Child Protection Policy

1. Policy Statement

 

Carrot Productions (CP) recognises the need and importance of protecting both the children who work with us and our own staff. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety and protection of children and young people with whom we come into contact.

 

This Child Protection Policy should be read by all members of staff and is available from the Managing Director. CP’s performs concerts specifically for child audiences as well as offering the opportunity for children to perform in the concerts. 

 

CP recognises that all children, young people and the adults who work with them in our concerts and projects have a right to protection. We take seriously our responsibility for children and young people and wish to offer our staff information and support to ensure that we provide a safe working environment for everyone.

 

Concerts to children - CP will work with organisations that book a performance in their venue for a child-audience. On these occasions, the responsibility for safeguarding remains with the organisation making the booking (e.g. a music hub or service, a school).

 

Child performers - CP welcomes talented young musicians to be part of some of our productions.  All children involved in the productions must have the permission of a parent/carer or assign someone in loco parentis who also agrees to accompany the child at all times during their involvement with CP.

 

CP recognises organisations e.g. Music hubs, theatre groups, choirs, as guardians for the children whilst working with us in cases where they have agreed to be in loco parentis by the parents. 

 

CP adheres to all policies and guidance relating to the safeguarding of children and will report any concerns to relevant safeguarding leads of organisations it works with. In cases where there is no safeguarding lead to take responsibility for any concern, CP will report any concerns to the local authority or police in emergencies. 

 

 

2. Child Protection Officer (CPO):

 

Rachel Whibley – Managing Director

 

 

3. Definitions 

 

What is a ‘child’?

In law, a child is defined as up to and including the age of 18 in The Children Act 1989. (Extensions of this exist for children who are disabled and for those in local authority care settings.)

 

What is a ‘young person’?

There is no legal definition for this term. In this document, ‘young person’ refers to the upper age ranges of the official definition of a child. The term acknowledges that individuals for instance, 16 or 17 years old may not think of themselves as ‘children’ and are often called ‘young people’ by youth workers.

 

 

4. Good Practice

 

ALWAYS:

 

  • Work in an open environment, avoiding private or unobserved situations and encourage open communication with no secrets.

 

  • Treat children and young people equally and with respect and dignity.

 

  • Put the welfare of children and young people first.

 

  • Strive to build balanced relationships based on mutual trust which empowers children and young people to share in the decision making process.

 

  • Ensure that if any form of physical contact is necessary, it should be provided openly and children and young people should always be consulted and their agreement gained.

 

  • Involve parents/carers whenever possible, for example invite them to meet the staff, watch performances/rehearsals etc.

 

  • Be an excellent role model.

 

  • Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.

 

  • Recognise the development needs and capability of the children and young people.

 

  • Be aware of any special needs of the children and young people whether this is due to cultural, religious, physical, emotional or other needs, and prior to working with them.

 

 

5. Practice to be avoided

 

  • Toilets - where toilet facilities are shared children/young people and adults, a system should be agreed with site staff during the project planning to ensure that musicians and staff working in these settings do not inadvertently find themselves in the toilets alone with children or young people. Staff must allow children to change themselves and are not to help change soiled clothing.

 

  • Changing/ dressing - when children / young people performing are getting changed, staff must avoid being alone on a one to one basis. 

 

  • Personal Space - staff should aim to respect personal space at all times. There is a difference between working closely with a young person in a work context, and getting too close in an inappropriate way. For example, if someone stumbles, your instinct, rightly, is to put out a hand or arm to steady them.  It is not appropriate to put an arm round someone’s waist or a hand on their shoulder while simply walking with them.  Physical contact with a young person has to have a work-related purpose. Avoid being on your own with a young person unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are likely to be working on a one to one basis in an isolated part of the building, ensure there is another adult or young person present or nearby where possible and ensure that another member of staff knows where you and the young person are going and what time you expect to return.

 

  • Travel - ensure there is a known destination and check-in times with a third party in situations where a young person is travelling alone with an adult during the placement. If a member of staff is not DBS checked they must not travel alone with a young person. While young people are on a work placement they can travel in the company van, but they must not travel in a member of staff’s car because they are then not insured.

