What is safeguarding?

The Safeguarding Policy for VQ Solutions reflects the importance of our responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all our apprentices and staff by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect and bullying. We are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all our apprentices so that they can learn in a relaxed and secure atmosphere. We believe every apprentice should be able to participate in all earning and social activities in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from harm.

VQ Solutions have a statutory requirement under Sections 27 and 47 of the Children Act 1989 to assist the Local Authority Social Services Department acting on behalf of children in need. VQ Solutions will safeguard and promote the welfare of children in compliance with the DfE guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (July 2015) KCSIE (September 2016) and associated guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) WT in addition to the Care Act 2014. VQ Solutions also complies with the statutory guidance on children who run away or go missing from home or care (January 2014) and The Prevent Duty (The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act June 2015) and Social Media for Online Radicalisation (July 2015) and this Policy should be read in conjunction with these procedures and guidance.

The main aims of this policy are to ensure that staff are fully engaged in being vigilant about raising awareness; that they overcome professional disbelief that such issues will not happen at VQ Solutions and ensure that we work alongside other professional bodies and agencies to ensure that our apprentices and staff are safe from harm.

The principal objectives of this policy are:

  • All staff will understand what radicalisation and extremism are and why we need to be vigilant.
  • All apprentices and staff will know that VQ Solutions has policies in place to keep them safe from harm and that VQ Solutions regularly reviews its systems to ensure they are appropriate and effective.

Who are we safeguarding?

The Children Act 1989 states the legal definition of a child is ‘a person under the age of 18’. ‘Young person’ is not a legal term, for the purposes of the policy and procedures, a young person is someone who might not perceive themselves as a child, but who is still in the age range of the legal definition, and therefore fall within the term ‘child’.

Key aspects of the legislation have been extended to include protection for ‘vulnerable adults’. Section 115(4) of the Police Act 1997, states that a person can be considered vulnerable if they are “substantially dependent upon others in performing basic functions, or their ability to communicate with those providing services, or to communicate with others is severely impaired”. This may mean that they have a reduced ability to protect themselves from assault, abuse or neglect. This can be as a result of a learning or physical disability (not normally to include dyslexia; a physical or mental illness chronic or otherwise (including an addiction to alcohol or drugs); or a reduction in physical or mental capacity.

Why is safeguarding necessary?

VQ Solutions Ltd has a common law and ‘Education Inspection Framework’ duty of care to take such steps that in the circumstances of an educational institution are reasonable to ensure that the child, young person or vulnerable adult, is safe and seen to have an enhanced duty of care.

Statement Policy

VQ Solutions Ltd is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults, engaged in the breadth of its activities.

As a consequence, VQ Solutions Ltd has taken the view that in the interests of good practice there should be a clear policy and associated procedures to guide work with under-18-year-olds and vulnerable adults.

VQ Solutions Ltd recognises that it has a duty to help staff and learners recognise their responsibilities (through guidance, support and training), minimise risk and avoid situations (where possible) where abuse or neglect might be alleged.

Safeguarding structure & responsibilities

VQ Solutions Ltd has in place an organisational structure for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. Key senior staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities include:

  • Designated Safeguarding Officer (Supervisory)
  • Quality Manager (monitoring)

In those areas where staff and learners work with children and vulnerable adults as part of their roles, a manager is nominated to have responsibility for safeguarding in their area. VQ Solutions Ltd takes the view that all staff and learners are required to take shared responsibility for the protection and safety of any children, young people and vulnerable adults on apprenticeship programmes. They must be aware of and abide by VQ Solutions Ltd Codes of Practice. It is expected that all parents/guardians (either learners or from the general public) who bring children into VQ Solutions Ltd offices or any external facilities/events abide by the Code of Behaviour as well as health and safety regulations.

Processes are in place to check the suitability of staff and learners working directly with children and young people. Some staff and learners across the company will be in regular or significant occasional contact with under-18s or vulnerable adults in the course of their teaching or other work. There is a commitment that such staff and learners have satisfactory DBS checks in place. In line with recommendations from ‘The Birchard Inquiry Report’ (2004) – recommendation 19 “New arrangements should be introduced requiring those who wish to work with children or vulnerable adults, to be registered.

