BOOST! SAFEGUARDING POLICY

Boost School of Acting (hereafter Boost) understands the vital importance of having proper safeguards in place for the protection of young people under 18 years of age and other vulnerable groups. Boost recognises its responsibility to ensure that those benefitting from, or working with Boost, are not harmed in any way through contact with the Company. Managers, employees, volunteers and adult beneficiaries of Boost must always act in accordance with our Safeguarding Policies and follow the procedures and best practices as indicated below.

Declaration

Boost School of Acting strongly believes:

  • The welfare of a child is paramount;
  • All children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs.
  • Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility.
  • Boost works in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) on all safeguarding matters – oscb.org.uk

Child Protection Policy

Definition of Child Abuse

Child abuse happens when an adult inflicts harm on a child or young person, even, in some cases, if the adult’s actions are not deliberate. There are four broad categories of child abuse:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Emotional abuse.

Physical abuse happens when a child is deliberately hurt, causing injuries such as cuts, bruises and broken bones.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities.

Neglect is persistently failing to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs resulting in serious damage to their health and development.

Emotional abuse can severely damage a child’s emotional development. Active emotional abuse involves an adult deliberately trying to scare, humiliate or verbally abuse a child. Passive emotional abuse happens when a parent or carer denies the child the love and care they need in order to be healthy and happy.

Boost School of Acting will ensure:

  • all concerns, and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by management, employees and volunteers and responded to appropriately – this may require a referral to children’s social care services, the independent Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for allegations against staff, trustees and other volunteers, and in emergencies, the Police.
  • safe recruitment, selection and vetting for all management, employees and volunteers; all employees and volunteers who come into regular direct contact with the young people we work with, will be required to have an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service check.
  • management, employees and volunteers are clear on Boost’s policies and procedures in regard to children’s safety and well-being.

 

Code of Behaviour for staff and volunteers

Each manager, employee and volunteer has a responsibility to ensure that young people are protected from harm. It is the responsibility of all to ensure that:

  • Their behaviour is appropriate at all times and they provide a good example of acceptable behaviour.
  • They recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed, particularly as some of the work undertaken with children is 1:1 – preparing for LAMDA examinations, for example
  • The relationships they form with the young people under their care are appropriate.
  • They show respect and understanding of young people, and their safety and welfare, and conduct themselves in a way that reflects our principles.
  • They will follow the Oxfordshire Code of Conduct, which provides firm guidelines over the respectful and kind-hearted way that staff treat children, as well as providing a code of behaviour which conforms with best practice relating to safeguarding: ‘Code of Conduct – Guidance for Staff to Promote Safer Working Practice for All Adults Who Work With Children and Young People’ (August 2015)  (established by the Department for Education in September 2011 and adopted by Oxfordshire County Council). The principles form part of staff training and staff induction:  http://schools.oxfordshire.gov.uk/cms/sites/schools/files/folders/folders/documents/safeguarding/CodeofConduct.pdf
  • Since the welfare of the child is always paramount, Boost staff are trained to whistleblow when necessary.

How to recognise the signs of abuse

Children rarely tell if they are being abused. However, there may be signs that are an indication of a child being neglected or abused. The child or young person may:

  • have unexplained bruising, or bruising in an unexpected place
  • appear quiet, withdrawn, or afraid
  • be afraid to go home
  • appear constantly hungry, tired or untidy
  • be left unattended or unsupervised
  • have too much responsibility for their age
  • be acting in a sexually inappropriate way
  • be misusing drugs or alcohol
  • tell you something that sounds as if they have been hurt by someone.

Procedures

How to respond to allegations, disclosures or suspicions of abuse: All allegations, disclosures or suspicions of abuse, no matter how insignificant, must be recorded by speaking directly to the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) Piers Heyworth in the first instance either by face to face meeting or by telephone on 07876738324 and then to follow up by email to piersheyworth4@gmail.com  The DSO will refer the incident as necessary. No information must be withheld. The persons involved must not investigate the allegations, disclosures or suspicions but always refer to the DSO or in the event the DSO is unavailable, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) if there is an allegation about an adult or the Local Community Support Services member of staff if it concerns a child.  The appropriate LADO and LCSS member of staff’s can be found below:

If the DSO is unsure about whether a referral is necessary, he may request a ‘no names’ consultation via the LCSS – Local Community Support Service, Ana Crockford 0345 241 2608 or 07780 490759 email: LCSS.South@oxfordshire.gov.uk  or ana-marie.crockford@oxfordshire.gov.uk

If there is a serious concern about a child’s welfare, the DSO may contact the Oxfordshire MASH  (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) on 0345 050 7666, or the police or social services.

