Updated April 2023
WISTON LODGE POLICY
SAFEGUARDING YOUNG PERSONS AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
2 Policy statement
4 Procedures for working with young persons and vulnerable adults
5 Recommendations for working with young persons and vulnerable adults
6 Selection procedures for staff and volunteers
Appendices Disclosures procedure
Safeguarding young persons and vulnerable adults from physical, sexual and emotional abuse should be an integral part of the policy and practice of all Wiston Lodge work. The welfare of young persons and vulnerable people should not be seen as an optional activity that can be added to the programme. This document has been produced to enable staff and volunteers to respond in an informed and confident way to child protection issues. The policy covers all Wiston Lodge work, both within and outside the estate.
2 Policy Scope
It is the duty and responsibility of all paid and voluntary Wiston Lodge staff members to safeguard young persons and vulnerable adults engaged in these programmes by protecting them from physical, sexual and emotional harm.
It is the duty and responsibility of the Directors of Wiston Lodge to ensure that the appropriate procedures are in place to protect young persons and vulnerable adults in the care of Wiston Lodge staff, and to receive and investigate complaints surrounding physical, sexual or emotional harm being made as a result of programme work provided by Wiston Lodge sessional workers/consultants and volunteers.
3.1 Who is this policy for?
This document covers young persons aged 16 or lower. However, it also relates to work with vulnerable adults aged 16 or over who:
• receive personal care, or nursing, or support to live independently in their own home, or a care home
• receives any health or social services
• has a recognised substantial learning or physical disability, or
• a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including addiction to alcohol or drugs, or a substantial reduction in physical or mental capacity due to illness.
All young persons with whom Wiston Lodge staff and volunteers work are covered by this policy, whether they are deemed as “vulnerable” or not.
3.2 Wiston Lodge’s understanding of Abuse
Abuse to young persons or vulnerable adults is described under the following four headings:
i. Neglect: The persistent or severe neglect of a young person, whether wilful or unintentional, which results in serious impairment to physical heath and development.
ii. Physical Injury: Actual or attempted physical injury to a young person where there is definite knowledge or reasonable suspicion that the injury was inflicted or knowingly not prevented.
iii. Emotional Abuse: The adverse effect on the behaviour and emotional development of a young person caused by failure to provide for their basic emotional needs.
iv. Sexual Abuse: Any young person below the age of 16 may be deemed to have been sexually abused when any person, by design or neglect, exploits the young person directly or indirectly, in any activity intended to lead to the sexual arousal or other forms of gratification of that person or any other person including organised networks. This definition holds whether or not there has been genital contact and whether or not the young person is said to have initiated behaviour.
Other abusive behaviour towards young persons and vulnerable adults:
Within Wiston Lodge we aim to provide a safe environment where young persons and vulnerable adults can grow and develop. Consequently, in addition to the above very serious forms of abuse, staff and volunteers should also be aware and on the alert for other forms of abuse. These include:
• Making reference to some physical characteristic, manner of dress or perhaps family background in a way intended to hurt
• Blatantly favouring some and excluding others. Rejecting a member because of some negative family circumstance
• Name calling
• Abusive language and gestures
• Constant criticism
4. Procedures for the protection of young persons and vulnerable adults The Wiston Lodge Chair is responsible for:
• implementation of policy through senior staff team and Wiston Lodge manager
• Annual review of the policy
• authorising immediate changes as a result of near misses
• overall adherence to the Disclosure Scotland code of practice with respect to the management of disclosures in the recruitment of staff and volunteers.
All staff are responsible for ensuring that the policy is implemented.
4.1 Responding to suspicion or allegation of abuse*
You may have reason to believe that a young person has been or is being abused. This suspicion may arise from Physical evidence or voluntary disclosure of information from the young person or another individual. It is not your responsibility, however, to decide for definite. Therefore, it is vital that suspicions or allegations of abuse are raised in line with the following procedures:
Paid or voluntary members of staff have a duty to report these suspicions or allegations to their line manager. The volunteer or staff member’s first concern however must be reassurance of the young person and for their protection from any potential risk. Throughout the time taken to report and respond to an incident the young person should be protected from further contact with the individual involved in an allegation.
