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The Western Front Association

 Safeguarding Policy

 

The Trustees and Executive Committee of The Western Front Association (the Charity) unreservedly commit to protecting its members, volunteers, employees and the people with whom it comes into contact through its activities from all forms of abuse, physical, sexual or emotional arising out of that contact.

The Charity will not tolerate any form of abuse directed at its volunteers, employees, members or those who come into contact with the charity and its activities. Disciplinary action will be taken where such abuse is identified.

Incidents of abuse must be reported at the earliest possible opportunity to the Executive Committee in particular the Chairman or his deputy  (contact details are available in publications and through the website)so that safeguarding concerns may be investigated and if appropriate disciplinary action taken. Disciplinary action may include where necessary the prompt reporting to the appropriate authority.

Wherever practicable the identity of complainants will be protected.

 

 

Drawn up June 2019

Owner A Bolton, Education Trustee

Due for review Summer 2020

 

 

SAFEGUARDING PROCEDURE

Where there is a likelihood of the operations of the Charity coming into contact with children or vulnerable adults a risk Assessment will be carried out. This may rely on the generic assessment at Appendix 1 or a ‘job specific’ assessment where greater risks are likely. The result of this risk assessment should be recorded in writing.

Where risks are identified the appropriate mitigation measures must be put in place, recorded and supervised by the lead member acting for the WFA.

Should the Executive Committee or its Chairman be advised of a potential safeguarding issue an investigation by the Chairman or suitable deputy should be carried out as soon as practicable. The evidence and record of the investigation should be in writing.

Internal disciplinary action could range from a verbal note of advice to the immediate suspension from the charity. Where concern is found to have foundation the Chairman or his designated deputy will on legal advice notify the appropriate authority which may be the DBS, the local safeguarding children or adult team or the Police.

Where a Branch Committee become aware of a safeguarding issue they shall notify the Chairman or his deputy with immediate effect. The Branch Chair or an appointed deputy may for reasons of practicality conduct investigation on behalf of the Chairman but all notification to external bodies must be from the Executive Committee.

Where safeguarding complaints do not involve children or vulnerable adults the Executive Committee or its Chairman will appoint a tribunal to investigate the issue and recommend appropriate disciplinary action or recommendations to prevent a recurrence.

Any member, trustee, volunteer or employee subject to disciplinary action has the right to appeal, this appeal will be heard by the Executive Committee, any vote taken would exclude the original tribunal members. They will have the right to overturn or uphold the disciplinary action taken.

 

Drawn up June 2019

Owner A Bolton Education Trustee

Due for review Summer 2020

 

 

RISK ASSESSMENT OF THE WFA NATIONAL ACTIVITIES

The WFA interacts with the public including children and possibly vulnerable adults in the following ways:

  • By holding conferences which whilst predominately aimed at members are open to non-members which may include children.

  • By participation in events such as the Heaton Park, Passchendaele or WDYTYA exhibitions.

  • By organising Battlefield Tours.

  • By making available to the public access to the website.

  • By the making available of Podcasts.

  • The WFA publish Stand To and Bulletin but these are available only to members. It is not uncommon however for back numbers of these magazines to be given away to the general public at events.

  • The WFA has contact with the public via social media.

 

Of these potential contacts only the first three provide any safeguarding risk and only then at a low to negligible likelihood although the severity of the implications means it cannot be disregarded entirely.

The limited nature of contacts makes grooming a negligible risk even where children are present.

The subject matter of the WFA conferences militate against them being used inappropriately to promote issues of safeguarding.

Battlefield Tours are organised by commercial companies on behalf of the Association and therefore the responsibility primarily rests with the organisers.

 

Drawn up June 2019

Owner A Bolton Education Trustee

Due for review Summer 2020

 

 

 

SAFEGUARDING FOR BRANCH COMMITTEES

Up until now Safeguarding has been covered by a number of different Constitutional and Policy documents but it has been decided to produce a specific Safeguarding Policy for the Western Front Association in order to ensure we fully meet the requirements of the Charity Commission.

Charities are required to have a Safeguarding Policy together with a Procedure for its implementation. It is also necessary to carry out and record a Risk Assessment.

The Executive Committee has adopted the Policy, Procedure and Risk Assessment and these will shortly be available on the website.

