Any allegation of abuse against a child in contact with ACT or otherwise helped by ACT will be treated with the utmost seriousness, and dealt with swiftly, carefully and appropriately. All ACT’s staff and committee members understand their duty to report concerns about child safety.
ACT recognises that investigation of allegations of child abuse rests properly with the statutory social work services, and ACT will therefore contact the appropriate statutory service in each instance.
ACT is mindful that many of its beneficiary families include children at greater risk of abuse, or who are less able to disclose abuse, including babies and infants, and children and young adults with physical or learning disabilities or other special needs.
ACT has adopted the following policies and procedures after approval by its Trustees:
- Confidentiality is paramount.
- Only staff with enhanced DBS checks may have direct contact alone with child beneficiaries or children or applicants for help, and such contact must be approved by the child’s parent or guardian, and will generally take place as part of a family visit or other meeting with the parent and child/children, and thus most likely be with TACT’s Welfare Adviser. Indirect contact with children under 16 is limited to occasional receipt of posted thank you cards and letters, as contact will be via their parent(s).
- The Welfare Adviser will be supervised and monitored by the General Secretary, and training will be ensured as part of staff induction.
- If a child beneficiary or potential applicant visits the ACT office unaccompanied and if there is only one staff or committee member present, that person will in the first instance aim to recruit a colleague from the neighbouring organisations in the building for assistance. In the continued absence of the child’s parent, and inability to contact the child’s parent, Camden Social Services will be contacted for guidance.
- ACT is committed to safe recruitment, vetting, checking and selection of staff, and will endeavour to refresh its knowledge and follow best practice on the rare occasions that its few staff are replaced.
- the Welfare Adviser and General Secretary will be vetted by the DBS (enhanced checks).
- the rigorous confidentiality procedures of the Trustees in handling casework will of course apply. However, in the case of unproven suspicion or allegation of abuse relating to a beneficiary, the Welfare Adviser may inform only the Chair of the Trustees of this specific aspect of the case, and a confidential minute will be retained on the case file to this effect.
- Incidents, referrals and concerns will be recorded securely as part of the family’s case file, in compliance with data protection guidance, and will be kept only for the period in which the case is open with ACT, unless ACT’s insurer should stipulate otherwise.
- ACT will not establish any on-line service in which children and young people have discussion fora or chatrooms, and will not endorse any similar service provided by others.
- ACT will not publish photographs or details of children, whether in print media or on-line, even if a parent or child asks to be portrayed or identified.
- ACT is a grant-making trust and not a direct provider of children’s services, and thus does not maintain detailed anti-bullying policies and procedures, but remains utterly opposed to bullying in all its forms.
In any extraordinary circumstance, the Trustees and/or General Secretary and/or Welfare Adviser will seek immediate advice from the social services department appropriate to the family in question.
ACT will urge all families who employ childminders, tutors and other professionals, or whose children attend extra-curricular activities, to ensure that they have seen the original copy of their CRB check.
Parent-beneficiaries and/or their children will be informed of this policy as appropriate, and that any concerns or complaints should be addressed to the General Secretary in the first instance (or to the Chair if their concern relates to the General Secretary) by whatever form or medium is most accessible to the complainant.
ACT aims to review this policy annually. The named person relating to the policy will be the General Secretary of ACT, with the Welfare Adviser as deputy.