It is important to avoid asking the young person for a full account of any incident as this can often weaken a subsequent disclosure to an appropriate individual. Staff and volunteers should also be aware of the possibility of false or malicious allegations but should take an allegation on trust unless there is substantive evidence to the contrary. The protection of the child is paramount!
If the allegation/suspicion is about their line manager or a colleague, the volunteer or staff member should report it to the Manager or if the allegation is about the Manager, to the Chair Lodge.
Details of suspicion, allegations or disclosures should only be passed on to the line manager or the appointed person as outlined above.
Wherever possible concerns about a young person should not be discussed in such a way that it may lead others to suspect that they are being abused.
III Record information
It is important to keep a written record of the suspicion, allegation or disclosure. This should include the date, time, facts, observations and discussion that are relevant. You must ensure that the correct name and address of the young person is recorded. This record should be factual. Above and beyond the facts, any opinions or personal interpretations of the facts presented can be recorded but it should be clear they are opinions, rather than facts. Records should be signed and stored in a secure place.
IV Seek advice on referring the case
The person to whom the information is reported has the immediate responsibility to ensure that the child/young person is safe and protected from further contact with any potential risks. The line manager should contact the Social Work Department and ask to speak to the Duty Officer about a child protection issue. A report should be made using the pro forma included in Appendix 2. If the report is received during an evening then the Social Work department Emergency Duty team should be contacted. A copy of department contact points is held in appendix 3 at the back of this document.
• Wiston Lodge will provide staff with Emergency Duty Team information in the area in which they work.
• It is important not to divulge the young person’s name
• The situation should be fully discussed with the Duty Officer and they should be asked for more advice on how to proceed and who to notify
• A note should be kept of the Duty Officer’s name
• Any further action should only be taken in line with the advice given by the Social Work Department. It is important to work alongside social workers to find the best solution for the child, rather than intervene and cause even greater problems.
V Do not investigate
Staff and volunteers should not attempt to investigate the situation any further or interview the young person regarding the situation. This action could complicate a sensitive situation and interfere with evidence/legal proceedings.
4.2 Responding when a young person discloses abuse
It is likely that a young person who has been abused will have given a lot of thought as to whether they should disclose the abuse. It is highly likely that they will be nervous and afraid that they might be rejected, blamed or not believed. It is important that staff and volunteers follow the steps outlined below:
Stay calm: remain calm and natural. You have been approached because you are trusted, not because you are an expert counsellor. Do not promise to keep the information secret, you may have to inform an appropriate person. You must take any disclosure seriously and reassure the young person that there is no reason to worry.
Listen: listen to what the young person is saying. Give them the time and opportunity to tell you as much as they are able and willing to
Do not pressurise them and allow them to disclose information at their
own pace: Try to do this in an appropriate place as per 5 (1)
Reassure: Reassure them that you believe what they are saying and that you know it is not their fault.
Sorry: Say that you are sorry about what happened.
Confidentiality: Reiterate that you do not promise to keep the information secret. You must take any disclosure seriously.
Details of the disclosure should only be passed on to your line manager or the appointed person, who should refer the case to the appropriate authorities. Wherever possible you should try not to discuss any concerns that you have about a young person in a way that may lead others to suspect that they are being abused.
Take the allegation seriously: Tell them that you are willing to help and support them. It is important that the case is referred to the Social Work department. It is up to them to take the matter further and investigate if appropriate. Under no circumstances should you investigate the disclosure.
4.3 What to do in the event of an allegation of abuse being made concerning a Wiston Lodge staff member, volunteer, sessional staff member or consultant.
