Policies & Procedures

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Equal Opportunities Policy Statement

This policy was approved by NWGNS management committee on 9 March 2022.

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.

Black and Minority Ethnic Groups

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

  1. People will be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the group to which they belong.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 and Data Protection Policy

The NWGNS management committee approved this policy on 11 March 2022. The policy was reviewed and amended to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective from 25th May 2018.

Date for revision: March 2024

  1. Introduction and definitions
    • NWGNS is committed to protecting the confidentiality and personal data of everyone it works with, and especially our volunteers and service users (i.e. our neighbours).
    • NWGNS will comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is the new set of legal rules governing the processing and control of personal data. It covers the storage, use and transfer of information relating to living individuals who can be identified.
    • NWGNS recognizes and respects the individual rights (as described in the GDPR – Appendix 1) of those whose personal data it collects, stores and processes.
    • NWGNS will adhere to the guiding principles of the GDPR (Appendix 2).
  • Key roles described by the GDPR are:
  • Data Controller – the Management Committee of NWGNS is the Data Controller and determines the way personal data is collected, and its purposes, within the Scheme. It is accountable for this data and for adhering to, and demonstrating compliance with, the data protection principles. It should be proactive and reactive to any concerns raised, as well as regularly reviewing Privacy Policies, Procedures and Notices. It will ensure all our volunteers are aware of their rights and responsibilities and can comply with the values and good practice expected of NWGNS volunteers.
  • Data Protection Officer – this is the person responsible within the organisation for data protection compliance. He or she will be appointed by the NWGNS Management Committee and will report directly to them.
  • Data Processor – volunteers within the Scheme who process data on behalf of the Committee. Other Data Processors include our Phone System host; Internet Service Providers; Website host and ‘cloud storage’ platforms. We will ensure procedures with each of these to secure personal data.
  • Data Subject – anyone with personal information stored about them within the Scheme.
  1. General principles
    • NWGNS will collect the minimum amount of personal information that is necessary to meet the requests made by users of the service.
    • Data subjects will be informed about the intended use of their personal data, the length of time it will be retained and the reason for these.
    • The lawful basis for NWGNS processing personal data is that individuals have given their clear consent to NWGNS processing their relevant personal data for one or more specific purpose.
    • Consent must be a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the individual’s wishes. The data subject has the right to withdraw their consent at any time.
    • Consent must be a clear affirmative action – a positive ‘opt-in’ by data subjects.
    • All personal data must be accurate and up to date, insofar as notification of changes are given to the Scheme by the Data Subject. Old or inaccurate data will be erased or corrected.
    • All personal data will be stored safely and securely for as long as it is needed to meet the wishes of service users and volunteers – and consent is positively given.
    • All personal data will be deleted when it is no longer required, or when consent is withdrawn.
    • Volunteers will be given induction training, which will cover all policies and procedures, including those covering Confidentiality and Data Protection.
    • Volunteers can share information anonymously with a duty co-ordinator, in order to discuss relevant options, issues and seek advice.
    • No one should share personal information or comments (gossip) about volunteers or individuals with whom the Scheme is working.
    • No personal information will be shared with a third party, without the consent of the data subject.
    • Where there is a legal duty on NWGNS to disclose information (for example, where there are safeguarding concerns), the individual will be informed that disclosure has or will be made.
  1. Why information is held
  • Personal information held by the NWGNS relates to volunteers, neighbours (i.e. service users) and other services, organisations or people that support or fund them.
  • Information is necessary to enable NWGNS to respond positively to requests received from 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 for reporting back to funders.
  • NWGNS volunteers and neighbours are informed that we intend to hold their personal data on the Scheme laptop, which is shared between Duty Coordinators. They must consent to this.
  1. Access to information
  • Data subjects have the right to know what data is held on them, why the data is being processed and whether it will be given to a third party.
  • Data subjects have the right to access this information and to be given it in hard copy. They also the right to have personal data deleted – the right to be forgotten.
  • If someone asks for a copy of their data (known as a subject access request), NWGNS will provide the information within one month, having verified the identity of the person making the request.
  • Personal information about a service user will only be shared with a volunteer or co-ordinator who is working directly with that neighbour. No personal information about the volunteer will be given to the service user, other than their name.
  • Sensitive personal data (e.g. information relating to racial, health, political or sexual identity) can only be processed with the specific, positive and free consent of the data subject, and then only if it is relevant and necessary to achieving their wishes.
  • All Data Subjects have the right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office if they have a problem with the way we have handled their data. (Appendix 3)
  1. Storing information
  • All hard copies of confidential information must be kept in a locked filing cabinet or lockable box file.
  • The Scheme laptop and any memory stick holding personal data must be kept in a safe place, preferably a locked room or cabinet. The Scheme laptop is password protected.
  • Personal data stored on the Cloud must be stored on a verifiably secure platform. (Appendix 4)
  • Personal information that identifies a data subject (neighbour or volunteer), shared by email in the course of NWGNS business, must be deleted from the volunteer’s computer as soon as possible.
  1. Duty to disclose information
  • There is a legal duty to disclose some information including:
  • Adult safeguarding concern, 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.


