Off The Streets

Safeguarding Policy for Off The Streets Essex

 

What Is a Safeguarding Policy?

To ensure that all Off the Streets staff, volunteers and Trustees know how to support vulnerable adults to keep them safe from harm.  This policy provides a framework to enable staff and volunteers to respond appropriately to concerns , disclosures and actions which may involve the abuse of people using or coming into contact with the services offered by Off The Streets and to ensure that effective links are made into appropriate multi-agency safeguarding adult procedures and structures.

Who is responsible for implementation

Trustees, Executive Committee, Managers and volunteers

Effective Date: 22 June 2022

Reviewed Date: 31 May 2024

 

Named/Designated Person for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults & DBS Person

 

Named Person for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults & DBS Person

Name: Kirsty Fields

Contact Number: 07399530662

 
Designated Person for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults & DBS Person

Name: Del Thomas

Contact Number: 07547322809

 
Named Person with lead for DBS

Name: Emmet Perry

Contact Number: 07531387277

 

Trustee with Safeguarding Responsibility

Name:  Sally Mortimore

Contact Number 07718916333

 

 

2            INTRODUCTION

 

  • All staff, volunteers and Trustees play an important part in promoting the safety and protection of vulnerable adults who access the services of the Off the Streets Shelter (“the shelter”).

 

  • This policy applies to all Off the Streets staff, volunteers and Trustees if they have concerns about potential or actual abuse of a person accessing services. It applies in circumstances where abuse may not have been intended but the outcome was abusive.

 

  • It is not Off the Streets’ responsibility to investigate abuse. Nevertheless, it has a duty to act if there is a cause for concern and to notify the appropriate agencies so that they can investigate and take any necessary action.

 

 

3            POLICY STATEMENT

 

  • Off the Streets believes that people receiving services have the right to live their lives free from any form of abuse and expect staff to know what action to take if they observe, suspect or have reported to them possible abuse.

 

  • The term ‘Safeguarding Adults’ refers to an adult who has “need for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs”
    • is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect and
    • as a result of those needs is unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it (CA 2014 sect 42)”
    • to retain independence, wellbeing and choice and to access their human right to live a life that is free from abuse and neglect.

 

  • Off the Streets places the safeguarding of adults (and safeguarding children) above all other operating principles and where disclosure is for the purpose of safeguarding those at risk of abuse, the principle of confidentiality will be superseded.

 

  • The Care Act 2014 statutory guidance defines it as

“Protecting an adults right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations to work together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect while at the same time making sure that the adults wellbeing is promoted including where appropriate having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances”

 

  • A copy of the policy statement will be displayed permanently on the shelter noticeboard and be posted on the shelter website if one is to be published.

 

  • Each worker working with vulnerable adults will be given access to a copy of the policy and made aware of where the procedures can be found and will be required to follow (This may be in an electronic form)

 

  • A full copy of the policy and procedures will be made available on request to any member of the shelter, the relatives or carers of any vulnerable adult from the shelter or any other person associated with the

 

  • The policy and procedures will be reviewed at least annually.

 

 

  1. LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT

 

4.1        The Care Act (2014) places requirements on local authorities that they must:

  • make enquiries, or cause others to do so, if they believe an adult is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect. An enquiry should establish whether any action needs to be taken to prevent or stop abuse or neglect, and if so, by whom;
  • set up a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB);
  • arrange, where appropriate, for an independent advocate to represent and support an adult who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR) where the adult has ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved in the process and where there is no other suitable person to represent and support them;
  • co-operate with each of its relevant partners in order to protect the adult. In their turn each relevant partner must also co-operate with the local authority.

 

4.2        Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.  In particular this introduces the Vetting and Barring scheme (replaced by the DBS).

 

4.3        Mental Capacity Act 2005. Covering England and Wales, this provides a statutory framework for people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves, or who have capacity and want to make preparations for a time when they may lack capacity in the future. It sets out who can take decisions, in which situations, and how they should go about this. The legal framework provided by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 is supported by a Code of Practice, which provides guidance and information about how the Act works in practice.

 

4.4        Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004. The Act was introduced to increase the protection, support and rights of victims and witnesses.

 

4.5        Crime and Disorder Act 1998.  Provides a legal framework for tackling crime and disorder and helps create safer communities, including Anti-Social Behaviour Orders.

 

4.6        While many of these relate to the statutory sector, Off the Streets welcomes their guidance and this policy takes their findings and recommendations into account. 