If there is an allegation about an adult, the DSO will consult the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) for Oxfordshire and lead ‘Prevent’ Officer Alison Beasley 01865 815956 / 01865 810603 07833 436649 alison.beasley@oxfordshire.gov.uk lado.safeguardingchildren@oxfordshire.gov.uk

It is possible for anyone to contact the above but normally this would be done through the DSO.

If Boost is working in a school or using a school as a venue, Boost will also follow the Safeguarding Policy of that particular school.

Confidentiality Policy

Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first and therefore it is not possible to promise confidentiality to a child.  Only refer an incident to the DSO or in the event the DSO is unavailable, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) or LCSS member of staff should be contacted.

Health and safety policy

Boost School of Acting is committed to ensuring those coming into contact with the Boost, either as a beneficiary of charitable activity, supporter of our work, volunteer, management or employee, are given a safe environment to work in. Everyone has a right to work in places where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.

Boost will ensure we:

  • prevent accidents and cases of work-related ill health by managing the health and safety risks in the workplace
  • provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, to ensure employees are well equipped to avoid hazards and contribute positively to effective Health and Safety at work
  • engage and consult with employees and beneficiaries on day-to-day health and safety conditions
  • implement emergency procedures – evacuation in case of fire or other significant incident.

Procedures

For every new avenue of work, Boost School of Acting will ensure employees, volunteers and management are equipped with the following tools and information to promote a healthy and safe environment at work:

✓ An updated risk assessment relevant for each new avenue of work, which highlights any minor or significant risks related to the activity(s) in question. Risk assessments will be reviewed when working habits change or conditions change (please see our risk assessment policy below for more information).

✓ A First Aid Box.

✓ The procedures to follow in the event of an emergency situation, including fire safety information for each new venue used in a charitable or fundraising activity; ensuring the nearest fire exits and fire safety procedures are recorded and known by all. A venue must have fire alarms which are tested at regular intervals. Evacuation plans will be tested regularly and updated as necessary and escape routes should be well signed and kept clear at all times.

✓ Manual handling safety instructions will be provided for beneficiaries, employees and other relevant persons during any charitable or fundraising activity.

✓ Toilets, washing facilities and drinking water will be provided. Inspections of the space Boost is working in will be routinely carried out.

✓ An incident record book must be used if ever an incident occurs during a club or teaching process and made known to the Boost Director, Caroline Seed or school administrator dependent on where the incident took place. All records of incidents must be countersigned.

✓ A full register of participant’s names and contact details.

✓ Emergency contact details of the young individuals involved in a charitable or fundraising activity. ✓ Parental/guardian consent forms including photography consent from both parents/guardians and participants and travel arrangements as agreed with the parents/guardians for those under the age of 18 and those considered vulnerable adults.

✓ The Local Authority Designated Officer contact details (to be used in the event of allegations, disclosures or suspicions of abuse, as referred to in the Child Protection Procedures section of this Safeguarding Policy). Employees will be routinely consulted on health and safety matters as they arise but also formally consulted at regular health and safety performance review meetings or sooner if required. Employees will be given necessary health and safety information, according to their role and the type of work they will carry out. Manual handling, fire safety and first aid will be the main health and safety concerns for the type of work the charity carries out.

Risk Assessment

When conducting a risk assessment for every new working environment, Boost School of Acting will consider:

  • the practical detail of a project
  • things that can go wrong in the project
  • likelihood of these things going wrong
  • impact of these things going wrong

In order to minimise the potential risks arising Boost will:

  • identify measures to reduce the risk
  • decide what to do if things do go wrong
  • ensure our risk assessment procedures are closely monitored

Procedures

After School Drama Clubs and Drama Coaching

Our main activity is our after school drama clubs and one to one drama coaching which each require a full risk assessment. In order to minimise general risk when running our clubs, the following procedures are carried out:

✓ Drama Club leaders are responsible for leaving the classroom or hall space as it was when they arrived.

