Policies & Procedures
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Equal Opportunities Policy Statement
This policy was approved by NWGNS management committee on 3.8.15. Latest date for review: April 2017
The North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme (NWGNS) Committee acknowledges that the United Kingdom is diverse in culture race beliefs and religion and believes that no individual or group of people should receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, age, colour, race, nationality, racial or national origins, cultural heritage, disability, marital status, social background, sexual orientation or geographical location. The Committee acknowledges that members of these groups are often under-represented, exposed to prejudice and stereotyping, and suffer various disadvantages with our society.
The purpose of this Policy Statement is to set out clearly and fully the positive action that NWGNS Committee intends to take to combat direct and indirect discrimination in volunteer recruitment, management of the organisation, relationships with other bodies, and the services it provides to the community, community organisations and individuals.
NWGNS Committee is committed to providing equality of opportunity in all areas of its work. It aims to overcome discrimination on the grounds mentioned above. The Committee recognises that positive steps need to be taken to ensure equality of provision in areas of representation, service provision, membership and access and will take action to make this policy effective.
The Aims of the Committee
Our aim is to ensure that we become aware of discrimination and the problems it causes.
NWGNS Committee will challenge practices, legislation and institutions, which seek to discriminate against or deny the rights of individuals or groups in any form.
NWGNS Committee will seek to take positive action to address the inequalities in our society.
NWGNS Committee is committed to the equal opportunities policy set out in this document and will work to develop, improve and monitor it.
The Equal Opportunities Policy and Code of Practice
The Committee acknowledges the definitions of various groups of people who are vulnerable to discrimination as set out in the relevant legislation. The NWGNS Committee will support and implement the legislation and will work to ensure that no person protected by the legislation is discriminated against unlawfully, and that any positive obligations and duties are performed.
The Committee gives the following specific commitments.
The Committee recognises that the legislation applies to persons who are not apparently disabled or ill.
The NWGNS Committee believes that people of all ages have skills experiences and ideas, which are equally valid, and have valid needs, expectations and aspirations.
The Committee will be alert to any implications of its services and actions for potential unlawful discrimination. The Committee will challenge racism in any form and will encourage its users to do the same.
Gender and Sexual Orientation
Sexist policies, practices and attitudes (including policies, practices and attitudes which may relate to sexual orientation and gender re-assignment) will be challenged, and users will be encouraged to do the same.
Religion and Belief
The Committee endorses the right of each individual to his or her own religious beliefs or the absence of a belief.
The Code of Conduct
- People will be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the group to which they belong.
- People’s feelings and views will be valued and respected. Language or humour that people find offensive will not be used or tolerated, e.g. racist jokes or derogatory terminology.
- No one will be harassed abused or intimidated on the ground that they belong to a vulnerable group. Incidents of harassment will be taken seriously, and the NWGNS Committee will undertake investigations of any complaints quickly, impartially and thoroughly.
Confidentiality & Data Protection
Confidentiality and data protection policy
This policy was approved by NWGNS management committee on 3.8.15. Date for revision: before April 2017.
- General principles
- Within the terms of this policy volunteers are able to share information with a Scheme co-ordinator, and one co-ordinator with another in order to discuss issues and seek advice.
- Everyone in NWGNS must avoid exchanging personal information or comments (gossip) about individuals with whom the Scheme is working. It is not appropriate, for example, to discuss a person’s sexuality or personal circumstances without their prior consent.
- Everyone in NWGNS must avoid disclosing information about individuals in social settings.
- Volunteers must not disclose to anyone other than a co-ordinator any information considered sensitive, personal, financial or private without the knowledge or consent of the individual.
- Where there is a legal duty on NWGNS to disclose information (for example, where abuse is suspected), the individual will be informed that disclosure has or will be made.
- Why information is held
- Information held by the NWGNS relates to volunteers, neighbours and other services which support or fund them.
- Information is kept to enable NWGNS to offer an appropriate service to its neighbours.
- Anonymous aggregated data about age, gender, ethnicity, disability and employment status of users may be kept for the purposes of monitoring our equal opportunities policy and also for reporting back to funders.
- NWGNS volunteers and neighbours are informed that we intend to hold information about them on the computer which is shared between Scheme co-ordinators.
- Access to information
- Information about a volunteer or neighbour should only be shared with a volunteer or co-ordinator who is working directly with that neighbour.
- Neighbours and volunteers may have sight of records held in their name.
- Access to the NWGNS computer is password protected. The password is confidential to the Scheme co-ordinators.
- Storing information
- All confidential information must be kept in a locked filing cabinet or lockable box file. The computer and any memory stick holding personal data must be kept in a safe place, preferably a locked room or cabinet.
