Safeguarding means protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and maltreatment and taking action to enable all children and vulnerable adults to have the best outcomes.
Student Robotics takes safeguarding very seriously. Everyone who volunteers with Student Robotics has a responsibility for the welfare of the young people who participate in our events. Most of these young people are below the age of 18, so are children in the eyes of the law. Competitors over the age of 18 may still need safeguarding, for example, a competitor may have a learning disability which would classify them as a vulnerable young adult. For consistency, all competitors should be categorised as children for the context of safeguarding. It is important that every young person has the opportunity to participate in competitions and other events in an environment where they feel safe.
It is a requirement that all young people that a Student Robotics volunteer is working with must be supervised by a responsible adult; this will either be a parent or a teacher who will have overall responsibility for that young person. However, we must also put in place procedures to ensure that any safeguarding concerns are identified and dealt with. This policy lays down the procedures that must be followed to protect the young people we work with.
- All volunteers must read and understand this policy
- Student Robotics will appoint a safeguarding lead with overall responsibility for safeguarding
- All in-person events will have a designated Safeguarding Officer in attendance at the event
- All safeguarding concerns must be reported to the designated Safeguarding Officer or Safeguarding Lead
- All volunteers must undertake basic safeguarding training on a recurring basis
- Volunteers must avoid being in 1-to-1 situations with young people, including contact online via e-mail, social media, etc.
- Volunteers must act within appropriate boundaries, even in difficult situations.
- If a volunteer is in an existing relationship with a competitor this must be flagged up to the safeguarding lead
One of the trustees is designated as safeguarding lead and has overall responsibility for safeguarding. The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for:
- Making sure that the safeguarding policy is up to date
- Making sure that all volunteers receive basic training
- Making sure that all volunteers understand how to report safeguarding concerns
- Making sure that every event has a named Safeguarding Officer
- Dealing with safeguarding concerns
- Maintaining records of any safeguarding issues
- Notifying the relevant external agencies about any relevant safeguarding issues
The current Safeguarding Lead is: Thomas Scarsbrook ("Scarzy") They can be contacted at: [email protected]
A Safeguarding Officer will be appointed for every event. The Safeguarding Officer is responsible for:
- Receiving additional training on how to handle safeguarding concerns
- Being present at their designated event to provide onsite safeguarding support
- Dealing with safeguarding concerns at the event
- Reporting all safeguarding concerns for the event
If the event runs at multiple locations then a different safeguarding officer will be appointed for each location. All locations will be provided with a list of contact details for the Safeguarding Lead and all current Safeguarding Officers. In the event that the appointed Safeguarding Officer is unable to handle an issue these details can be used to seek additional support.
If the event occurs at a single location or across multiple days then a standby Safeguarding Officer will be appointed to pick up responsibilities if the primary officer is unavailable.
A 1-to-1 situation is one where a volunteer is alone with a young person. These situations should be avoided, both for the protection of the young person and also to protect the volunteer, should an action be misinterpreted or an allegation made. If a volunteer finds themselves in an unexpected 1-to-1 situation, they should always immediately request the company of another responsible adult and report the situation to the designated Safeguarding Officer or to the Safeguarding Lead.
It is important that all on-line communications between volunteers and young people are carried out over official Student Robotics channels that are open to everyone in the organisation. Private communication channels are not to be used. Responsibility for ensuring that communications are appropriate and good-spirited is the responsibility of all volunteers. Any inappropriate language or behaviour must be challenged immediately and any concerns must be reported as a safeguarding issue (and will be dealt with by the Safeguarding Lead).
Personal relationships between volunteers and young people are not appropriate, either as a friendship or a partner. Even if everyone is of a sufficiently legal age, the fact volunteers are in a position of trust makes them inappropriate.
Many of our volunteers are young and it is possible that they may be in an existing relationship with a young person who participates in one of our events. If a volunteer is in this situation, they must alert the Safeguarding Lead, and specific guidance on appropriate conduct will be given. In all instances, we would expect the volunteer to avoid 1-to-1 contact with the young person during the course of an event and for there to be no personal communication using official communication channels.
It is impossible to list all possible incidents. Safeguarding training will cover situations that may arise such as:
- Young people arriving at an event without a responsible adult
- Inappropriate contact between an adult and a young person
- Bullying or harassment of young people
This occurs when a young person tells a volunteer something that is of concern. This is an unlikely situation, but it could happen.
Safeguarding training will cover the “do’s and dont’s” of dealing with discloures. The key points are:
- Allow them to speak without interruption
- Don’t prompt or ask leading questions; listen carefully and ask for clarification if things are unclear
- Accept what is said, be understanding and reassuring. Do not give your opinion
- Afterwards write down what you have been told, using the exact words if possible including the date, time, place and people present
- Don’t promise to keep anything secret - you must tell the young person that you will need to pass the information on to the Safeguarding Lead
- If there is immediate danger seek help from the designated Safeguarding Officer, the Safeguarding Lead, or the emergency services
All safeguarding incidents and concerns must be reported as soon as possible to the designated Safeguarding Officer at an event or to the Safeguarding Lead. If the concern relates to the Safeguarding Lead, it should be reported to the other trustees.
Reports must be made on the official Student Robotics safeguarding incident form which will ask for the following information:
- Your contact details
- Names (real, nicknames, or pseudonyms) of any individuals involved. If there are additional witnesses, please include them as well.
- Your account of what happened, and if you believe the incident is ongoing.
- Any available record of what occurred.
- Any additional information that may be helpful.
Details should be as accurate as possible, word for word if possible.
Should a concern need immediate attention, it must be raised in person with the designated Safeguarding Officer, the Safeguarding Lead, or by alerting the trustees. If you are unable to get hold of someone, you should seek advice from a team-leader who should be trained in safeguarding procedures, or in extremis; the emergency services.
The safety of all involved in Student Robotics events is of prime importance to Student Robotics. As such, Student Robotics will always act to support anyone involved in a safeguarding incident, be it the young people involved, the person who reported the concern, or the volunteer involved.