✓ Chairs should be safely stacked and fire exits must be left clear of any obstructions.

✓ Leaders must ensure that fire exits remain clear during sessions when furniture may be moved around.

✓ The nature of the performing arts involves physical activity, and young people should be properly instructed and supervised and must be given the option to sit out of activities where they feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

✓ There must be adequate space for any physical activity and no obstacles in the space.

✓ Drama Club leaders should promote spatial awareness during physical activity, such as jumping, running and dancing – ensuring participants are aware of their surroundings.

✓ Leaders should consider the appropriateness of the activities to the age, ability and experience of the young people they are working with in relation to health and safety issues.

✓ Young people should be properly instructed in the use of technical equipment and supervised where appropriate.

✓ Young people should be regularly reminded of their contribution to the health and safety of themselves and others.

✓ Leaders must always consider health and safety issues in the design, construction and use of a set for performance projects.

✓ Leaders should familiarise themselves with the venue’s fire safety procedures and consider all health and safety issues when working.

✓ Participants will be asked to wear sensible, comfortable attire and remove items such as jewellery, which may prove a hazard during the classes.

✓ Drama Club leaders should ensure adequate ventilation, light and heating throughout the space. ✓ Drama Club leaders should check any furniture used is in good repair and any permanent fixtures in good condition – notifying the school or designated hall contact of any equipment in disrepair.

✓ Leaders must ensure any work at a height is carried out using a step ladder. Any work taking place at a height which a step ladder cannot reach, should be carried out by a professional technician.

Each new avenue of work will carry different and more specific risks, so for every new avenue of work, Boost will ensure a thorough risk assessment is carried out before, during and after.

Anti-bullying policy

It is the policy of Boost School of Acting to provide a neutral and harmonious environment which is free from harassment and intimidation, where all employees, management, beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters are treated with dignity and respect. Bullying or harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated under any circumstances. All employees, management, beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters of Boost are expected to comply with this policy and not to behave in a way that humiliates, intimidates or undermines others. Boost is dedicated to ensuring that all participants and employees involved in our activities are treated and valued equally, regardless of where they live in the United Kingdom and irrespective of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, additional educational needs, disability and sexual orientation. Bullying is any persistent behaviour, directed against an individual, which is intimidating, offensive or malicious and can undermine the confidence and self-esteem of the recipient. Bullying is largely identified by the affect it has on the individual rather than what has actually been done. Harassment is any unwanted non-verbal, verbal or physical abuse, advances and behaviour which an individual may find offensive, distressing and/or unwanted.

Boost School of Acting endeavours to ensure that a secure environment is provided for every young person who wishes to participate in the drama.

Definition

Bullying and harassment can be:

  • Emotional – being deliberately unfriendly, excluding, and tormenting (e.g. hiding possessions, using threatening gestures)
  • Physical – pushing, hitting, kicking or any use of violence
  • Racist – racial taunts, graffiti, gestures
  • Sexual – unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments
  • Homophobic – because of, or focusing on the issue of sexuality
  • Religious – because of or focusing on the issue of faith
  • Verbal – name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours
  • Cyber – all areas of internet, such as e-mail, social media and internet chat room misuse, mobile phone threats by text messaging and calls or misuse of associated technology, i.e. camera and video facilities

This list is not exhaustive. Legitimate, constructive and fair criticism of a participant’s performance or behaviour during an activity is not bullying. An occasional raised voice or argument is not bullying, as long as participants are treated with dignity and respect. It is the responsibility of management, employees and volunteers to ensure the implementation of Boost’s Anti-Bullying Policy to minimise occurrences of bullying. During any area of work employees should encourage all participants to report instances of bullying happening to them or which they see happening to others. Employees will use their experience and discretion to establish the seriousness of the allegation but are themselves encouraged to report the allegation to their trustee link to discuss possible action. This might include discussion with individuals, the whole group or involvement of parents. Where bullying has been established, a written record will be made and sent to the Caroline Seed, Director of Boost via email to caroline.seed1@btinternet.com. In our after school clubs and drama coaching, Drama Club leaders are encouraged to raise awareness about bullying through class content as part of regular class activities; raising awareness about bullying and the forms it can take. This will encourage an open discourse about the issues surrounding bullying and how best to tackle it.

