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Safeguarding for Village Halls

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has been awarded over £100k from the National Lottery Community Fund to promote good safeguarding practice to village and community halls throughout England.

As a valued member of the ACRE network, Support Staffordshire will be working with village hall voluntary management committees across Staffordshire to help them to understand current legislation around safeguarding and to put procedures in place which reflect good practice.  Village hall management committees will therefore have the knowledge and confidence to make sure that these important rural assets are welcoming and safe places for all who work or use these facilities.

To launch the work we shall be promoting #VillageHallSafeguardingWeek running 16 – 22nd November 2020 to share information and resources. 

Background: https://acre.org.uk/our-work/safeguarding

Find out more about safeguarding by following the links below:

NCVO Safeguarding information 

NSPCC child protection guidance

Safeguarding concerns: practice example – hiring out space

Safeguarding guidance for disabled children and adults at risk

Guidance on handling safeguarding allegations in a charity

Staffordshire Safeguarding

VCSE organisations have a duty of care to those volunteering and working with you, and to those in your community you are supporting and serving.

Your responsibilities:

Safeguarding should be at the heart of what we all do as organisations, we need to be confident our services are delivered in the safest way.  Some questions you could ask yourself within your organisation include:-

  • Do you do DBS checks correctly?  Disclosure and Barring Service checks are an important starting place as these check if someone has criminal records and give you an idea as to the suitability of an individual for a particular role.  We know though that this has many grey areas so please get in touch with your Rural Officer for specific advice as to what roles require checks.
  • Do you have clear and accurate volunteer and job role descriptions?  These should be written clearly to enable you to match someone to the role.
  • Do you have thorough policies & procedures that are up to date and meet best practice? Safeguarding is obviously important but do you have a thorough complaints process?  What about a whistleblowing policy that enables those to report appropriate concerns?  Volunteer policies should include a section on resolving problems so that you can deal with issues at the earliest opportunity.  
  • What is your recruitment process like?  Do you ask everyone the same questions and how do they match against criteria?  Do you ask for references?  They are a great idea but may only tell you a very limited part of the story.  Make them relevant to the role, ask questions about the skills and qualities you want an applicant to possess.
  • Is your induction, training and support processes suitable?  Provide a thorough and comprehensive induction to your organisation and work as well as your values.  Ensure that policies are thoroughly understood.  A probationary or settling in period is an excellent way of providing an opportunity for early problems to be resolved.  Giving adequate support and supervision is important for many reasons, including retention.

All Support Staffordshire members are able to access advice and guidance as part of their membership package.  This can include reviewing role descriptions, policies and procedures and recruitment processes, referencing up-to-date best practice guidelines.  

If your organisation is a member your staff or volunteers are entitled to send up to 2 people on our fully funded Right Start Adult Safeguarding course.  Details of our training courses can be found here.  Alternatively if you have more training needs then we can deliver a Level 2 Adult safeguarding course in-house at a cost of £210.  

For any more information please contact your Rural Officer or the Consultancy team at consultancy@supportstaffordshire.org.uk



CONTACTS TO REPORT A SAFEGUARDING CONCERN

Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board



Contact details for concern about a child in Staffordshire: 

Staffordshire County Council’s First Response Service:

Telephone: 0800 1313 126 Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:00pm Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm

Emergency Duty Service (Out of Hours): Telephone: 0345 604 2886 Mobile: 07815 492613

General enquiry email: ssscb.admin@staffordshire.gov.uk 

Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Adult Safeguarding Partnership Board: 

Contact Details for concern about an adult in Staffordshire:

Telephone: 0345 604 2719 Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5pm, Fridays 8:30am to 4:30pm, excluding Bank Holidays

Emergency Duty Service (Out of hours): 0345 604 2886 

General enquiry email: ssaspb.admin@staffordshire.gov.uk 

Staffordshire Police Prevent Team: 

01785 238239 or 01785 233109 Prevent@staffordshire.pnn.police.uk

If you believe someone is at immediate risk of harm you should call the emergency services on 999

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a tool which contains a step by step guide to help charities in England with safeguarding concern.