Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Craic Theatre are committed to safeguarding the welfare of children and young people, and recognise our responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. Craic Theatre believe that the welfare of the child is paramount, and that all children without exception have the right to protection from abuse.
This policy has been approved and endorsed by senior management and the Board of Trustees.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE
At all times, Craic Theatre will:
- Treat children and young people with care, respect and dignity
- Put the welfare of children at the heart of all our work
- Ensure communication with children and young people is open and clear
- Assess the risks to children of its activities
- Recognise children’s rights as individuals and accord them the respect they deserve by considering, listening to, acknowledging and valuing their opinions and needs
- Train all staff in child protection issues
- Review its policy and procedures regularly
Code of Conduct
All Craic Theatre staff must sign up to and abide by the Code of Conduct attached to this Policy. The induction of staff will include detailed discussion of the requirements of this Code.
Any breach of the code of conduct will result in relevant disciplinary action.
Recruitment and Induction of Staff
Craic Theatre is committed to equality and fair treatment of all core staff, freelance employees and potential candidates for posts within the company. Craic Theatre is also committed to ensuring that the welfare of the child is of paramount consideration and that company recruitment systems do not increase or ignore the potential risk of harm to the children with whom Craic Theatre works nor do they compromise or put at risk individual staff members or candidates.
Craic Theatre is currently using an umbrella company to comply with Access NI, and requires enhanced disclosures from all staff that have regular contact with children. As part of Craic’s recruitment and selection process, offers of employment to positions where working with children and young people is an expected part of the job will be subject to an Access Ni check. This applies to persons engaged on staff, casual or freelance contracts.
Induction and Training
Training on child protection will form part of the company induction programme, and will then be updated on an annual basis, or as updates are required.
Induction for Project-based Employees
For all staff employed on project-based contracts, written guidelines will be provided. The content will cover all aspects of the company’s policy and procedures and will have additional elements depending on the nature of the activity to take place. The practical advice and written guidelines will be reviewed and updated regularly in accordance with changes in legislation and best practice.
Use of photographic/filming equipment
Craic Theatre will request all relevant consent in advance of any filming or photography and will adhere to the following guidelines: (Detailed policy available)
- Will provide a clear brief about appropriate content and use of image
- Identify photographer to host group
- Will not permit unsupervised access to children
- Avoid using names of children if image is used
All consent forms will be stored in line with data protection legislation.
Craic Theatre is aware of the importance of responding to, reporting and recording concerns, allegations and disclosures and following the correct reporting processes to support any investigation.
This is highlighted by
- Providing guidelines as to what constitutes a child protection concern
- Providing guidelines about how to respond to such concerns
- Implementing a procedure for recording and reporting information in a confidential manner
- Appointing a Designated Officer to deal with safeguarding issues
Sarah Jane McCrory
The Designated Officer will be the Theatre Project Manager.
Their role is to:
- Be the first person staff, volunteers or members of the public approach with concerns
- Train all stakeholders in the safeguarding policy
- Ensure that safeguarding policy and procedures are being implemented
- Contact statutory organisations about concerns and make referrals if necessary
What constitutes a child protection concern?
A concern which relates to the possibility of a child suffering harm or abuse. The most likely examples of this in the context of Craic Theatre activities are:
- Worrying remarks made by a child
- Situations where a child has been exposed to potential risk of harm
- Concern about the behaviour of a worker (e.g. inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour, negligence or favouritism)
- Disclosures –when a child tells you that they are/have been harmed or abused in any way
Responding to concerns
It is not Craics’s responsibility to investigate any concern, or decide whether or not it constitutes abuse. Employees simply need to ensure that all information is passed to the Designated Officer without delay.
All concerns should be recorded, no matter how insignificant the information may seem.