Procedures

  1. Incidents should be reported to Drama Club leaders and subsequently to the Director of Boost via email. Boost will ensure that all incidents are dealt with as quickly as possible in order to create the least possible stress for both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator.
  2. Incidents will be recorded by leaders with a countersignature and passed to the Director who will take responsibility for the safe storage and processing of this information. All information gathered will be treated with strict confidentiality.
  3. In serious cases, parents will be informed and will be asked to visit to discuss the problem.
  4. In extreme cases, if necessary and appropriate, particularly ‘cyber-bullying’, the police will be consulted.
  5. The bullying behaviour or threats of bullying must be investigated and the bullying stopped quickly.
  6. An attempt will be made to help the bully (bullies) change their behaviour.

Outcomes

  1. The bully (bullies) may be asked to genuinely apologise and other consequences may take place. 2. In very serious cases, suspension or exclusion could be considered.
  2. If possible, the participants will be reconciled.
  3. After the incident(s) have been investigated and dealt with, each case will be monitored in striving to ensure repeated bullying does not take place.

Recruitment and selection policy

Procedures

The protection of children and young people from harm must be a primary consideration in developing a thorough method of recruiting, selecting and managing staff and volunteers. To ensure a thorough recruitment and selection process, Boost School of Acting will follow procedures as below when recruiting new employees, contract workers, new management and volunteers:

  1. There will be a clear job description for staff and a role description for volunteers and new management, and a person specification outlining key skills and abilities required for the post. Job descriptions will include only those requirements that are necessary for the effective performance of the role.
  2. Applicants must provide a CV that covers past work/volunteering and a covering letter explaining why they are suitable for the post in question.
  3. There will be an interview process suitable to the role and task. All recruitment is completed by Director of Boost, Caroline Seed.
  4. Enhanced DBS checks are required for those working with children and young people in regulated activity and other roles where appropriate. The post will not be offered until these checks have been cleared.
  5. Applicants working with children and young people will sign a declaration form declaring any past (including spent) criminal convictions, cautions and cases pending against them.
  6. Applicants will also be asked to sign a declaration form stating that there is no reason why they should be considered unsuitable to work with children. This information will be dealt with in a confidential manner and not used to discriminate against applicants unfairly.
  7. Written references will be sought (and followed up orally, when necessary).
  8. The same recruitment procedures will be applied consistently, regardless of the position being filled.
  9. All the additional checks that are done on teachers in UK schools are done on Boost employees – identity check, qualifications where appropriate, right to work in UK, overseas check if required, medical fitness to work with children, confirmation that KCSIE ( Keeping Children Safe in Education) has been read and understood, check on Disqualification by Association, and safeguarding training (including Prevent) completed.
  10. In addition to regular updates, Boost employees receive training at least every three years in safeguarding and the Designated Safeguarding Officer receives training in safeguarding at least every two years.

Boost is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce. It is Boost’s policy to ensure that staff and associates are recruited, remunerated, developed and promoted on the basis of skills and suitability for the work performed. The Company is committed to ensuring that no employee, associates, or anyone seeking employment with the Company, receives less favourable treatment on grounds of colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, marital status, disability, age or sexual orientation. All staff and associates, whether full time, part time, permanent or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect.  Management will discuss particular individual requirements for all staff and associates regarding any medical conditions/ disabilities when relevant to the job. They will seek competent advice in order to make reasonable adjustments to selection procedures, working arrangements and the physical features of the premises when it would be practical, effective and economic to do so. All staff and associates are accountable for ensuring that this policy is actively pursued and put into practice.

