London Vision recognises its duty of care and is fully committed to safeguarding and protecting the welfare of all individuals and taking all reasonable steps to promote safe practice to protect those who are at risk from harm, abuse and neglect.
London Vision is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and positive environment and accepts responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all who are involved in the work of our charity.
London Vision recognises the legal framework in which we need to work to safeguard those with needs of care and support. Our safeguarding policies and procedures will follow the requirements of national and local legislation and guidelines.
This policy is presented to be followed in conjunction with other policies of our charity.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Code of Conduct
- Equality & Diversity
- Recruitment – our Safer Recruitment statement can be found in Appendix D
- Bullying & Harassment
- Health & Safety
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations 2018)
- Social Media policy / guidance for staff / IT Code of Conduct
- Digital Safety
London Vision’s Code of Conduct promotes everyone’s right to a fair and equal life regardless of age, ability or disability, sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, marital or gender status.
We promote a culture of fairness and equality through our Code of Conduct and all our policies and working practices and how we manage our services. We maintain a safe and positive environment with an open listening culture where people feel able to share concerns without fear of retribution.
London Vision’s safeguarding policies and procedures provide guidance for all levels of staff and volunteers, including Trustees, about working with people at risk and their responsibilities with regards to safeguarding.
The differences between safeguarding adults and children and young people
Safeguarding guidance for adults and children and young people is managed differently. They can experience different types of harm and abuse; the way it is reported for children and adults at risk is not the same and is ruled by different legislation.
For the purposes of safeguarding at London Vision and our policies; adults are those over 18. Children and young people are those under 18 years of age. There are some differences between how children, and young people are dealt with in legislation.
The Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Code of Practice have the following definitions:
- Children are those under the age of 16
- Young people are 16 – 17.
- Adults are those over 18.
In law, young people aged 16 and over are presumed to have capacity. They can consent to, or refuse, treatment in their own right, including hospital admission. They can refuse access to their medical records and not give consent for clinicians to disclose information to parents. The MCA does not apply to under 16s.
This is different to The Children Act 1989 and in law generally where children are those under 18.
More detail will be covered in the Safeguarding Children and Young People policy.
One important difference between safeguarding adults and safeguarding children is an adult’s right to self-determination or free will. Their right to make their own decisions; this may be that they choose not to protect themselves in a situation of risk. It is only in extreme cases that the law intervenes.
This is different to children where their safety is the primary concern – although listening to their views is still important.
This policy and procedures will be split into two parts dealing with adults, and children and young people separately. This is to enable everyone at London Vision to be clear on how to effectively safeguard all people they may come into contact with.
Roles and Responsibilities
Chief Officer (CO)
The leader of the organisation has the responsibility to keep all staff, volunteers and people who come into contact with the organisation, safe and free from harm. Safeguarding must be embedded into the organisation’s culture, strategy, and delivery.
Alongside the Board of Trustees, the CO will provide leadership and ensure there are effective systems in place.
A member of the Trustee board will be part of the Safeguarding team, but all Trustees need to have an awareness of the principles and rules of good safeguarding practice and lead by example. The lead trustee will take on three main sets of duties related to safeguarding in addition to their wider responsibilities as a trustee. These will be:
- Effective policy and practice
- Creating the right culture
The trustee lead will also sit on the Case Management group as required.
The whole team is required to take responsibility for ensuring their staff and volunteers are trained and supported in safeguarding matters and empowered to speak freely and raise concerns.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is responsible for:
- providing advice about concerns, actions to take and is involved in the decision-making process on referrals and information sharing in liaison with the relevant external agencies / authorities
- maintaining organisation wide records of safeguarding incidents
- regular reporting to the Board on safeguarding activities and outcomes
- working alongside the HR / Training team to ensure relevant and regular training is given to all who need it.
- working closely with the Deputy DSL and other members of the Safeguarding team to ensure all are kept up to date on situations and any changes in legislation and local regulations.
- seeking advice and working with external agencies and statutory bodies in relation to safeguarding concerns and referrals.