  1. DBS Disclosures
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  1. Data Breaches
  • A data breach is a breach of security leading to ‘accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data’.
  • NWGNS is developing procedures to detect, investigate and report a personal data breach and to demonstrate the measures it has in place to protect against a data breach.
  • When the Data Protection Officer becomes aware that a data breach has occurred, he or she will notify the Management Committee (i.e. Data Controller) and a judgment will be made as to the type and level of risk and what action is required e.g. notification of Information Commissioner’s Office (Appendix 4); notification of those directly concerned.
  • Notification will take place within 72 hours if as a result of the breach there is a risk to the rights and freedoms of individuals, which, if unaddressed, could have a significant detrimental effect on the individual e.g. discrimination; reputational damage; financial loss; or, loss of confidentiality. Where it is a ‘high risk’ loss the data subjects will be notified directly.
  • The impact of the breach will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to decide whether the loss is significant and meets the thresholds for notification.
  • Any volunteer, duty co-ordinator or management committee member who breach any of the conditions within this policy will be dismissed from NWGNS.

Appendix 1

Individuals’ rights under the GDPR

  • the right to be informed;
  • the right of access;
  • the right to rectification;
  • the right to erasure;
  • the right to restrict processing;
  • the right to data portability;
  • the right to object;
  • the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

Appendix 2

GDPR Data Protection Principles

  1. Lawful, fair and transparent
  2. Specified, explicit, legitimate purpose – information collected on one basis cannot be used for another
  3. Adequate, relevant, limited – no more information than is necessary to conduct business; Goldilocks principle ‘just right’; info cannot be collected ‘just in case’; ‘Justify it’ – must be able to explain; Data minimisation – data deleted when no longer required
  4. Accurate and up to date – clear out old, correct and erase
  5. For no longer than is necessary – data retention policy
  6. Handled securely – apply technological and organisational measures for lifetime of information

Appendix 3

Information Commissioners Office

Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Tel. 0303 123 1113

Email: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/email

Appendix 4

Statement from Microsoft (24/4/18)

“Microsoft has a long history of transparency, defence-in-depth, and privacy-by-design that enabled us to be the first enterprise cloud services provider to implement the rigorous controls needed to earn approval for the EU Model Clauses, the first to achieve ISO’s 27018 cloud privacy standard, and the first to offer contractual commitments to the GDPR.”

Appendix 5

Statement from Proforms


Safeguarding Adults Policy

This policy was approved by the North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme Management Committee on 11 March 2022.

Latest date for review: March 2024

  1. Introduction

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse or neglect. The North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme (NWGNS) is committed to protecting neighbours who make use of the scheme, and its volunteers, from all forms of abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual harm.

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.

  1. Aim of Policy

The aim of this policy is to ensure the safety of adults with care and support needs who contact the NWGNS, by outlining clear safeguarding procedures and ensuring that all volunteers understand their responsibilities.

