Written September 2018 by Adil Abrar, Company Director
Last updated 30 September, 2023 by Perri Lewis, Company Director
Next update 1st January 2025
Designated Safeguarding Lead: Zoe Brown, candidate experience manager (firstname.lastname@example.org, or contactable on Slack)
Alternative contact for Safeguarding: Perri Lewis, CEO (email@example.com or contactable on Slack)
The Care Act defines adult safeguarding as:
“...protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.”
Principles that guide our policy are:
- To be proactive in preventing abuse
- To be swift in reacting with it if it happens
- To use the Care Act’s principles to guide our decision making and actions (see Appendix)
- To understand our remit and responsibilities - and also understand our limits and where other services will better serve learners, staff, and our community
- To remember that we serve the person, not the policy, when it comes to dealing with abuse – and their agency in how we tackle it is paramount
- Mastered Studios serves adult learners and so all definitions of safeguarding relate to adults not children.
Scope of the policy
While safeguarding is the ultimate responsibility of our Designated Safeguarding Lead, we take the view that all staff, learners and employer/community partners are required to take shared responsibility for creating an environment that is free from abuse. This acts as a guide for what to do if a safeguarding concern is raised.
Implementing the policy
To ensure this policy is used by the Mastered community, we will:
- Ensure we have a shared definition of who we are safeguarding
The Care Act 2014 defines potential adults at risk who may be potential subjects to safeguarding procedures and includes a person who:
- has needs for care and support, whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs, and
- is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- as a result of those care and support needs, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of, abuse or neglect.
While anyone could be an adult in need for the purposes of the Care Act, we at Mastered have identified certain groups of learners or staff who could be more vulnerable or in need than others when accessing our provision. For example
- People with learning disabilities/difficulties.
- People with mental health issues
- Ensuring we have a shared understanding of what abuse is
- Physical abuse - is defined as the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. Physical abuse may include but is not limited to such acts of violence striking, hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, kicking, pinching and burning. Given we are an almost exclusively online provider, this is most relevant to when we attend industry events.
- Emotional/psychological abuse - A person subjecting another to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Financial abuse - Tactic used by abusers to limit and restrict their victims’ access to their finances. For example, a young adult having their benefits taken away from them.
- Neglect by others - Where a parent, carer or guardian will actively and knowingly fail to care for or attend to the basic needs of a child or vulnerable adult. For example, not feeding a child and/or leaving them in the same clothes and not helping them wash for days on end.
- Self-neglect - Is any failure of an adult to take care of themselves? It could be a result of poor health, depression, cognitive problems or being physically unable to care for themselves. In this situation, family and carers would be expected to pick up on these signs and give or apply for appropriate care.
- Discriminatory abuse - Is when you are picked out deliberately for unfair treatment because of a protected characteristic. For example, a vulnerable adult is picked on by an employer because of their disability.
- Organisational abuse - Is where an institution fails to provide basic care for its residents. It is also related to gang culture where an individual is forced into committing a crime for the financial gain of gang leaders.
- IT Usage - learners and staff are briefed during induction about how to stay safe when using the Internet and are encouraged to recognise that people are not always who they say they are online. They are taught to seek help if they are upset or concerned about anything they read or see on the Internet.
- Designate a lead for safeguarding at team and leadership level
The responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Lead are as follows
- Advise and support the senior team in developing and establishing Mastered’s approach to safeguarding.
- Play a lead role in maintaining and reviewing our plan for safeguarding.
- Coordinate the distribution of policies, procedures and safeguarding resources throughout Mastered - for new learners, staff, instructors and coaches
- Advise on training needs and development, providing training where appropriate.
- Provide safeguarding advice and support to staff and volunteers.
- Manage safeguarding concerns, allegations or incidents reported to Mastered
- Manage referrals to key safeguarding agencies (eg social services or police) of any incidents or allegations of abuse and harm.
The responsibilities of the leadership team with regard to safeguarding are:
- To raise awareness from the top that safeguarding is a critical responsibility for all learners and staff
- To ensure the Designated Safeguarding Lead is supported in all they do
- To act swiftly when the Designated Safeguarding Lead required us to
- Embed safeguarding awareness into onboarding for all learners, instructors and staff
We will pro-actively create a culture where abuse and neglect is not tolerated and actively reported swifty by
- Discussing expectations of behaviour and culture in onboarding meets (for learners, staff and freelance instructors and coaches).
- Giving learners multiple opportunities to formally give feedback, share concerns or raise issues - via a monthly or 6-weekly survey. Giving learners multiple informal opportunities to give feedback, share concerns or raise issues via informal check-ins via Slack or email.
- Ensuring learners are asked for feedback regularly in group sessions, to encourage an open feedback culture.
As a note, learners have up to 4 staff at Mastered who know who they are, who they can reach out to express complaints, discomfort or feedback.
- Save data related to safeguarding issues in a legal and respectful way
As a distributed company running online provision, the storing of data and insight to be able to work collaboratively on safeguarding issues rapidly is paramount. However, we must balance this with the legal and moral obligations we have to be mindful about who sees what information when.
When sharing information, we will always act within all legislative, common law and other related provisions concerning information processing and sharing including, but not limited to, the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations.
What to do if you see a safeguarding issue
If you are a learner- contact any member of the Mastered team immediately, who will triage your report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead. They will contact you via Slack, email or phone within 24 hours.
If you are a staff member - contact the Designated Safeguarding Lead or leadership team immediately. They will contact you via Slack, email or phone within 24 hours.
Allegations of bullying or harassment will be dealt with using our harassment and bullying procedure.
Appendix: the six principles of safeguarding
- Empowerment: People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent
- Prevention: It is better to take action before harm occurs.
- Proportionality: The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
- Protection: Support and representation for those in greatest need.
- Partnership: Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
- Accountability: Accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice.
Appendix: The legislative framework for Safeguarding
- The Care Act 2014
- Equality Act 2010
- Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Data Protection Act 2018
- Mental Health Act 1983
- Mental Capacity Act 2005
- Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- Crime and Disorder Act 1998
- Theft Act 1968.