 

  2. Wassail recognises the difference between ‘playing out’ within sessions and real life, and is alert to the potential signs and symptoms of radicalisation, which include, but are not limited to, a sudden but continuing change in:

  • Physical appearance or dress code

  • Physical and behavioural attitudes towards others

  • Use of inappropriate, discriminatory and offensive language

  • Sharing of inappropriate images

  • Encouraging others to use offensive or discriminatory language 

 

Duty of Care: Sustenance 

Clause 8

 

  1. Wassail in acknowledging its duty of care with regard to sustenance will make tap water available at all times to all children, young people, and vulnerable adults in its charge. In addition the Wassail will provide a healthy snack where appropriate for children and vulnerable adults  engaged with the Wassail for four or more hours and a hot meal when engaged for eight or more hours 


 

Appendix 1: Safeguarding code of conduct

 

Wassail requires all employees and volunteers to adhere to safe conduct and understand the position of responsibility, influence and trust they hold in working with children and vulnerable adults. To this end Wassail expects all employees, volunteers and visitors to adhere to the following guidelines:

 

  1. To report any concern with regard to the safety of children and vulnerable adults to the DSO as soon as practicable.

  2. On arrival at any venue Wassail is hiring or working at when working with children or vulnerable adults to report and sign in with the site’s reception and to wear a form of identification at all times while on site. Furthermore to be aware of the possibility that the general public may access the site Wassail activity is taking place in and to politely challenge  strangers without a form of identification or report them to the venue’s reception if there’s a cause for concern.   

  3. To ensure a minimum of two adult employees are present during all activities with children and vulnerable adults. With the exception of Yeovil College lessons as agreed with Yeovil College in accordance with their safeguarding policy. 

  4. In recognizing employees may on occasion be required to work/interact one-to-one with children or vulnerable adults, to insist on the presence of an additional adult in the form of a Wassail employee or parent/carer of the child or vulnerable adult. In the event of finding yourself alone with a child or vulnerable adult to move as soon as practicable into the view of others or into the view of CCTV.

  5. To communicate clearly with all children and vulnerable adults working within the theatre, and work to be inclusive at all times. 

  6. To ensure that children and vulnerable adults understand fully any instructions given to them and that they consider the child and vulnerable adult’s limitations, of which they themselves may not be aware of.

  7. Physical interaction with children and vulnerable adults is acceptable due to the practical nature of activities engaged in. However employees, volunteers and visitors may only touch participants when it is necessary to the particular arts activity and agreement must be sought from the participants prior to any physical contact. All employees, should refrain from any other action that may be constructed as inappropriate touch. 

  8. To treat all children and vulnerable adults with respect at all times. The use of racist, sectarian, sexist, suggestive or inappropriate language is unacceptable.

  9. Any Wassail activity involving children and vulnerable adults may only take place at a venue agreed in advance and appropriately risk assessed.

  10. To never to meet a child, young person or vulnerable adult outside of hours or at a non Wassail approved venue i.e. the employee’s home.

  11. To never use physical punishments. 

  12. To never develop social or personal relationships with children or adults who participate in Wassail activities. A breach of this will result in the Wassail disciplinary procedure being invoked as per the Wassail staff handbook.

  13. Wassail recognises that due to the nature of its activities, employees may come into contact with a child, young person or vulnerable adult who participates in a Wassail activity in a social setting. Wassail advises the employee to maintain a professional distance and pay attention to their own behavior in such a setting.

  14. To never use personal social media accounts to contact a child or vulnerable adult who participates in a Wassail activity online. In the event a social media account is judged to be the best form of communication, permission should be sought from the DSO, who will be given permission to freely access/monitor the account.

  15. To avoid buying goods or services from a child or vulnerable adult who participates in a Wassail activity unless in a clear and transparent manner. 

  16. To decline financial gifts from children or vulnerable adults who participate in Wassail activities, informing them how they can make a transparent donation to Wassail.    

  17. Never to lend money to children or vulnerable adults who participate in Wassail activities. In the event that a participant is stranded, money to cover the cost of travel may be lent with the transaction clearly recorded and witnessed.

  18. Never to enter into an agreement with a child or vulnerable adult with regard to keeping disclosed information about their personal life secret; rather to inform the young person that they are obliged to inform the DSO, or in their absence, a member of the child, young person or vulnerable adult’s committee if a disclosure is made. It is then the responsibility of the DSO or a member of the committee in their absence to contact the relevant agencies. 

  19. The use of any cameras or recording equipment is not permitted on the Wassail site where children and vulnerable adults are present, unless agreed in advance in accordance with the Wassail GDPR policy. 