If a concern or allegation of abuse or inappropriate conduct is made against a member of staff or volunteer, or if a staff member or volunteer has a suspicion of inappropriate conduct with young persons, the CEO or a member of the Wiston Lodge Senior Staff team should be contacted. If the allegation is about the CEO, then the person to be contacted is the Chairperson. The over-riding priority is always the safety of the young person.
Where there are grounds for suspicion of abuse, the staff member will be informed of the allegation and given the opportunity to respond.
The staff member will then normally be removed from duties that have direct contact with young persons or be suspended with full pay without prejudice. This action will be taken by the Wiston Lodge CEO prior to referral of the allegation to the appropriate authorities. In all such cases Wiston Lodge will fully comply with all aspects of an external investigation and will seek to review policy and procedures on conclusion of same. In all allegations of abuse involving a member of staff or a volunteer, external support for that person will be considered. Lack of Police or other investigatory authority action will not preclude the possibility of disciplinary action being taken with staff/volunteers if deemed appropriate in response to poor practice. Procedures will take place as per the Wiston Lodge Staff disciplinary policy.
Wiston Lodge will also carefully monitor all those paid and volunteer staff leaving the employ of Wiston Lodge so as to identify any case where a child has been placed at risk or harmed. In any such case a referral will be made to the Disqualified from Working with Young persons List in accordance with the Protection of Young persons (Scotland) Act 2003.
4.4 What to do where an incident of alleged abuse whilst under Wiston Lodge supervision is alleged.
The most important priority in such incidents is to ensure the immediate safety of the young person who has been abused. Both abuser and victim must be kept apart. In a residential setting, it may be appropriate for the individuals to be taken home and, depending upon staffing levels, this may involve taking the whole group home. The procedure as outlined in section 4 should be followed.
Where allegations/suspicions occur where the victim and abuser are both participants in Wiston Lodge programmes, the procedure outlined in section 4 should still be followed. Such a situation will not automatically involve ceasing to work with either young person, but it may involve referring one or both parties on to another organisation.
5 Recommendations for working with young persons and vulnerable adults.
The following recommendations have been written to safeguard paid and voluntary staff from situations that might give rise to unjustified allegations of abuse:
I Workers should be aware of the possibility of false allegations that might arise when they meet alone with a young person.
Where a private meeting with a lone child/young person is unavoidable it should be held in an open place in view of others or in a room visible to those outside and where a colleague has agreed to visually monitor the meeting. If a young person participates in a review of their involvement in a programme as a result of disruptive or unacceptable behaviour, it is advisable that this review is witnessed by a second staff member/volunteer.
II Workers should not give lifts in their private cars to individual young persons or young persons unaccompanied by another responsible adult
III There should always be an appropriate ratio of adults to young persons/young persons to ensure that:
a) Activities are being run safely and allow maximum participation
b) Disruptive behaviour can be controlled.
There should always be at least two adults present with a group who are under 16 years of age, particularly when it is the only activity taking place on Wiston Lodge estate.
IV A group of under 16s should not be taken off the Wiston Lodge estate with less than two adults present.
V When working with a mixed gender group there should be staff/volunteers of both genders to manage all activities. If all staff/volunteers are of one gender, another person of the opposite gender should be designated as a contact point for members of the group.
VI Workers should treat all young persons and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity.
VII Workers will not engage in any of the following:
a) Invading the privacy of young persons and vulnerable adults when they are toileting or showering, changing or dressing, unless providing necessary help to very young person maintaining same gender boundaries. Where such help is deemed necessary parental consent should first be gained.
b) Inappropriate physical or sexually provocative games
c) Sharing sleeping accommodation with an individual young person
d) Making sexually suggestive comments about or to a young person even in fun
d) Inappropriate and intrusive touching of any form
e) Scapegoating, ridiculing or rejecting of a young person.
VIII Workers should not use any form of physical punishment
IX If a young person requires a review of or challenge to their behaviour as a participant in activities, this should take place privately, but in accordance with point 5 (I).