There can be no doubt that, notwithstanding, the legal obligations, the reputational risk to a charity is enormous if an incident occurs. The adoption by Branches of this Safeguarding Policy and Procedures will help to protect Branch Committees and individual members from the worst effects of malicious claims as well as fulfilling our obligations of protection for those who come into contact with this charity.

A downloadable document Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees is available from Gov.UK. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees  and it is recommended that Branch Committees familiarise themselves with it. Safeguarding does not only apply to the protection of children from sexual harassment but has wider implications.

The particular nature of the WFA and its semi-autonomous branch network at home and overseas (including Ireland) present a particular challenge to the organisation with regard to compliance with HM Governments requirements. These notes relate to England and Wales but Branches overseas, Scotland and Ireland should check their local regulations.

In some cases individual branches have more contact with children, for example, than the operation of the Executive Committee [EC] nationally. There is an increasing emphasis on contact with schools and the recruitment of younger members but it should be recognised that there is a concomitant increase in risk for the WFA, the Branch and individual members if robust safeguarding measures are not in place.

It seems likely that for the purpose of safeguarding compliance Branch Committees would be considered volunteers to the WFA charity.

Normal common sense precautions such as never being alone with children or vulnerable adults not only protects the child but also the branch member from unsubstantiated allegations which would be embarrassing to both the member and the WFA as a whole.

 Photography of children can be particularly sensitive. Branches which hold events and wish to photograph children for example wearing tin hats or equipment should protect themselves by obtaining consent to take a child’s photograph, particularly if it is intended to publish the photograph externally or even in the WFA publications.

The following notes on Policy and Risk Assessment are intended to assist Branch Committees but are suggested as the minimum requirement.

If Branches have any questions relating to the subject of Safeguarding they can be directed to the Education Trustee.

 

 

 

SUGGESTED POLICY ON SAFEGUARDING FOR BRANCH COMMITTEES

1. Branch Committees should formally adopt the WFA Safeguarding Policy and subsequent revisions published on the Western Front Association Website.

2. Branch Committees should designate a member to have particular responsibility for issues relating to Safeguarding.

3. Branch Committees should be aware of and implement the Safeguarding Procedures which accompany the Safeguarding Policy on the WFA website. Branch Committee members must pay particular attention to the obligations placed upon them to immediately report to the Executive Committee any incidents of which they become aware and to assist the Executive Committee in any investigation.

4. Branch Committees must carry out risk assessments in respect of Safeguarding for all their activities. A generic Risk Assessment is included with the Safeguarding Policy but where a more specific risk assessment is required it should be recorded in writing and retained for at least twelve months.

5.It is necessary that Branch Committees review the Policy, Procedure and Risk Assessment on an annual basis, it is suggested it may be included as an item in Branch AGM Minutes.

SUGGESTED RISK ASSESSMENT FOR BRANCHES

Individual branches interact with the public and hence potentially children and vulnerable adults in the following ways:

  • By holding regular meetings to hear educational talks about Great War subjects. These meetings may include some social interaction. Meetings whilst predominantly targeted at members are open to the public.

  • By organising external events to promote the charity’s goal of promoting remembrance of the Great War.

  • By participating at events organised by others to promote the WFA and its goals.

  • By organising trips to the battlefields.

  • By producing newsletters and by presence on social media.

Although the attendance at branch meetings by unaccompanied children or vulnerable adults is possible the safeguarding risk is low because of the public nature of the meetings.

The participation by a branch in events which may specifically be targeted at children, such as school educational visits, by definition must be treated with due regard to the safeguarding of the participants. Where teachers or other responsible supervisors with suitable DBS checks are present the risk of safeguarding would predominantly be shouldered by the school or institution and therefore the safeguarding risk to the WFA Branch is low.

Where a branch participates in a non-supervised activity with children or vulnerable adults a ‘job specific’ risk assessment should be carried out. Any risk assessment producing an appreciable outcome should result in a plan being put into force to bring the risk down to low or negligible. Such action could include inter-alia ensuring members are never alone with children, avoiding closed rooms recruiting qualified supervisors.

Branch trips should only accept unaccompanied children or vulnerable adults in the most exceptional circumstances and only after extensive job specific risk assessment and mitigation measures.

 

A Bolton Education Trustee

June 2019