The Emergency Response Team Search and Rescue UK (ERT SAR UK)
POLICY STATEMENT ON SAFEGUARDING
Safeguarding Statement for children and vulnerable adults
The very heart of what we do is to provide a safe and protective service to others.
Whilst this has to be managed with existing hazard mitigation and risk assessments in a dynamic environment, we do all we can to protect our people, the public and those who we may come into contact with or affect.
It is not enough to not knowingly put someone in harms way without protection. It also requires that we create a culture of safety and ensure safeguarding measures are at the heart of our decisions and practises, wherever possible.
ERT SAR UK recognises the importance of clear safeguarding guidelines regarding children and vulnerable adults. Our policies emphasise that we are committed to:
The safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and vulnerable adults;
Carefully selecting and training staff and volunteers who might come into contact with children or vulnerable adults;
Providing a service to a UK network of similarly trusted and committed not-for-profit organisations working across the UK and overseas;
Responding without delay to every complaint made which suggests that an adult, child or young person may have been harmed;
Cooperating fully with the police, local authority and any other appropriate statutory body in any investigation.
The initial point of contact for safeguarding for ERT SAR UK can be contacted at HQ@ert-sar.uk or calling us at ERT SAR UK on 0208 089 1966
BACKGROUND / AN EXCERPT FROM THE LEGAL FIRM Hunt and Coombes Solicitors:
On 10 February 2018, the Charity Commission issued a statement in response to concerns in the media regarding Oxfam. Within the statement, the Charity Commission highlighted that a key focus within the investigation into Oxfam’s conduct following alleged incidents made in 2011, would be on the charity’s approach to safeguarding.
Since making this statement, the Charity Commission has updated its guidance for charity trustees on the protection of vulnerable groups. Charities may have their own safeguarding policies, however the Charity Commission guidance is mandatory.
Updated Charity Commission guidance on legal duties
“Safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk. You must proactively safeguard and promote the well-being and welfare of your beneficiaries (the people the charity is set up to help).”
Charity trustees must take “reasonable steps to make sure that beneficiaries and other who come into contact with the charity do not come to harm.”
“There are legal restrictions under safeguarding legislation on who can be involved in working with children and adults at risk. Charities have a responsibility to:
Make sure that trustees, employees and volunteers are suitable to work with children and adults at risk
Request appropriate checks from Disclosure and Barring Service where the role is eligible
Check that the individuals are legally able to act in the position (Annex 1 of the Charity Commission safeguarding strategy).
Charity trustees must put safeguards in place to protect those who come into contact with their charity.“These include, but are not limited to:
Making all trustees, employees and volunteers aware of what abuse is and how to spot it
Having a clear system of reporting concerns as soon as abuse is identifies or suspected
Responding to abuse or allegations or abuse rapidly and carrying out investigations confidentially
Preventing harm and abuse with a rigorous recruitment and interview process”
“Even where work with children or adults at risk does not form part of the core business of the charity, trustees must be alert to their responsibilities to protect those with whom the charity comes into contact. “
For charity trustees to comply with the legal duties they are required to react responsibly to reports of safeguarding risks and incidents of abuse, and take steps to make sure that people working in the charity know how to deal with these.
“The Charity Commission has an important regulatory role in ensuring that trustees comply with their legal duties and responsibilities in managing their charity. In the context of safeguarding issues, it has a specific regulatory role which is focused on the conduct of trustees and the steps they take to protect beneficiaries and other person who come into contact with the charity.”
Charity trustees should also make a serious report to the Charity Commission if they have any concerns regarding actions of another trustee, employee or volunteer. Failure to report a serious incident that subsequently comes to light may be considered as mismanagement by the Charity Commission and could result in regulatory action being taken, particularly if further abuse or damage has arisen following the initial incident.
Charity trustees may wish to review their own safeguarding policies in order to ensure that they are compliant with the strategies suggested by the Charity Commission. It may even be advisable for Charities which are looking to incorporate their constitution to consider making reference to the existence of having a safeguarding policy contained within their constitution.
If you require further help and advice concerning the Charity’s Commission’s statement please contact our Charities Law team, call 01733 882800 or email email@example.com.