The law requires any organisation involving young people and vulnerable adults to take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risk of harm to their welfare are minimised, and where there are concerns, to share them with other local agencies. The relevant legal requirements arise from:
The Children’s Act 1989
The Human Rights Act 1998
The Protection of Children Act 1999
The Sexual Offences (Amendments) Act 2006
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
The relevant government guidance includes Safe from Harm 1993
Working Together to Safeguard Children 1999
Caring for the Young and Vulnerable 2000
Heath Street Choir recognises that it is not the role of our organisation to decide whether a child or vulnerable adult has been abused or not. This is the role of the Social Services department who have legal responsibility or the NSPCC who have powers to investigate child protection concerns under the Children Act.
In developing this policy, Heath Street Choir has taken input from The Union of Baptist Churches, UK.
Who are Children or Vulnerable Adults?
In this context anyone up to the age of 19 is a child and anyone over 18 years who is or may be unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation is a vulnerable adult.
How Heath Street Choir Operates
Heath Street Choir is in the process of becoming a Foundational CIO Registered Charity. Its four Trustees are choir members, and they employ the Director, who runs and conducts the choir. Self-employed musicians are hired on a contractual basis to accompany the choir or conduct the choir in the Director’s absence.
Heath Street Choir does not advertise itself as an activity suitable for children or vulnerable adults. All current and past choir members are independent adults. This safeguarding policy is made in the event that a young person or vulnerable adult joins, rehearses and performs with us.
Choir rehearsals and performances are group activities, and there is no need for a member of the choir to be alone with another member of any age. Heath Street Choir is therefore unlikely to be targeted by a person seeking opportunities to abuse children or vulnerable adults. Nonetheless Heath Street Choir recognises the need to safeguard any young and vulnerable members and the Trustees have therefore agreed the following Safeguarding Policy:
Heath Street Choir’s Safeguarding Policy
Heath Street Choir (which includes all members) acknowledge that they have a duty to take reasonable steps to protect those who are involved in or affected by or activities, particularly if they are children or vulnerable adults, from all forms of abuse including emotional physical and psychological abuse.
Heath Street Choir will publicise its Safeguarding Policy on its website (www.heathstreetchoir.co.uk) and draw it to the attention of members at the beginning of each session.
Young people will be welcome in the event that they are required to participate in choral works that include children’s voices. Children must be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult who remains responsible for them throughout rehearsals and performances.
Heath Street Choir have nominated a Designated Person, Lucia Zombori, who has an extended DRB-check for children and adults, has attended a Level 3 Safeguarding course for children and a Level 1 for adults, and will attend additional courses when required.
Choir members will report any concerns to the Designated Person. Detailed Guidance is available from the Designated Person.
In the absence of the Designated Person the matter should be brought to the attention of the Chair of Heath Street Choir. A permanent confidential record will be kept of the report.
If Heath Street Choir should need to recruit staff, then we will apply safeguarding principles to ensure that appointees are suitable to work with young or vulnerable people.
If you see another worker acting in ways which concerns you or might be misconstrued, speak to the DPS about your concerns as soon as you can. This includes the actions or behaviours of those in leadership positions in the organisation. The following procedure should be followed:
a) When an allegation of abuse has been made do not approach the alleged perpetrator about it.
b) Follow the usual safeguarding procedure: Recognise, Respond, Record, Report
c) Once the allegation has been reported to the DPS they can liaise with the relevant statutory authority and with the regional Baptist Association Safeguarding Contact if they need further advice.
d) Whilst waiting for an outcome from the statutory authorities, the worker about whom concerns have been raised will be supervised as closely as possible, without raising suspicion
e) Once the statutory authorities are involved, the church will follow their advice with regard to the next steps to take (for example suspension of worker, putting a contract in place)
f) A written record of all discussions with statutory authorities or other parties should be maintained by the DPS and stored securely and confidentially, where only those directly involved in safeguarding (DPS, Safeguarding Trustee, Minister) can access them.
g) No information about the allegation will be shared with people in the church other than those directly involved in safeguarding; not even for prayer purposes.
The suspension of a worker following an allegation is, by definition, a neutral act. Our priority as an organisation is to protect children and adults at risk from possible further abuse or from being influenced in any way by the alleged perpetrator.
The policy and procedures will be reviewed annually at a Trustee meeting. Approved at a Trustee meeting on 1st November 2022.
Signed by the Chair on behalf of the Trustees
Chair of Heath Street Choir