Safeguarding Policy

Charity Number: 1160486 


  1. The society’s vision and mission, for every person to grow up safe, secure and supported and to build a better life for all. 
  • The Society runs a diverse annual programme of events including working directly with children and adults and has a responsibility to promote the wellbeing and safety of all people it comes into contact with. The society believes that it is always unacceptable for a person to experience abuse or neglect of any kind. The society is committed to protects children and vulnerable adults from harm and recognises its duty to ensure that appropriate action is taken where a child or vulnerable adult is experiencing harm or is at risk of harm. 
  1. To safeguard and promote the wellbeing of any children and vulnerable adults with whom the Society works 
  • To provide trustees, employees and volunteers with guidance on how they should behave if they suspect that a child or vulnerable adult may be experiencing or be at risk from abuse or harm. 
  • To guide trustees employees/volunteers on how to respond to – and report concerns 

This policy applies to all paid employees, seconded staff, trustees, volunteers, mentors, students, agency workers, contract, and unpaid staff working on behalf of the Society capacity and in any setting. 

  1. Children are those under 18;
  • Adults aged 18 and over have the potential to be vulnerable (either temporarily or permanently) for a variety of reasons and in different situations. For example, (and this list is not exhaustive an adult may be vulnerable if they 
    • Have a learning or physical disability 
    • Have a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs 
    • Has a reduction in physical or mental capacity 
    • Is receiving community services because of age, health or disability 
    • Is unable, for any other reason, to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. 

Everyone has a right to be safeguarded from abuse or neglect. There is a legislative framework in place in place to safeguard children and vulnerable adults through The Children Act 1989 (as amended by section 53 of the Children Act 2004) and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.  There may be other laws which apply in specific circumstances.

  1. Safeguarding relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and to protect them from harm. 
  • In any situation where there is a suspicion of abuse, the welfare needs of the child or vulnerable adult must come first even where there may be a conflict of interest (e.g. where the suspected perpetrator may be a trustee or member of staff). 
  • All staff should have a basic awareness of safeguarding issues. This includes: 
  1. Being alert to the possibility of abuse and neglect 
    1. Having enough knowledge to recognise an abusive or potentially abusive event or set of circumstances 
    1. Knowing who in the organisation to raise concerns with 
    1. Being competent to take the appropriate immediate or emergency action. 
  1. Children and vulnerable adults can experience abuse in a number of ways.  Defining child abuse or abuse against an adult is a difficult and complex issue.  Abuse is a deliberate act of ill-treatment that can harm or is likely to harm a person’s safety, wellbeing, and development.  Neglect also constitutes abuse but can defined as failing to provide or secure a child or vulnerable adult with the basic needs required for physical safety and wellbeing. 
  • The Society recognises that a person’s welfare is paramount and that all children and vulnerable adults – regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief and sexual orientation or identity – have the right to protection from all types of harm and abuse. 
  • Examples, which are not exhaustive, are set out below.  These categories can overlap, and an abused child or adult often suffers more than one type of abuse.  Very often the abuser is known or in a trusted relationship with the child or adult.  
    • Abuse of trust 
    • Child sexual exploitation 
    • Child Trafficking 
    • Discriminatory abuse 
    • Domestic violence or abuse 
    • Emotional Abuse 
    • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 
    • Financial or material abuse 
    • Grooming 
    • Harmful sexual behaviour 
    • Modern slavery 
    • Online abuse 
    • Physical Abuse 
    • Psychological or emotional abuse 
    • Radicalisation of children or vulnerable adults 
    • Self-neglect 
    • Sexual Abuse
  • If any member of staff has any concerns about a child or vulnerable adult they must contact the Society’s designated safety officer (DSO) immediately. 
    • The Society’s Designated Safeguarding Officer is : Bev Collins
  • The DSO may need to inform others depending on the circumstances and / or nature of the concern:
    • A Co- Chair of the Trustees or Project Manager who may need to liaise with the insurance company or the charity commission to report a serious incident.
    • Designated officer or LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) if the allegation concerns a worker or volunteer working with someone under 18.
  • Suspicions must not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.
  1. DSO

If the DSO agrees there is grounds for concern, they must take appropriate action to safeguard the child or vulnerable adult. This may include contacting the relevant local authority social care service or the local police child abuse investigation team. 

