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Safeguarding Children & Young People

Thursday 27th July 2017

In this issue Karen Jay, Director of Youth & Children’s Work at BB Headquarters shares some changes to safeguarding policy and the launch of a new Code of Good Practice card for leaders.

We know that these cards are used widely throughout the Brigade and given out on registration and at training courses, so every Leader should have at least have seen one and ideally be carrying one in their purse or wallet! The cards are a good reminder of best practice when working with children and young people, and set out what a Leader should do if they suspect a child is being harmed or abused. If they receive a disclosure from a child, or if there are concerns or allegations made about another adult or themselves.

The new Code of Good Practice card has been sent out with this issue of the Gazette, and is also available on request from BB Headquarters or your Regional Headquarters. Download at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/goodpractice

Even with the best training we can deliver, if something like this happens in your Company there can often be a period of shock and confusion and these cards are a valuable resource to keep handy at all times.

The current version of the Code of Good Practice card has been with us for nearly 20 years and although it’s done a good job, we’ve updated it to reflect the changing environment we work in, as well as add some new advice and guidance.

For leaders that do not receive a copy of the Gazette (i.e Helpers, Residential Activity Helpers, Staff Sergeants and Young Leaders) additional cards can be ordered, free of charge from BB Headquarters or your Regional Headquarters. It’s strongly advised that all Companies replace the old cards with the new ones for all leaders. At the same time, it might be appropriate for you to request some safeguarding training for existing staff so everyone understands their role in keeping children and young people safe.

The main differences on the new cards are as follows:

  • Better shape and size – they really will fit your purse or wallet!
  • Out of Hours Emergency Number – We’ve publicised the existence of the 24/7 out of hours emergency helpline (given out on the out of hours answerphone message at BB Headquarters).
  • Whistleblowing – There’s information about our “whistleblowing” policy.
  • Good Practice/Policy – We’ve clarified certain good practice issues about having more than one Leader present for activities, and the policy on transporting children and young people by car/minibus.
  • Reporting – We’ve amended the wording on reporting concerns and incidents to reflect the fact that slightly different procedures apply in some denominations.
  • Social Media & Online Safety – There’s some clear guidance on the new cards on social media and online safety – this supports the more detailed information available on the website and delivered on training courses.

How to Help Young People Moving into Positions of Leadership

The Boys’ Brigade has a strong commitment to developing young people’s potential, and for some young people, part of their personal development will include becoming a Leader in a Company – often the same Company they “grew up in”.

However, this transition is not always an easy one to make and will not be achieved overnight. We’ve produced some advice cards for young people thinking of becoming a Leader and these can be ordered free of charge from BB Headquarters or your Regional Headquarters.

What are the challenges?

Taking on a position of trust

Once an 18 year old registers to become a Leader, certain responsibilities apply immediately, for example the requirement to comply with our safeguarding policies and the Code of Good Practice guidance.

Working with their peer group

If young people are becoming Leaders in the Company where they have been a young member, it may be difficult to adapt to a new role in a familiar environment. We need to enable young people to be aware of the change in role – to clarify what precisely has changed, how that feels to them, how their peers may react, how the other Leaders treat them and how they can grow in skill, knowledge and confidence over time.

Suitability to become a Leader

It can be tempting to make young people Leaders to keep them in the Company, but in fact, they should be selected on their merits like any other Leader. Some young people will be well suited to the role, whereas others won’t be. It is the young people who are not suitable but who are registered anyway who can be vulnerable. Furthermore, an unsuitable appointment could make the children in the Company vulnerable.

Inducting an 18 year old into their role as Leader

It is helpful to have a general discussion about how the young person feels about taking on this role.

This could include:

– Their hopes and fears

– What responsibilities they feel ready for – and what ones they would like training and support for

– How to cope with the reactions of their peers

– Coping with challenging behaviour

– Who to ask for support/advice

– Growing into the role and gaining confidence

– Safeguarding – issue the Code of Good Practice and “Advice to 18/19 year olds registering as Leaders” cards.

Finally, encourage the young person to take the opportunity to attend the relevant training courses that are on offer so they can develop their skills and confidence for their role.