The Deputy DSL is responsible for:
- working alongside the DSL in safeguarding issues and concerns
- contributing to the Case Management group as required
- covering in the DSLs absence
- covering activities out of hours as part of the Safeguarding team
All Staff and Volunteers are responsible for
- familiarising themselves with the policy and procedures on Safeguarding
- being alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and adults at risk and discussing concerns with their manager or the safeguarding lead
- producing accurate and clear records when involved in a particular concern
- cooperating with any enquiry or review instigated by the local authority or London Vision
- updating personal knowledge and awareness by attending training and other development activities
Training helps staff and volunteers to perform their role safely and effectively. Training needs will be identified as part of the Personal Development Review process and fed into the organisations training plan. Mandatory training will take place in certain key areas and will be refreshed on a regular basis as agreed in the organisation training plan. Safeguarding is one of these key areas. It is important to ensure all staff and volunteers receive the training relevant to their role.
Safeguarding scenarios from real situations across the voluntary sector will form part of the training process.
All new staff, volunteers and trustees must read, understand, and sign the relevant policies and procedures when they join the charity. The Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures are a key part of the process to understand what is expected of everyone at London Vision.
Specific safeguarding training is given across the charity depending on the role everyone has and must be relevant and proportionate to that role.
- Awareness training for all staff and volunteers – this can be delivered as e – learning.
- All new starters that are working with children and young people, or adults at risk should meet the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and undertake more specific safeguarding training including working through possible scenarios.
- Specialist training carried out by an external provider to include everyone in the Safeguarding team – DSL, deputy DSL and Trustee contact
- Mental Health first aid is also recommended for those involved in Safeguarding
- Safer recruitment training for those involved in recruitment at any stage
- Training for Trustees and Directors on their specific role within the charity and their responsibility to the Charity Commission.
- Training on any specific issues relevant to the organisation, which could be issues and concerns experienced by blind and partially sighted individuals and those with a visual impairment.
The DSL will also have the opportunity to join networking groups with those in the same role in other organisations and share best practice.
It is essential for all involved directly in safeguarding to keep up to date with changes in legislation and practice particularly within the voluntary sector.
Supervision and Support
Witnessing or being involved with safeguarding issues can be difficult and upsetting. Support is available for anyone who needs it. Individuals will be followed up by the DSL after a safeguarding incident and the DSL will liaise with the individual’s manager to ensure support is given through supervision.
Employees can also call the Employee Assistance Programme helpline. This is a Freephone confidential helpline, available 24 hours a day for counselling, advice, and information about a work and non-work-related concerns. The number to dial is 0800 1116 387
London Vision staff and volunteers may come into contact with adults at risk of harm through the course of their work. Supervision sessions will include support and safeguarding discussions allowing space to reflect on how the individual is working with those adults. Any training needs in this area will be identified and organised through the method most suitable.
Time should be taken to discuss how people think about the relationships they are forming and review how they could be improved. There should always be an opportunity for them to share any concerns.
These concerns might be about:
- individuals at risk
- a team member
- the way the organisation is working
- their own feelings or responses.
Within each team there could be staff or volunteers who have experienced harm, harassment or abuse themselves or know people who have. These experiences of harm could come back to them through working with children or adults at risk or hearing other people’s concerns. This could provoke strong emotional reactions which affect the way they respond to others at risk, or someone they are worried about. Supportive sessions to be open and honest about all aspects of the work they are doing will ensure any concerns are raised and worked through.
Reporting to the Board of Trustees
Safeguarding is a key priority for the organisation as part of good governance. The trustees should be regularly made aware of how safeguarding is being managed in the organisation.
It is essential that safeguarding is on each Board meeting agenda even if risks are low. At least once a year the Safeguarding team along with the trustees will review whether there are any emerging trends or patterns and what actions need to be taken. As part of this process any other complaints received will be reviewed to ensure there are no potential safeguarding concerns.
Annual report and Safeguarding
The charity’s annual report details our activities and impact. As part of general good practice London Vision will include information about its approach to safeguarding. This will enable the charity to continue to build public trust and demonstrate our commitment to a safer culture.
Reporting to Regulators
London Vision takes its responsibilities under safeguarding very seriously. Where there are concerns, risks or serious incidents involving the charity, its staff, and volunteers and /or children and young people, or adults at risk the appropriate reporting will be followed.
This may include, but is not limited to:
- The Disclosure and Barring Service
- The Charity Commission for England & Wales
- The Health & Safety Executive
- National Crime Agency
- Professional bodies
London Vision Safeguarding Team
The contact details for each member of the Safeguarding team are:
Designated Safeguarding Lead: Gerald Carew, Chief Officer
Telephone: 07964 534681
Deputy DSL: Jonathan Ward, Development Manager
Telephone: 07971 076440
Trustee: Fiona Costley
Telephone: 07875 152985