  1. 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
  1. 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

Physical Abuse


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

Broken bones

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 wellbeing, causing suffering to the individual

Verbal harassment / ridicule / treating with contempt or as a child / intimidation

Withholding pleasurable foods, activities or social contacts

Racial abuse


Threats of harm or abandonment or isolation

Preventing a person from expressing an opinion or their wishes

Fear of certain people or places

Mood swings

Crying or getting upset over ordinary things

Increase in difficult behaviour


Sexual Abuse

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.

Sexual harassment

Involvement in pornography /


Unexplained sexual language or sexualised behaviour

Difficulty or pain on using the toilet

Unexplained money or presents

Financial Abuse

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

Unusual behaviour

Type of abuse Examples Possible signs


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

Hate crime

Negative self image

Self injury/ harm


Mood swings

Fear of certain people or places

Reluctance to engage in activities

Institutional Abuse

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

Weight loss

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

Unkempt appearance

Pests in the residence – mice, rats, cockroaches etc.

Weight loss

Ill health

Evidence of alcohol or drug abuse such as empty alcohol bottles etc.

Domestic Abuse

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

Forced marriage

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

Modern Slavery

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

Domestic servitude

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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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
  1. Designated Safeguarding Persons

The NWGNS has a designated safeguarding person responsible for all safeguarding matters namely Judy Robinson (01692 407655) and a deputy designated person Richard Barker (01692 650313) 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
  1. Concerns or Complaints about an NWGNS volunteer or Committee member

If there is a concern or complaint about an NWGNS volunteer or committee member in relation to a safeguarding issue, this should be reported immediately to the designated person using the procedure set out above, and the designated person will refer it to the Social Services Adult Safeguarding Service.

If a more general complaint about a volunteer or committee member is received from a neighbour using the service, which does not clearly allege abuse, this will be dealt with through the NWGNS complaints procedure.

  1. DBS Checks

All newly recruited volunteers who will work directly with vulnerable adults will be DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked before commencing work.

  1. Training in Safeguarding Issues

The Safeguarding policy and procedures will be explained to new volunteers as part of their induction. New volunteers will be asked to sign to say they understand and will abide by the policy and procedures.

  1. Legislation

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:


Action taken:


North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme (NWGNS) 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 NWGNS 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 wellbeing; 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 designated safeguarding person (Judy Robinson 01692 407655 or deputy Richard Barker 01692 650313) 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 101 for 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 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.
  • If there is a concern or complaint about an NWGNS volunteer or committee member in relation to a safeguarding issue, this should be reported to the designated person, following the procedure above

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).











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:


Action taken:

Policy Statement on the Recruitment of ex-offenders

This policy was approved by the NWGNS Management Committee on 11 April 2, 2019

Latest date of next review: April 2021

General Principle

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 a 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 dependents, 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 can 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 sent 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 about 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.

North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme

Complaints Procedure


You should follow this procedure if you are a neighbour who has received a service from the Good Neighbour Scheme; or on behalf of such a person, who has asked you to do so; or you are a Good Neighbour volunteer, and you have a complaint about any aspect of our service. If the matter is more serious and has made you feel unsafe, so that you wish to speak to someone independent of the Good Neighbours Scheme, please ring 0344 800 8020 and ask to speak to someone from the safeguarding team.

North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme aims to treat everyone with dignity and respect and to be friendly and professional in the way we do things. We hope that in any dispute the people concerned can resolve the matter informally.

In the unlikely event you need to make a complaint about any aspect of the service, we would ask you to get in touch as soon as possible with the Scheme’s Duty Co-ordinator on 01692 558321, who will record your complaint and ensure that action is taken to resolve the matter quickly. Any complaint will be considered carefully and investigated fully in a confidential manner.

If it is not possible, or appropriate, to speak to the Scheme’s Duty Co-ordinator, then please email or write as soon as possible to the Scheme’s Chair, Richard Barker: richard.barker1@gmail.com Address: The White House, North Walsham Road, Ridlington, NORTH WALSHAM, NR28 9NR. Complaints referred to the Chair will be considered by the Chair and one other member of the Committee.

The Chair will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven days and will inform the Scheme’s committee.

