Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

1.1 The University aims to adopt the highest possible standards and take all reasonable steps in relation to the safety and welfare of children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation.  The University is mindful of its duty of care and legal obligations, such as those it owes under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.

1.2 This policy applies to all members of the University.  However it is specifically aimed at staff, students and volunteers who encounter the following groups through teaching, research, professional services and outreach activities:

  • children (i.e. those aged under 16),
  • young persons (i.e. those aged 16 to 18), and
  • adults in a vulnerable situation.  An adult in a vulnerable situation is defined as a person aged 18n or over: who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

1.3 This policy does not seek to discourage working with these groups. Instead, this policy seeks to support these activities and to offer assurances to both staff, students, volunteers and visitors that, through its implementation, the University seeks to protect children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation and to keep them safe from harm when in contact with University students and staff (whether acting in a paid or unpaid capacity).

2. Aims and objectives

2.1 The University wishes to ensure that it maintains the highest possible standards to meet its social, moral and legal responsibilities to protect and safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation with whom the University’s work brings it into contact. However ultimate responsibility will continue to rest with parents and guardians.

2.2 While it is impossible to ensure that a child, young person or adult in a vulnerable situation would never come to any harm, the adoption of this policy and associated guidance aims to facilitate the management of the risk associated with the duty to protect such individuals.

2.3 The aim of this policy is to highlight the four areas that form the basis of the University’s approach to safeguarding the well-being of children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation and to direct staff, students and volunteers to appropriate guidance.  

3. The Principles of the University's approach

Risk Assessment

Guidelines on risk assessment in relation to safeguarding vulnerable groups (PDF, 104kB)

3.1 All staff that intend to, or may be put in the position of, working with children, young people or adults in a vulnerable situation should ensure that they understand the implications of this policy before commencing any programme, event, visit or other activity.

3.2 A designated individual should complete a risk assessment before any new or changed programme, event, visit or any other activity involving children, young people or adults in a vulnerable situation, or before admitting or employing an under-18.

3.3 All those involved in the risk assessment process should understand that the risk assessment is not only a way to mitigate or remove any potential risks but may also be a prompt to consider alternative working practices.

Recruitment, selection and employment procedures

Guidelines on recruitment, selection and employment procedures (PDF, 71kB)

3.4 The University will take all appropriate steps during the recruitment and selection process to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation.

3.5 Where a risk assessment has identified that students or staff are likely to have regular contact with or encounter children, young people or adults in a vulnerable situation (which might include regular processing of information), appropriate checks into their eligibility will be required. Such processes will be compliant with the University's Equality and Diversity policy.

3.6 The University is registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) and will ensure that any member of staff or any student who will have substantial one-to-one contact with children, young people or adults in a vulnerable situation and their role falls within the elegibility criteria will be checked for relevant criminal convictions. See eligibility guidance  for guidance on eligibility for DBS checks or contact the Secretary's Office for detailed advice.

3.7 Guidance is available on the admission and employment of the under-18's at Guidelines on recruitment, selection and employment procedures .

Dealing with suspicions or allegations of abuse

Guidelines on dealing with suspicions or allegations of abuse (PDF, 585kB)

3.8 Concerns for the safety and well-being of children, young people and adults in a vulnerable situation could arise in a variety of ways and in a range of different settings. For example, a child may report or display signs of abuse; someone may hint that a child is at risk or that a colleague is an abuser; an individual may witness or hear about abuse of an adult in a vulnerable situation in another organisation. It is essential to act quickly and professionally in all cases of suspected abuse.

3.9 Any allegation by a child, young person or adult in a vulnerable situation against a member of staff, another student or a volunteer should be reported immediately to the relevant designated individual who has responsibility under this policy. In dealing with any such allegation the University has a duty of care both to the child, young person or adult in a vulnerable situation concerned and to the member of staff, student or volunteer against whom the allegation is made.

Training and support

3.10 The University will provide appropriate support and training on this policy.

4. Responsibility

4.1 Guidelines will be issued to implement this policy.

4.2 The Secretary’s Office will be responsible for reviewing and updating this policy. Members of the University are encouraged to discuss any concerns under this policy with the Director of Legal Services/Deputy Secretary.

4.3 The Head of Admissions will advise on the admission of under-18 students and adults in a vulnerable situation, in conjunction with the Director of Student Services and the relevant Head of Department/School or nominee.  The relevant Head of Department/School or nominee, with advice from the Director of Student Services, will be responsible for monitoring the welfare of under-18 students and adults in a vulnerable situation.  This responsibility may be devolved as appropriate.

4.4 The Resourcing Manager in Human Resources will advise on the employment of under-18 members of staff and adults in a vulnerable situation and, in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department, will be responsible for monitoring their welfare. This responsibility may be devolved as appropriate.

4.5 Allegations or suspicions of abuse involving students should be reported to the Director of Student Services. Allegations or suspicions of abuse involving staff who are under 18 years of age or adults in a vulnerable situation should be reported to the Resourcing Manager.  Reporting procedures can be found under the guidelines on dealing with suspicions or allegations of abuse (see link above in section 3.8).

Approved by University Council 11 July 2007

Last updated September 2017