6 Selection Procedures for Staff and Volunteers
“The single most effective point at which an organisation can use good management to minimise the possibility of abuse is when new paid staff or volunteers are appointed, although it is important to ensure that vigilance is maintained thereafter”. (1995 Smith: Protecting Young persons)
All recruitment of staff, volunteers, consultants and sessional staff should take place using the procedure outlined in the table in Appendix 1 and as per the Wiston Lodge Recruitment Procedure.
The following lists of publications were used in drawing up this document:
YMCA Scotland Protection Of Young Persons and Vulnerable adults Procedure
A response Policy, Guidelines and Procedures for those involved in Youth Work” by Bill Blake – City of Dublin youth service
Protecting Young persons by David R Smith – VDS – A code of Good Practice for Voluntary
Organisations in Scotland working with young persons and vulnerable adults
Safe from Harm by David R Smith Home Office
A code of practice for safeguarding the welfare of young persons in voluntary organisations in England and Wales
Safeguarding of young persons, young persons and members by Aberdeen YMCA A Policy Statement and guidelines
Employment in Wiston Lodge by YMCA England
YMCA England Employment Manual
Paisley YMCA – draft copy of Child protection policy by Graham Currie
Child protection policy and procedures by YWCA of Great Britain.
Fairbridge Child Protection Policy
Cumbernauld YMCA/YWCA Quality procedures
Updated October FH/Board 2022
Applications process for paid staff and volunteers working with young persons and vulnerable adults covered by this policy as per definition in section 1.
Paid Staff, including part time and regular sessional staff on the pay
role of Wiston Lodge Volunteers engaged at Wiston Lodge, Consultants for whom we raise invoices to run individual sessions (ie not on the Wiston Lodge pay role)
1. Preparation of job descriptions
A job description should be produced for all posts.
Each job description should be Risk Assessed, in order to establish whether a Police Check is required for the post. This risk assessment should take into account the access that each post holder will have to young persons and vulnerable adults. With the introduction of the POCSA 2005 it is important that all staff and volunteers working face to face with young persons and vulnerable adults should undergo Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks. When the post is advertised, the type of disclosure required should be included in the advert. Using a template, a task description/brief should be produced for all regular consultants. This task description /brief should be risk assessed re access to young persons and vulnerable adults. Any information advertising the post should include the type of disclosure required.
2. The Applications process
A standard staff application form should be completed, which is anonymous, but coded. A standard/customised Volunteer application form should be completed and coded.
All posts whose risk assessment shows that a disclosure is required, should have in their application packs an internal Wiston Lodge criminal records
disclosure form (one for standard and one for enhanced) and a freepost envelope. Both should be coded in line with the application form. All posts whose risk assessment shows that a disclosure is required should have with their application form a criminal record disclosure form and an envelope. This should be handed in with the application form to the staff member leading the interview.
3. The Interview Panel
Each Interview Panel should have one counter signatory on it. Counter signatories will also have had training in the area of criminal records and equal opportunities. Volunteers should be interviewed by two persons – at least one of whom should have had training in equal opportunities and criminal records. The applications administrator should receive all free post envelopes separately. Once the short list has been made, the envelopes for those candidates should be handed over to the panel. If the short listing takes place in a different location to the applications administrator, arrangements should be made to ensure envelopes are confidentially passed onto the panel.
4. Short listing
The panel should open the envelopes to see if there are any disclosures which require the panel to gain more information. This should be based on the panel agreeing that the disclosure is relevant to the post. All other envelopes must be shredded by the applications administrator. Before the interview takes place, the lead interviewer should open the criminal record disclosure form and assess if there are relevant disclosures which require more information.
5. Interview preparation
The Interview panel should agree questions for any candidates regarding disclosures BEFORE the day of the interview – so allow enough time to prepare. This will enable the panel to make a fair and informed decision about the candidate. Questions should include:
• When the last offence was committed
• Whether there are any outstanding charges
• How the charges were received – ie the background to the offence.