  1. Contact Information : West Sussex County Council Address: Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, 4th Floor, County Hall North (Parkside), Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XH Tel: 01403 229900.  Out of hours Tel: 033 022 26664.  Website address:
    1. Adult Social Services: Tel: 01243 642121  Out of hours Tel: 01243 42121 Website Address:
  • Detailed procedures where there is a concern about a child:Allegations of physical injury, neglect or emotional abuse.  If a child has a physical injury, a symptom of neglect or where there are concerns about emotional abuse, the DSO will contact Children’s Social Services for advice in cases of deliberate injury, if concerned about a child’s safety or if a child is afraid to return home. Parents or carers should not be told unless advised to do so, having contacted Children’s Social Services.  Seek medical help if needed urgently, informing the doctor of any suspicions.Allegations of sexual abuse:  In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator will Contact the Children’s Social Services Department Duty Social Worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team direct. They will NOT speak to the parent/carer or anyone else
  • Detailed procedures where there is a concern that an adult is in need of protection:
  1. The Care Act places the duty upon Adult Services to investigate situations of harm to adults with care and support needs. This may result in a range of options including action against the person or organisation causing the harm, increasing the support for the carers or no further action if the ‘victim’ chooses for no further action and they have the capacity to communicate their decision.  However, this is a decision for Adult Services to decide not the society.
    1. If there is concern the DSO will contact the Adult Social Care Team who have responsibility under the Care Act 2014 to investigate allegations of abuse. 
    1. Allegations of abuse against a person who works with adults with care and support needs:  The DSO will liaise with Adult Social Services in regards the suspension of the worker and make a referral to the DBS following the advice of Adult Social Services
  • Responsibilities of trustees:
  1. To comply with their legal duties, trustees must react responsibly to reports of safeguarding risks and incidents of abuse and take steps to make sure all staff know how to deal with these. Trustees should report a serious incident to the Charity Commission if beneficiaries have been, or are alleged to have been, abused or mistreated while under the care of The Society by someone connected with The Society including a failure to carry out checks which would have identified that a person is disqualified under safeguarding legislation, from working with children or adults.  
    1. All suspected or actual safeguarding incidents should be reported to the Charity Commission by email at:

     On occasion, a child or vulnerable adult may abuse another child or vulnerable adult. Safeguarding procedures should be followed in respect of all parties in those situations.

The Society has no powers to investigate abuse. Nonetheless all staff have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and/or vulnerable adults and a responsibility to work closely and co-operatively with other agencies in order to achieve this. Staff may have a role as referrers, witnesses, or supporters in safeguarding 

It is not the responsibility of the Society to decide whether or not abuse has taken place, the responsibility of those involved with The Society to act if there is cause for concern, in order that the appropriate agencies can investigate and take any action necessary to protect the young and/or vulnerable adult. 

If anyone is concerned that a child or vulnerable adult is in immediate danger, or requires immediate medical treatment, they should call the police and/or emergency medical services straight away. 

