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Child Safeguarding

1. Introduction
1.1 Kids Week
Kids Week” is an audience development initiative organised by the Society of London Theatre of 32 Rose Street, London WC2E 9ET (SOLT). It takes place in August of every year and was first run in 1997. Kids Week is about encouraging young people to get involved in theatre. The premise behind Kids Week is simple: a child can go free to a participating show with a full paying adult and up to two more children can go at half price, subject to availability. In addition to free tickets, children can participate in a wide range of free activities and workshops based around the participating shows. These activities are run by cast members and practitioners from the shows and theatres involved (“Participating Organisations”) and the administration of these activities is overseen by SOLT.

1.2 Aim of this policy
SOLT believes that children and young people have fundamental rights. SOLT recognises a duty to protect the rights of children and young people and to comply with the principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990), the Children Act 1989 and other relevant legislation.

This policy outlines how SOLT will use all possible means to safeguard children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation; and in its provisions for children and young people as a service provider.

1.3 Definitions used in this policy

In this document, a reference to a “child” or “children” means anyone under 18.

The term “young person” has no legal status, but acknowledges that people aged 16 and 17 may not think of themselves as children.

This policy applies in respect of all children and young persons.

The term “DBS-checked” means that a criminal record check has been carried out in respect of the individual concerned through the Disclosure and Barring Service and that the individual has a clean DBS certificate.

This policy applies in respect of all children and young persons.

The term “staff” when used in this policy means SOLT’s permanent staff, temporary staff, chaperones, freelancers, volunteers and contractors.

“Activity” means a Kids Week activity or workshop.

1.4 Designated safeguarding officer

SOLT’s Designated Safeguarding Officer is the Head of Sales & Ticketing. The Designated Safeguarding Officer can be contacted on 020 7557 6700 or email safeguarding@soltukt.co.uk.

The Designated Safeguarding Officer has primary responsibility for ensuring effective safeguarding and protection procedures at SOLT and for dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse.

2. SOLT’s Policy Statement
SOLT recognises the importance of protecting children who participate in Kids Week Activities from harm. The purpose of Kids Week is to introduce children to theatre in a fun and stimulating way, but at all times in a safe environment. SOLT will ensure that:

  • the welfare of the child or young person is paramount;
  • all children and young people are treated with respect;
  • the health and safety of all children and young people is protected;
  • all children and young people, irrespective of age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity, have the right to protection from harm, bullying, abuse and exploitation;
  • all suspicions and allegations of harm, abuse and exploitation will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • the rights of parents, guardians and carers are acknowledged and that a copy of this policy is made available to them on request;
  • as part of the recruitment and induction process, all SOLT staff (whether permanent, temporary, freelancers, volunteers or contractors) will be provided with the information and training necessary to understand and implement safeguarding guidelines and procedures. It is the responsibility of the Head of Media & Marketing at SOLT to ensure that all SOLT staff engaged in Kids Week are fully briefed;
  • it recruits staff safely, ensuring all necessary steps are taken and checks are made;
  • SOLT’s partners, contractors and agents (including Participating Organisations) respect this policy;
  • it provides support to staff and, if and where appropriate, to children and young people when issues or allegations arise.

3. Code of Good Practice
The Code of Good Practice in Appendix 1 has been developed to protect, and create a safe environment for, children and young people and to protect SOLT staff.

Any breach of the code of good practice by SOLT employees may result in disciplinary action.

All staff working on the Kids Week campaign are required to read and sign the code to acknowledge its provisions.