- Duty to disclose information
- There is a legal duty to disclose some information including:
- Abuse of Adults, which will be reported to the Social Services Department (See ‘NWGNS Safeguarding Adults Policy’)
- Drug trafficking, money laundering, acts of terrorism or treason, which will be disclosed to the police.
- DBS Disclosures
6.1 As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to help assess the suitability of volunteers for positions of trust, NWGNS complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of Disclosures and Disclosure information.
6.2 Disclosure information is kept securely, in lockable storage containers with access strictly controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their duties.
6.3 In accordance with section 124 of the Police Act 1997, Disclosure information is only passed to those who are authorised to receive it in the course of their duties.
6.4 Disclosure information is only used for the specific purpose for which it was requested and for which the applicant’s full consent has been given.
6.5 Once a recruitment decision has been made, we do not keep Disclosure information for any longer than is necessary. This is generally for a period of up to six months, to allow for the consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints.
6.6 Once the retention period has elapsed, we will ensure that any Disclosure information is immediately destroyed by secure means, i.e. by shredding, pulping or burning. We will not keep any photocopy or other image of the Disclosure or any copy or representation of the contents of a Disclosure. However, we will keep a record of the date of issue of a Disclosure, the name of the subject, the unique reference number of the Disclosure and the details of the recruitment decision taken.
7. Data Protection Act
7.1. Information about individuals, whether on computer or on paper, falls within the scope of the Data Protection Act and must comply with the data protection principles. These are that personal data must be:
- Obtained and processed fairly and lawfully.
- Held only for specified purposes.
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive.
- Accurate and up to date.
- Not kept longer than necessary.
- Processed in accordance with the Act.
- Kept secure and protected.
- Not transferred out of Europe.
NWGNS undertakes to comply with the data protection principles
8. Breach of confidentiality
8.1. Any volunteer, Scheme co-ordinator or management committee members who breach any of the conditions within this policy will be dismissed from NWGNS.
Safeguarding Adults Policy
Safeguarding Adults Policy
This policy was approved by the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme Management Committee on 3rd August 2015.
Latest date for review: April 2017
Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse or neglect.
Volunteers are not expected to be social workers or have expert knowledge, but there may be an occasion when you visit someone at home and you come away with an uneasy feeling that things are not quite right or safe. In those circumstances this policy may help you decide what to do next. This policy will also raise your awareness of the increasing problem of adult abuse, in case you should ever come across it.
- Aim of Policy
The aim of this policy is to ensure the safety of adults with care and support needs who contact the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme, by outlining clear safeguarding procedures and ensuring that all volunteers understand their responsibilities.
- Who does safeguarding apply to?
Under the Care Act 2014, adult safeguarding duties apply to any adult who:
- has care and support needs and
- is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect
- is unable to protect themselves because of their care and support needs
This could include:
- an older person
- a person with a physical disability, a learning disability, a visual or hearing impairment
- someone with mental health needs, including dementia or a personality disorder
- a person with a long term health need (such as diabetes or lupus)
- someone who misuses alcohol or substances to the extent that it affects their ability to manage day to day living
- What is abuse?
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. It may consist of a single act or repeated acts often in a relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm to an individual. It may be an act of neglect or a failure to act. Adult abuse can cause victims to suffer pain, fear and distress reaching well beyond the time of the actual incident(s). Victims may be too afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to raise any complaint. They may regard what is happening as “normal” and be unaware that they are being abused. They may be reluctant to discuss their concerns with other people or be unsure who to trust or approach with their worries. They may be unable to communicate or explain what is happening.
Adult abuse can take a number of forms and the following table outlines 10 types of abuse with examples and possible signs to look out for:
|Type of abuse||Examples||Possible signs|
This may involve actual or likely injury, assault and neglect. Inflicted intentionally or through lack of care
Assault – hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking
Rough handling / restraint / locked doors
Poisoning / misuse of medication / giving medication without consent.
Unexplained injuries or illness
Bruising / Finger marks
Fear of certain people
Emotional / Psychological Abuse
This includes acts or behaviours which cause mental distress or anguish.
Any action or ill treatment which has an adverse effect on mental well being, causing suffering to the individual
Verbal harassment / ridicule / treating with contempt or as a child / intimidation
Withholding pleasurable foods, activities or social contacts
Threats of harm or abandonment or isolation
Preventing a person from expressing an opinion or their wishes
Fear of certain people or places
Crying or getting upset over ordinary things
Increase in difficult behaviour
This is the involvement of a person in sexual activities against their will, which they do not understand or have not given consent to
Rape / sexual assault
Unwanted touching or sexual activity which the person does not understand or is unable to consent to.
