The purpose of this policy is to protect people, particularly children, at risk adults and beneficiaries, from any harm that may be caused due to their coming into contact with Felix Fund. This includes harm arising from:
- The conduct of staff or personnel associated with Felix Fund.
- The design and implementation of Felix Fund’s programs and activities.
The policy lays out the commitments made by Felix Fund and informs staff and associated personnel of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding.
This policy does not cover:
- Sexual harassment in the workplace – this is dealt with under Felix Fund’s Bullying & Harassment Policy.
- Safeguarding concerns in the wider community not perpetrated by Felix Fund or associated personnel.
Felix Fund is committed to pro-actively safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults with whom trustees, staff, or volunteers, come into contact, during fundraising or welfare activities. Examples of charity activities in which staff may encounter children or vulnerable adults, include school visits, community sports projects and national or regional events.
The welfare and safety of the person at risk is paramount. All vulnerable people, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, or identity have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse. Some of our beneficiaries and supporters are additionally at risk because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication need or other issues.
The charity takes all reasonable care to protect its beneficiaries and supporters and complies with the Institute of Fundraising guidance on treating donors fairly. Felix Fund will never exploit vulnerability and will do everything it can to ensure that potential donors are able to make an informed decision about the support they choose to give.
The charity is committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity. Our Equality and Diversity Policy aims to eliminate all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination, both direct and indirect, from its employment practices.
This policy has been drawn up based on UK law that seeks to protect children and adults. The charity, as a voluntary organisation must comply with:
- Children Act 1989
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998 and 2018
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Charities Act 2011
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Equality Act 2010
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Care Act 2014
- Statutory Guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2015
- Charity Commission Guidance: How to protect vulnerable people
- Relevant government information on safeguarding vulnerable people
- Institute of Fundraising – Treating Donors Fairly
- The Code of Fundraising Practice – The Fundraising Regulator
Felix Fund seeks to fulfil its legal obligations (as stated within the laws and guidance listed above) and commitment to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of the charity’s beneficiaries and fundraisers through:
- The production of a policy and procedures with a clear line of accountability, to which all will comply.
- A board member to take leadership responsibility for the charity’s safeguarding arrangements; to act as the organisational interface with local authorities whenever a situation arises.
- A culture of listening to children and vulnerable adults and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of any event or service.
- Clear whistleblowing procedures which are suitably referenced in staff and trustee training.
- Arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and equivalent Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LASB).
- The safer recruitment for individuals whom the charity will permit to work regularly with children or vulnerable adults, carrying out the appropriate level of Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, depending on their access to children and or vulnerable adults.
- Appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training.
- Ensuring that staff are competent to carry out their own responsibilities for safeguarding.
- Clear policies in line with those from LSCB & LASB for dealing with any allegations; responding without delay to concerns and complaints regarding actual or potential abuse, harm, or maltreatment.
This policy applies to all staff, trustees, volunteers, and anyone working on behalf of Felix Fund.
Responsibility & Accountability
Trustees are overall responsible for safeguarding, and they should proactively safeguard and promote the well-being and welfare of the charity’s beneficiaries, staff and volunteers and others who encounter the charity. This is a key governance priority.
The issue of safeguarding is subject to regular review at board level and is reported on at trustee meetings. In addition, safeguarding will be reported upon in the Annual Report and Accounts.
The charity’s nominated lead for the safeguarding policy and management is the CEO, who will report directly to the trustees. The board of trustees will act on the ten points for good safeguarding governance:
- Ensure the charity has an adequate safeguarding policy and supporting documentation.
- Identify, and regularly review, possible safeguarding risks and the required mitigation action.
- Consider how to improve and embed a safeguarding culture within the organisation.
- Be assured that the charity knows how to recognise, report, and where necessary escalate a safeguarding concern.
- Be assured that charity staff and those who come into contact with the organisation know how to raise a safeguarding concern.
- Evaluate and regularly review safeguarding training within the organisation.
- Review which charity posts require a DBS check.
- Define a risk assessment for DBS checks and consider what happens when information is disclosed as a result of the check; and what if a post does not qualify for a DBS check.
- Review safeguarding policy and procedures regularly.
- Check what international due diligence is required, if any. This could include ensuring that the relevant checks are made on individuals who are delivering services outside of the UK, or for recruitment from overseas into the UK.
