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Safeguarding

Introduction 

Dissolve Into: is committed to providing a working environment that is safe for all of its users and where everyone is treated, and treats others, with dignity and respect.

 

This documents outlines our:

 

  • policy relating to harassment and bullying

  • how we protect children or vulnerable adults

The Company will not permit or condone any form of bullying or harassment, and seeks to provide a safe space for children or vulnerable adults. 

1. Bullying and Harassment

This policy covers bullying or harassment of or by anyone engaged to work at the Company, and also by third parties such as customers or suppliers. The policy encompasses bullying or harassment that occurs in the workplace, and also out of the workplace, such as on business trips or at work-related social events.

This policy does not form part of your contract of employment, and we may amend it at any time.

What is harassment?

Harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. A single incident of this nature can amount to harassment if sufficiently serious.

Unlawful harassment may involve sexual harassment, or it may be related to any other of the Protected Characteristics detailed in our Equal Opportunities policy (age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation). The Company’s stance is that harassment is unacceptable, whether or not it is targeted at any of these categories.

Examples of harassment may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Display or circulation of sexually suggestive material or material with racial overtones;

  • Use of slang names for racial groups, or age groups, or for disabled persons;

  • Professional or social exclusion;

  • Unwanted physical conduct, such as touching, pinching, pushing and grabbing;

  • Unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour;

  • Offensive emails, text messages or social media content.

 

It is important to note that harassment occurs even if the harasser perceives his/her behaviour as being harmless and without malice, or ‘just a bit of fun’. What matters is how the behaviour makes the recipient feel, and not what the perpetrator’s intentions were. Also, a person may be harassed even if they were not the intended ‘target’ of the behaviour. For example, a man may be harassed by sexist jokes about women if the jokes create an environment that is offensive to him.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a sustained form of psychological abuse. It is defined as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, involving the abuse or misuse of power, which has the purpose or effect of belittling, humiliating or threatening the recipient.

Workplace bullying usually takes one of three forms: physical, verbal or indirect. It can range from extreme forms such as violence and intimidation, to less obvious actions, such as professional or social exclusion.

Examples of bullying may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Shouting or swearing at people in public or private;

  • Spreading malicious rumours;

  • Inappropriate derogatory remarks about someone’s performance;

  • Physical or psychological threats;

  • Constantly undervaluing effort;

  • Rages, often over trivial matters;

  • Ignoring or deliberately excluding people;

  • Overbearing and intimidating levels of supervision;

  • Deliberately sabotaging or impeding work performance.

 

Please note that managers are duty-bound to give their team members feedback and to generally manage their performance. Legitimate, reasonable and constructive criticism of a team member’s performance or behaviour, or reasonable instructions given to an employee in the course of their employment, will not amount to bullying on their own.

What to do if you are being harassed or bullied

 

Informal approach

You may be able to sort out matters informally. The person may not know that their behaviour is unwelcome or upsetting, so an informal discussion may help them to understand the effects of their behaviour and agree to change it.

If you feel able to, tell the person what behaviour you find offensive and unwelcome, and say that you would like it to stop immediately. You should keep a note of the date and what was said and done. This will be useful if the unacceptable behaviour continues and you wish to make a formal complaint.

If this is too difficult for you, then please talk to your manager, or a trusted colleague, for advice and assistance. They may for example speak to the person concerned on your behalf, or accompany you when you speak to them.

If the informal approach is not appropriate, or has not been successful, you should raise a formal grievance.

Formal procedure

When a team member feels that they need to deal with an issue of harassment or bullying formally, they should do so according to the Company’s grievance procedure.

 

We will investigate complaints in a timely, confidential and sensitive manner. The investigation will be conducted where possible by someone with appropriate seniority and experience, and no prior involvement in the complaint. Details of the investigation, and the names of the people involved, will only be disclosed on a ‘need to know’ basis. We will consider whether any steps are necessary to manage the ongoing working relationship between you and the person accused during the investigation.

 

Once the investigation is complete, we will inform both parties (separately) of our decision. Whether or not your complaint is upheld, we will consider how best to manage any ongoing working relationship between you and the person concerned.