The Chair will discuss the complaint with you to agree how it can be resolved. You have the right to explain the complaint in person to the Chair and Committee member, and be accompanied for support.

Usually the complaint should be dealt with within 21 days and the Chair will write to you to confirm the outcome, following discussion with the other member of the Committee.

Any complaints about the Chair will be considered by two other members of the Committee not previously involved in the complaint.

The Chair will keep a record of all complaints made to the scheme, including how these complaints were dealt with and how they were resolved.

If after this you still feel your issue hasn’t been satisfactorily dealt with, we will be able to refer you to an independent adjudicator, such as Community Action Norfolk, who will aim to resolve the matter quickly and amicably.

Approved by Management Committee 27 August 2021

Date for Review: 30 July 2023

North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme


Coronavirus response policy

(Updated 04 October 2020)



1          This policy provides guidance for NWGNS volunteers and co-ordinators on our response to risks posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The policy takes account of Government Information and Advice on Covid-19 and will be updated regularly to reflect any changes.

2          The health and safety of our neighbours and volunteers are paramount, and our aim is to minimise risks of infection, taking into account that many of our neighbours fall into high risk categories for severe illness, should they become infected.

3          Our service is entirely a voluntary service, and at no time should any volunteer feel under any moral pressure to undertake jobs which they are not comfortable in doing.

4         In the light of current government requirements on social distancing, we are offering a restricted service consistent with the social distancing rules. Our main priority while the rules are in place is to support neighbours who are in self isolation, shielding[1] or simply isolated through age or infirmity, and who in consequence may become lonely or depressed, and who have no other means of support. Requests from neighbours not in the above categories will also be considered.

5          We will do this through:

  • Practical tasks including shopping, collecting medical prescriptions, essential tasks in the neighbour’s home, gardening and dog walking.
  • Providing information and signposting to other sources of help and support, such as shops offering to deliver supplies
  • Helping to combat loneliness through offering regular phone/video calls and letters
  • Giving lifts to neighbours for essential purposes, subject to the advice in our specific policy on lifts during the pandemic.

6          In doing this, we will work closely with local statutory agencies; the Town Council, charities and voluntary groups.

7          We will recruit additional (special) volunteers and take them through a fast track vetting and training procedure, deploying them to meet needs as appropriate to their level of vetting and documentation, within our safeguarding policy.


Advice to volunteers

8          Read and observe the Government guidance for the public – see link above. We particularly ask you to have due regard to your own personal risk categories such as age and any underlying conditions, when offering to undertake tasks.

9          The coordinator (see below) will check before posting any request from a neighbour, that the neighbour has none of the symptoms of the virus, as described in the Government guidance.

10       Before setting out on your job, check that you have none of the symptoms, and check that the neighbour has none either. Maintain two metres social distance  – for example, put shopping and medicine on the doorstep and then stepping back that distance for the neighbour to collect it.

11       Please ensure you wear your NWGNS lanyard so that people can see it, and also use protective measures including mask and gloves. Use disinfectant wipes as necessary.

12        Wash your hands before and after doing any job. Keep hand gel in the car           and take it with you to use at any time. Also keep a box or packets of tissues             handy as well as a plastic bag to put them in for disposal.

13       If you (or a neighbour) suspect that they may have the virus, they should not attend a surgery, pharmacy or hospital, but instead contact/phone the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service . Also inform the duty coordinator.

14       If you are giving a lift to a neighbour, make sure that you are following the specific Scheme guidance on this.

15       When undertaking jobs in the neighbour’s home, all the measures set out earlier apply, in addition to our general (non-Covid) requirements for jobs in a neighbour’s home. Ask the neighbour to wear a mask, and ask them to retreat to a different room than the one you are working in. Ask the neighbour to open the windows in the room in question before you start the job.


