Safeguarding Policy

1.0 Purpose

The purpose of the Safeguarding Policy is to ensure that in all of Asthma and Lung UK’s activities that the safety and wellbeing of individuals and groups is considered and appropriately acted upon at times to protect those individuals or groups to maintain and protect the trust and reputation of Asthma and Lung UK and its employees.

2.0 Scope

2.1 As a registered charity Asthma and Lung UK has a position of trust for people with lung diseases and in society in general.  It will therefore have interactions with many people including people affected by lung disease. This may include people who are vulnerable due to social, economic or health circumstances. Although the services provided by Asthma and Lung UK may be individually tailored, it does not constitute the provision of a healthcare service and does not (currently) seek personal information to provide that advice. In this regard Asthma and Lung UK staff do not have a responsibility for medical care, but does have a moral and ethical responsibility to help protect people from harm.

2.2 Asthma and Lung UK will endeavour to provide a robust series of policies, procedures and a supportive, learning environment to create an effective safeguarding culture.

2.3 This policy sets out the foundations for effective Safeguarding practice within Asthma and Lung UK and throughout all activities. These areas include but are not limited to:

  • Helpline
  • Digital support including WhatsApp and email support for people with lung disease and other projects involving digital media.
  • Supporter Care Team
  • Events
  • Research and Policy
  • Insight and patient involvement
  • Media team including social media and forums.
  • Advice and content team
  • Fundraising
  • Public events, meetings
  • Volunteers
  • Support Group Network
  • Any other contact with members of public

2.4 This policy is unable to cover every potential situation but is intended to clearly outline the principles of good safeguarding practice within Asthma and Lung UK so that every employee, volunteer, representative or partner is confident and competent to contribute to a safe environment for the people it works with and interacts with, and can take appropriate action when required.

3.0 Definitions

3.1 Safeguarding is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people — especially children, young people and vulnerable adults — to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.  “Safeguarding people”. Care Quality Commission. 18 June 2014.

3.2 Safeguarding children and promoting their welfare includes:

  • Protecting them from maltreatment or things that are bad for their health or development.
  • Making sure they grow up in circumstances that allow safe and effective care.

3.3 Safeguarding adults and children includes:

  • Protecting their rights to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
  • People and organisations working together to prevent the risk of abuse or neglect, and to stop them from happening.
  • Making sure people’s wellbeing is promoted, taking their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account.
  • Vulnerable people (whether adult or child) can be neglected or abused. Abuse can take the form of:
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse

Vulnerable people might also be subject to risk of trafficking, exploitation, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, radicalisation.

Online vulnerability may be in the form of cyberbullying, grooming, losing control of personal data (including financial data, pictures, videos), overuse and addiction to digital devices, risk to personal reputation (e.g. by sharing opinions, views and feelings) and accessing inappropriate sites.

3.4 Asthma and Lung UK and its employees need to consider all possible scenarios where vulnerable people might be identified:

  • Employees are in face-to-face contact with someone they believe may be vulnerable
  • Employees are in telephone contact with someone they believe who be vulnerable
  • Employees are in digital contact (WhatsApp, social media messaging, email) with someone they believe may be vulnerable
  • Employees believe that a dependant of a contact (e.g. children of a caller) may be vulnerable
  • Employees witness (either in person or online) someone being made vulnerable
  • Employees believe that the actions of Asthma and Lung UK, an employee or representative, or a partner or associate may put, or is putting an individual or group at risk of vulnerability.
  • Any individual or group may be considered as vulnerable or in need of safeguarding. This may include employees, volunteers, associates and partners

4.0 Policy

4.1 The following principles should form constant safeguarding themes through the culture, aims, policies and behaviours of all Asthma and Lung UK activities.

4.2 Prevention
Asthma and Lung UK will have policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees, volunteers, associates or partners have had the appropriate checks so that any prior history or behaviours that constitute a potential safeguarding risk can be identified and mitigated as appropriate.

All Asthma and Lung UK employees, volunteers, associates or partners are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities as well as policies and procedures so that they may highlight areas of potential safeguarding risk to mitigate that risk.

To have an open and reflective culture that encourages continual learning and appreciation of safeguarding risks throughout the organisation. The protection of vulnerable people from harm is a team effort and of paramount importance.

