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Safeguarding Policy

Our University Principles make it clear that we treat everyone with respect, we will not tolerate sexual misconduct, violence or abuse and we will take all reasonable steps to keep our campus and community safe. It is also a principle that “we” means all of us, students, apprentices and staff.

We recognise that we have a fundamental responsibility to provide an environment in which individuals of all ages, whether staff, student, apprentice, or visitor, may work, learn, and develop in a safe environment. This responsibility includes an ethical and moral duty to safeguard children and vulnerable adults at any time when they are engaging with our staff, students, apprentices and volunteers in University-led activities, whether on or off of our campus. This core value is at the heart of our interaction with our wider community and acknowledges that in all our interactions with children and vulnerable adults their welfare is of paramount importance.

This policy goes beyond the University’s basic legal obligations and seeks to reflect general safeguarding guidance and good practice relating to the higher education sector.

Contents

1. Purpose

2. Scope

3. Definitions

4. Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

(a) Responsibilities of the University Safeguarding Team

(b) Responsibilities of Academic and Professional Service departments

(c) Responsibilities of individual members of the University community

5. Guidance

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Safeguarding Policy and its associated guidance documents is to set out our responsibilities and procedures. It outlines how we will:

  • Provide a safe and supportive environment for our staff, students, apprentices, volunteers, and visitors in the course of our work and University-led activities.
  • Provide a safe and supportive environment for children, high needs apprentices and vulnerable adults who engage with our staff, students, apprentices, and volunteers in the course of our work and University-led activities.
  • Ensure that staff, students, volunteers, and apprentices engaging with children and vulnerable adults receive relevant safeguarding training and understand their role and responsibilities.
  • Ensure that there is a clear reporting and escalation route should staff, students or apprentices become aware of a safeguarding concern.

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2. Scope

This Policy applies to staff, students, apprentices and volunteers engaging in University-led activity whether on the University campus or elsewhere. It covers our interaction with children and vulnerable adults who are current students, prospective students, visitors or who are otherwise participating in University-related activities. This includes our core activities of teaching and research, as well as University-led sports, holiday schemes, volunteering projects, or outreach and widening participation activities.

The policy provides guidance on our internal procedures but acknowledges that it may be appropriate in certain circumstances to report safeguarding concerns about children or vulnerable adults to a range of external agencies.

The University recognises that young people can be at risk of being drawn into extremist ideologies which can lead to a risk of radicalisation. In the context of the University’s Safeguarding Policy, the risk of being drawn into extremist ideologies and radicalisation is considered to be a significant safeguarding concern which is of equal weight alongside other forms of abuse and mistreatment of children and vulnerable adults. A safeguarding concern of this nature would also fall within the scope of Prevent at Warwick.

A small number of departments also need a “local” safeguarding policy and related local procedures to ensure that they are able to meet specific regulatory requirements that do not apply to the University as a whole, for example Children’s Services and the Centre for Teacher Education both of which are subject to Ofsted inspection.

In the event that the University-led activity is hosted by another organisation within their own facilities, the host organisation’s safeguarding policy and related procedures will normally take precedence. However, members of the University engaging in those programmes must also take note of, and act in accordance with, the University’s Safeguarding Policy to the extent that this is possible in the particular circumstances.

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3. Definitions

Apprentice: References to "apprentice" includes all students who are registered on one of the University's degree apprenticeship programmes.

Child: References to “child” or “children” in this policy means anyone under the age of 18 years.

In defining our approach towards children, the University draws on the definition used by the Department for Education in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 (KCSiE). While KCSiE only applies to Schools and Colleges, we will play our part in:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment.
  • Preventing impairment of children’s mental of physical health or development.
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

High needs apprentice: The Department of Education defines a “high needs apprentice” as any apprentice who is a young person aged between 18 and 25 and is subject to an Educational Health Care Plan and requires additional support costing over £6,000. The Department for Education expect that safeguarding practices will be applied to high needs apprentices as if they were children.

Member of the University: Reference to a “member of the University” includes staff, students, apprentices.

Regulated activity: Based on the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and amended by Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, an individual is undertaking regulated activity if any of the following are true:

  • They are responsible on a regular basis for teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children and/or vulnerable adults.
  • They work in a role with opportunity for contact with children and/or vulnerable adults on a regular basis.
  • They engage in intimate or personal care or any overnight activity, even if this happens only once.
  • They provide healthcare directly or under the supervision or direction of a regulated healthcare professional.

For reference ‘regular’ has been defined as at least 3 times within 30 days, or approximately once a week.