Employees require enhanced criminal records check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Learners

VQ Solutions Ltd believes that children/young people have rights as individuals and should be treated with dignity and respect. We will strive to provide a safe environment for any young people (under-18s) and vulnerable adults in its care while they are studying at VQ Solutions Ltd, visiting our premises or participating in VQ Solutions Ltd activities.

Activities at VQ Solutions Ltd that involve children/young people and vulnerable adults, in organising learning and teaching and delivery of services, are risk-managed and will be supported by risk assessments, and make reasonable, proportionate adaptations to their activities as appropriate.

VQ Solutions Ltd reserves the right to refuse to admit a child or vulnerable adult to a programme of study, or other managed activities if it judges that the adaptation necessary to safeguard that individual’s wellbeing go beyond what is reasonable and proportionate.

Where adaptations are reasonable and proportionate, we will put into place a number of ‘control measures’ (in the language of health and safety) in order to safeguard the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults. These are kept under review and added to as necessary.

Staff

All VQ Solutions Ltd’s staff members, contractors and volunteers are advised to minimise physical contact with learners, except for reasons of health and safety, or where physical contact may be a necessary part of learning.

VQ Solutions Ltd reserves the right to deny employment to individuals where permitted criminal records checks suggest they might post a danger to the learning community.

VQ Solutions Ltd also reserves the right to suspend and/or dismiss staff members, in accordance with its employment procedures, from employment or from undertaking a specific role with respect to that employment. This may apply if the information was withheld when requested, about their criminal record at the point of employment, or acquires a criminal record during employment.

All members of staff working closely with children or vulnerable adults have to be alert to possibilities of abuse and any concerns about the behaviour of an adult with respect to that child should be reported in accordance with procedures. This will be supported by relevant training, skills development and updates to ensure recognition, response, reporting, recording and referral are all to the required standard.

DBS disclosures will be obtained for all staff and volunteers working in ‘regulated positions’ (as defined by the Criminal Justice and Court Service Act 2000). VQ Solutions Ltd will where appropriate evaluate information to determine an individual’s appropriateness to work in such an activity.

Where staff are not engaged in regulated positions but are involved in activities that may involve children or vulnerable adults, a risk management approach is taken to the delivery of learning and teaching, and activities involving the wider public.

Other Groups

The parent/guardian of children on VQ Solutions Ltd premises or arranged work placement activity, whether they are children of learners, staff members or visitors, remain their responsibility, unless they are enrolled as learners, or otherwise involved in VQ Solutions Ltd managed activity.

The organiser of activities on VQ Solutions Ltd premises or satellite centres that children are participating in (without their parent/guardian), is responsible for their safeguarding and wellbeing.

Definitions

  • Physical abuse - is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence striking, hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, kicking, pinching and burning.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse - A person subjecting another to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Financial abuse - Tactic used by abusers to limit and restrict their victims’ access to their finances. For example, a young adult having their benefits taken away from them.
  • Neglect by others - Where a parent, carer or guardian will actively and knowingly fail to care for or attend to the basic needs of a child or vulnerable adult. For example, not feeding a child and/or leaving them in the same clothes and not helping them wash for days on end.
  • Self-neglect - Is any failure of an adult to take care of themselves? It could be a result of poor health, depression, cognitive problems or being physically unable to care for themselves. In this situation, family and carers would be expected to pick up on these signs and give or apply for appropriate care.
  • Discriminatory abuse - Is when you are picked out deliberately for unfair treatment because of a protected characteristic. For example, a vulnerable adult is picked on by an employer because of their disability.
  • Organisational abuse - Is where an institution fails to provide basic care for its residents. It is also related to gang culture where an individual is forced into committing a crime for the financial gain of gang leaders.
  • IT Usage - Apprentices and staff are briefed during induction about how to stay safe when using the Internet and are encouraged to recognise that people are not always who they say they are online. They are taught to seek help if they are upset or concerned about anything they read or see on the Internet. Inappropriate websites are banned and cannot be accessed from VQ Solutions premises.