Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

Mindsum is committed to promoting the safety and wellbeing of young people and their families in all that we do. This policy is to specify Mindsum’s Safeguarding policy and procedures for the protection of children, young people and adults at risk. It also outlines how we will safeguard those we work with and those that work on our behalf.

2. Policy statement

Mindsum is a community interest company dedicated to understanding, supporting and treating mental health conditions of children and young people. We are committed to promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people, as well as their families in all that we do. Mindsum seeks to provide an environment where everyone can work safely, and children, young people and adults at risk can engage with the Mindsum activities and enjoy programmes provided through the work of our organisation, including staff, volunteers, consultants, or in partnership with other agencies and/or community voluntary sector organisations.

3. Purpose of this policy

Every child or young person deserves and has the right to be safe and to thrive no matter who they are or what their circumstances. The Mindsum’s approach to safeguarding includes the concept of a culture of person-centredness which supports and promotes wellbeing, and encourages resilience and the prevention of harm.

We believe that our staff, volunteers and consultants have both an individual and organisational responsibility for safeguarding. We aim to embed a safeguarding ethos and practice which is both proactive and responsive towards issues of safety and wellbeing.

We understand that where abuse and neglect does occur, it can have devastating effects on individuals, families and wider society. Our commitment to safeguarding in its widest sense is therefore vital.

This policy and the accompanying procedures provide clear standards and processes for all our staff, volunteers (including consultants, children and young people) and partners. This ensures that everyone is clear about their roles, individual and organisational responsibilities, and the procedures to follow in order to protect children, young people and adults at risk from harm.

4. Scope of this policy

This policy applies to all employees, volunteers, consultants, independent advisors, contracted associates and unpaid staff working on behalf of Mindsum in any capacity and any setting. Mindsum requires that our partners, current or in future, share our commitment to safeguarding.

5. Terminology

For the purposes of Mindsum’s policy, procedures and guidance, the following terms and definitions apply:

  • Child: Legally, a child includes babies, children and young people from pre-birth until their eighteenth birthday (at 18, they are legally an adult) in England and Wales. In Scotland, in most situations, a child is someone who is under 18. However, in some contexts, for example child protection orders, a child is defined as a person under 16 years of age.
  • Adult at risk: Any person who is aged 18 years or over and who is at risk of abuse or neglect because of their needs for care and support (Care Act 2014 [England]).
  • Abuse: A form of maltreatment of a child or adult. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child or adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.
  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults: Protecting individuals from maltreatment; preventing harm to health or development; ensuring children grow up with the safe and effective care; and taking action to enable individuals to have the best outcomes.
  • Child or adult protection: Refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children or adults who are suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm.
  • Significant harm: Is the threshold which justifies compulsory intervention in the best interests of the child or adult. This may refer to a single traumatic event or, more often, the cumulative effect of incidents and/or behaviours over time which significantly impairs an individual’s physical and psychological development.
  • Early identification and help: Statutory guidance stresses the importance of children and adults having the opportunity of early help and support in order to avoid child or adult protection intervention at a later time.

6. Our commitment to safeguarding

Mindsum’s Safeguarding Framework sets out the standards which we are committed to upholding throughout our work. These standards are tested by means of the annually-updated Safeguarding Action Plan.

Mindsum believes that:

  • The best interests of the child and adult of concern are paramount in all considerations about their welfare and protection.
  • Safeguarding must be embedded throughout our governance, leadership and culture.
  • Young people must be valued, empowered and supported to inform and shape our activities, including decision-making, risk-identification and review of our safeguarding practices.
  • All individuals have an equal right to protection from abuse and neglect, regardless of their age, ability, gender, disability, nationality, racial heritage, faith, sexual orientation, identity or any other additional vulnerability.
  • Our recruitment, induction, training, supervision and appraisal procedures must ensure that staff and volunteers are suitable and supported to implement safeguarding best practice.
  • Our physical and online environment should be safe and secure and promote enjoyable and positive experiences.
  • We must have clear policies and procedures for reporting, acting-upon and following-up safeguarding concerns, which are monitored and regularly reviewed to identify learning and/or implications for policy and practice.
  • It is right to insist upon high standards in safeguarding practice from all of our partners.
  • We must proactively care for our staff and volunteers. Individuals should be encouraged to take personal responsibility for their own wellbeing as well as feeling empowered to seek support when necessary.
  • Learning, sharing and creating networks to champion best practice is beneficial for all children, young people and adults at risk as well as our staff and volunteers.
  • Our safeguarding policy and related documents should be publicly available.

7. Principles of reporting concerns

  • Recognise concerns that a child or adult is being harmed or might be at risk of harm.
  • Respond appropriately to a child or adult who is telling you what is happening to them.
  • Refer the concerns, if appropriate, to children’s or adult social care or the police.
  • Record the concerns appropriately and any subsequent action taken; ensure there is no delay in passing on concerns. Timescales noted are the maximum allowed and nothing should prevent a more speedy response if this is required.
  • Resolution and escalation – take responsibility to ensure that referrals made are followed up and take further action if not satisfied with the response.

8. Roles & responsibilities

The implementation of this policy is mandatory across all areas of the Mindsum organisation. Specific responsibilities are outlined below:

8.1 Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer is ultimately responsible for the implementation of Mindsum’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures. He is responsible for ensuring:

  • the resources available to support staff on safeguarding/child protection issues is maintained.
  • the safeguarding implications are constantly reviewed across the scope of the work that Mindsum delivers to children and young people, and are fully considered in the development of all new pieces of work.
  • the continued development of Mindsum’s approach to safeguarding, considering and authorising any immediate changes in operational policy required due to a safeguarding incident or a near miss.
  • safeguarding is considered in all appointments of staff (including employees, volunteers, freelancers, consultants etc.).
  • training of staff is delivered as regularly as is necessary for department needs.

8.2  Line Managers

Are responsible for:

  • ensuring that staff, trustees and volunteers are able to discuss safeguarding, child protection and abuse issues confidentially and receive guidance and support on the action if situations arise.
  • ensuring the Safeguarding policy is fully implemented locally and that procedures to support the policy are set up as outlined, compiled with and communicated.
  • ensuring the referral of all safeguarding, child protection issues to the Safeguarding Officer. This may be as simple as discussing a hypothetical issue to protect identities).
  • ensuring that reporting staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities under this policy. This must form part of their induction.
  • ensuring staff and volunteers undertake appropriate and required induction and training in safeguarding/child protection, at the required level relevant to their role.
  • ensuring all new staff members and volunteers have the required disclosure certificate in place if engaging in regulated activity with children and young people and that they cooperate with the internal DBS procedure to include checking ID and provision of signed copies of documents with application forms to HR.

8.3 All staff, apprentices, advisors, volunteers, freelancers, consultants

It is part of the duty of all staff, apprentices, advisors, volunteers, freelancers and consultants to adhere to the requirements of this policy and procedures. They must all ensure to:

  • acts in the best interests of the children, young people and adults at risk.
  • takes all reasonable steps to prevent any harm to them.
  • assesses and manages risk.
  • puts safeguarding policies and procedures in place.
  • undertakes ongoing monitoring and reviewing to ensure that safeguards are being implemented and are effective.
  • responds appropriately to allegations of abuse and whistleblowing cases.

Any behaviour by a member of staff, apprentice, advisor, volunteer, freelancer or consultant that contravenes the terms of this policy and procedure may be considered for disciplinary action, which may, in turn, lead to dismissal for staff and ending contracts for apprentices, volunteers, freelancers and consultants.

Last reviewed: 05 October 2021