 

  1. PREVENTING AND MINIMISING ABUSE

5.1        Off the Streets is committed to safer recruitment policies and practices for paid staff, volunteers and trustees. This includes enhanced DBS disclosures for staff and volunteers & trustees, ensuring references are taken up and adequate training on Safeguarding Adults is provided for staff, volunteers and trustees.

 

 

 

SAFER RECRUITMENT

 

5.2        Off  the Streets is also committed to equality, valuing diversity and working inclusively across all of our activities and aims to have a workforce that represents a variety of backgrounds and cultures and can provide the relevant knowledge, abilities and skills for our organisation. 

5.3        As such, Off the Streets aims:

  • to recruit and select the best people available to join our workforce;
  • to take all reasonable steps to prevent unsuitable people from joining our organisation;
  • to recruit, select and manage our staff and volunteers in a way that complies with legislation designed to combat inequality and discrimination;
  • to do all we can to achieve and maintain a diverse workforce;
  • to ensure that our recruitment and selection processes are consistent and transparent;
  • to ensure candidates are judged to be competent before we make them an offer of a job;
  • to ensure that new members of staff, volunteers of trustees are given a proper induction.

 

5.4        Off the Streets recognise that: 

  • our workforce is our most important resource;
  • unsuitable individuals sometimes seek out opportunities via employment or volunteering to have contact with children and/or vulnerable adults in order to harm them;
  • some groups face unfair discrimination in the workplace;
  • our guests benefit from our efforts to recruit and select a skilled and committed workforce from a diverse range of backgrounds;
  • new staff and volunteers cannot perform their role effectively unless they are inducted properly and receive ongoing support and supervision.

 

5.5        We recruit and induct our workforce by: 

  • advertising all posts through appropriate media and in a way that ensures that we attract high quality applicants from diverse backgrounds;
  • providing an application pack with relevant information for anybody who expresses an interest in an advertised job;
  • ensuring that all applications for both paid and volunteer positions are made using our standard application form;
  • involving more than one person to shortlist applicants for interview;
  • having at least two people conducting a face-to-face interview with anyone we may want to appoint;
  • incorporating the views and perspectives of guests into the recruitment and selection process whenever appropriate;
  • obtaining two references, two pieces of identification and original copies of any necessary qualifications from candidates;
  • requiring that all staff, volunteers and trustees have an up-to-date relevant DBS check where their post is eligible for this (including a check against the barred list if the post involves regulated activity), and providing an appropriate induction for all new staff, volunteers and trustees;
  • ensuring that all staff are made aware, during their induction period, of how to keep children, young people and vulnerable adults safe in our organisation;
  • appointing all staff and volunteers on a trial period initially, with a review before they are confirmed in post;
  • using the list of processes below to follow a consistent procedure for recruitment, selection and induction.

 

5.6        Off the Streets will adhere to the safer recruitment practices listed below

  • Each paid staff role and volunteer role Job Description clearly states the responsibility of the post holder to safeguard children and vulnerable adults.
  • Each paid staff role and volunteer role Person Specification contains clear statements about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults that the applicant will need to demonstrate.
  • References are requested and will include a request to the referee to provide information on the candidate’s suitability to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
  • All candidates must supply full employment histories; where candidates invited to interview have not provided full employment histories questions must be asked at interview to establish what they were doing during all gaps.
  • Candidates must not begin working with children and/or vulnerable adults until all DBS checks have been completed.

 

5.7        The safeguarding officers will maintain a register of authorised volunteers and ensure that all volunteers have a copy of the handbook which sets out safeguarding expectations and that the volunteers will sign to say they have read the handbook.

 

5.8        Off the Streets will work within the current legal framework for reporting staff that are abusers.

 

5.9        Guests will be encouraged to become involved with the running of the organisation, where appropriate.

 

5.10      The Complaints policy and Safeguarding Adults policy statement will be available to service users. This information will be in a form that can be easily understood. Guests will be provided with simple and straightforward ways to report their concerns.

 

5.11      All staff, volunteers, trustees and guests will be provided with training and information to enable them to develop the awareness, skills and abilities appropriate to their role within the organisation and responsibilities regarding Safeguarding.

 

5.12      All staff, volunteers and trustees will be provided with information regarding the organisation’s safeguarding policies and procedures during their induction period and all the organisations procedures will form part of the staff, volunteer and trustee handbooks.

 

5.13      Staff and volunteers will be provided with opportunity to discuss Safeguarding issues during volunteer meetings

             

5.14      The Trustee Board will receive at least an annual monitoring report regarding Safeguarding,

assessing its progress towards implementing the Southend Borough Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedure.