Consequences of a breach of this policy

If after due investigation we consider that a team member has been harassed or bullied by an employee the matter will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure as a case of possible misconduct or gross misconduct. The person concerned may be suspended on full pay during the disciplinary investigation until any eventual disciplinary proceedings have been concluded. If the complaint of bullying or harassment is upheld, a disciplinary penalty may be imposed up to and including dismissal, depending on the seriousness of the offence and all relevant circumstances.

Some bullying or harassment will constitute unlawful discrimination if it relates to any of the Protected Characteristics as detailed above and in the Equal Opportunities policy. Such behaviour could constitute a criminal offence, punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment.

Where it is found that an employee has been harassed by a third party, such as a customer, supplier or independent contractor, the Company will take such steps as are reasonably practicable to prevent any recurrence.

If someone makes a complaint which is not upheld, and the Company has good grounds for believing that the complaint was not made in good faith, the Company will take disciplinary action against the person making the false complaint.

Protection and support for those involved

Team members who make complaints in good faith, or who participate in any investigation must not suffer any form of retaliation or victimisation as a result. Any employee engaged in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action.

Record-keeping

Information about a complaint by or about an employee may be placed on either party’s personnel file, along with a record of the outcome and any other notes or documents compiled during the process. These will be processed in accordance with our Data Protection policy.

How we can all help to stop bullying and harassment

We all have a shared responsibility to help create and maintain a working environment free of bullying and harassment. You can do this by:

  • Considering how your own behaviour may affect others, and changing it;

  • Being receptive, rather than defensive, if asked to change your behaviour;

  • Treating your colleagues with dignity and respect;

  • Taking a stand if you think inappropriate jokes or comments are being made;

  • Making it clear to others when you find their behaviour unacceptable;

  • Intervening, if possible, to stop harassment or bullying, and giving support to victims;

  • Reporting harassment or bullying to your manager or another appropriate officer of the Company;

  • Being open, honest and objective in any investigation of complaints.

 

Managers have a particular responsibility to:

  • Set a good example by their own behaviour;

  • Ensure that there is a supportive working environment in their team;

  • Communicate to team members what standards of behaviour are expected from them;

  • Intervene to stop bullying or harassment;

  • Report promptly to HR or senior management any complaint of bullying or harassment.

 

2. Safeguarding children or vulnerable adults

 

This policy is to make sure that Dissolve Into: has all the right things in place to protect and safeguard adults.

 

Dissolve Into: believes in protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. This policy sets out the roles and responsibilities of [organisation name] in working together in promoting the adult’s welfare and safeguarding them from abuse and neglect. Employees, trustees and volunteers should be made aware of how this policy can be accessed.

 

This policy and related procedures are applicable to the Chief Executive Officer, trustees, employees and volunteers of Dissolve Into:. Failure to comply with the policy and related procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organisation.

 

Care Act 2014 Definition of an Adult at Risk of Abuse:

Where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there)

(a) has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),

(b) is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and

(c) as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

 

Safeguarding as Part of the Deal:

In safeguarding adults, Dissolve Into: is committed to the principles of its terms and conditions. 

 

Key Principles of Adult Safeguarding:                   

In the safeguarding of adults, Dissolve Into: is guided by the six key principles set out in The Care Act 2014 and Making Safeguarding Personal. Dissolve Into: aims to demonstrate and promote these six principles in our work:

  • 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 delivering safeguarding.

 

Recognising the signs of abuse:

Employees, trustees and volunteers are well-placed to identify abuse the adult may say or do things that let you know something is wrong. It may come in the form of a disclosure, complaint, or an expression of concern. Everyone within the organisation should understand what to do, and where to go to get help, support and advice.

 

Types of Abuse:

The Care Act 2014 defines the following ten areas of abuse. Dissolve Into: also includes self-neglect as an additional category. These are not exhaustive but are a guide to behaviour that may lead to a safeguarding enquiry. This includes:

  • Physical abuse - Including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

  • Domestic Violence/ Domestic Abuse - Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.