 

  • Socialising - it is not appropriate to socialise with placements, or young people from workshops.  You must not initiate or respond to social invitations. Actors are particularly vulnerable to attention from young people and friendliness can easily be misinterpreted as flirting and snowball into a problem.  Staff need to be aware that they can become the object of attention from a young person and can be open to misplaced accusations. If you think this situation is arising please seek advice from your line manager as soon as possible.

 

  • Language - when children and young people are in earshot, it is important to refrain from swearing.  To hear a stranger swear is inappropriate and can seem threatening. Staff should avoid swearing directly to a young person, and avoid using aggressive swearing, especially sexual swearing, in front of a young person. Staff must avoid using sexual innuendo to, about or in front of a young person. Staff must not display images of a sexual nature in workspaces.

 

  • The above should be avoided except in emergencies. If cases arise where these situations are unavoidable it should be with the full knowledge and consent of the Child Protection Officer or whoever is acting in loco parentis e.g music teacher, music hubs, choir master, chaperone. For example if a child or young person sustains an injury and needs to go to the hospital, or a parent fails to collect a child or young person at the end of a session.

 

Practice never to be sanctioned

 

You should never:

 

  • Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games.

 

  • Share a dressing room with a child or young person.

 

  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.

 

  • Allow children or young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged.

 

  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a child or young person.

 

  • Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.

 

  • Allow allegations made by a child to go unrecorded or not acted upon.

 

  • Do things of a personal nature for children, young people or things that they can do for themselves.

 

  • Invite or allow children to visit or stay with you at your home unsupervised.

 

  • Avoid taking on the responsibility for tasks for which you are not appropriately trained.

 

 

7. What is abuse?

 

  • Neglect - the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include the neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

  • Physical abuse - may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning (including with drugs or alcohol,) burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. 

 

  • Sexual Abuse - involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

 

  • Emotional Abuse - the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child or young person such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill-treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

 

It should be noted that any of these four categories of abuse may overlap.

 

8. Incidents that must be reported/recorded

 

If any of the following incidents should be reported immediately to the Child Protection Officer and record the incident. The parent/carer or whoever is acting in loco parentis must be informed. However in certain situations it may not be appropriate for this to be done immediately. If you have any doubt that doing so would compromise either yourself or the child, then it would be better to wait. If in doubt seek the advice of the CPO’s.

 

  • If you accidentally hurt a child or young person

 

  • If a child or young person is distressed in any way

 

  • If a child or young person appears to be sexually aroused by your actions

 

  • If a child or young person misunderstands or misinterprets something you have done

 

All notes taken in recording incidents should be handed directly to one of the Child Protection Officers.

 

9. Child Protection Procedures

 

Staff induction

 

All staff to receive a full copy of child protection guidelines relevant to their role and responsibilities within the company. Training will be arranged for staff by the designated Child Protection Officer as appropriate.

          

DBS checks for CP staff

 

  • It is a legal requirement for any member of staff who has unsupervised access to children to be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service. The Managing Director manages this process. No one is to be employed by CP in this capacity until a satisfactory DBS check has come through.
     

  • If an individual remains with the company or returns to work with CP a DBS check will be renewed every 3 years. 
     

  • If a DBS check comes back with something that causes concern then a formal interview will take place with the applicant and a member of the core team and a member of the board of Trustees and review the case on the basis of the additional information.  Following the interview a decision will be made to whether the person is employed or not.
     

  • All employees should be aware that prior convictions for any offences against children must be declared at the application stage for a position within the company.  Given the nature of the company’s work, any DBS check that raises concerns about the appropriateness of an appointment will lead to the rescinding of any offer of employment. This decision will be made by the Managing Director.
     

  • All employees should be aware that failure to declare any past conviction may result in dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct.  Likewise, if an employee should be, at any time, charged with an offence against children, failure to do so declare may result in dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct.
     