You can access more support and guidance intended to help Captains and other leaders support young people making this transition at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/enabling.pdf which sits alongside the resource: “Guidance for Young People becoming BB Leaders” which can be downloaded at leaders.boys-brigade.org.uk/adviceleaflet.pdf.

Who Needs to be Registered, and Who Needs to be Disclosure Checked?

It was recently announced that as from 1st September 2017 a prospective Leader may not take up their role or start working in a Company in any capacity until the registration process has been completed.

This has been implemented to bring our safeguarding procedures into line with many of the Churches we work with and is generally recognised to be good practice. Company Captains and Leaders of all sections are asked to note this change which will mean that no one should be allowed to volunteer in a company until they have had the appropriate disclosure check and been fully registered with Brigade Headquarters.

Following on from this we have put together a range of scenarios to help clarify who needs to be registered as a leader.

Running a Parents’ Rota

Scenario: We’ve setup a Parents rota in our Company to ensure there is adequate supervision on Company nights, with parents helping on average every 4 weeks.

Do we need to register these them? Yes – by going on to a rota it is clear that these adults will be helping out regularly and must be registered as leaders, we would recommend registering them as Helpers.

Adults on a Residential

Scenario: We have a couple of adults (former members) who don’t help at BB on a normal meeting night, but do come along to our residentials (camps, etc) to help out (i.e. cooking/transport).

Do we need to register them? Yes – All adults attending a residential activity (including sleepovers, camps, etc) must be registered. If their only involvement is at residentials then they should be registering as ‘Residential Activity Helpers’.

DofE Young Leader

Scenario: We have had an enquiry from a 15 year old girl asking if she can help in the Company as part of her volunteering for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This would involve helping out on a weekly for at least
6 months.

Do we need to register her? Yes – Non BB members under the age of 18 years old are required to register as ‘Young Leaders’. There is no requirement to complete a disclosure check. If the Young Leader is still helping out when they turn 18 years old they would be required to register as a leader and complete a disclosure check at that time. Remember! Any young person helping out should be regarded as a member in terms of consent forms, supervision etc and should not be counted as an adult for ratios.

Becoming a Staff Sergeant

Scenario: We have always appointed 17 year olds in the Company to the rank of Staff Sergeant as part of their progression through the NCO scheme.

Do we need to register them? Yes – There is a requirement for those appointed to this role to be registered with BB Headquarters. In appointing a young person as a Staff Sergeant they move into a leadership role. A disclosure check will be carried out as part of the registration process for this role. The role is age specific and a young person can be appointed to this leadership role from their 17th birthday until the end of the BB session (31st August) in which the person attains their 19th birthday. At this point the individual would then transfer to one of the other categories of leadership if they wish to remain as a leader in the organisation.

Sharing a Skill/Hobby

Scenario: Once a year we have somebody come along to BB to teach the young people a specific skill (i.e. First Aid, Car Mechanics, etc). A registered BB leader is always present and supervising the session.

Do we need to register them? No – on the basis that the individual is coming in to share a specific skill over a few meeting nights, as long as the sessions are supervised by a registered BB leader there is no requirement to register this person or see a completed disclosure check.

It’s important to remember that All adults working regularly in a BB Company are classified as Leaders, and must be registered in the appropriate leader category and disclosure checked. “Parent Helper” or “Adult Volunteer” are not categories and no adult should be working unregistered.

The categories of Leadership are:

  • Captain
  • Chaplain
  • Lieutenant
  • Warrant Officer
  • Helper
  • Residential Activity Helper (these adults should not attend weekly meetings and are only registered for attendance at camps, holidays and sleepovers)

As part of the selection process, the Church must approve the appointment and is responsible for taking up references.

A Captain, Lieutenant or Warrant Officer MUST be present at all meetings – a Helper cannot lead a session.

What should I do if I have any concerns?

If you have any concerns about a child or a young person or a question about safeguarding or good practice, then contact Karen Jay at BB Headquarters on 01442 231681 (extension 211) or email safeguarding@boys-brigade.org.uk.

If the safeguarding matter is urgent or you think a child is at risk of immediate harm then phone the police or your local Children’s Services or Social Services.

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