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Safeguarding Policy

This page sets out our approach to safeguarding visitors at our venue and people participating in activities hosted by St George’s other venues or sites across the city.

St George’s Bristol believes that the welfare of the child is paramount. All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to be safeguarded. All welfare concerns should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately, and all staff have a responsibility to take appropriate action if they have any concerns.

Visitors are encouraged to report any immediate safeguarding concerns about children and young people in the venue to a member of the team.

We aim to:

  • Establish and maintain an environment where all children are safeguarded whilst engaging with/participating in high quality educational experiences and where all children feel secure and safe to learn and to fully achieve their potential
  • Provide a safe, constructive and nurturing environment, where adults are trusted and there is a shared sense of educational purpose
  • Promote a positive ethos of collaborative work between the professional arts/heritage sector and children/young people
  • Ensure transparency and consistency within our safeguarding practice
  • Always be mindful that ‘it could happen here’
  • Fully acknowledge that engagement with the performing arts may exert specific pressures on children/young people and aim to be proactive in addressing the inherent risks that this presents
  • Listen to the ‘voice of the child’ and always act in their best interests
  • Ensure that everyone who works or volunteers for us has the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognise the need for early intervention and the signs and symptoms of abuse, to deal effectively with direct disclosures, and to report and refer appropriately
  • Support our designated safeguarding staff members and Trustees to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage appropriate safeguarding pathways
  • Work in partnership with parents, social care, the police and other services to promote the welfare of children/young people and protect them from harm

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is a broader term than ‘Child Protection’ and has been defined as the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. It is everyone’s responsibility, and is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Child Protection is a vital part of everyone’s safeguarding responsibilities and has been defined as: ‘Part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.’

Working Together to Safeguard Children – Department for Education (2015)

 

Safeguarding Arrangements at St George’s

Implementation

St George’s Bristol provides ongoing clear and practical information and guidance concerning safeguarding values, understanding, expected behaviours, and associated processes in the form of the St George’s Bristol Safeguarding Handbook. This Handbook is communicated appropriately to all staff and it is the responsibility of each individual to comply with the policy and procedures outlined. The Board of Trustees and Senior Management team take the organisation’s ongoing safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously and this is reflected in St George’s safeguarding and monitoring framework.

Culture

We work proactively to develop an appropriate safeguarding culture across all of our activities. It is recognised that some staff members will have more contact with children than others, it is nevertheless maintained that any contact with children and vulnerable groups, however limited, direct or indirect, could prove to be significant.

Leadership

The Head of Learning & Participation is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and has responsibility for discussing safeguarding issues with the Senior Management team and with the Designated Safeguarding Trustee (DST).

In addition, Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) are appointed in specific areas of the organisation, including for the Cosmos Children’s Community Choir.

The DSL is responsible for reviewing and developing the St George’s Bristol Safeguarding Policy and related procedures, and for monitoring and advising DSOs. The DSL is advised by the DST, who also reports to the Board.

Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)

St George’s Bristol designates an appropriately senior member of staff to take lead responsibility for safeguarding. This person has the status and authority within the organisation to carry out the duties of the post. The broad areas of responsibility for the DSL are:

  • Ensure that appropriate safeguarding training is available and attended by staff members as required and keep their own safeguarding knowledge up to date through regular training
  • Hold a current DBS certificate and be prepared to have their certification checked (if registered with the DBS update service)/sign a self-declaration in respect of investigations annually
  • Ensure that St George’s Safeguarding Handbook is up to date and available to all staff members
  • Support and advise staff on matters of early intervention and safeguarding, and when deciding whether to make a referral, by liaising with relevant agencies
  • Provide informed guidance on all matters of safeguarding
  • Liaise with the DST over all safeguarding issues
  • Ensure all safeguarding records are managed in accordance with this policy
  • Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention
  • Refer all cases of suspected abuse to the local referral agency and/or the police
  • Refer all allegations about a staff member to the Local Authority Designated Officer (DO)
  • Refer all cases where a person is dismissed or has left due to risk/harm to child, to the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • Have some knowledge of how Local Authority Social Care conducts a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these if required, and/or support a DSO through the process if appropriate
  • With the DST, provide an annual safeguarding report, including any training given or undertaken, the number of cases reported, any updates to the handbook, and any other issues

Role of our Trustees

St George’s Bristol trustees have overall responsibility for ensuring that there are sufficient measures in place to safeguard all children and young people involved in the organisation’s activities. To this end, the Board should:

  • Annually appoint and support a Designated Safeguarding Trustee (DST) who should be DBS certificated every 3 years, or have their certification checked (if registered with the DBS update service)/sign a self-declaration in respect of investigations into safeguarding matters annually
  • Under the guidance of the DST, ensure the Safeguarding Policy and procedures are adhered to, including safer recruitment, the management of allegations of abuse against staff and identifying any deficiencies or weaknesses in existing safeguarding arrangements
  • Nominate a member of the Board (typically the Chair) to be responsible in the event of an allegation of abuse being made against the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) or the DST
  • Review the annual Safeguarding Report

Role of Staff Members

All St George’s Bristol staff members (including freelance project teams and volunteers) are required to:

  • Read, understand and adhere to the St George’s Safeguarding Policy and Safeguarding Handbook
  • Be alert to the signs of abuse and respond appropriately to direct disclosures
  • Ensure that children receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating
  • Contribute to effective record keeping on safeguarding children
  • Report to and discuss any concerns with the DSL and DSOs and also, if appropriate, with the DSL of the external setting in which they are working
  • Ensure that if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child they make a referral to the emergency services immediately
  • Refer any safeguarding concerns about other staff members to a DSL/DSO/Local Authority Designated Officer directly and also, if appropriate, to the DSL of the external setting in which they are working
  • Flag up any concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failure in the SGB safeguarding framework, if necessary using appropriate whistleblowing procedures
  • Hold current DBS certificates if this is required for their role, or if assigned specific safeguarding responsibilities e.g. DST/DSL/DSO and be prepared to have certification checked (if registered with the DBS update service)/sign a self-declaration in respect of investigations into safeguarding matters annually
  • Keep their own safeguarding knowledge up to date through regular training

Monitoring

We recognise our responsibility for monitoring safeguarding and requires the DSL and the DST to present an annual report to the Board. In addition, Safeguarding is a standing agenda item for the Board.

Review

St George’s Bristol will review this policy on a regular basis to confirm that the content and approach is still appropriate. The policy will be re-edited and re-issued within three months of the review date, if/when appropriate. St George’s will seek to continually improve all related Safeguarding procedures, codes of practice, and guidelines.

Law and Guidance

This policy operates within current UK Law, and the national statutory guidance including ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2015, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ 2015 and ‘Voluntary Safeguarding Code of Practice’ 2018. The procedures followed have been laid down by the South West Child Protection Procedures (SWCPP) and Bristol City Council’s Bristol Safeguarding Children board. St George’s also acknowledges the support of Bristol Music Trust in kindly providing the framework for this policy.

Contact

Anyone working for or on behalf of St George’s Bristol with any safeguarding concerns about children and young people should contact in the first instance the current St George’s Designated Safeguarding Lead catherine.freda@stgeorgesbristol.co.uk