Policies and procedures will encourage the accurate documentation of safeguarding assessments, concerns, incidents and actions. This will allow audit and learning for the organisation.

Safeguarding policies and procedures will be easily accessible to all employees, volunteers, associates and partners. Internally they will be available on the SharePoint site.

4.3 Risk assessment
Projects and plans should have clear and documented consideration of potential safeguarding issues where there is potential risk. This should be documented and suitable mitigation should be put in place and clear and documented escalation procedures.

All Asthma and Lung UK employees should consider potential safeguarding impact of any role they are providing on behalf of Asthma and Lung UK.

4.4 Detection
Through training, all employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of potential safeguarding concerns to look for and consider.

All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of the importance to escalate suspected safeguarding issues urgently and to the appropriate people externally and within Asthma and Lung UK.

4.5 Escalation and reporting – internally
All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of who they should inform of any potential safeguarding incident. This should also be done in writing where possible so there is a clear audit trail.

4.6 Sharing and reporting – externally
All employees, volunteers, associates and partners can quickly identify the correct procedures for which authorities (for example police, local authority) should be informed of safeguarding concerns.

4.7 Action
All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of their responsibilities where safeguarding concerns are identified. This includes sharing the concerns internally and externally as appropriate and accurate documentation.

4.8 Whistleblowing
All employees, volunteers, associates and partners should be able and feel comfortable to raise safeguarding concerns about Asthma and Lung UK employees, volunteers, associates and partners. This should be done internally in the first instance but may be appropriate to inform external agencies (e.g. police, local authorities) should the safeguarding concern be deemed serious or urgent enough.

All employees to report concerns to who they feel comfortable to report to, first instance the line manager, or director or chief executive.

4.9 Review
Asthma and Lung UK will continue to review its safeguarding policies and procedures on a regular basis and considering specific incidents or perceived risks. New areas of work by Asthma and Lung UK, including new types of relationships with individuals or organisations, should prompt a review of all relevant policies and procedures.

Asthma and Lung UK will have processes in place to review all safeguarding incidents and concerns raised to see where additional action is required or where policies and procedures need updating.

Asthma and Lung UK will seek external safeguarding advice where it is appropriate to do so following a specific incident or concerns, or if there is a specific event or project which carries a significant or new safeguarding risks.

5.0 Roles and responsibilities

5.1 Safeguarding Lead
The Safeguarding Lead for Asthma and Lung UK is the Chief Operating Officer. S/he may delegate roles to other members of the team eg Clinical Lead, Head of People and Organisation Development.

The Safeguarding Lead is the Responsible Officer required to implement the Safeguarding Policy, producing specific assessments and reports for the Chief Executive and Trustees as required. S/he is supported in the implementation of the policy by the Clinical Lead and the Leadership team.

The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for maintaining and updating this policy considering feedback, events and new activities undertaken by Asthma and Lung UK, and for reviewing the policy every two years to ensure it remains relevant for the organisation’s activities and risks.

New safeguarding concerns or incidents should be shared with the Safeguarding Lead at the earliest opportunity. The Safeguarding Lead should maintain a log of all incidents.

5.2 Heads of teams

Heads of teams will have responsibility for safeguarding within their teams.

The Safeguarding Lead is the main point of contact for the Heads of teams regarding safeguarding matters. They will be responsible for implementing, maintaining and updating safeguarding procedure for their relevant team(s). They should work with team members and relevant members of the Leadership team to consider, identify and mitigate against potential safeguarding issues.

Any safeguarding incidents should be shared with the Safeguarding Lead at the earliest opportunity and communicated in writing as soon as practicable. Where this not possible (due to the Safeguarding Lead being absent) or not desired (due to the Safeguarding Lead being potentially implicated) then another member of the Executive Team or Chief Executive should be informed. The Chief Executive (or Senior Responsible Officer) in their absence will escalate to the Chair of Trustees if deemed to be of sufficient gravity.

Heads should establish a culture within their teams that promotes the wellbeing and protection of all vulnerable adults and children. This culture will be supported through ensuring safeguarding risk assessments are carried out for all events and services and regular reviews are carried out to identify potential risks and learning from any incidents. Heads should consider the potential for actual and spurious claims being made against individuals working for or on behalf of Asthma and Lung UK.

