Oxfordshire Community Foundation takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children, young people under 18, and vulnerable adults involved in its activities. Children, young people and adults at risk are most likely to be severely impacted by the social issues we strive to alleviate; reducing poverty and inequality. Whilst direct contact with children and /or adults at risk is limited for staff, trustees and volunteers at Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF;), we recognise that they are at the very heart of our core work and as such must be at the heart of our Safeguarding policy. It is incumbent upon us to have a policy which serves to identify and deal with any safeguarding red flags. OCF will ensure that any children or adults at risk who encounter OCF staff through the day to day working of the organisation, are protected.
This policy outlines the standard practices that protect children and adults at risk as well as OCF staff, trustees, volunteers and people representing OCF from situations or allegations of abuse and provides procedures that must be followed. The Trustees have delegated day to day responsibility for the implementation of this policy to the Chief Executive Officer. The CEO is required to have sufficient qualification to Level 3 Safeguarding. Where a new CEO is recruited to the organisation, they shall be required to undertake appropriate training within their induction process to be effective in the role as Safeguarding lead. Thereafter this training will be maintained within their CPD.
OCF is committed to ensuring that all staff, trustees and volunteers operate in line with safe practice. During their induction they are made aware of safeguarding issues, its fundamental importance and what procedures to follow in given situations. These follow best practice and current legislation, encourage appropriate whistle-blowing procedures, and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults at risk to be addressed.
OCF recognises that it has a key role to play in promoting child and adults at risk protection in our local community through the organisations it funds. OCF will ensure that every organisation involved with children and adults at risk have taken on board their responsibility for safeguarding. OCF will require evidence that policies and procedures are in place to safeguard them from harm but, will not have responsibility for the policing of protection, or investigation of allegations within these organisations; they will be offered support or be signposted to other available resources and expertise.
Trustee, staff and volunteer roles at the Foundation do not involve regulated activity relating to children or adults at risk. Therefore, they are not eligible for standard or enhanced Disclosure or Barring Service (DBS) checks.
The induction process for all trustees, staff and volunteers will emphasise the importance of our safeguarding policy. This will be discussed with all appointed candidates during their induction period.
OCF’s representatives have limited direct contact with children or adults at risk. This would, normally, only take place during events or visits to projects that have received or requested grants. OCF therefore does not require staff, trustees or volunteers to be processed for criminal record checks through the government’s Disclosure and Barring Service.
Through grant assessment, monitoring, general project visits and events OCF staff, trustees and volunteers may come into contact with adults at risk or children. The organisation that has received a grant from OCF is the responsible body for the safeguarding of the individuals receiving their service, and is therefore responsible for ensuring that OCF staff, trustees or volunteers follow the appropriate procedures during their visit.
In addition, all OCF staff, trustees and volunteers should follow standard practice during any project visits and/or events, including events organised by OCF:
- They should not be alone with children or adults at risk at a project or during any other OCF activity.
- They should not travel alone (in any type of transport) with children or adult as at risk).
- They should not make arrangements to meet users/clients of projects without the presence or prior written authorisation of management/project leaders.
- They should not make unauthorised visits to the homes of users/clients.
- They should not engage in private communications including but not limited to any form of electronic communications or any other means with users/clients.
- They should not discuss the personal circumstances of one user/client with another user/client.
- They should only give or receive gifts from users/clients in line with OCF’s Anti-Bribery & Hospitality Policy.
- They should not use any behaviour that could give rise to complaint e.g. physical punishment, physical or sexual contact, humiliation or bullying.
- Permission for the taking and using of photographs must be sought from organisations whose beneficiaries or clients are being photographed and from individual grant beneficiaries in line with GDPR. Where appropriate and possible, an OCF permission form should be employed.
- Permission must be obtained from a parent/guardian/carer on publicity being used by OCF involving children and adults at risk.
- They should refrain from any disclosure about themselves beyond the professional boundaries of OCF.
- They must adhere to the guidelines regarding acceptable details for sharing within the OCF Social Media Policy.
OCF recognises that it is has a duty, as has every organisation working with children or adults at risk, to put in place safeguards to protect these client groups in accordance with all applicable legislation, as well as their own trustees, staff and volunteers. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that all grant recipients understand and are aware of this duty and must, where relevant, have in place a safeguarding policy that is in line with current legislation, and procedures for dealing with issues of concern or abuse and prevention of risk. Best practice includes obtaining an appropriate criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service and other relevant checks for appropriate trustees, staff and volunteers. We would expect to see a statement to this effect within all safeguarding policy document and also confirming the appointment of a designated safeguarding lead and the existence of appropriate whistleblowing policies. Further, we would expect all grant applicants to have appropriate training in place and other recruitment procedures, such as references and risk assessments where there is a flag on the DBS and an appointed person who approves and signs off the risk assessment. For CQC registered services there will be a CQC inspection rating.
An organisation failing to provide evidence in meeting the above will not be recommended to receive a grant.
Should OCF or any funding programme managed by OCF require young people to be part of the decision-making process, OCF will ensure that panel members and advisors understand and adhere to OCF’s Safeguarding Policy and in addition, will operate within best practice guidelines. Further guidance may be sought if deemed appropriate from Oxfordshire County Council’s Safeguarding Board.
Whilst the policing of child and adults at risk protection, or investigating allegations is not the role of OCF it is important that any concerns are dealt with in an appropriate and timely manner.
