Our Safeguarding Policy
Of under 18s, vulnerable adults, persons with disabilities and elderly people.
The Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB) registered charity values and encourages the involvement of people of all ages and circumstances. It is committed to promoting their well-being and enjoyment, and protecting their health, safety and welfare. We can all help to provide a welcoming, safe and enjoyable experience. This document for all volunteers and others working with FoKAB supplies basic reference to good practice when in the company of under 18s (these guidelines also should be taken into account when dealing with older vulnerable adults, such as people of any age with learning or physical difficulties).
This breaks down into:
- general advice for any activity by the charity
- advice specific to organised visits consisting entirely of under 18s or other vulnerable persons
- advice specific to free bus services
- Remember that you are a role model for young people and always provide an example you would wish them to follow.
- Bear in mind that some actions, no matter how well intentioned, may easily be misinterpreted.
- Allow for the fact that people with Learning Difficulties or Special Educational Needs may have behaviours which, whilst quite harmless, do not confirm with social norms.
- Respect a person’s right to privacy unless you feel they are at risk of harm.
- Avoid being left alone with young/vulnerable people if you can.
- Where one to one contact is unavoidable, keep it short, be accessible and make sure someone is informed where you are going, what you are doing and why.
- Use your common sense and take great care if you are left alone with young/vulnerable people – e.g. lone car journeys, even short ones, are best avoided; unless it is an emergency get parental or carer approval before taking someone home. If a person must be transported in a vehicle alone with the driver, they should be asked to occupy a rear seat rather than sit alongside the driver.
Organised visits/outings by groups of young/vulnerable persons:
- Rely on your good name to protect you
- Show favouritism or get drawn into inappropriate, attention-seeking behaviour (e.g tantrums or crushes)
- Allow or engage in suggestive remarks, gestures or touching which could be misinterpreted
- Do anything to undermine the charity’s reputation for providing people with a safe environment
- Jump to conclusions without checking the facts
Free Bus Services (open to the general public)
- Plan activities carefully and be alert to potential harm.
- Where possible make sure young/vulnerable people are accompanied by their own adult carers and that they take direct supervisory responsibility.
- Arrange for an appropriate number of adults to be present – try to have at least two at all times.
- Inform young/vulnerable people about any safety issues associated with their visit and how to cope.
- Be alert to potential harm or inappropriate behaviour by others to the people in your care.
- Provide access for young/vulnerable people to talk to another adult about any concerns they may have.
- Plan activities carefully so that there is maximum protection at all times.
- Attend to health and safety requirements, seeking advice where necessary and referring to FoKAB’s Health & Safety Policy document as appropriate.
- Make sure that where possible young/vulnerable people are accompanied by their own adult carers (e.g. parents, teachers, youth leaders etc) and that these adults are directly responsible for those in their care.
- See that a signed parent/guardian consent form has been obtained if the charity is providing direct supervision to young persons.
- Make sure you know which young/vulnerable people are in your charge, the extent of your responsibility, where they are and what they are doing.
- See that a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check has been carried out for volunteers who will be working directly with young/vulnerable people. Note that DBS checking is not required for bus drivers/conductors who are working services open to the general public (regardless of the age or state of health of passengers they may happen to pick up) but is required for journeys provided solely for young/vulnerable people with any necessary carers.
- Make sure an appropriate ratio of adults to children is provided – it should be at least 1:8 for primary school age groups and 1:15 for secondary school age groups. Groups of very young children or people with mobility difficulties will require higher levels of supervision. Some people with Special Educational Needs may require a 1:1 ratio.
- Arrange a minimum of two adults when working in small groups and work in view of other colleagues if supporting an individual (e.g. work experience) on your own.
- Have male and female helpers if practical, especially if the group is of mixed gender.
- Use your common sense and take great care if you find yourself left alone with young people – for example, don’t escort a young child to the toilet; offer to stay with the group whilst a carer does so. Alternatively, check the toilet for safety, then remain outside whilst the child uses it.
- Bus crews and other volunteers will seek the permission of parents, guardians or carers before assisting children or vulnerable adults on or off buses. A good approach will usually be to enquire from the person being provided with assistance how that help can best be given.
- Buses will always be provided with a two-person crew (driver and conductor), so that a volunteer is never left alone with a member of the public whilst ‘on the road’.
- FoKAB buses, being accurately restored heritage vehicles 40 or more years old, do not feature modern refinements such as closed circuit television recording (CCTV), step-free entrances or wheelchair ramps. Regrettably as a result it is not possible to convey people aged under 16 years unaccompanied by an adult (namely a person aged 18 years or over) or people who are confined to a wheelchair.
- Whilst there is no outright restriction on the photography of children or other members of the public, in the case of pictures where individuals form a major part of the subject it is a courtesy that such images are not published for wider consumption without first seeking the agreement of the person(s) depicted or, in the case of children or vulnerable adults, their parent, guardian or carer
- In the event that any FoKAB member suspects that any form of child abuse, abuse of vulnerable adults or bullying has taken place within FoKAB it must be reported promptly.
- The report should be in writing and sent in strict confidence to the Secretary (or, if the Secretary is alleged to have been personally involved, to the Chairman). It should contain full contact details of the person making the report and set out a complete description of the alleged incident(s), including details of times, dates, locations and people involved.
- The Trustees of FoKAB will then carry out a full and confidential investigation and take whatever action may be appropriate.
- Nothing in the foregoing shall over-ride the normal responsibility of a citizen to involve the police and/or other emergency/statutory service where there is an immediate apprehension of danger to one or more individuals.
Last Reviewed June 2015