The Safeguarding Lead will support Heads, teams and individuals to consider safeguarding risks in advance of events and new services. They should also encourage a culture of considering where potential safeguarding issues may have arisen and use these insights to inform the updating of Safeguarding policies and organisational learning.

5.3 Chief Executive, Executive Team and Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for safeguarding within Asthma and Lung UK and as such Trustees are responsible for approving the Safeguarding Policies, with policy scrutiny on a regular basis by the Remuneration and Nominations Committee.

The Chief Executive is responsible for overseeing the performance of the Safeguarding Lead and Heads in their implementation of the policy.

The Chief Executive or Trustees may request written or verbal updates at any time should the need arise due to concerns around the implementation of the policy or an incident or to pre-empt a specific event or risk. Incidents are also reported quarterly through the CEO report to Board.

5.4 People and Organisation Development Team
As part of standard employment checks, Asthma and Lung UK only offers employment conditional on receipt of suitable references.

For roles where a potential employee’s primary duties relate to contact with potentially vulnerable adults or children (currently our Helpline Nurses) Asthma and Lung UK undertakes a standard Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in addition.

As part of core induction processes colleagues are provided with information relating to safeguarding principles and are required to read all policies relating to HR practices including this Safeguarding Policy. In addition, managers provide colleagues with orientation and training in relation to the safeguarding procedures that must be followed for their duties. The People and Organisational Development Team will keep documentary evidence of training having taken place.

Team Heads will be responsible for identifying emerging learning needs and will work with the Safeguarding Lead to ensure that these needs are met.

Asthma and Lung UK only provide basic references for people leaving the organisation, this would cover the role and dates employed within the organisation.  If the new employer requested further information about the employee then this would be assessed on a case by case basis.

5.5 Staff, Volunteers, Representatives
As set out above, as part of their induction all staff will be made aware of the Safeguarding Policy and the People and Organisational Development team will check that staff are aware of their responsibilities in the HR induction meeting. Line managers highlight to the employee the practices and procedures that operate in relation to safeguarding in their teams. Staff have a responsibility to read and understand the policies as they apply to them and their role. If they are assisting another team or member of staff beyond their usual role, they should familiarise themselves with the relevant policies.

As part of the employment process, prospective employees will be asked to disclose any previous criminal convictions or pending investigations.

It is the responsibility of individual members of staff to complete appropriate safeguarding training and assessments as appropriate to their role and responsibilities.

Issues that prevent implementation of this policy and related policies must be highlighted to the Safeguarding Leads.

Where volunteers, representatives or partners acting as agents of Asthma and Lung UK or who may, by implication, be associated with the organisation, it is essential that our standards and values are not compromised. In these circumstances the highest level of safeguarding culture and behaviour should be maintained. This may require due diligence processes and/or sharing of the safeguarding policies.

Asthma and Lung UK may require a request of partners to disclose their safeguarding policies and address any specific concerns re members of staff in the employ of that partner. Documentation of any processes taken to maintain Asthma and Lung UK safeguarding processes and inclusion within contracts is recommended.

5.6 Partners and Associates
Where Asthma and Lung UK has a contract, relationship or is providing support (including financial) to an individual or organisation a clear understanding of the organisation’s safeguarding values and policies should be shared where relevant included in a contract. Organisations will be directed to the Asthma and Lung UK Safeguarding Policy.

6.0 Training and implementation

Asthma and Lung UK has a robust and auditable safeguarding training process. All staff will receive training thorough a workshop and for new staff joining Asthma and Lung UK this will be incorporated into the induction programme. Training is proportional to the safeguarding risks that an individual role may present. Opportunity for further training will be provided where appropriate.

6.1 Breaches of the policy
Employees will be given regular feedback on their performance including the identification of any learning and development needs. This feedback will highlight any areas that need addressing including in relation to safeguarding awareness. Employees will be supported to ensure that they can undertake their duties in line with our quality standards. Any issues will be managed in line with the Capability Procedure. Where employees fail to follow procedures, disciplinary action may result as set out in our Grievance and Disciplinary Policy.