Felix Fund trustees have a duty to manage risk and to protect the reputation and assets of the charity. It is, therefore, vital that trustees assess the risks that arise from the charity’s activities and operations involving children and vulnerable people and develop and put in place appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures to protect them. They must also undertake on-going monitoring to ensure that these safeguards are being effectively implemented in practice. This is critically important because on occasion charities may be targeted by people who abuse their position and privileges to gain access to vulnerable people, or their records, for inappropriate or illegal purposes.
Key safeguarding risks for the charity are:
- Potential abuse of children, young people or vulnerable adults occurring during charity fundraising activities, through failure to safeguard them.
- Potential abuse of children, young people or vulnerable adults occurring during third-party organised activities.
- Ensuring that those who run activities that include vulnerable beneficiaries have the expertise knowledge and skills to do so properly.
- Failure to deal with any incident responsibly, appropriately and in a timely manner.
- Failure to ensure that trustees are clear about their responsibilities for safeguarding.
- Failure to ensure that staff, trustees, and volunteers coming into frequent contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults are appropriately vetted.
- The reputational risk of damaging public trust and confidence in the charity through the occurrence of any alleged or actual incident.
The charity seeks to manage effectively the risks associated with activities and events by:
- Completing a risk assessment process which involves identifying risks and means of reducing or eliminating them, for any new activities or events involving or potentially involving children and or vulnerable adults.
- Implementing the required actions identified by the risk assessment process and reviewing the effectiveness of these on a regular basis.
- Ensuring that appropriate DBS or basic disclosure checks are conducted depending on eligibility, for any individuals working with children or vulnerable adults.
- Requiring that new trustees, staff, and volunteers working with children or vulnerable adults familiarise themselves with the content of this policy and the Code for Safer Working Practice.
Code for Safer Working Practice
Members of staff, trustees and volunteers should:
- Consider the well-being and safety of event participants in advance through proper planning and development of safe methods of working/activities.
- Treat all children, young people and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity, keeping your own language, attitude, and body language respectful.
- Actively communicate with children, young people, and vulnerable adults and where possible involve them in planning and running of activities.
- Develop a culture where staff, children and vulnerable adults feel comfortable to point out inappropriate attitudes and behaviour in each other.
- Make it plain to whom someone can speak about a personal concerns and be proactive in addressing concerns and allegations.
- Keep physical contact specific to the needs of the activity and always seek permission from the person first.
- Never use rough play, sexually provocative words and games or any forms of physical punishment.
- Never scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child or vulnerable adult, or allow others to do so.
- Void one-to-one access with children and young people; make sure that others can clearly observe you.
- Avoid personal relationships with a children or vulnerable adult.
- Obtain consent for any photographs/videos to be taken, shown, or displayed.
- Remember that inappropriate behaviour can also occur over the telephone, email, social media, or internet – communication through social media should only be on public pages and avoid colloquial language/abbreviations which may be mis-interpreted e.g., LOL.
- Report incidents of alleged abuse.
Staff, volunteers, and trustees need to be aware of their responsibilities for reporting concerns in relation to safeguarding matters and the circumstances in which they should make a referral to the Local Authority or police, if necessary.
Safeguarding concerns about children, young people and vulnerable adults and others who encounter the charity will be diligently and promptly responded to, recognising the sensitivity it may hold for those involved. Where, there is a concern, this should be reported to the appropriate person, (CEO) immediately where possible, to determine what action, if any, must be taken. This will enable each situation to be investigated thoroughly, whilst treating the parties involved fairly and with sensitivity. It will also ensure that suitable steps are taken because of any investigations which may include contacting the police and/or fulfilling the legal duty to refer information to the DBS, LSCB or LSAB as required. Not all concerns justify a notification to the Local Authority by must still be recorded.
The trustees acknowledge their duties to make a Serious Incident Report to the Charity commission if:
- There has been an incident where someone has been abused or mistreated (alleged or actual) and this relates to the activities of the charity.
- Beneficiaries of the charity have been, or are alleged to have been, abused or mistreated while under the care of the charity, or by someone connected with the charity, for example, staff, trustees, or volunteers.
- There has been a breach of procedures or policies at the charity which has put beneficiaries at risk, including a failure to carry out checks which would have identified that person is disqualified under safeguarding legislation, from working with children or adults.
All new members of staff and trustees must be made aware of this policy and given the opportunity to read it during their induction period.