  • All application forms, job adverts will state that a DBS check will be requested in the event of the person is offered a position.  
     

  • Applicants called to interview should be encouraged to provide details of any criminal record at an early stage. This information should be provided under separate confidential cover.
     

  • When the successful applicant is asked to complete a Disclosure application they will be given a copy of CP’s policy on the handling and keeping of Disclosures. They will also be given a DBS Code of Practice.
     

  • The applicant must be told that their appointment is dependant on the results of the disclosure but that the information it contains will be treated confidentially and will not be used against them unfairly (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 applies). It needs to be outlined that the check is necessary because the post they are applying for involves work with children.

 

 

Storage of DBS documentation

 

  • A list of staff currently in employment and DBS checked is kept by the Managing Director in a secure place. The disclosure forms will be returned to the employee once a note of the number and date of issue has been taken. The disclosure forms will not be given or shown to any third parties.

  • All DBS details are treated as confidential

 

 Definitions:

 

 Regulated activity

 involves contact with children or vulnerable adults and is:

  • Of a specified nature (e.g. teacher training) on a frequent, intensive or overnight basis

OR

  • In a specified place (e.g. school) frequently and intensively.

  • A defined position of responsibility (e.g. school governor, trustees of certain charities)

 

Controlled activity

Tightly defined:

  • Ancillary support in FE, NHS and adult social care (e.g. cleaner) with frequent or intensive contact with young children.

  • Those working for specified organisation (local authority) with frequent access to sensitive records about children.

 

Barred people can be employed in ‘controlled activity’, providing appropriate safeguards can be put in place.

 

 

Policy on ex offenders

 

  • DBS’s Code of Practice includes a requirement to have written policies on the both the recruitment of ex-offenders and the correct handling and safekeeping of Disclosures

  • All new employees will be provided with theses polices as part of the induction process.

 

Recruitment of ex-offenders

 

  • Employers are required by Law to treat all job applicants equally, this includes not discriminating unfairly against the subject of a Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed. 

  • CP has a written policy on this area which is given to all applicants for positions where a Disclosure is requested.

 

 

Accidents and injuries

 

A key responsibility for any organisation working with children is to ensure they are physically safe when in our care. Care should be taken to ensure that children are not in any physical danger. 

 

If a child or young person is injured while involved in a project organised by CP a record shall be made of the injury in the accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for the individual (e.g. parent/carer, choir master, chaperone.) If the parent/carer is not present they must be informed - immediately if the child needs collecting or if an ambulance has been called – or at the end of the session. Any time a child or vulnerable adult is involved in any accident, a written record of the incident must also be posted to the parent/carer within 24 hours, even when the parent/carer has been informed verbally, and a copy retained on file by CP. If a child is involved in an accident and normally travels home independently, the parent must be telephoned by a member of staff to ascertain whether the child is fit to travel home alone. The accident book is kept for 20 years.  

 

If a child or young person arrives at CP or a project organised by CP, with an obvious physical injury, a record of this shall be made in the accident book. This record shall be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for the individual (parent/carer/ teacher) on arrival. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later. It will also be a record that the individual did not sustain the injury whilst at CP or on a CP project. The accident book is kept for 20 years.

 

Suspicions

 

Working with Young People - If you see or suspect abuse of a child or young person you will make a note for your own records of what you witnessed, including the date and time, as well as your response in case there is follow-up in which you are involved, and you will need to contact the designated Child Protection Officer to make them aware of the situation. The same procedure should then be followed as for disclosure (see below.) 

 

Working on projects outside the building, within other organisations - If you see or suspect abuse of a child or young person you should make the person with legal responsibility for the child, young person or vulnerable person (e.g. teacher, youth or care worker) aware of the problem.   

 

If you suspect that the person with legal responsibility is actually the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to another member of staff employed at the site. Be aware of Rights and Confidentiality.

 

Disclosure – of alleged abuse

 

In the context of child protection the term describes an event in which a child or young person confides information about abuse or neglect.