For example – what did the candidate do to receive a conviction for a theft.
• What the candidate should be asked what they would change if they were under the same circumstances again. (This is aimed at revealing attitude, taking responsibility for the offence and motivation to change).
6. Offering the post
Once candidates have been interviewed, the panel can decide to whom they wish to offer the post, subject to a formal Disclosure. Once the candidate has been interviewed, the panel can confirm or reject their application to volunteer, subject to a formal Disclosure.
7. Disclosures procedure
The Counter Signatory on the panel will contact the candidate and ask them to complete a disclosure form. No firm offer can be made until the form has been returned to Wiston Lodge from CRBS. A Counter Signatory will contact the candidate and ask them to complete a disclosure form. No confirmation of volunteering can be made until the form has been returned to Wiston Lodge from CRBS. A Counter Signatory will contact the consultant and ask them to complete a disclosure form. No access to groups can take place until the form has been returned to Wiston Lodge from CRBS.
NB The taking up of references for all posts still applies. If the form is returned with additional information, the Counter Signatory must recommend either yes, no or re-interview the candidate. The Counter Signatory can not discuss information from the Disclosure with other panel members. If the Counter Signatory is not sure how to proceed, they can discuss the matter with another Counter Signatory or the Lead Signatory.
In the event of a candidate being re-interviewed, the Counter Signatory MUST NOT discuss enhanced disclosure information with either the panel or the candidate. If the form is returned with information relevant to the work. If the panel is still unsure, it is possible to approach Disclosure Scotland for guidance.
8. Final decision
A final decision can be made to either confirm the appointment, or to confirm that the appointment will not take place. If the decision not to appoint has been made on the basis of enhanced disclosure information, the candidate should be referred to Disclosure Scotland. Enhanced disclosure information MUST NOT be discussed with the candidate. In the event of the appointment not taking place, the interview panel can decide to offer the post to another suitable candidate (continue from point 6), or re-advertise the post (continue from point 1).
In the event of the volunteer not being appointed, the panel should tell the volunteer. It may be appropriate to re-advertise the post.
In the event of the consultant not being offered work, the Counter Signatory should either tell them directly, or inform the staff member for whom the work would be taking place.
Internal Criminal Records
Disclosure Information should be kept with other interview notes in the Personnel files for six months, then shredded. Internal Criminal Records disclosure information should be kept with other interview notes in a locked and secure place for six months, then shredded. All Disclosure Information will be kept as per the Storage and Handling of Information policy.
Updated October FH/Board 2023
Report form for Child protection concerns (See section 4.1)
• A report should be made by the person who has had the initial concerns about a child’s welfare using this pro forma
• The report should be handed to their line manager in a sealed envelope
• The Line manager should contact the Social work dept.
Who is putting the child/young person at risk? (eg staff member, family member)
Name of child/young person/s you concern relates to
Outline your reasons for concern (key points)
Brief outline of any action you have already taken to protect the child/young person
Follow up action taken by line manager
South Lanarkshire Social Work Department Contacts
Social Work Office Base Team Leaders/Seniors Phone
Social Work Resources
Blantyre Local Office
45 John Street
Kate Moore (Adults)
Christine Keenan (Older
Clydesdale Local Office
Sharron Archibald (Adults)
Margaret McKenzie (Older
Walter Valentine (Older
East Kilbride Local Office
Sam McKay (Adults)
Jim O’Donnell (Older Persons)
Linda Bulloch (Older Persons)
Hamilton Local Office
1 Leechlee Road
Liz Dyke (Adults)
Susan Gallagher (Older
Larkhall Local Office
Andrea Tannahill (Adults)
Margaret Bone (Older Persons)
Royal Burgh House
380 King Street
Shareen Blackall (Adults)
Moira McCafferty (Older
Kathleen McGinley (Older
0141 647 997