Safeguarding Policy

The Rama Foundation Code of Conduct and Policy
For SAFEGUARDING AND PROMOTING THE WELFARE OF CHILDREN

Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2010) is the latest document which stipulates how organisations should work together to safeguard children.

This extract sets out the responsibilities of organisations as they apply to the Rama Foundation:

To fulfil their commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of children all organisations that provide services for children or work with children should have in place:

Clear priorities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children explicitly stated in key policy documents
A clear commitment by senior management to the importance of safe guarding and promoting children’s welfare
A culture of listening to and engaging in dialogue with children – seeking their views in ways appropriate to their age and understanding, and taking account of those both in individual decisions and the establishment or development and improvement of services
A clear line of accountability and governance within the organisation for provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
Recruitment and human resources management procedures that take account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including arrangements for appropriate checks on new staff and volunteers
Procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers
All staff, including temporary staff and volunteers who work with children, are made aware of both the establishment’s arrangements and their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
Arrangements to work effectively with other organisations to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including arrangements for sharing information
Appropriate whistle blowing procedures and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed

1.1 Introduction : -

The work of the Rama Foundation has attracted many interested volunteers who have made commitments to work with and support children identified in projects located in India. The relationship between the trustees and volunteers is one that is built on trust and mutual respect. As volunteers become involved with the work of the Rama Foundation, their CVs are shared so that all trustees and volunteers have full knowledge of the backgrounds and credentials of each other. However it is necessary for the Rama Foundation to work to a policy of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children so that roles and responsibilities of all participants are clear as the work commences.

This policy clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the trustees and volunteers in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. It outlines the procedures that will be followed if there is concern for the safety or welfare of a child.
The policy demonstrates to the public who may be involved in fundraising events for the Foundation, to the families with whom we may be in contact, to personnel in schools, hostels and orphanages with whom we may be working alongside, to other organisations, charities, establishments with whom we may be working in partnership, that we have a consistent approach and commitment to high standards of practice in safeguarding and promoting children's welfare.

This Policy and Code of Conduct should be adopted by the trustees of the Rama Foundation and volunteers associated with the Foundation. It is introduced in May 2011 and should be signed, made accessible, reviewed and amended as appropriate. The Policy and Code of Conduct should be introduced to trustees and volunteers as part of an induction to the work of the Foundation. The Code of Conduct should be signed by each trustee and volunteer and the signatures will remain valid if further versions of the policy are introduced. Information about the documents should be accessible to members of the public and any person who may become involved in the work of the Foundation.

1.2 The Rama Foundation Policy for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children

The welfare and rights of children are central to the work of the Rama Foundation. In all projects undertaken by the Foundation, meeting the needs of children, who are disadvantaged, vulnerable and at risk, is paramount.

The Rama Foundation recognises that it has a responsibility, along with others to promote the safety and welfare of children whilst undertaking various projects which will benefit those children in relation to their health, education and social development. As part of that responsibility the Foundation must ensure that children are protected from harm.
Where there are concerns about the safety and welfare of children, the Rama Foundation's policy and procedures will be followed and information shared with relevant partners in order to protect them. These partners could be the schools which the children attend, other charities who work closely with the children, and also funding organisations.

The Rama Foundation is committed to working in partnership with children, young people, parents and those who care for, support and educate those children in all circumstances. The responsibility in partnership working includes taking action where there may be concerns or suspicions that a child is suffering significant harm.

The Rama Foundation recognises that ill treatment to children can occur in all cultures, religious and social classes and understands that views of what constitutes ' ill treatment ' can vary from place to place. However, the Rama Foundation believes that all children have the right to be protected and that children who have been neglected or abused, deserve to be treated with care, respect and sensitivity.

The Rama Foundation will take all possible steps to ensure that children with whom trustees and volunteers are involved are kept safe through:
safe recruitment procedures for all trustees and volunteers, which includes the publication of all CVs
induction of all trustees and volunteers which includes signed and dated confirmation of their understanding and acceptance of the Safeguarding Policy and the Code of Conduct
clear safeguarding procedures to inform trustees and volunteers of the appropriate action to take in the event that they have serious concerns about a child
clear procedures to work to in the event of any allegations made against trustees or volunteers
clear information for trustees to ensure that they are able to work within these procedures
the implementation of the Code of Conduct for trustees and volunteers
identification of a named trustee to be the Strategic Lead for the safeguarding responsibilities within the Rama Foundation

1.3 What to do if someone discloses abuse to you or you observe abusive behaviour

The volunteers involved in the work of the Rama Foundation develop trusting relationships with children during the course of their support/teaching role. They may therefore find themselves in a position where a child chooses to disclose information to them about abuse, or they may observe abusive behaviour. They may observe signs of neglect which threaten a child's wellbeing.
This may not feel comfortable, but the following guidance has been developed as part of the Rama Foundation's Policy for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children. At all times the best interests of the child should guide your action.