Staff: References to “staff” includes employees, workers, agency workers, consultants, volunteers, honorary, visiting, and Emeritus professors.

Student: References to “student” includes all students registered with the University, including those based in partner organisations who are registered with the University to gain a professional qualification.

Visitors: “Visitors” are considered to be any external individuals who are participating in University-led activities, this includes prospective students, visitors to the Arts Centre and Warwick Sport, or to Warwick retail outlets.

Volunteer: “Volunteers” are generally members of the university but may include other associated persons volunteering to lead or support University-led activities for which they are not paid including for example volunteering activity through Warwick Volunteers, Warwick in Africa or similar initiatives, or supporting recruitment or widening participation and outreach events.

Vulnerable adults: Anyone over the age of 18 years who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse, harm or exploitation, which may be by reason of illness, age, mental illness, disability or other types of physical or mental impairment. Those at risk may live alone, be dependent on others, elderly, socially isolated or have a history of health and social care.

The University draws broadly on the Care Act 2014 act to inform its policy on safeguarding vulnerable adults. We will play our part to:

  • Ensure that the rights of vulnerable adults are protected to enable them to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
  • Ensure that the wellbeing of the vulnerable adult is promoted and that in deciding on any action to be taken we will take into account their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs, for example when considering whether to refer concerns to statutory bodies or when seeking support from charitable organisations.

We recognise, however that vulnerable adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances and may not fully appreciate potential risks to their safety or wellbeing and therefore it may not always be possible to fully defer to their wishes when seeking the best way forward.

Work with children or vulnerable adults: Within this policy “work with children or vulnerable adults” includes all engagement with children and vulnerable adults whether in a professional capacity in connection with the work of the University, or in the course of other University-led activities supported by members of the University whether working in a paid or unpaid capacity.

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4. Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children and vulnerable adults can live, learn and develop. We understand that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults is everyone’s responsibility and we all have a role to play in protecting them in so far as we are reasonably able to do so within the context of a university environment and in relation to University-led activities.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) requires the University to protect vulnerable individuals, including under 18s, who might be at risk of harm. This includes:

  • thorough background checks for staff working with vulnerable groups.
  • establishing lists of individuals deemed suitable to work with these groups.
  • promoting a culture of safeguarding within the institution.
  • having robust policies and procedures in place to safeguard vulnerable individuals and groups.

The Children Act (1989) and Protection of Freedoms Act (2012) also relate to safeguarding vulnerable groups and our use of DBS checks as an appropriate safeguard.

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(a) Responsibilities of the University Safeguarding Team

The University will appoint and maintain a University Safeguarding Team, contactable via safeguarding@warwick.ac.uk. The Director of Wellbeing and Safeguarding is the University’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

The University Safeguarding Team has specific responsibility to promote good safeguarding practice and ensure that the University has a fit for purpose Safeguarding Policy and related procedures that are reviewed annually by the Policy Oversight Group and, if necessary, revised to meet evolving regulatory requirements and relevant best practice guidance.

The University Safeguarding Team will:

  • Ensure that the University Safeguarding Policy and accompanying procedures, advice and guidance are fit for purpose and sufficient to ensure that University meets its statutory obligations and complies generally with good practice and where reasonably possible, with safeguarding guidance issued by relevant statutory bodies.
  • Ensure that Academic and Professional Service departments are aware of their duties under the University Safeguarding Policy and receive appropriate advice and guidance.
  • Ensure that appropriate safeguarding training is available for members of the University who work with children and vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure that that processes and procedures are in place for relevant recruitment checks and that these are conducted for relevant roles including, but not limited to: DBS checks where lawfully permitted, Certificates of Good Conduct, Teacher Prohibition Orders, safeguarding aspects of Fitness to Practice procedures, and that any issues arising from these checks are resolved before engagement with children or vulnerable adults commences.
  • Ensure that routes to report or escalate safeguarding concerns are clearly signposted, accessible, and appropriately monitored.
  • Ensure that reported safeguarding concerns are reviewed, specialist guidance sought, and appropriate action taken to escalate internally to the University’s Designated Safeguarding Lead and / or to the relevant external agency within statutory time frames.
  • Prepare and submit referrals as appropriate to Ofsted, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and / or Local Authority Children’s or Adults Safeguarding Board.

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(b) Responsibilities of Academic and Professional Service Departments

To meet our safeguarding responsibility towards children and vulnerable adults under this policy, Academic and Professional Service departments that work with children and vulnerable adults must ensure that appropriately trained staff are available and that procedures are in place to ensure that the department can comply with the University’s Safeguarding Policy.