Involvement in pornography /
Unexplained sexual language or sexualised behaviour
Difficulty or pain on using the toilet
Unexplained money or presents
Everyone has the right to the money and property that is rightfully theirs. This abuse is theft or misuse of money or personal possessions which involves a person’s resources being used to the advantage of another person
Theft of money or possessions
Pressure in connection with wills, inheritance or financial transactions
Overcharging e.g. for house repairs
Misuse of benefits
Stealing financial identity
Unexplained or sudden inability to pay bills
Discrepancy between assets and living conditions
Reluctance to spend money
Loss of possessions
Neglect / acts of omission
Everyone has the right to adequate standards of care.
Neglect is a failure to provide adequate care or a failure to act in a way to protect a person from harm.
Failure to provide access to health, social care or educational resources
Withholding of adequate food, drink, medication or heating
Untreated illness or conditions.
Inadequate personal hygiene / care.
Failure to provide information on sexual and reproductive health
Poor physical condition and hygiene
Dirty or wet clothing
Weight loss / malnutrition
Mental or physical ill health
Type of abuse
This includes abuse based on racism, disability, religion, sex and sexuality etc. It includes harassment, slurs or similar treatment. It includes the withholding of culturally appropriate food, clothing, skin and hair care, washing arrangements and religious worship and customs.
Racist harassment or name calling
Negativity about other cultures
Forcing women to do low status activities
Failure to recognise or comply with someone’s religion or religious customs
Negative self image
Self injury/ harm
Fear of certain people or places
Reluctance to engage in activities
This can occur in any setting where things are arranged for the benefit of staff rather than the people who use the service. There is a lack of choice and control for users who become institutionalised.
Lack of dignity and privacy – staff entering rooms without knocking
Lack of choice over meals and bedtimes – fixed routines
No individual care plans
No opportunity for making decisions
No personal possessions
Poor mental or physical health / self harm
Withdrawn or unusually subdued
Rocking or repetitive movements
Self neglect / harm
This is the inability or unwillingness to perform essential self care tasks or to recognise unsafe living conditions, leading to risk of injury or ill health.
The person is not looking after him/herself, eating and drinking sufficiently well or keeping warm and does not seem interested in doing so.
Failure to take medication / attend medical appointments
The physical environment is
hazardous / unhygienic
Pests in the residence – mice, rats, cockroaches etc.
Evidence of alcohol or drug abuse such as empty alcohol bottles etc.
This is controlling, coercive, threatening or violent behaviour between those who have been intimate partners or family members that is designed to make a person subordinate, dependent or isolated. It occurs at home.
Threatening behaviour / blackmail
Curtailing of freedom to see friends or family
Locking family member in the house
Female genital mutilation
Partner or family member is seen acting in controlling or overbearing way.
Visits to family home may be discouraged
The person may refuse to be seen alone
Isolation and depression
This is when a person is treated as property and forced to work against their will and without proper payment.
Human trafficking for forced labour or sex
Buying women for marriage
Forced prostitution or gang rape
Bonded labour / debt bondage
Workers have little income or freedom
Depression and social isolation
Passports may be confiscated
Can be held in captivity
Be aware of Safeguarding issues!
- Who has responsibility for Safeguarding Adults from abuse?
Everyone has responsibility for safeguarding people from abuse and reporting any concerns. All volunteers have a responsibility to be aware of this policy and to report any suspicions that they might have concerning adult abuse to the designated person (see below) or Social Services.
- What should I do if I am concerned about someone’s safety?
If someone tells you something or you see evidence that makes you think that a person may be unsafe or at risk of abuse, you have the duty to record your concerns and alert the safeguarding designated person in the Good Neighbour Scheme or Norfolk Social Services (See below)
DOs and DON’Ts:
- Ensure the safety of the person
- Call 999 straight away if there is imminent danger or if a crime is being committed or has clearly been committed
- Remain calm and respectful and listen carefully to what is being said
- Acknowledge that the person may be upset and may need appropriate support
- Take concerns seriously
- Reassure the person that they have done the right thing by talking to you.
- Ask the person what they would like to do now (for example do they want to contact a relative or friend for support.)
- As soon as possible make a detailed record of what has been said and done ideally using the person’s own words, in black ink on an Incident Report Form (see Appendix 1)
- Ensure that you have informed everyone who needs to know – the Good Neighbour Scheme duty coordinator or designated safeguarding person initially
- If a volunteer has been told about the allegation of abuse in confidence, they should attempt to gain the consent of the person concerned to make a referral to another agency. However, gaining consent is not essential in order for information to be passed on. Consideration needs to be given to:
- The scale of the abuse
- The risk of harm to others
- The capacity of the adult concerned to understand the issues of abuse and consent
If you or the designated safeguarding person has any doubt about whether or not to report an issue to Social Services then it should be reported. Where there is a legal duty on NWGNS to disclose information (for example, where abuse is alleged or suspected), the individual will be informed that disclosure has or will be made.