 

It is possible that a child or young person who is or has suffered abuse will confide in you. This is something you should be prepared for and must handle carefully. The following action should be taken if there are concerns of abuse of a child or young person:   

 

  • Remain calm and in control but don’t delay acting

 

  • Listen carefully to what is said. Allow the person to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer

 

  • Don’t promise to ‘keep it a secret’. Use the first opportunity you have to say that you will need to share the information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help 

 

  • Reassure the child or young person that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone

 

  • Tell the child or young person what you are going to do next

 

  • Speak, as soon as possible, to the designated Child Protection Officer. If the information relates to the behaviour of the CPO then report this to the General Manger. If the information relates to the behaviour of the General Manager, the designated Child Protection Officer shall speak immediately to the Chair of the CP Board.  The CP office and company induction pack will have the relevant numbers.

 

  • For CP staff working in other settings (e.g. school/educational setting, venue or community setting) this is likely to be the head teacher for a school or the director of the venue or organisation.  It is the designated person’s responsibility to liaise with relevant authorities, usually social services.

 

  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s/young person’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record: it may be used at a later stage of an investigation.

 

  • In confidence, make your CPO or other appropriate colleague aware of the situation

 

Social services will liaise with the relevant departments on a ‘need-to-know’ basis and will, if appropriate, inform the police. It is the responsibility of the authorities to determine whether abuse has occurred.

 

 

Rights and confidentiality

 

If a complaint or allegation is made against a member of staff he or she should be made aware of his or her rights under both employment law and internal disciplinary procedures.

 

No matter how you feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the person who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.

 

In criminal law the Crown or other prosecuting authority has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

10. Additional Information

 

  • Photography and video recording - Photographic images or video footage of children under 18 cannot be recorded or displayed for any purpose by CP, without written permission of their parent or legal guardian. If you are concerned about the manner in which parents or carers are photographing or filming young people please consult your CPO.

 

  • Risk assessments - A risk assessment will be carried out by the production manager before going on tour or the commencement of a project, with special attention paid to child protection issues. 

 

  • Data protection - We are bound by the Data Protection Act, therefore any member of staff who has access to personal information (name/age/address) of children and young people must be DBS checked. Such information must be stored securely, both in paper form and electronically. If you find any such information lying around it must be handed immediately to the Child Protection Officer.

 

Further information can be found in Keeping the Arts Safe (Arts Council publication), Working With Young People – Legal Responsibility and Liability (Children’s Legal Centre), ACPC.

 

 

Updated December 2019

 

 

Appendix 1 - Staff Ratios

 

Workshops

 

Workshops with schools or other organisations need to be staffed by one member of CP staff (DBS checked) and the correct ratio of staff from the school or youth group. CP recommend there to be 1 adult to every 5 children under 8, 1 adult to every 10 children aged 8 to 11 and 1 adult to every 15 children aged 11 – 18.  

 

 

Schools

 

CP staff are not allowed to be left in sole charge of groups of young people in other settings (for example schools or youth clubs.) This must be made clear to schools and youth clubs as a condition of booking a workshop: CP staff are not insured to be in sole charge of young people in the premises of other organisations.

Adult to child ratios in audiences

CP recommend schools or other organisations, bringing parties to watch performances, to provide 1 adult for every 10 young people aged 8 - 18, and 1 adult for every 5 under 8s. 

 

Appendix 2   Criminal Records Checks: A Glossary

 

These definitions have been reproduced from the DBS website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service

Additional information: Information provided by a chief officer of a local police force which, in The chief officer's opinion, might be relevant for the position of employment sought by the Subject of an Enhanced Disclosure. Commonly known as 'non-conviction information'.

Caution: A caution is a formal warning about future conduct given by a senior police officer, usually in a police station, after a person has admitted an offence. It is used as an alternative to a charge and possible prosecution.

Children: The Criminal Justice & Court Services Act 2000 defines a child as someone who is under 18 (under 16 if the child is employed).

Criminal record: A record of convictions held on the Police National Computer for individuals convicted of crimes. 