4.Safeguards
SOLT has the following safeguards in place to ensure that Kids Week is a positive experience for all involved:

  • For all Activities booked through SEE Tickets, SOLT contacts the parents in advance to confirm the booking, to check the age of the child, to ascertain that the correct Activity has been booked and is suitable, and to find out if the child has any special requirements. For all other Activities, SOLT contacts the Participating Organisation providing the Activity to confirm that the above checks have been carried out for all bookings.
  • All children who participate in a family Activity (eg a post show Q&A) and all children under 8 are required to be accompanied by an adult at all times. SOLT will not allow children to participate in a family Activity or children under 8 to participate in any Activity unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. These adults are responsible for the children in their care.
  • All children who participate in a Kids Week Activity for which they need not be accompanied are required to submit a registration form which must include written consent from their parent or guardian to their participation. The registration form also requests, amongst other things, dietary and medical information and details of who will collect the child at the end of the Activity. A copy of the form is attached at Appendix 2.
  • SOLT expects all Participating Organisations and their staff to adhere to the guidelines in this safeguarding policy.
  • SOLT will ensure that all chaperones it engages have been DBS checked and that there will be at least two chaperones engaged by SOLT present at each Kids Week Activity. Good practice guidelines provide that the number of adults per child will vary depending on the Activity and the age of the children: for child aged between 9 and 12 the recommended ratio is one adult to eight children. See the NSPCC guidelines on child/adult ratios for further information NSPCC Guidelines.
  • Wherever possible SOLT will not allow any one adult to be left in sole charge of any child or children but will ensure that, if a child has to be left in the sole charge of one adult, that adult is someone who has been DBS-checked.
  • SOLT will request each Participating Organisation venue in which a Kids Week Activity takes place to carry out a health and safety risk assessment for that Activity.
  • SOLT will request each Participating Organisation to ensure that they have a qualified first-aider present throughout each Activity.
  • SOLT will request that the representative for each Participating Organisation will explain the evacuation procedure to the participants at the beginning of the Activity.
  • SOLT staff will be instructed not to allow a parent or guardian to leave their children under SOLT staff supervision if that child is under 8 or if that child is participating in a family Activity.
  • SOLT staff will collect all registration forms prior to the commencement of the Activity.
  • SOLT staff will ensure that all children are signed in and out of the Activity.
  • SOLT staff will ensure that all children attending a Kids Week Activity are dropped off and picked up by a parent or guardian (in accordance with the child’s registration form).
  • SOLT staff should try not to allow physical contact with a child. Be aware that it may be misinterpreted. If the child has an accompanying parent or guardian, encourage that person to help the child in close work.
  • SOLT will not allow a child to be involved in any press or publicity unless consent has been given on the child’s registration form and SOLT will follow the guidelines in paragraphs 6 and 7 below. In any event, photographs, visual recordings or other images should not be taken for any other purpose.
  • SOLT staff will adhere to the following general guidelines as recommended by the NSPCC:
  • Treat all children with respect. Listen to them carefully.
  • Provide an example of good conduct you wish others to follow.
  • Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well-intentioned.
  • Do not use inappropriate language.
  • Do not use inappropriate physical contact.
  • Keep your conversation to the project in hand when working closely with children. Do not encourage them to give personal details unless required to do so for the Activity and an accompanying adult is present.
  • Always follow your organisation’s health and safety procedures in the event of an accident (although please note that if you are at a Participating Organisation venue, their health and safety procedures will take precedence over SOLT health and safety procedures).
  • Take all suspicions and allegations of abuse seriously and respond to them swiftly and appropriately.
  • Report any allegations or suspicions of abuse to the person within your organisation who is responsible for dealing with such matters (in the case of SOLT, this is the Designated Safeguarding Officer).

5. Responding to suspicions or allegations of abuse

  • It is not the responsibility of SOLT staff to decide whether or not a child or young person is being abused or at risk of being abused. This is the responsibility of the applicable local authority’s children’s social care team in conjunction with other agencies such as the police. The responsibility of SOLT staff is to take any concern about the wellbeing of a child or young person seriously and to act on the concern immediately in accordance with this policy.
  • If a staff member becomes aware of any concern regarding the wellbeing of a child or young person, he or she must report this immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer. The Designated Safeguarding Officer will then follow the procedure set out in Appendix 3 of this policy.
  • All SOLT staff need to be prepared to react in accordance with this policy and Appendix 3 of this policy in any of the following scenarios:
    • A child or young person discloses abuse happening in a place other than at a Kids Week Activity eg at home or school.
    • A child or young person alleges that a member of staff or other person associated with SOLT has abused him or her.
    • There is suspicion or evidence of abuse of a child or young person by a member of staff or any other person whether or not associated with Kids Week
  • Appendix 3 also provides guidance on how to document any issues or concerns raised. In all cases, staff should act immediately and inform the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

6. Use of Images and data
Images

SOLT recognises that taking pictures and videos of the achievements and activities of children and young people is a wonderful way of capturing a memory and promoting successes, but consideration needs to be given to who might have access to those images in whatever media and who gives permission for their use.