Advice to Duty Co-ordinators

16       Keep up to date with Government, NHS and local advice on the coronavirus.

17       When a neighbour calls in with a request, check with them whether they have any of the symptoms of the virus, as described in the Government guidance. If they do, ask whether they (or someone on their behalf) have advised the NHS 111 service. Having the symptoms does not necessarily mean that they have the virus, since there are many pathogens which cause similar symptoms. However the safe assumption for this purpose must be that they do. Record this on the spreadsheet as appropriate. Advise the neighbour that we will still be able to carry out tasks not requiring direct contact, such as picking up shopping and delivering prescriptions (masks and gloves are available for volunteers) and phone/video befriending.

18       If the co-ordinator receives information about one or more neighbours (or volunteers) with the symptoms of Covid-19, notify this via the WhatsApp Co-ordinator Group.

19       Check that the volunteer has read our risk assessment guidance, and will be applying it in relation to the job concerned and that they will be wearing their lanyard, and mask and gloves.

20                    Requests for jobs in the neighbour’s home should only be accepted on an exceptional basis where there is a clear urgent need. Inform the neighbour of our requirements as set out in paragraph 15 above. Do not proceed with a request without a clear commitment from the neighbour to action these points.


21       The application of this policy on a day to day basis will be set out in the Coronavirus Response Action Plan.


[1] Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others



Approved by Management Committee 30 July 2021

To be reviewed by 30 December 2021



COVID-19 Risk Assessment Document for shopping and home delivery

 This document has been amended for use by North Walsham Good Neighbours 


Guidance for all shopping and home delivery visits

If you are not feeling well (in any way whatsoever) you should step down from volunteering for this role.

There are many others who are well and available to help.

Please follow Coronavirus (COVID-19) hand washing and infection control measures at all times, including every time you

enter or leave a premises or encounter others.

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after touching items or surfaces that could have been infected e.g. shopping trolleys, cash/machines, bags.
  • Use hand sanitiser frequently where handwashing facilities are not available
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • Dispose of tissues in a waste bin
  • Wear a mask when in enclosed spaces or physically assisting a neighbour.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Follow the NHS and Government guidelines:


Guidance for shopping and home delivery for neighbours in self-isolation



Activity Hazard Pre-Control Measure Risk Rating Control Measures Residual Risk Rating
Collection and delivery of shopping, medical prescriptions and cash to individuals in self-isolation Exposure to COVID-19, colds and other viruses and infections.

Exposing others, particularly vulnerable neighbours, to COVID-19.



w  If not provided by the coordinator, confirm the list of items needed over the phone so that you can minimise contact with the individual in self-isolation.

w  Follow hand cleaning and social distancing guideline procedures as outlined at each shop or pharmacy. Wear gloves & maintain social distancing of 2 metres.

w  Do shopping at least crowded or priority times – take NWGNS badge. If possible, ask for a duplicate receipt at till – explain it is for a vulnerable neighbour.

w  If possible, ring the neighbour with the cost of the shopping before delivery, so they can have their money ready. When delivering items to an individual in isolation leave the shopping items at the front door, with the receipt in the bag, ring or knock on door and step back a minimum of 2 metres.

w  When the neighbour appears, explain where the receipt is and how much it cost. The neighbour should then leave the money on the step and retreat.

w  If the neighbour does not have the money (or the correct amount), keep the till receipt (or copy) and claim the cost (or balance) of the shopping from NWGNS.

w  Do not enter the person’s home even if invited, explain that this is for their own and your safety.

w  If the neighbour is unable to carry the shopping from the doorstep into the kitchen, arrange to deliver it at a time when carers are expected to be with the neighbour. If this is not possible, arrange for the neighbour to open their door and retreat into a room and close the door with everyone else in the house. The shopping can then be taken into the kitchen and frozen or chilled foods put in the fridge/freezer. Wipe items with disinfectant wipe before storing. Wear gloves if doing this and dispose of gloves safely and wash hands as soon as possible after leaving. The neighbour also needs to be reminded to wash their hands after handling shopping.

Use any protective equipment/measures as instructed.





Tips for Chats

The Royal Voluntary Service have created a set of recommendations and guidelines to help volunteers who are making telephone calls to vulnerable people. NWGNS has adapted these for our volunteers who make befriending telephone calls to isolated neighbours during the Coronavirus crisis.