Disclosure application reference number: The specific reference number allocated to each Disclosure application by the DBS.

Enhanced Disclosure: For posts which involve a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults. In general the type of work will involve regularly caring for, supervising, training or being in sole charge of such people. Examples include a Teacher, Scout or Guide leader. An Enhanced Disclosure includes a check on local police records, Standard Disclosure does not.

Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974: Sets out excepted professions -those occupations and positions exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. These are generally positions of trust, where there is a valid need to see a person's full criminal history in order to assess their suitability for a position.

Exempted question: A valid request for a person to reveal their full criminal history (including spent convictions) which can be asked when assessing the suitability for a position of employment.

Ex-offender: A person who has been convicted of a criminal offence and who has since lived on the right side of the law.

List 99: Lists teachers unsuitable to work with children when banned for misdemeanors including sexual offences. To check against the list, higher-level Disclosures must be requested Through the DBS.

Local police records: Police records not held on the Police National Computer, often containing non-conviction information.

Notifiable Occupations: There are certain occupations where the police are asked to notify an individual’s employer of any criminal offence they commit when it happens. This particularly refers to offences involving violence, indecency, dishonesty, drink or drugs, as these may reflect on a person's suitability to continue in a profession or office. Cautions should be reported where the offender’s work involves substantial access to children but not otherwise.

Police National Computer (PNC): The police's central archiving system for criminal records. 

Portability: The validity and usefulness of using the same Disclosure for subsequent job applications.

Positions of trust: Roles that involve working with children and other vulnerable groups that the DBS is dedicated to protecting.

Protection of Children Act 1999 (POCA): An Act that requires a list (the POCA List) to be kept of persons considered unsuitable to work with children; to extend the power to make regulations under section 218(6) of the Education Reform Act 1988; to make further provision with respect to that list and the list kept for the purposes of such regulations; to enable the protection afforded to children to be afforded to persons suffering from mental impairment; and for connected purposes. by the DBS.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974: The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 enables some criminal convictions to become 'spent', or ignored, after a 'rehabilitation period'. After this period, with certain exceptions, an ex-offender is not normally obliged to mention the conviction when applying for a job or obtaining insurance, or when involved in criminal or civil proceedings.

Reprimand / Warning: A reprimand has replaced the caution for young people aged under 18. A young person given a second formal warning about future conduct is given a final warning.

Standard Disclosure: These are primarily for posts that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Standard Disclosures may also be issued for people entering certain professions, such as members of the legal and accountancy professions.

The Standard Disclosure contains details of all convictions held on the PNC including current and 'spent' convictions as well as details of any cautions, reprimands or final warnings. If a position involves working with children, the Disclosure will indicate whether information is held on government department lists, held by the DH and DfES of those who are banned from working with children. The Disclosure also includes information held by the DH of those considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults.

Subject Access and Enforced Subject Access: Under current legislation, individuals can exercise rights to apply for access to information held on them including criminal record information under the 'subject access' provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.Currently, some employers seek to obtain this information about employees and potential employees by compelling them to exercise their rights under the Data Protection Act. This process is known as 'Enforced Subject Access' and is undesirable because details of all convictions are revealed. Most employers are not entitled to ask exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and are not therefore entitled to see details of convictions that

are 'spent'.

The Police Act 1997: An Act to make provision for the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the National Crime Squad; to make provision about entry on and interference with property and with wireless telegraphy in the course of the prevention or detection of serious crime; to make provision for the Police Information Technology Organisation; to provide for the issue of certificates about criminal records; to make provision about the administration and organisation of the police; to repeal certain enactments about rehabilitation of offenders; and for connected purposes.

Umbrella Bodies: An Umbrella Body is a Registered Body that acts on behalf of other organisations. It is the responsibility of the Umbrella Body to ensure those who receive Disclosure information comply with the Code of Practice.

Unspent Conviction: A conviction is described as unspent if the rehabilitation period associated with it has not yet lapsed A rehabilitation period is a set length of time from the date of Conviction, according to the sentence imposed.

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