Staff and volunteers must report any allegations or suspicions of abuse as soon as possible to the host organisation or to our Protection Officer (the CEO) on 01865 798666 who will take responsibility for further action. If you are unable to contact the Protection Officer, you should contact the Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team for Oxfordshire on 0800 833 408. Under no circumstances can you investigate claims yourself but do keep a written record of all events.
In operating this policy, it may be necessary in some circumstances to share what might normally be regarded as confidential information. The following principles should be adhered to:
- Information will only be shared on a need-to-know basis, and when it is in the best interest of the vulnerable person.
- Informed consent should be sought. If other adults or children under 18 are at risk consent may be overridden even if consent is refused.
Should a child or adult at risk disclose abuse to a representative of the Foundation in the course of a visit, it is important to react appropriately.
Remain calm and receptive
Listen without interrupting
Only ask questions of clarification if unclear about what the child/adult is saying
Make it clear you take them seriously
Acknowledge their courage in telling you
Tell them they are not responsible for the abuse
Let them know you will do what you can to help them and, where possible, get consent to inform an appropriate authority
In the case of Vulnerable Adults explain the Safeguarding process
Use accessible and age-appropriate language
Allow shock or distaste to show
Probe for more information/ask other questions
Make assumptions or speculate
Make negative comments about the abuser
Make promises that cannot be kept
Agree to keep the information secret
Try to deal with the issue personally/in isolation
- It is essential that any OCF staff member, trustee or volunteer experiencing such an incident during a visit or event, also informs the most senior person available in OCF immediately and files a written report of the facts of the case.
- Should OCF staff, trustees or volunteers witness abuse or suspect potential abuse this too should be reported in line with the above procedure and passed on only to the relevant authorities e.g. Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (https://www.oscb.org.uk/) or Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adult Board (https://www.osab.co.uk/) .
- OCF will ensure that a register is kept of any relevant issues and that all staff are aware of its presence.
Concerns around safeguarding and reporting should be dealt with as above. Where the concern is not around safeguarding but other aspects of compliance with this policy, employees and trustees must inform the CEO as soon as possible.
Volunteers should notify their normal point of contact within the Foundation in the first instance. Where any concern relates to the CEO, the Chair of the Board must be notified and if they relate to the Chair then the President should be contacted.
Any alleged breach of this policy by an employee will be dealt with under the Foundation’s disciplinary procedure and could result in dismissal for gross misconduct.
Any alleged breach by a trustee will be investigated by a temporary sub-committee of the Board in the first instance and could result in disqualification from the Board.
Any alleged breach by volunteers or others associated with the Foundation will be investigated by the CEO and could result in individuals being removed from voluntary roles or contracts being terminated.
A child / adult at risk may be experiencing abuse if he or she is:
- left in unsafe situations or without medical attention
- constantly “put down”, insulted, sworn at or humiliated
- is living in a home where there is domestic abuse
- living with parents/ carers involved in serious drug or alcohol misuse
The following is a list of some indicators of abuse, but it is not exhaustive:
· Unexplained bruising in soft tissue areas
· Repeated injuries
· Black eyes
· Injuries to the mouth
· Torn or bloodstained clothing
· Burns or scalds
· Marks from implements
· Inconsistent stories/excuses relating to injuries
· Self-harm or mutilation
· Unexplained changes in behaviour – becoming withdrawn or aggressive
· Difficulty in making friends
· Distrustful of parents / carers /adults or excessive attachment to adults in the case of children
· Sudden drop in performance
· Changes in attendance pattern
· Inappropriate sexual awareness, behaviour or language
· Reluctance to remove clothing
· Eating disorders
N.B. Abuse (e.g. grooming) and bullying can also take place via mobile phones and the internet through e-mail, chat rooms and social networking websites.
The Care Act categories of abuse for adults are as follows:
- Physical abuse – Examples include: Slapping, pushing, kicking, rough handling, misuse of medication, inappropriate sanctions or misuse of restraint.
- Sexual abuse – Examples include: Rape, sexual assault, forced marriage, female genital mutilation or sexual acts to which the adult at risk has not consented, could not consent or was pressured into consenting. Non-contact abuse such as voyeurism, involvement in pornography and comments, jokes or innuendos that cause harm.
- Psychological/Emotional/Mental abuse – Examples include: verbal assault or intimidation, deprivation of contact, threats of harm or abandonment, humiliation or blaming, overriding of consent, choices or wishes, making someone feel worthless, frightened or unloved.
- Financial abuse – Examples include: theft, fraud (including internet, postal and doorstop scams), exploitation, controlling behaviour including not allowing an adult self management of their finances where they have capacity and pressure in connections with wills, property, possessions or benefits.
- Neglect and acts of omission – Examples include: ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
- Discriminatory abuse (including disability & other forms of hate crime) – This abuse is usually motivated by discriminatory and oppressive attitudes towards race, gender, culture background, religion, physical and/ or sensory impairment, sexual orientation and age.
- Organisational abuse, neglect and poor practice – This may take the form of isolated incidents of poor or unsatisfactory professional practice at one end of the spectrum, through to pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct.
- Domestic Violence – This may include physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse within a domestic setting, including honour based violence and the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate and familial relationships (introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015).
- Modern Slavery – An umbrella term for the activities involved when one person obtains, moves or holds another person in compelled service. It includes human trafficking, domestic servitude, being forced into sex work or other exploitative work and/or being kept in squalid living conditions.
- Self-neglect – Including neglect by the person of their personal care, nutritional needs or healthcare needs or neglect of their environment such as living in squalid conditions or hoarding.
Updated: March 2022
Date for next review: March 2023
Approved by Oxfordshire Community Foundation Board of Trustees July 2022