Child Safeguarding and
At SIGNIFY, we are committed to recognising, promoting and protecting the rights of all children. Signify believes that the welfare of children is a highest priority and that is it the responsibility of everyone who works for and with Signify to ensure that children are protected from abuse and exploitation. We recognise that safeguarding considerations must permeate all aspects of Signify’s work and we strive to include safeguarding in all Signify’s policies, practices and activities.
In line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), we recognise that all children, (meaning children under the age of 18 years), have a right to protection and freedom from abuse, including exploitation, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity.
We require all Signify staff to uphold and demonstrate best practice in child safeguarding and protection to ensure that children who come in contact with Signify staff are protected from any form of abuse or exploitation.
Child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional abuse and/or neglect. Abuse can take place in person and online, by other children and/or adults, including those in positions of trust.
Child safeguarding: proactive steps taken to prevent violence against children including all forms of physical or mental violence, injury and abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse.
Child protection: responding to concerns and/or disclosures that a child may be experiencing or be at risk of physical and/or mental violence, injury and/or abuse, neglect and/or negligent treatment, maltreatment and/or exploitation, and/or sexual abuse.
Disclosure and Barring Service: The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in the United Kingdom helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It is responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks and deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list.
SCOPE OF THIS POLICY
This policy applies to all Signify employees, contractors, consultants, advisors, interns and volunteers (referred to in this policy as ‘Signify Personnel’). This policy recognises that Signify Personnel may have access to sensitive, confidential information about children.
Signify’S SAFEGUARDING COMMITMENT Awareness:
At Signify, we commit to;
ensuring that Signify personnel understand what safeguarding and child protection are; what the risks to children they work with are; what is expected from their behaviour with children and their responsibilities to prioritise the well-being of children at all times;
ensuring that Signify personnel have read, understood and agree to uphold this policy;
ensuring that Signify personnel know where to access this policy and that it can be easily found on the Signify Coda and website;
actively promoting safeguarding and children’s rights to be protected
We commit to:
have robust recruitment and selection processes to check that all Signify personnel who work with or have contact with children are suitable to do so to the best of our knowledge. This includes background checks, such as standard Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (or the local equivalents in Signify’s other geographies) (which should be refreshed at least every three years), behaviour based interviewing, specific questions on safeguarding in interviews to understand individuals’ attitudes to safeguarding, completing a self-disclosure form, and reference checks on suitability to work with children;
ensuring that all potential Signify personnel sign up to and abide by this policy and the attached Code of Behaviour (Annex 1) before commencing employment / contracted work/ appointment;
appointing a trained Designated Safeguarding Officer for each office who is supported by the General Counsel;
taking stringent measures against any Signify personnel or grantee who abuses a child, or who does not uphold this policy, including not taking action when they have reasonable grounds to suspect a child might be at risk of harm. This includes Signify reporting the individual/grantee to the relevant authorities and registers;
safe storage of all confidential material, including material with personal data, in line with GDPR Regulations and Signify policies.
We commit to:
Signify Personnel being clear what to do when child protection concerns or disclosures arise;
Signify Personnel knowing who their local DSO is and how to contact them;
all concerns or disclosures being reported to the DSO immediately (within working hours);
all Personnel knowing what steps to take if the concern/disclosure is outside of working hours, they cannot contact the DSO or the concern is regarding the DSO.
We commit to:
ensuring the safety of the child is always the first priority and that action is taken to support and protect children who are the subject of concerns regarding possible abuse;
applying the principle of ‘best interests of the child’ to all child safeguarding protection concerns and disclosures;
taking all concerns and disclosures seriously and fully supporting any Signify personnel who in good faith raises his or her concerns. No form of coercion, intimidation, reprisal or retaliation against any Signify representative who reports any suspected form of abuse or exploitation is tolerated;
handling all concerns and disclosures in a confidential manner, with information shared on a ‘need to know’ basis;
all incidents being dealt with promptly, and all cases relating to Signify personnel being investigated and reported to the Board within one month of being reported to the DSO.
Investigating: Signify personnel:
If a concern or disclosure relates to a Signify personnel, Signify will form a Child Protection Investigation Committee consisting of an Executive Director, the HR Director, the General Counsel and an external protection expert.