In the case of a child disclosing abuse, Craic Theatre employees should:
- Follow recommended practice re dealing with disclosures detailed in induction process
- Find designated Child Protection Officer and report concern
- Complete report form: form should then be copied leaving one with Child Protection Officer and retaining copy
- Notify Craic Theatre Designated Officer at earliest opportunity
- All records will be held confidentially and supplied for any further investigation
- Employees will be supported in any investigation even after their contract of employment has ended
Should the Child Protection Officer of the host organisation not be available:
- Employees should notify the Designated Officer immediately who will then follow up with the Child Protection Officer when available. Employees will need to make themselves available should a meeting be required
In the case of an allegation made against a Craic Theatre employee:
- Whether the allegation comes from a child or a member of staff of a host organisation, the designated Child Protection Officer/ Supervisor of the host school/organisation will be responsible for notifying the authorities and initiating the appropriate procedures. The Child Protection Officer/Designated Supervisor will also be responsible for notifying Craic’s Designated Officer at the earliest opportunity.
- Where an allegation is made from within Craic Theatre or to a Craic Theatre employee about a colleague, the designated Child Protection Officer/ Supervisor in the host school/organisation will be notified and will be responsible for notifying the authorities.
- Any employee against whom an allegation is made will be suspended by Craic Theatre on full pay for the duration of their contract or until such time as the investigation is complete. Allegations made against core staff should be notified to Craic’s Board through the Chair.
In all cases:
- If no system is in place within the host school/organisation or if Craic Theatre feel it is either inappropriate or ineffective to notify them, Craic Theatre will take steps to notify the appropriate authorities, i.e. the police or social services.
- Craic’s Board will be notified when an incident has taken place
COMMUNICATION OF THE POLICY
Craic Theatre is committed to promoting awareness of issues that may cause harm to children and raising understanding of their rights as individuals. Craic Theatre is also committed to promoting good practice generating a culture of ‘openness’ within its own work and in a wider context.
Craic Theatre will communicate its policy practically, publicly and in the promotion of good practice.
Craic Theatre will make its policy available to host schools/organisations. It will make them aware of its reporting and complaints procedures. Where appropriate, it will provide supplementary information for distribution to parents and carers. Host organisations such as theatres will be notified of the policy and where appropriate will be provided with notices for display and other relevant literature.
Craic Theatre will make its safeguarding policy and procedures available through its web-site. It will also be open to enquiries, concerns and complaints about issues relating to safeguarding. It will gather information about practices engaged by other organisations and will contribute to wider debates about training and appropriate behaviour.
Promotion of Good Practice
Craic Theatre will make the welfare of the child a paramount consideration in all areas of its work. It will stipulate that its host schools/organisations must have in place mechanisms and procedures relating to safeguarding.
Management and Monitoring
Craic Theatre is committed to managing the implementation of this policy in full and ensuring that it is reviewed regularly and amended as necessary.
Responsibility for Management
Final responsibility of the policy will rest with the Board of Craic Theatre. The daily and ongoing management of the policy will be undertaken by the Theatre Project Manager taking a lead role in record-keeping and implementation of procedures. All other employees regardless of their length of contract or duties will have a responsibility to adhere to the organisation’s child protection policy and follow all procedures as required.
- Craic Theatre will monitor its recruitment, selection and vetting procedures to ensure potential candidates are compliant with the requirements of this policy
- Induction and training will be recorded for all staff and with each new intake of project-based staff. Craic Theatre will keep a record of those employees who return for subsequent contracts and provide references as appropriate
- Craic Theatre will keep detailed and accurate records of any reported incidents, allegations or concerns and comply with all requirements to supply information as appropriate in line with data protection legislation
- Craic Theatre will be pro-active in gathering information on changes in law and practice and disseminate these/review procedures as appropriate
- Craic Theatre will retain all relevant records and will hold confidentiality as a primary consideration.
- Craic Theatre Board will make spot checks to ensure all procedures are being fully implemented
Craic Theatre will review its policy annually alongside other company policies. This will be undertaken at Board level. The review will take into consideration:
- Any issues that have arisen during the year from the implementation of the policy
- Any incidents reported and their implications for changes to be made
- Comments and suggestions from any source
- Changes in legal responsibility or recommended practice
- Issues arising from outside the sphere of child protection (e.g. changes in other legislation)
Any amendments required to policy and procedures will be discussed and approved at a Board meeting