A friendly chat can make all the difference to someone who is lonely at this time.

Telephone support is a positive step to engage with people who may have little or no contact with others. Self-isolating may lead to issues with confidence, self-esteem, depression and loneliness.

The aim of the call is to ensure the wellbeing of the isolated person, to try to explore ways to keep them positive and possibly identify any practical support they may require.  The most important thing to do is to listen and empathise.

Don’t forget to let the coordinator know when you have made a call and report back any important matters that need to be followed up, especially any safeguarding concerns you might have. Be conscious of your own wellbeing, and if you feel upset or anxious after a call, or feel overwhelmed by the needs of the people in your own household/family, and you would like a break, please contact the coordinator and talk to them about this.

Hints & Tips

Calls should be made at times that are mutually convenient to both the neighbour and you.

  1. When calling the neighbour, dial 141 before their number so that they cannot see your personal number.
  2. It is always important to uphold the confidentiality of the individual. You may hear personal information or details through conversations. All forms of personal information must be treated with respect and be handled in a highly confidential way, unless there are safeguarding concerns for the neighbour.
  3. Think about how you safely store neighbour’s contact details, do not leave these in a place that other people can see them and shred them after use.

Getting started

Introduce yourself and let the neighbour know that you are a volunteer from North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme. You are calling to have a chat and make sure they are ok. Try to avoid saying “I know how you feel”.

Some questions to help the conversation

How are you doing today?

As we have never met, would you like to tell me something about yourself?

Are you managing to get around the house ok?

How are you feeling today?

Have you managed to speak to any of your friends or family?

What is a typical day like for you?

Do you enjoy reading or watching TV?

Are you managing to prepare your meals?

Do you have all the medication you need?

Are you able to get out to the garden for some fresh air and exercise?

Potential Questions and Situations that may arise

I am really scared about this new illness.

Reassure the person that as long as they stay in at home and don’t get closer than 6ft to anyone with the virus, they hopefully will remain virus free. Remind them to wash their hands carefully when they touch anything like shopping or money that someone else has touched. Also advise them to have any shopping and anything else they need delivered to their door rather than trying to go out themselves. Remind them to ring 111 if they do develop symptoms and feel very unwell with a temperature and cough.

Why can’t you visit me and have a proper chat?

Explain that at the moment we are not allowed to visit anyone – we can only chat on the phone. Say that you are not able to meet with your family either or do lots of things you are used to doing. Talk about how difficult it is to adjust to the new situation and encourage them to tell you how this is making them feel. Listen and empathise.

Ask if they have a computer or Internet connection to have a face-to-face chat over the Internet. If not, ask if they have any relatives or friends who might be able to guide them over the phone to set up an internet connection and order them a tablet if they would be up for trying this.

I’m concerned that I’m not going to see anyone for a long time.

Recognise their concerns and let them know that you are here to listen. It’s ok for them to go outside if they have a garden and get some fresh air. They can exercise outside as well, keeping the 2m/ 6ft 6” minimum distance from other people. Perhaps they could speak to their neighbour at a safe distance over the garden fence.

I need some practical help; I can’t get to the shops or get my prescription.

Suggest they ring 01692 558321 and leave a message so that one of our volunteers can be asked to help with these things.

I like talking to you; can you call me again next week?

That’s lovely to hear, I’ve enjoyed talking with you too, but next week another volunteer may ring you as we take it turns. It may be my turn again in 2- or 3-weeks’ time.

I’m lonely and I don’t have anyone I can call

Ask who they would usually talk to or spend time with and see if they can contact any of these people via the phone.  If not, ask if they might like to be put in touch with someone else who is in the same situation as them. Would they be happy for us to give their number to such a person?

I’m feeling very sad/depressed/hopeless; I think I need some help

Listen carefully to what they have to say and ask what sort of help they feel they need. Offer to try to find them some extra help – record carefully what they say, if you have concerns for their safety. Ask their permission to pass on how they are feeling to their GP or nurse or someone else they trust.

Ask them whether they can think of anything that might help cheer them up. Sometimes a little exercise can help.