  • SOLT endeavours to safeguard the rights of children or young people in images by:
    • always seeking written consent from the parent/guardian or carer for children and young people BEFORE taking photographs. See consent form included at Appendix 2.
    • always being clear about how the image will be used and for how long.
    • being careful when naming a child or young person and never using the person’s full name or the place where he or she lives in conjunction with a photograph.
    • never publishing any images that could be used inappropriately eg children wearing swimming costumes.
    • ensuring consent forms and images are stored safely and securely in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1988 (the “Act”).

Data

  • SOLT recognises that the principles of the Act must be adhered to when handing the personal information of children or young people. This means that personal information must be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully; only disclosed in appropriate circumstances; accurate, relevant and not held for longer than necessary; and kept securely.
  • The Act allows for the disclosure of personal information without consent of the subject in certain conditions, including for the purposes of the prevention and detection of a crime, for example where there is a child protection concern.
  • It is best practice to gain written consent, from a child or parent/ carer before any personal information relating to them is shared with another organisation. However, you may not need to seek consent to share information if it might be unsafe to seek (eg seeking consent might increase the risk to the child) or causes an unjustified delay or if it would prejudice the prevention, detection or prosecution of a serious crime. When in doubt advice should always be sought from Westminster Council’s Children’s Social Care Team (see contact details at Appendix 3).
  • In situations where a request is made by another organisation for information about individuals, SOLT staff member should inform the Designated Safeguarding Officer. It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Officer to decide whether to share the information and their decision (including the reasoning for this decision) should be recorded and stored by the Designated Safeguarding Officer.
  • In all cases where information is shared the following information should be recorded:
    • date and time.
    • summary of information shared.
    • who the information was shared with.
    • whether the information was shared with or without consent.
    • if sharing without consent, whether the child or family were informed.
    • how the information was shared and any receipt of it having been received.

7. Use of Social Media

  • SOLT recognises that social media provides opportunities to engage, connect and develop unique relationships with children and young people in a creative and dynamic medium, where users are active participants.
  • However, SOLT also recognises the risks associated with user interactive services including sexual exploitation, online grooming and cyber bullying. Most children and young people use the Internet positively, but sometimes behave in ways that may place themselves at risk and some risks do not necessarily arise from the technology itself but result from offline contact following interaction on social media.
  • SOLT will ensure that any SOLT social media site for Kids Week adheres to this policy’s guidelines relating to the privacy of personal information and the use of images. However, SOLT’s social media channels are intended for parents and guardians and are not a space for children to interact with each other.

8. Equal Opportunities
SOLT is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all job applicants and staff regardless of sex; race, including colour, ethnic origin and nationality; disability; religion; belief; marital or civil partnership status; sexual orientation; age; whether they are pregnant or on maternity leave; or whether they are proposing to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone a gender reassignment process (the “protected characteristics”); any perception that they have a protected characteristic; or their association with someone that has a protected characteristic. SOLT will uphold the principle of equal opportunities in all areas of its work, striving for equality and fair treatment

9.Further Information

For further information on child protection, please refer to the NSPCC’s safeguarding toolkit at safeguardingtool.nspcc.org.uk.

For further information on Kids Week please contact the SOLT Project Manager on 020 7557 6700 or email enquiries@soltukt.co.uk.

For queries about this policy, please contact the Head of Sales & Ticketing at SOLT, on 020 7557 6700 or email safeguarding@soltukt.co.uk.

Appendices

Appendix 1Code of Good Practice
Appendix 2Kids Week Registration Form
Appendix 3Guidelines for responding