It is recognised that the level of engagement with children and vulnerable adults varies considerably between departments. Guidance on what arrangements would be appropriate in a range of particular circumstances is provided below, but departments should also seek advice from the University’s Safeguarding Team.

Departments must:

  • Appoint a Department Safeguarding Contact (DSC). A list of Departmental Safeguarding Contacts is available here.
  • Departments subject to Ofsted inspection may need to appoint a Designated Safeguarding Lead. Safeguarding Contacts/Safeguarding Leads will need to have undertaken appropriate safeguarding training. The Designated Safeguarding Lead may also act as the Designated Safeguarding Contact.
  • Ensure that financial provision is set aside to provide appropriately trained staff to support the department’s work with children and vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure that departmental staff, students, apprentices and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults, are selected or recruited in line with Safer Recruitment best practice.
  • Ensure that departmental staff, students, apprentices, and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults receive appropriate safeguarding training. The Safeguarding Team can provide guidance on available and appropriate safeguarding training (safeguarding@warwick.ac.uk).
  • Ensure that an appropriate Safeguarding Risk Assessment is carried out and that any actions identified by the risk assessment are completed before the activity commences.
  • Ensure that departmental staff, students, apprentices, and volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults are familiar with departmental and University safeguarding procedures to report and escalate safeguarding-related concerns.
  • Ensure that events or activities that meet the definition of regulated activity receive a higher level of scrutiny; staff, student or volunteers involved in these events may require Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Additionally, departments offering apprenticeship programmes must:

  • Ensure that apprentices have an awareness of safeguarding and Prevent and understand how to access support services at the University.
  • Ensure that safeguarding training is provided for all members of University staff working with apprentices.
  • Maintain open communications with employers regarding the safety and wellbeing of apprentices, including to progress reviews/tripartite meetings.
  • Ensure that employers that they work with are aware of their safeguarding and Prevent obligations and have appropriate policies in place.

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(c) Responsibilities of Individual Members of the University Community

We should ensure that children and vulnerable adults who engage in University-led activities do so in a safe and supportive environment. All staff members have a responsibility to report any concerns that they may have about children or vulnerable adults.

Individual members of the University community must:

  • Ensure that children and vulnerable adults are treated with respect and supported whenever they engage in University-led activity.
  • Undertake appropriate safeguarding training before engaging in any University-led activity involving children or vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure that they are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard children and vulnerable adults whether they are acting as a paid member of University staff or supporting University-led activity in an unpaid capacity as a volunteer.
  • Ensure that they are aware of how to report a safeguarding incident or concern for activities involving children or vulnerable adults. Any such concerns can be reported via the University’s online Safeguarding Concern report form.

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5. Guidance

This policy provides the overall framework and statement of principles regarding the University’s approach to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults. The accompanying documents provide detailed guidance. Support and specific advice can be provided by the University Safeguarding Team (safeguarding@warwick.ac.uk).

 The relevant policies and guidance that support the University’s commitment to safeguarding our community are as follows:

Safeguarding:

Child Protection Policy:

Apprentices:

University Nursery

Health and Safety Policy and associated guidance:

Wellbeing Support Services Policies and associated guidance:

Fitness to Practice

Report and Support Policies and associated guidance:

Human Resources

Whistleblowing

  • Whistleblowing Policy (applies to everyone who is a registered student, apprentice, member of staff, or anyone contractually connected with the University),

Suitability of Staff working with children or vulnerable adults

Reporting an incident / disclosure / concern relating to the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults

For immediate advice and support out of hours, please contact the Community Safety team on 02476 522083, noting that if any individual child or adult is perceived to be at serious risk of immediate harm off campus, the relevant emergency service should be contacted.

  • To report a child safeguarding incident, disclosure or concern, please provide as much information as you can on the Safeguarding Report Form
  • Should you have a safeguarding concern or have received a disclosure in relation to a vulnerable adult and are not certain from the relevant policy above about what you should do, contact the University’s Director of Wellbeing and Safeguarding as the accountable senior officer for safeguarding by emailing safeguarding@warwick.ac.uk

Legal Framework and Government Guidance:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
  • The Children Acts of 1989 and 2004
  • Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000
  • The Education Act 2002 Section 175
  • The Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015
  • DBS Code of Practice November 2015
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2024

    Other useful information

    Health and Safety Executive: Young WorkersLink opens in a new window

    Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) 

    NSPCC

    Disclosure and Barring Service

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