  1. Code of Conduct
  1. Society employees and volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable adults may be required to undergo awareness training. Staff and volunteers should make sure they have read the safeguarding procedures in full. They should highlight and discuss any issues requiring clarification and any training issues with the DSO.
  1. All should be aware of how their behaviour may be received or perceived, and take care not to take part in behaviours which could be seen as inappropriate when acting on behalf of or engaging with the Society. Examples of how to act (which are not exhaustive) are: 
    1. not generally meet with a child or vulnerable adult on their own 
    1. not ask overly personal questions, including those about age or appearance (unless specifically related to a work project, in which case it must be documented
    1. not send/give out material that could be considered offensive, which includes material on social media sites 
    1. not suggest or imply a personal relationship could develop 
    1. not take an aggressive or bullying tone 
    1. avoid physical contact 
    1. offer or accept personal gifts 
    1. travel alone with a young and/or vulnerable person
    1. not download or upload pornographic or other unsuitable material 
    1. report any inadvertent accessing of pornographic or inappropriate material 
  • Website/online safety 
  1. The Internet is a significant tool in the distribution of indecent photographs and some adults use the Internet to try to establish contact with young and/or vulnerable people to groom them for inappropriate or abusive relationships the Society would consider staff involvement in such activities as gross misconduct, which could ultimately lead to dismissal and referral for police investigation. 
    1. Staff should take care when communicating with others online, particularly when identifying themselves as Society employees / members / volunteers, and when in contact with children and vulnerable adults. 
  1. There can be great variation in practice when it comes to safeguarding children, young people and adults. This can be because of cultural tradition, belief and religious practice or understanding, for example, of what constitutes abuse. We therefore have clear guidelines with regards to our expectations of those with whom we work in partnership. We will discuss with all relevant partners and contractors our safeguarding expectations. It is also our expectation that any organisation using the Society will have their own policy.
  • We work closely with Columba’s Barn Community Benefit Society (the ‘CBS’) and it is expected that their procedures and practices, while inevitably not precisely the same as the Society will largely mirror those of the Society. 
  • As regards Health and Safety issues the Society has appointed Columba’s Barn CBS as its agent for overseeing many programmes and all health and safety matters on the farmstead at Columba’s Barn on Chanctonbury Ring Road, Wiston. All staff and volunteers should therefore comply with the directions of the CBS save insofar as they are directly contradictory to this policy.
  1. In any work with children and/or vulnerable adults it is important to be clear about confidentiality. Confidentiality and safeguarding should be discussed with children and/or vulnerable adults at the beginning of any piece of work and reminders and information given from time to time, to ensure that they understand the processes and what responsibilities members of staff have. It is absolutely essential to be clear about the limits of confidentiality well before any such matter arises. 
  • While personal information held by professionals and agencies is subject to a legal duty of confidence and should not normally be disclosed without the subject’s consent, it is essential that staff respond quickly where they have concerns or suspicions of abuse. Any concerns about confidentiality should not override the rights of children and/or vulnerable adults at risk of, or suffering, harm.
  • The Society responsibility for protecting children and vulnerable adults means that, where necessary to protect welfare, it will breach confidentiality to raise concerns. Should it become necessary to pass on information shared by another party this decision should always be discussed with the person in question and where possible their cooperation sought beforehand. Explanations of the reasons; processes; likely sequence of events; and who to contact for information or for support should also be provided. There should be no delay in reporting the matter by waiting for all the information.
  • Information sharing and record keeping must be done in a way that is compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (insofar as the same remains appliable) and Data Protection Act 2018, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the common law duty of confidentiality.  However, a concern for confidentiality must never be used as a justification for withholding information when it would be in the child or vulnerable adult’s best interest to share information.
  • A record should be kept of any decision and the reasons for it whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose. It is important that concerns raised are recorded accurately and in detail. All discussions should end with clear and explicit recorded agreement about who will be taking what action. Where no further action is the outcome the reason for this should be clearly recorded. It is important not to write speculative comments but to stick to the facts. Staff’s opinion may be crucial but it should be recorded as an opinion and any evidence stated to support these opinions. Records pertaining to issues of child protection may be accessible to third parties such as Children’s Services, Police, the Courts and Solicitors. 
  1. All colleagues and volunteers and should have appropriate checks in place dependent on the activities with which they are involved.
  • This can include:-
    • full career history, identity checks and references for employees
    • for roles within the Society which may involve working directly with children and/or vulnerable adults appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.
  • All staff and responsible volunteers should:
    • be supervised and supported in their work 
    • work to Society safeguarding procedures which are reviewed and updated as necessary 
    • receive training in safeguarding at a level appropriate to their work situation 
    • be able to raise concerns about poor and dangerous practice 
    • have access to personal safety procedures