- Discuss the issue with anyone other than those who need to know
- Interfere with anything that could be used as evidence
- Ask detailed or probing questions
- Ignore the issue and hope it will go away
- Contact the alleged abuser
- Get the alleged abuser to contact the victim
- Investigate the matter yourself in anything other than the basic detail
- Make promises that you cannot keep or tell the person what might happen
- Designated Safeguarding Persons
The North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme has two designated safeguarding persons responsible for all safeguarding matters namely Judy Robinson (01692 407655) and Jacqueline Thompson (01692 403413) whose responsibility it is to:
- Provide a single point of contact for Scheme volunteers on vulnerable adult protection issues;
- Provide internal consultation to volunteers;
- Ensure that good working practice is followed by Scheme volunteers;
- Carry out a risk assessment
- Contact the adult social services department when necessary – 0344 800 8020
- DBS Checks
All newly recruited volunteers who will work directly with vulnerable adults will be DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked before commencing work.
This policy is informed by, and adheres, to Norfolk County Council’s “Safeguarding Adults Joint Policy and Operational Procedures” and the following legislation:
NHS and Community Care Act 1990
Mental Health Act 1983
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Care Standards Act 2000
Care Act 2014
Please complete in black ink
North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme Safeguarding Incident Report Form
Name of person at risk:
Briefly describe what happened (include times and dates):
Names and contacts of witnesses:
Name of person completing form:
Name of Designated Person responsible for investigation:
Safeguarding Adults Procedure
What is Safeguarding?
Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse or neglect.
How is this done?
Everyone has a responsibility to look out for their neighbours and friends and to offer assistance if someone is being harmed or neglected, or if they are no longer able to look after themselves or ensure their own safety.
If you visit someone as a volunteer for the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme and you notice or are told something that makes you think that someone is not safe or could be being abused in some way, then you should:
- Tell the person that you are concerned for their well being; reassure them, and ask them what they would like you to do. Listen carefully but don’t ask probing questions. Stay calm and take careful note of everything.
- Ask the person for their permission to tell someone else.
- If permission is given, tell the NWGNS coordinator or safeguarding person (Judy 01692 407655 or Jacqueline 01692 403413) and discuss your concerns. You can make a referral yourself to the local Safeguarding Adults Team (0344 800 8020) if help from Social Services is needed and wanted. A call to this number may be the most effective way to bring urgent assistance.
- Ring the police (999 for emergencies or 101for non emergencies) if a crime is or may have been committed.
- If permission is not given to share what you have seen or been told, discuss your worries with the NWGNS safeguarding person without naming the person you have visited. A decision will have to be made as to whether the situation is so serious that confidentiality needs to be breached and a safeguarding referral made.
- Write down everything you have seen or been told as soon as possible. A special form (appendix A attached) and black ink should be used. This will be needed by the Safeguarding Team if a referral is made or by the police if a crime is investigated.
Although you may not have come across it, sadly the abuse of adults is increasing and most often occurs in their own homes by people they know and trust. It takes many different forms (see NWGNS Safeguarding policy). Sometimes people do not realise that they are being abused or that they are no longer able to look after themselves well enough to remain safe in their own homes.
Adults have the right to refuse help and take risks as long as they are capable of understanding those risks. Difficult judgements are involved in safeguarding adults and the specialist teams are trained and experienced in making these judgements. However they can only safeguard people who they know about.
If you need more information about adult abuse or safeguarding, ask the safeguarding person (see above).
Recruitment of Ex-Offenders
Policy Statement on the Recruitment of ex-offenders
This policy was approved by the NWGNS Management Committee on 3rd August 2015
Latest date of next review: April 2017
As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to help assess the suitability of volunteers for positions of trust, North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme (NWGNS) complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.
North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme is committed to the fair treatment of its volunteers and users of its services, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.
This written policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders is made available to all volunteer applicants at the outset of the recruitment process. We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome a wide range of volunteers, including those with criminal records. We accept volunteers based on their skills, qualifications and experience.
Because of the nature of the roles volunteers are expected to undertake with vulnerable groups North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme is able to ask applicants to disclose both ‘spent’ and ‘unspent’ cautions and convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. A Disclosure is required as a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the volunteer role. All volunteer application forms and adverts will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested for all applicants.
We encourage all volunteer applicants to provide details of their criminal record at an early stage in the application process. We request that this information is send under separate, confidential cover, to the Secretary, North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme and we guarantee that this information will only be seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.
We ensure that all those in North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme who are involved in the volunteer recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences. We also ensure that they have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
When we are approached by a potential volunteer we will ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the volunteering role could lead to withdrawal of an offer of a volunteering opportunity.
We make every subject of a DBS Disclosure aware of the existence of the DBS Code of Practice and make a copy available on request.
We undertake to discuss any matter revealed in a Disclosure with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of volunteering.
Having a Criminal record will not necessarily bar you from volunteering with us. This will depend on the circumstances and background of your offences.