Volunteer’s Safety and Safeguarding Policy

Purpose of organisation

Dons Local Action Group (DLAG) is a Mutual Aid Support Group which was initially formed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It is now a permanent organisation which has an overarching aim to help those in our community in need of support and to fight poverty and isolation. DLAG works in partnership with other agencies, charities and local authorities to achieve this aim.

Aim and scope of this statement

This policy applies to all volunteers or anyone operating on behalf of DLAG. This policy should be read alongside other guidance in relation to safety and safeguarding The aim of this policy is as follows:

  • To protect individuals who receive our support as follows:
  • Children under 18
  • Any adult that receives a service from DLAG, but with particular regard to ‘ adults at risk’(1)
  • To provide all volunteers and staff with the information and practices to keep them safe

This policy must be read by all volunteers and staff within DLAG and they must understand their duties in relation to safeguarding and promoting the well-being of service users, themselves and other volunteers.

Policy Statement

DLAG believes that no one should ever experience abuse of any kind. We are committed to carrying out our work in a way that protects everyone from harm. DLAG will actively promote an inclusive environment and open culture. This will ensure that individuals feel comfortable about sharing concerns and that they understand the conduct that is expected of them.

In order to achieve this DLAG is committed to the following:

  • Ensuring that volunteers know how to report something that worries them whilst volunteering
  • Ensuring that volunteers know how to remain safe
  • Protecting the privacy of volunteers and service users in line with DLAG’s General Data Protection Policy (GDPR) policy.
  • Ensuring that service users (and giving particular attention to ‘adults at risk’ or ‘children in need of protection’) (i)
  • Promoting and protecting the well-being of volunteers in connection with their role. This includes protection from bullying or harassment in any form.
  • Recognise that all adults and children have a right to be kept safe regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation
  • Work with statutory services in line with legislation and local guidance on safeguarding matters

What we will do to keep people safe:

  • Ensure all staff understand are offered guidance into how to manage risk in relation to COVID 19
  • Ensure that volunteers understand their individual responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults and children in need of protection – and they know what to do if they have a concern
  • We will have clear guidance in place regarding what to do if you have a safeguarding concern and an effective safety policy
  • Ensure that volunteers are given the necessary information and support to carry out their roles
  • Identify any risk factors associated with the volunteering role and control these as far as practicable
  • We will record and store information professionally and securely in line with data protection regulations
  • We will only share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know in line with legislation and statutory guidance
  • Act proactively to report any safeguarding matters to the responsible local authority or police in line with legislation and local guidance
  • Listen to and take seriously any concerns presented by volunteers with regards to their well-being, the well-being of service users and/or any safeguarding allegations that they may have in relation to vulnerable adults and/or children in need of protection
  • Provide a code of conduct for volunteers which outlines the expectations of their behaviour whilst volunteering
  • Have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
  • Provide a lead who will act as a point of contact and advise on how to proceed on any concerns regarding the welfare of adults at risk or children in need of protection

Guidance for Volunteers and staff regarding concerns to the safety and welfare of service users

If you have any concerns about the welfare or safety of any person we have supported, including siblings or other children in the care of parents or carers, then you should speak to the Head of Operations who will support you with your concern. It is your responsibility to report any concerns, not to investigate.

Contact details:

Head of Operations: Craig Wellstead: M: 07969 956 682, email Craig.Wellstead@joesteer

Deputy Head of Operations: Tim Marshall: M: 07598 846 923, email Tim.Marshall@donslocalaction.org

Guidance to Safeguard the Welfare of Volunteers

DLAG will provide a safe and friendly environment for all staff and volunteers which ensures that they are treated with dignity and respect. DLAG will fulfil a duty of care to create an environment free of harassment and bullying.

The code of conduct within the volunteer’s handbook outlines in more detail the expected behaviour from volunteers.

What is meant by Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Examples of bullying or harassing behaviour include:

  • spreading malicious rumours
  • unfair treatment
  • picking on or regularly undermining someone
  • denying someone’s training or promotion opportunities

Bullying and harassment can happen:

  • face-to-face
  • by letter
  • by email
  • by phone

The law

Harassment is ‘unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating people’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment’ (Equality Act 2010). The conduct relates to protected characteristics listed within the Equality Act. The relevant protected characteristics are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Harassment is against the law. Therefore, individuals may be held legally liable for their actions. In some cases, it is a criminal offence.

Forms of harassment include:

  • Physical contact
  • ‘jokes’
  • Offensive language, shouting or behaving in an intimidating manner
  • Gossip
  • Slander
  • Offensive, insensitive or sectarian songs or messages
  • Obscene or offensive email messages or emails
  • Coercion for sexual favours or sexually suggestive remarks
  • Continued request for social activities after it has been made clear that such suggestions are not welcome; and
  • Verbal, non-physical conduct of a sexual nature

What is Bullying?

Bullying as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. (ii) The impact on the individual can be the same as harassment and the words bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably in the workplace.

Bullying includes racist and homophobic behaviour. Bullying can be the physical, mental or emotional abuse of a person.

What to do if concerned about bullying or harassment?

Contact the Head of Volunteering: Victoria.Swaysland@donslocalaction.org

(1) An adult at risk is defined under the Care Act 2014 as a person aged 18 years or over; who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

(i) As defined within the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014

(ii) Advice-leaflet—Bullying-and-harassment-at-work-a-guide-for-managers-and-employers/pdf/Bullying-and-harassment-in-the-workplace-a-guide-for-managers-and-employers.pdf