  20. Employees should encourage participation but not force any child, young person or vulnerable adult to undertake an activity they feel uncomfortable with for reasons of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief or sexual orientation.

  21. Employees, children and vulnerable adults are prohibited from smoking, drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs while actively engaged in Wassail activity. 

  22. Employees working with children, young people, and vulnerable adults are expected to arrive a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the activity. For workshop assistants this increases to 30 minutes.

  23. Employees working with children, young people, and vulnerable adults must ensure adequate supervision as outlined in appendix 3.

  24. Employees working with children, young people, and vulnerable adults must ensure dressing rooms are split into single sex spaces where possible and appropriate.

  25. On arrival children, and vulnerable adults will be registered by the relevant member of staff and are then the responsibility of the Wassail

  26. It is the parent / guardian / carer’s responsibility to equip their child, young person or vulnerable adult for the activity taking place as detailed by the Wassail in advance in writing. 

  27. The Wassail will seek written parental / guardian / carer’s consent for, but not limited to, activities such as: participants under 12 leaving premises used by Wassail unsupervised, transportation of participants, the use of make-up / face paints.

  28. Photographs, films or web-based materials of children, young people or vulnerable adults participating in any Wassail project will only be taken with the consent of the parent / guardian / carer and in consultation with the child, young person or vulnerable adult involved. Where permission is sought, the Wassail permissions form will follow data protection guidelines.

  29. Wassail will not pass on details of children, young people or vulnerable adults, to external organisations in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Children Act 2004 and The Safety of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

 

Appendix 2: Reporting 

 

What to do if a Child, Young Person or Vulnerable Adult makes a disclosure 

 

  1. Perform a dynamic risk assessment. Considering if the current location is safe and appropriate for a disclosure, offer first aid if appropriate.  

  2. Do not promise to keep the information the child or vulnerable adult has disclosed a secret.

  3. Look at the child or vulnerable adult directly.

  4. Accept what the child or young person says.

  5. Do not adopt a critical approach.

  6. Do not press for information, use open questions e.g. tell me, explain, describe.

  7. Reassure them that they are doing the right thing by telling you, and that you will take what they say seriously.

  8. Do not promise to keep the information the child or vulnerable adult has disclosed a secret. (repeat) 

  9. Let them know what you are going to do next, who you are going to tell, and why, and roughly what will happen.

  10. Finish on a positive note.

How to report a disclosure 

  1. As soon as practicable make written notes of exactly what was disclosed, using an incident form.

  2. Inform the DSO or in their absence the relevant member of the child and vulnerable adults safeguarding committee as soon as practicable. 

  3. Do not delay, do not act alone, do not start to investigate.

  4. The DSO committee member will then consult with others relevant to the incident and take a written record of the facts.

Recording disclosures

In the event of a disclosure the committee member will ensure the following information is recorded using an incident form: 

  1. Name of the child.

  2. Parent's/Carer's details.

  3. The child's address.

  4. Relevant phone numbers.

  5. What is said to have happened, or what was seen.

  6. When it occurred. Who else was there?

  7. What was said by those involved?

  8. Whether there is any actual evidence e.g. bruises, bleeding, changed behaviour 

  9. Who has been told about it?

  10. Who was concerned?

  11. Was the child able to say what happened?

  12. Whether the parents/guardians/carers have been advised.

 

Appendix 3

Legislation 

 

  1. This Safeguarding Policy is supported by the following legislation: The Children Act 1989; The Police Act 1997; The Data Protection Acts 1988/1998; The Human Rights Act 1998; The Protection of Children Act 1999; The Criminal Justice and Court services Act 2000, The Children Act 2004

 

Policy Review

 

  1. This policy is reviewed annually and following all major incidents.

 

Ratios & Staffing 

 

  1. Wassail follows the NSPCC recommended guidelines for adult to child ratios where reasonable practicable:

    • Aged 18months – 4 years: 1 adult to every child (Wassail guideline)

    • Aged 4 – 8 years: 1 adult to every 6 children

    • Aged 9 – 12 years: 1 adult to every 8 children or young people 

    • Aged 13 – 18 years: 1 adult to every 10 young people

  2. Where the group is of mixed gender, Wassail follows the NSPCC recommendation that supervising staff should also include both male and female workers wherever practicable.


 

Further information / guidance can be found at:

 

NSPCC Child Protection Helpline for adults on 0808 800 5000

Firstcheck: a step by step guide for organisations to safeguard children: www.nspcc.org.uk

Keeping Arts Safe www.artscouncil.org.uk

Disclosure & Barring Service line: 0870 90 90 811www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

Registered charity 1171647