We analyse the new Statutory Code of Safeguarding Practice for individuals, groups and organisations that offer activities or services to children and adults in Wales.
On 11 January 2022, Welsh Government published the ‘Working together to safeguard people: Code of safeguarding practice’ (‘the Code’). A copy of the Code can be found here.
The Code sets out Welsh Government’s expectations in relation to safeguarding arrangements for individuals, groups and organisations that offer activities or services to children and adults in Wales.
The Code sits alongside existing statutory guidance in relation to Part 7 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, namely ‘Working together to safeguard people: Volumes 1-7’ which can be found here.
Individuals, groups and organisations must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of children and adults at risk.
As such, all those offering activities or services to children (up to the age of 18 years) and adults (aged 18 and over) must understand the necessity of implementing safeguarding arrangements.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding means keeping people safe from abuse, neglect or harm and knowing what to do if it is believed that a child or an adult is at risk of abuse, neglect or harm.
If settings or organisations are already registered, regulated and inspected then they should comply with their statutory requirements and adhere to existing statutory arrangements.
Further, some individuals, groups and organisations are affiliated to, funded by or registered with national bodies that offer support with safeguarding. This support should include policies, training and processes to make sure certain people are safe when engaging in services or activities.
Who does the Code apply to?
The Code provides examples of activities or services that should have to operate safeguarding arrangements to all participants. However, the following list provided in the Code is not exhaustive:
- Arts, dance, drama or music clubs or classes;
- Sports or exercise clubs or classes;
- Youth clubs;
- Uniformed organisations or clubs for children and young people;
- Tuition or learning programmes or classes;
- Childcare and play sessions and/or after-school clubs operating under 2 hours or exempt for other reasons from registering as child minders or day care providers for other reasons. (The Child Minding and Day Care Exceptions (Wales) Order 2010 (as amended) specifies the circumstances in which providers do not need to register as child minders or day care providers);
- Religious settings offering education in their own faith, culture, or religious texts or preparation for rites of passage;
- Social interest groups or sessions;
- Open access play work provision operating under 2 hours;
- Indoor organised play, activity/interest groups or sessions; and
- Tourism and leisure attractions and activities.
The Code confirms that all individuals, groups or organisations (or as staff/volunteers of those organisations) have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure that children and adults are protected from harm and the right action has been taken if a person is at risk from harm.
How to meet the duty of care
The Code states that, if followed, it will help to ensure that an individual, group or organisation demonstrate that they are meeting the duty of care.
The Code provides the following information:
- Safeguarding Policy = a policy that provides guidance on how to report a safeguarding concern to the local authority Social Services where the activity or service takes place and/or to the police on 101. The policy should also name one person to act as the Designated Safeguarding Person, who acts as the point of contact for safeguarding concerns. Procedures on safeguarding policy can be found here.
- Safeguarding Training = an interactive introduction to safeguarding is available here.
- Information Sharing = there is a requirement to share information in accordance with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018. However, it is essential to know that data protection legislation allows for the sharing of safeguarding information. A factsheet on this topic can found here.
- Disclosure and Barring Service = the eligibility tool can be used to find out which roles or activities could be eligible for a basic, standard or enhanced DBS checks. The tool can be found here.
- Position of Trust = the legal term ‘position of trust’ refers to certain roles and settings where an adult has regular and direct contact with children. Examples of positions of trust include teachers, care workers, youth justice workers, social workers and doctors. It is against the law for someone in a position of trust to engage in sexual activity with a child in their care, even if that child is over the age of consent (16 years old or over).
Advice and support
Finally, the Code provides information on how to obtain advice and information from the appropriate regional safeguarding Boards in Wales. This can also be found here.
Also, along with the Code is a leaflet that provides simple questions that can be asked to ascertain the safeguarding practices in place at an activity or service. This will assist individuals and organisations in understanding if they meet the Code’s expectations.
Blake Morgan can provide advice and legal support in relation to the Code, compliance with the safeguarding requirements set out in Part 7 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and the associated Codes of Practice as well as the Wales Safeguarding Procedures. We can also review, revise and provide training on your Safeguarding Policies and Procedures.
For further information contact Partner Eve Piffaretti.
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