Ask them whether they can tell you about happier times in the past. Also ask if a cheery letter or card might help.

Support for you too!

Volunteers are Neighbours too!

If your phone chat has left you feeling upset or drained, please let us know, so that we can offer you the emotional support you need. We have an experienced counsellor willing to chat to you.


North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme


Coronavirus response policy

(Updated 09.03.22)



1          This policy provides guidance for NWGNS volunteers and co-ordinators on our response to risks posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The policy takes account of Government Information and Advice on Covid-19 and will be updated regularly to reflect any changes.

2          The health and safety of our neighbours and volunteers are paramount, and our aim is to minimise risks of infection, taking into account that many of our neighbours fall into high risk categories for severe illness, should they become infected.

3          Our service is entirely a voluntary service, and at no time should any volunteer feel under any moral pressure to undertake jobs which they are not comfortable in doing.

4         All legal restrictions to control COVID-19 have been lifted, and therefore NWGNS will pass on to volunteers the full range of requests that we dealt with pre-pandemic. However, there are still steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19 as covered in the advice to volunteers below, and on the government and NHS websites.


Advice to volunteers


5          Read and observe the Government guidance for the public – see link above.

  • Ensure you are fully vaccinated, and keep up to date with vaccinations
  • Let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside
  • Consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces
  • Get testedif you have COVID-19 symptoms, and stay at home if positive. Also inform the duty coordinator.

Guidance to volunteer drivers giving lifts

6          This guidance replaces the guidance on giving lifts issued in August 2020.

7          Make certain that the neighbour sits in the near side rear seat and that there is plenty of ventilation during the journey. Do not set the in-car ventilation to recirculation. If the weather is cold/damp advise the neighbour to wrap up warm.

8          Wear a face mask, and advise your passenger(s) to wear one.

9          Carry sanitising hand gel to clean your hands before and after the journey and wash your hands with soap and water after getting home and cleaning the vehicle.

Advice to Duty Co-ordinators

10       Keep up to date with Government, NHS and local advice on the coronavirus.


[Approved by Management Committee 9 March 2022]

For review October 2022]

NWGNS Health & Safety Statement

North Walsham Good Neighbour Scheme is a group of trusted local people, who provide one-off or short-term assistance to neighbours in North Walsham who requested it.

We are an unincorporated association. All members of the Scheme are volunteers.


We are committed to ensuring all our activities are undertaken in a manner that safeguards the health, safety and welfare of all who are associated with, or are affected by them.

We aim to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for all participants in our activities.

Meeting the Commitment

All activities undertaken by members of the Scheme should follow the guidelines set out in the Welcome Pack and the associated policies and procedures.

In particular:

  • No volunteer should commence a task without having first completed the formal induction training.
  • Coordinators will undertake a verbal risk assessment of all requests received, by questioning the neighbour about the request, the setting and any resources or tools needed – in accordance with the Coordinator’s Guidance and Training.
  • Coordinators may request a ‘fact-finding’ visit to be made, by a suitably qualified member of the Scheme, to gather more information about the nature and suitability of the request and to undertake a visual risk assessment.
  • Before commencing a task, the Coordinator will advise volunteers of any risks identified and the measures taken or required to eliminate/minimise that risk.
  • The volunteer once on site should also undertake a risk assessment. This must include consideration of the nature of the request or task and of the site, and of the conditions prevailing at the time the task is undertaken.
  • Appropriate protective clothing will be worn when required. Advice will be given on job specific clothing and footwear which the volunteer must provide.
  • All accidents will be recorded.


  • We will circulate this statement to our members and expect their actions to be consistent with this statement.
  • To assist compliance with this statement, we will have available, on request, basic protective clothing (hi-visibility jacket; latex gloves).


We will regularly review this statement and take whatever additional measures may be deemed necessary at that time.

Retention of Documents

Accident reports and risk assessments will be retained for a minimum of 6 years for insurance purposes.

Related Documentation

A copy of all relevant documents can be found on the Scheme’s website below.

Web Address


Approved by Management Committee July 2021

To be reviewed: on or before April 2023