You should:

stay calm
give the child/young person time to say what they want
reassure them that they have done the right thing
reassure them that you understand what they have said and will take them seriously and will try to help and support them
If you witness abuse, tell the person firmly to stop, if the person refuses tell him/her that you will seek help immediately. You may choose to intervene physically, but if you do so you may put yourself at risk.
ensure that medical attention is administered as a priority if required
contact your Strategic Lead immediately
record everything that was said within 24 hours

Do not:

panic
promise to keep secrets
ask for details of the abuse
make the child/young person repeat the story unnecessarily
enter into confrontation with person who is being abusive

Decisions about who to inform and action to be taken will be made by the Strategic Lead. The Rama Foundation understands that colleagues with whom we work alongside in our projects may not consider corporal punishment to be abusive, but this should not deter our resolve to protect a child from harm.

1.4 What to do if you become concerned that a child may be suffering harm or is at risk of harm

There may be times when a volunteer becomes concerned that a child may be suffering harm or be at risk of harm. These occasions must be noted with dates. There may not be a specific incident, but an accumulation of concerns, observations and actions as indeed with aspects of neglect. For instance, the volunteer may notice marks, such as bruises on a child and he/she cannot give a reasonable explanation for marks. The child may show signs that he /she is constantly hungry or cold, or the child may have very dirty or inadequate clothing. The Strategic Lead should be informed of these concerns as soon as possible and will make a decision as to the course of action to take.
1.5 What to do if allegations of abusive behaviour are made against a volunteer

Volunteers about whom there are concerns must be treated fairly and honestly and should be provided with support throughout any investigation process. The concerns or allegations should be reported to the Strategic Lead who will carry out an investigation if appropriate in strict confidence.

The volunteer in question should be helped to understand the concerns raised. The Strategic Lead will decide whether there have been minor breaches of the Code of Conduct where the volunteer may be asked to suspend all work carried out on behalf of the Rama Foundation. Alternatively, if there are more serious allegations, they may result in criminal proceedings if the investigation reveals that an offence has been committed.

1.6 The Rama Foundation Code of Conduct for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children

This Code of Conduct has been written to ensure that all trustees and volunteers are aware of their responsibilities and expectations in their role when working with and supporting children in projects undertaken by the foundation. This must be introduced to trustees and volunteers as part of their induction when preparing to work for the Rama Foundation.

To give full respect to children who may be included in projects undertaken by the Rama Foundation and to reduce the likelihood of abuse taking place, all trustees and volunteers must:

receive and sign their agreement to follow the Rama Foundation Policy and Code of Conduct for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of children
model good practice of behaviour demonstrating respect for the children when working with them
encourage children to talk and to listen to their views
challenge adults who may use inappropriate language, which includes abusive, derogatory and insensitive remarks
challenge adults who may use physical punishment
maintain positive communication with children, and under no circumstances use sexually inappropriate or abusive remarks
ensure that any physical contact with a child is acceptable to the child and not open to misinterpretation
understand the potential risk of an adult working with a child alone
ensure that when working alone with children their parent/guardian/carer has been consulted beforehand and ensure that the appropriate person is aware of the venue and activities taking place
ensure that all personal care of a child is agreed beforehand with the child/young person and their parent/guardian/carer and that it is performed only if the child/young person is unable to perform this themselves without assistance
report and record any concerns about the behaviour of trustees, volunteers, adults working with children and act on these according to the procedures of the Rama Foundation

It is important that all partners associated with the work of the Rama Foundation are made aware of the Safeguarding policy and that factual, dated records are maintained.

The Rama Foundation recognises the importance of sharing information to protect Children and normally the disclosure of any confidential information to any other person may only be undertaken with the expressed permission of the parent/guardian for the purpose of assisting the family. However, if it is considered necessary for the welfare and protection of the child, information will be shared with the appropriate authority.

1.7 The Rama Foundation Policy for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and the Code of Conduct for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children

I have read and agree to follow the Rama Foundation Policy for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and the Code of Conduct for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children. I accept that I may be asked to relinquish my role in connection with the Rama Foundation if I fail to work to this Code of Conduct

Signed …...............................................................

Name …...............................................................

Role …...............................................................

CRB Disclosure Number ………………………………

Date …...............................................................

1.8 The Role of the Strategic Lead for Safeguarding

Name Dr. Priyanka Patel

Contact details priyanka_patel@hotmail.co.uk

• ensure that the safeguarding policy is available to all trustees and volunteers
• ensure that the Code of Conduct is signed by all trustees and volunteers after induction into the work of the Foundation
• ensure that up to date information on safeguarding issues is disseminated to trustees and volunteers
• take a lead responsibility, providing advice and support to trustees and volunteers
• ensure that the Rama Foundation's Policy for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children is updated annually in line with national guidance
• immediately inform the Chair of the trustees in the event of a fatal or serious incident in relation to a child and liaise with the appropriate authorities