 

 

  1. DBS CHECKS     

The nature of the work carried out by Off The Streets involves working with vulnerable adults. Trustees of the charity would typically be eligible for an enhanced DB.

 

The Board of Trustees have decided that the role of OTS volunteers meets with the DBS Eligibility Tool and therefore constitutes Regulated Activity requiring an enhanced DBS check. This is also in line with the Charity Commission’s recommendation on DBS checks.

 

This level of check will detail both spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands the applicant has received.

 

6.1 Positive DBS

 

The fact that someone may have committed an offence (referred to under 1.3. above), does not preclude them from becoming a trustee or volunteer with Off The Streets. The one exception to this is where the person is on the DBS list of people who have been barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults. In these circumstances the appointment is automatically unlawful and the person must not be considered/remain as a trustee or volunteer.

 

On receipt of a positive DBS check, a risk assessment will be carried out on the person in question by the trustee with the lead for Safeguarding and the trustee with the lead for DBS processing. If necessary, the trustee with the HR lead will be part of the assessment & decision making.

 

 

 

  1. Recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse

 

7.1        Off the Streets is committed to ensuring that all staff, volunteers and trustees undertake training to gain a basic awareness of signs and symptoms of abuse and will ensure that the named and designated person and other members of staff and volunteers have access to training around Safeguarding Adults.

 

“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or

persons” No Secrets: Department of Health, March 2000

 

7.2        Abuse includes:

  • physical abuse: hitting, slapping, punching, burning
  • sexual abuse: rape, indecent assault, inappropriate touching
  • emotional abuse: belittling, name calling,
  • financial or material abuse: stealing, selling assets
  • neglect and acts of omission: leaving in soiled clothes, failing to feed properly
  • discriminatory abuse: including racist, sexist, based on a person’s disability and other forms of harassment
  • institutional abuse: such as the failure to respect or support a person’s right to independence, inappropriate confinement, restraint or restriction.

 

7.3        More detail about the forms and symptoms of abuse can be found in Appendix 1

 

  • Abuse may be carried out deliberately or unknowingly.

 

  • Abuse may be a single act or repeated acts.

 

  • People who behave abusively come from all backgrounds and walks of life. They may be doctors, nurses, social workers, advocates, staff members, volunteers or others in a position of trust. They may also be relatives, friends, neighbours or people who use the same services as the person experiencing abuse.

 

Vulnerable adult

7.4        Safeguarding Adults procedures relate to the multi-agency responses made to a person aged 18 years or over: ‘who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and is or maybe unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation’ [No Secrets 2000].

 

 

  1. Named person for safeguarding adults

 

8.1        Off the Streets has an appointed individual who is responsible for dealing with any Safeguarding Adults concerns. In their absence, a deputy will be available for workers to consult with. The named persons for Safeguarding Adults within Off the Streets are:

 

Named Person for Safeguarding Adults : Kirsty Fields

Mobile Number 07399530662

 

Name of deputy person: Del Thomas

Mobile number 07547322809

 

8.2        The roles and responsibilities of the named persons are:

 

  • To ensure that all staff, volunteers and trustees are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they have concerns that someone may be experiencing, or has experienced abuse or neglect.

 

  • To ensure that concerns are acted on, clearly recorded and referred to Adult Social Care following the Southend Safeguarding Adults Multi-agency Policy and Procedure where necessary:

 

  • To follow up any referrals and ensure the issues have been addressed.
  • To reinforce the utmost need for confidentiality and to ensure that staff and volunteers are adhering to good practice with regard to confidentiality and security.
  • To ensure that staff and volunteers working directly with service users who have experienced abuse, or who are experiencing abuse, are well supported and receive appropriate supervision.
  • To co-operate with safeguarding investigations carried out under the Southend

Safeguarding Adults Multi-agency Policy and Procedure.

  • To ensure that disciplinary procedures are co-ordinated with any other enquiries taking place as part of the ongoing management of any allegation.

 

  1. Responding to people who have experienced or are experiencing abuse

 

9.1        Off the Streets recognises that it has a duty to act on reports, or suspicions of abuse or neglect. Anyone who has contact with vulnerable adults and hears disclosures or allegations or has concerns about potential abuse or neglect has a duty to pass them on appropriately.

 

How to respond if you receive a disclosure:

  • Reassure the person concerned
  • Listen to what they are saying
  • Record what you have been told/witnessed as soon as possible
  • Remain calm and do not show shock or disbelief
  • Tell them that the information will be treated seriously
  • Don’t start to investigate or ask detailed or probing questions
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret

 

If you witness abuse or abuse has just taken place the priorities will be:

  • To call an ambulance if required
  • To call the police if a crime has been committed
  • To preserve evidence
  • To keep yourself, staff and service users safe
  • To inform the named person
  • To record what happened in our diary document

 

9.2        All situations of abuse or alleged abuse will be discussed with the named person. The alleged victim will be told that this will happen. This stage is called the Alert.