  • Exploitation- Including sexual and/or criminal exploitation

  • Sexual abuse - Including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography. Witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

  • Psychological abuse - Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

  • Financial or material abuse - Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse of misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

  • Modern slavery - Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and those who coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

  • Discriminatory abuse - Including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because you are, or are perceived to be different due to race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

  • Organisational abuse - Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to long-term ill treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes or practices within an organisation.

  • Neglect and acts of omission - Including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

  • Self-neglect - This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

 

Radicalisation to Terrorism:

The Government through its PREVENT programme has highlighted how some adults may be vulnerable to exploitation and radicalisation and involvement in terrorism.  Signs and indicators of radicalisation may include:

  • Being in contact with extremist recruiters.

  • Articulating support for violent extremist causes or leaders.

  • Accessing violent extremist websites, especially those with a social networking element.

  • Possessing violent extremist literature.

  • Using extremist narratives to explain personal disadvantage.

  • Justifying the use of violence to solve societal issues.

  • Joining extremist organisations.

  • Significant changes to appearance and/or behaviour.

 

Reporting Concerns:

Any employee, trustee or volunteer who becomes aware that an adult is or is at risk of, being abused must raise the matter immediately with their supervisor /or with the organisation’s designated safeguarding person. If the adult requires immediate protection from harm, contact the police and Adult Social Care.

 

Early sharing of information is the key to providing an effective response where there are emerging concerns. To ensure effective safeguarding arrangements no one should assume that someone else will do it.

 

Safe Recruitment & Selection:

Dissolve Into: is committed to safe employment and safe recruitment practices, that reduce the risk of harm to adults with care and support needs from people unsuitable to work with them.

 

Dissolve Into: has policies and procedures that cover the recruitment of all Trustees, employees and volunteers. [name of safer recruitment and selection procedures and code of conduct].

 

Social Media:

All employees and volunteers should be aware of Dissolve Into: social media policy and procedures [name of social media policy and procedures] and the code of conduct for behaviour towards the adults we support.

 

Is there a Person in a Position of Trust Involved?

In any instance of safeguarding, consideration must be given as to whether an allegation has been made against a person in a position of trust (PiPoT) and who may be a risk to others. This can be anyone from a formal employee or volunteer, to an informal carer. Dissolve Into: has a process in place for relevant information sharing and for reporting individuals. 

 

Training and Awareness:

Dissolve Into: will ensure an appropriate level of safeguarding training is available to its Trustees, Employees, Volunteers and any relevant persons linked to the organisation who requires it (e.g. contractors).

For all employees who are working or volunteering with adults at risk this requires them as a minimum to have awareness training that enables them to:

  • Understand what safeguarding is and their role in Safeguarding Adults.

  • Recognise an adult potential in need of safeguarding and take action.

  • Understand how to report a safeguarding Alert.

  • Understand dignity and respect when working with individuals.

  • Have knowledge of the Safeguarding Adults Policy.

 

Similarly, employees and volunteers may encounter concerns about the safety and wellbeing of children/young people. 

 

Mental Capacity:

The MCA defines someone is lacking capacity, because of an illness or disability such as a mental health problem, dementia or a learning disability, who cannot do one or more of the following four things:

  • Understand information given to them about a particular decision

  • Retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision

  • Weigh up the information available to make the decision

  • Communicate their decision. Refer to the Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-capacity-act-code-of-practice. Dissolve Into: will need to involve an advocate if the person lacks capacity to make decisions about a safeguarding concern.

Support and guidance will be sought from Dissolve Into: should anyone have concerns regarding an adult’s capacity.

Confidentiality and Information Sharing:

Dissolve Into: expects all employees, volunteers and trustees to maintain confidentiality.  Information will only be shared in line with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection.

 

However, information should be shared with the Local Authority if an adult is deemed to be at risk of harm or contact the police if they are in immediate danger, or a crime has been committed. 

 

Recording and Record Keeping:

A written record must be kept about any concern regarding an adult with safeguarding needs. This must include details of the person involved, the nature of the concern and the actions taken, decision made and why they were made.

 

All records must be signed and dated. All records must be securely and confidentially stored in line with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). 

 

Whistleblowing:

Dissolve Into: is committed to ensuring that employees and volunteers who in good faith whistle-blow in the public interest, will be protected from reprisals and victimisation.

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