Where an allegation is made about a Signify personnel, the individual may be immediately suspended from their employment or contract without prejudice, whilst the investigation takes place. Where feasible, a decision as to whether the individual can return to work, be dismissed or further time to make a decision is required, will be made by Signify’s Executive Team and the DSO within 28 days. In some cases, particularly where local authorities are involved, more time may be required before a decision can be made.
Should an allegation of abuse or other breach of this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy be substantiated, the individual will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with Signify’s Disciplinary Procedures which may include dismissal or termination of contract and reporting the concern/disclosure to relevant safeguarding authorities.
Where a concern or disclosure relates to a grantee, Signify requires all grantees to inform Signify within three (3) days of the concern / disclosure being made. Where the grantee chooses to seek advice or support from Signify regarding a concern or disclosure, Signify will support the grantee to investigate all concerns and disclosures in line with their Child Safeguarding and Protection Policy and local legislation. Signify and the contractor may decide to:
· Internally investigate the concern or disclosure
· Report a concern or disclosure to a local children’s protection services
· Report a concern or disclosure to the police particularly if someone is or may be in immediate danger
Where Signify has concerns that a partner organisation is not following best practice, Signify may take independent action in line with this policy.
All allegations regarding Signify personnel and contractors will be handled equitably and transparently (with due regard to confidentiality) irrespective of whom they are made against, and taking into account the rights of the parties involved. Whilst aiming to make fair, fact-based decisions, Signify will always prioritise the well-being of children in its decision-making.
Training and Education:
Provide training to all new Signify personnel that may come into contact with children in their role;
Provide annual refresher training to Signify personnel that may come into contact with children in their role;
Ensure Signify personnel who have specific responsibilities for keeping children safe (including DSOs) have access to specialist advice, support and regular opportunities to update their skills and knowledge.
Media and Communications:
We acknowledge that child abuse, including exploitation can occur through the use of information technology, such as when children are photographed or filmed in an inappropriate way. Transparency, openness and appropriate professional purpose underpin any Signify personnel’s interaction with children including via electronic and digital means.
obtain informed consent from the child and the parents/guardian before taking a photograph, video or audio recording and ensure that an explanation as to how, where, when and for how long the photo or film will be used is provided;
take care to assess local traditions or restrictions for reproducing personal image and endeavour to comply with them;
ensure that children are presented in a dignified and respectful manner in text, photographs and film and that images are an honest representation of the context and facts;
ensure that no pictures of children that can be interpreted as sexualised or degrading or shaming in any way shall be published by Signify or Signify personnel;
ensure that no personal data or sensitive information about any individual child that could compromise their care or protection is disclosed in publications or other materials, including surnames or any specific location details;
ensure that pictures, materials and personal information regarding children are held in a secure place, whether physical or online and any lost or stolen equipment containing material should be reported immediately to the local DSO and to Signify’s IT Director
report and record any complaints or concerns about inappropriate or intrusive images as a safeguarding concern.
Monitoring and Review:
Internally, Signify will:
monitor compliance of this policy within Signify and evaluate the effectiveness of this policy through annual checks, including an annual report to the Board detailing any incidents or concerns of safeguarding reported;
commit to review this Safeguarding and Child Protection policy every two years or sooner where there are changes in legislation or within the organisation that affect this policy.
This policy will be reviewed in accordance with the schedule listed on the parent ‘Policies’ page.
ANNEX 1 – CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
Signify is committed to recognising, promoting and protecting the rights of all children. Signify believes that the welfare of children is the highest priority and that is it the responsibility of everyone who works for Signify and with Signify to ensure that children are protected from exploitation or abuse.
Signify representatives working with or having contact with children are expected to treat all children with respect and dignity, prioritising the child’s safety and well-being at all times. As we expect the highest standard of behaviour from our representatives, this Code of Behaviour applies both in private and professional lives.
As a Signify representative you must:
Act in a way that seeks to care for and protect the rights of children and act in their best interests
immediately report concerns or disclosures of child exploitation and abuse and policy non-compliance in line with the Signify Reporting Procedure
Disclose any child related convictions or investigations you have been subject to which occurred before or during your association with Signify
As a Signify representative you should:
Be aware of situations which may present risks and manage, plan and organise the work so as to minimise risks
Ensure that another adult is always present when working in the proximity of children
Ensure that a culture of openness exists to enable any issues or concerns to be raised and discussed
Seek advice from your Designated Safeguarding Officer if you are concerned about a child, even if it doesn’t appear significant, such as something not seeming quite right or making you feel uncomfortable.
