This policy acknowledges the BLT Board of trustees’ responsibilities relating to the Children Act (1989 and 2004), the Care Act, Mental Capacity Act, ‘Working Together to Safeguarding Children’ (DfE 2020), the published procedures of the ‘Bromley Safeguarding Children’s and Adults Partnership’ and the ‘Charity Commission’s registration standards.’
It is the policy of Bromley Little Theatre that the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk is paramount regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity and that everyone who may use or visit the theatre, has a right to protection from physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect. Children and young people are defined as under the age of 18.
We also acknowledge our responsibilities in respect of adult participants, volunteers or visitors who might be deemed to be ‘at risk’ because they are ‘vulnerable’. (A Vulnerable Adult is defined in accordance with The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2002 as a person aged 18 or over who has a condition of the following type:
- a substantial learning or physical disability;
- a physical or mental illness or mental disorder, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or
- a significant reduction in physical or mental capacity.
Bromley Little Theatre is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young people and adults at risk. It recognises its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote best practice and to protect children, young people and adults at risk from harm, abuse and exploitation.
Bromley Little Theatre acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse. Its volunteers will endeavour to work together to encourage the development of an ethos that embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of all children, young people and adults.
The Management Board of Bromley Little Theatre Ltd will therefore:
1. Ensure that volunteers working at the theatre understand their legal and moral obligations to protect children and young people and adults at risk from harm, abuse and exploitation
2. Develop best practice in relation to the recruitment of such volunteers. Bromley Little Theatre is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for children, volunteer staff and visitors and promoting a climate where children and adults will feel confident about sharing any concerns which they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others.
3. Ensure that volunteers understand their responsibility to work to the standards detailed in the theatre’s Safeguarding Procedures.
4. Ensure that volunteers understand their obligations to report care or protection concerns about a child, young person or adult at risk, including a volunteers’ conduct towards a child, young person or adult at risk, to the theatre’s designated person for safeguarding.
5. Ensure that all procedures relating to the conduct of volunteers are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner and referenced to our code of conduct for staff, participants and volunteers.
6. Ensure that the designated safeguarding person understands his/her responsibility to refer any safeguarding concerns to the statutory safeguarding agencies (i.e. police and/or children’s social care)
7. Provide opportunities for volunteers to develop their skills and knowledge particularly in relation to the care and protection of children, young people and adults at risk.
8. Ensure that children, young people and adults at risk are enabled to express their ideas and views on a wide range of issues in connection with the theatre’s services.
9. Facilitate involvement of parents or carers in the work of the theatre and make safeguarding procedures available to them.
10. Ensure that written permission is received from parents/carers for their children to engage in theatre activities and that specific information is provided in relation to the specific needs of children (eg medical need, allergies, special educational needs)
11. Endeavour to keep up-to-date with national developments relating to the safeguarding of children young people and adults at risk.
12. Take seriously any allegation or suspicion of abuse towards a child with whom Bromley Little Theatre is in contact and recognise that any child can be subject to abuse and that any matter arising from this will be dealt with appropriately following a clear set of procedures.
13. Ensure that volunteers who are in positions of trust in respect of children and young people, are aware of the law relating to sexual activity with under 18’s.
Particular vigilance will be exercised in respect of children and young people who could be vulnerable by virtue of disability, special educational needs, homelessness, refugee/asylum seeker status, the effects of substance abuse within the family, those who are young carers and those who are ‘looked after’ or ‘in the care’ of a Local Authority. In addition, we acknowledge that children who are affected by abuse or neglect may demonstrate their needs and distress through their words, actions, behaviour, demeanour or other children. We will work hard to promote a strong positive ethos through our theatre activities and will have high expectations of the behaviour expected of all participants.
Responsibilities within this policy
1. All volunteers are responsible for the operation of the Safeguarding Policy and they should act upon any concern no matter how small or trivial it may seem.
2. All staff and volunteers recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed.
3. In every respect, employees and volunteers ensure that the relationships they form with children and young people are appropriate, professional and in accordance with our code of conduct.
4. The Management Board of Bromley Little Theatre Ltd ensures that volunteers working directly with children and young people have a current Disclosure and Barring Service certificate at the appropriate level.
Volunteers requiring DBS disclosures are:
- Youth Theatre leaders
- Chaperones on specific productions in which children perform
- Directors of productions in which children are involved (under 18)
- The Designated and Deputy Designated persons
5. In cases where there is an allegation or suspicion of child abuse, the Designated Person(s) will take steps immediately to ensure that no child or adult is placed in a position which could further compromise the safety of the child or adult concerned.
6. Any allegation or suspicion of child abuse is reported to the appropriate authorities. The first port of call for advice and /or a referral to Children’s Social Care is the 24 hour help desk within Bromley Council 020-8464-3333 or the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) for the local authority area in which the child lives or the Local Authority’s Designated Officer (LADO). Where the Designated Safeguarding Lead is the subject of the complaint or allegation, the Deputy Safeguarding Lead will contact the local authority. Both the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead are members of the Bromley little Theatre Management Board.
7. Where urgent issues of child protection are involved, the Management Board has the authority to suspend volunteers from working in the theatre.
8. Bromley Little Theatre will work with the appropriate local agencies, in particular Bromley Children’s Services and the local Police, to ensure that children are safeguarded through the effective operation of Bromley Little Theatre’s safeguarding procedures.
9. Bromley Little Theatre is committed to reviewing our policy and good practice at regular intervals.
All volunteers working at Bromley Little Theatre are required to report instances of actual or suspected child abuse to the Designated Person(s) with responsibility for safeguarding.
The Designated Safeguarding Person is: Pauline Armour
The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Person is: Jessica-Ann Jenner
When an individual concern/incident is brought to the notice of the Designated Person(s), they will seek advice from Bromley Council’s 24-hour help desk in relation to safeguarding issues.
All parents/ carers of children involved in theatre activities will be informed of our safeguarding responsibilities and the existence of this policy. In situations where children or young people sustain injury or are otherwise affected by an accident or incident whilst they are the responsibility of the theatre, parents will be notified of this as soon as possible.
The role of the management board
The Management Board has formally adopted this policy and will review its content annually or sooner if there are any legislative changes or new good practice guidance.
The Management Board will receive an annual report from the designated person(s) to monitor both the volume and progress of cases where a concern has been raised to ensure that the theatre is meeting its duties in respect of safeguarding.
Bromley Little Theatre Ltd