 

9.3           The named person can then take advice from the Safeguarding Adults Team and/or other advice giving organisations.

 

9.4           If it is appropriate and there is consent from the individual, or there is a good reason to override consent, such as risk to others, a referral to Adult Social Care will be made, using the Southend Safeguarding Adults Referral process below.

 

9.5        If the individual experiencing abuse does not have the mental capacity to understand what is happening to them, a referral will be made without that person’s consent.

 

 

  1. Making a referral

 

  • It is important to talk to the vulnerable person about the concerns raised about their wellbeing and to listen and respect their views. However, it is also important to be honest about your responsibility to report any concern or allegation of

 

  • On receipt of a concern or allegation of abuse about a vulnerable adult and their wellbeing the Designated person for safeguarding adults (or deputy) will take the necessary action including referral to the Southend Borough Council (SBC) Safeguarding

 

  • In an emergency situation or if the designated person for safeguarding adults (or deputy) is unavailable, any individual can contact the SBC on the details

 

  • If he or she is not sure whether an official referral is warranted, but they nevertheless have legitimate concerns, they will contact SBC to discuss the matter. Alternatively, they may contact the designated person for safeguarding adults (or deputy) for

 

  • The primary responsibility for managing any investigation process rests with the managers of SBC – Adult Social Care social services When the concern involves someone in residential care, the Care Quality Commission will be involved. Where a crime may have been committed, the police will investigate.

 

  • Adult Social Care Teams operate Emergency Duty Teams, outside regular office hours, at weekends and over statutory holidays. They are available to offer advice and will also act to protect a vulnerable

 

  • Prior to making a referral, you will need to gather as much information as you can about the allegation, and complete as much of the Safeguarding Adults Alert Form as possible – a copy of the Alert form can be found here:

 

  

  • Lack of access to the necessary information should NOT delay the referral.

 

Referrals can be made to:

Southend Borough Council Access Team on 01702 215008

 

  • Explain to the call taker that you wish to make a ‘Safeguarding Adults Referral’. It is important to provide contact details about yourself, as the Safeguarding Manager may need to contact you for further details and, should contact you in any event to offer feedback about the safeguarding assessment.

 

 

11         Managing allegations made against member of staff or volunteer

 

11.1      Off the Streets will ensure that any allegations made against a member of staff, volunteer or trustee will be dealt with swiftly.

 

11.2      Where a member of staff/volunteer/trustee is thought to have committed a criminal offence the police will be informed. If a crime has been witnessed the police should be contacted immediately.

 

11.3      Where the allegation involves alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult, a referral should be made following the process in section 8.

 

11.4      The safety of the individual(s) concerned is paramount and it should be ensured that they are safe and away from the person(s) who are the alleged perpetrators.

 

11.5      The named person will liaise with the Safeguarding Manager to discuss the best course of action and to ensure that the Off the Streets Disciplinary Procedures are coordinated with any other enquiries taking place as part of the ongoing management of the allegation.

 

  1. Recording and managing confidential information

 

12.1      Off the Streets is committed to maintaining confidentiality wherever possible and information around Safeguarding Adults issues should be shared only with those who need to know.

 

12.2      All allegations/disclosures/concerns should be recorded on an incident form (below) and sent to Kirsty Fields or Del Thomas.    The information should be factual and not based on opinions, record what the person tells you, what you have seen and witnesses if appropriate.  The information that is recorded will be kept secure and will comply with data protection requirements.

 

 

 

13         Disseminating/Reviewing policy and procedures

 

13.1      A copy of the policy statement will be displayed permanently on the shelter noticeboard and be posted on the shelter website if one is to be published.  Each worker with vulnerable adults will be given access to a copy of the policy and made aware of where the procedures can be found and will be required to follow them (This may be in an electronic form).  A full copy of the policy and procedures will be made available on request to any member of the shelter, the relatives or carers of any vulnerable adult from the shelter or any other person associated with the shelter.

 

13.2      Off the Streets will ensure that the Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures are reviewed annually by the Board of Trustees. The named person for Safeguarding Adults will be involved in this process and can recommend any changes.

 

13.3      It may be appropriate to involve service users in the review

 

13.4      The named person will also ensure that any changes are clearly communicated to staff, volunteers, trustees and service users.