As a Signify representative you should never:
Use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexual, provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate
Act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse
Form an intimate relationship with a child or any other relationship that could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive
Engage children under the age of 18 in any form of sexual activity, including showing a child sexual images, asking a child to take or show you sexual images and/or using sexualised language and/or sexualised behaviour in front of a child
Invite unaccompanied children into a private residence
Sleep in the same room as unsupervised children without a second adult being present
Condone, or participate in, behaviour of children which is illegal, unethical, unsafe or abusive
Condone abusive activities between children such as initiation ceremonies or bullying
Use computers, mobile phones, video cameras or social media to exploit or harass children or access child exploitation material through any medium
Befriend children who you come into contact with through work on social media
Use physical punishment on children
Hire children for domestic or other labour
Photograph or film children without consent.
This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. The principle is that Signify Personnel should avoid actions or behaviour which may constitute poor practice or (potentially) abusive behaviour. Whilst “children” for the purposes of this policy means children under the age of 18 years, the Code of Behaviour also applies to Signify Personnel’s interactions with any young person of or over the age of 18 who is connected with a Signify-funded programme.
I have read the above Code of Behaviour, understand it, and agree to comply with it:
Signature: _________________________________ Date: _____________________________ Name: _________________________________ Role title: _____________________________
ANNEX 2 – RESPONSIBILITIES Executive Responsibilities
· Ultimately responsible for Child Safeguarding and Protection at Signify, including the application and implementation of this Policy.
Designated Safeguarding Officer Responsibilities
Act as a focal point to receive, record and assess relevant information in relation to child protection (and consult with others including local protection agencies and local authorities). Any report should include, as far as possible, only facts. In the case of direct disclosure of alleged child abuse, the language used by the person disclosing should be recorded as closely as possible.
Ensure that this Safeguarding policy is implemented and that it is effective and in line with recommended best practice
Report to and advise the Executive Team on all Safeguarding and Child Protection matters, including an update on concerns/disclosures about individual Signify Personnel at each Board meeting; and annual safeguarding reports to the Board outlining the numbers and types of cases raised by Signify grantees.
Increase knowledge and understanding of Safeguarding and child protection matters, especially where changes or updates to relevant best practice recommendations, legislation or other amendments are recommended.
Child Protection Investigation Committee
· Undertake full and objective investigation into concern of disclosure regarding any Signify personnel and submit a written report, including recommendations, to the Signify Executive Team.
Signify Executive Team
· Decide on further action, following receipt of a report from the Child Protection Investigation Committee, including whether the abuse should be reported to local authorities (such as police) or a serious incident report should be submitted to the Charity Commission of the United Kingdom or other regulator.
Safe recruiting and selection practices including:
· checks, such as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all Signify Personnel,
· behaviour based interviewing, specific questions on safeguarding in interviews to understand individuals’ attitudes to safeguarding,
· provision of a self-disclosure form
· reference checks on suitability to work with children.
Working in conjunction with Signify Designated Safeguarding Officer/s and any external authorities and legislation where a concern or disclosure is raised about a Signify Personnel
Training for all staff that may work with children covers how to:
· proactively safeguard children
· work with grantees to promote safeguarding, identify challenges, concerns and solutions, and investigate any child protection concerns or disclosures
· recognise, respond to, report and record abuse in line with this policy
· recognise safeguarding risks in Signify grant-making, partners and projects
· ensure they are appropriately knowledgeable, skilled and confident in meeting their safeguarding protection responsibilities.
Programme Managers Responsibilities
· Discuss Child Safeguarding and Protection with new potential grantees.
Review Child Safeguarding and Protection policy of grantees and provide assistance to develop and improve if required
Ensure safeguarding is discussed in project monitoring and evaluation
Attend training and understand obligations
Sign and return Code of Behaviour
Report any child related convictions, investigations or allegations that have been made against them to the DSO.