Regulated activity policy

Definition

Regulated Activity is activity that must not be carried out if you are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. The full legal definition of regulated activity is set out in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. The scope of Regulated Activity for work with children and young people is:

  • Unsupervised activities: teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, or providing advice/ guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children
  • Work for a limited range of establishments with opportunity for contact. For example – schools, children’s homes, childcare premises (but not work by supervised volunteers) In this context, ‘regular’ means carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period (or in some cases, overnight). Work that was previously Regulated Activity for work with children but will no longer be regulated includes:
  • Activity supervised at reasonable level • Health care not by (or directed or supervised by) a health care professional.
  • Legal advice
  • “Treatment/ therapy” (instead “health care”) unless this is ‘’advice/guidance on well-being’’ • Work in ‘’specified places’’ which consists of occasional or temporary services, e.g. maintenance (not teaching etc.)
  • Volunteers in ‘’specified places’’ supervised at reasonable level. • All “positions” e.g. governors, trustees etc.
  • Work carried out by inspectorates The issue of whether or not activity is considered to be Regulated under the new definition may depend in many cases on whether it is supervised or not.

The legal definition of supervision in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 states that the supervision should be:

  • ‘regular’
  • ‘day to day’
  • ‘reasonable in all the circumstances for the purpose of protecting the children concerned’, and
  • ‘carried out by someone who is in regulated activity’

Procedure

When recruiting, if the post does not involve work covered by the definition of Regulated Activity, Boost will not be able to ask for a check of the barred list for the person(s) we are considering for that role. However, if the post involves work that would have been classed as Regulated Activity under the old definition, Boost will still be able to ask for an enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service check, but this check will not include information about whether or not that person is on the barred list. Boost will ask for an enhanced DBS check on roles that involve regularly caring, training, supervising or being by yourself and responsible for children. In these situations, ‘regularly’ is not defined but is commonly taken to mean at least once a month. In all circumstances when an employee, trustee or volunteer is involved in a Regulated Activity, Boost will ask for an enhanced DBS check; the position will not be offered until these checks have been cleared. All staff working in Regulated Activity will still be supervised at regular intervals by the Boost Director, ensuring our work continues to be of good quality and our policies and procedures are being adhered to by our employees when working remotely.

 

Photography and film

Boost School of Acting uses photography and film to document our activities and the achievements of our work, and that of our beneficiaries. However, it is important to be aware of safeguarding issues when taking photos or filming at events. In order to reduce the potential for misuse of images, Boost School of Acting will;

  • not use children’s names, or other personal information in photograph captions if publishing the photographs publicly
  • use a parental/guardian permission form to obtain consent for a child to be photographed and videoed and that their image may be used on our website, in reports or social media pages • obtain the child’s permission to use their image
  • only use images of children in suitable clothing to reduce the risk of inappropriate use
  • state written expectations of professional photographers or the press who are invited to an event and not allow photographers unsupervised access to children
  • not approve photography sessions outside the event or at a child’s home
  • ensure images or video recordings of children are kept securely

Procedures for payment/ financial arrangements

Payments made by Boost School of Acting and payments due to Boost School of Acting between beneficiaries and Boost will be arranged in the following ways:

  • BACS, cash or cheque can be used when payments are due to Boost – either via our website, or cash or cheques for transactions made face-to-face. Cheques must be made payable to Caroline Seed.
  • Payments made by Boost School of Acting will be paid by bank transfer with a valid invoice.

Youth participation policy

This policy ensures that young people are empowered within the process of safeguarding and have an active say in our decision making related to their safety. Boost School of Acting will ensure young participants are consulted on our safeguarding policies and practices to ensure they benefit and feel confident in Boost’s policies.

Complaints procedure

Boost School of Drama aims to provide a high level of service at all times, but if you feel we have not met this high level of service in anyway, please do not hesitate to contact us with any comments or complaints you may have. We value your feedback and in the event of a complaint, we will address your concerns as soon as possible. Formal complaints and feedback can be made in writing, by email, to our Director: Caroline Seed, caroline@boost-drama.co.uk

Boost School of Acting are committed to ensuring that its staff, Board and other volunteers are trained and regularly updated to enable all our company policies are understood and implemented. This policy is reviewed and approved Boost School of Acting annually or when legislation changes.

January 11 2018