Child Protection Policy

Urban Young Actors is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, providing a safe and secure environment for its members. Children are defined as everyone under the age of 18.

In line with the Keeping Children Safe in Education (2023)1 government guidance, Urban Young Actors takes a child-centered and coordinated approach to safeguarding. We are committed at all times to take considered steps to act in the best interest of the children that we work with.

All practitioners are advised to maintain an attitude of ‘it could happen here’ where safeguarding is concerned. When concerned about the welfare of a child, practitioners will always act in the best interests of the child

Responsibilities:

  • To ensure that the welfare of children is paramount, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, heritage, language, religion and/or sexual identity
  • To keep children and young people safe by valuing them, listening to them and respecting them at all times
  • To provide a safe and secure environment for children and staff, applying relevant health and safety measures to achieve this
  • To create and maintain an anti-bullying environment and to deal appropriately and effectively with any bullying that could occur
  • To act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse
  • To promote and maintain an environment where children feel confident about sharing any concerns which they may have about their own safety or the well-being of others
  • To share concerns and relevant information with the relevant agencies, and involve children, young people, parents and guardians appropriately
  • To take all reasonable steps to promote best practice and protect children from harm, abuse, discrimination and exploitation
  • To prevent impairment of children’s mental and physical health
  • To ensure that recruited staff undergo all necessary checks, and require that all members of staff who come into contact with children have an enhanced DBS
  • To record and store all sensitive information about our members and their families professionally and securely
  • To ensure that all staff and crew who don’t necessarily have close contact with children but who are assisting in any aspect of Urban Young Actors (i.e. as chaperones for theatre trips and Urban Young Actors screen and stage productions, film crew for Urban Young Actors projects, guest workshop facilitators) are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities

As a business, we recognise:

  • The welfare of a child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children’s Act 19892
  • that everyone who comes into contact with our members has a responsibility in, and, as such, all practitioners should ensure that their approach consistently prioritises the best interests of the child
  • That no single member of staff, be they permanent or casual, can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances. If children are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a responsibility in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action if and when necessary

Safeguarding Structure

If practitioners have any concerns about a child’s welfare, they will act on them immediately.

Responsibilities in responding to a safeguarding concern about a child

To receive: Listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief, to accept what is being said without judgement and to take it seriously.

To reassure: Reassure the child, but only so far as is honest and reliable. To reassure the child that they did nothing wrong and that what they’ve said is taken seriously. To tell the child that we have a duty to tell some people, but only those whose job it is to protect children. To acknowledge how difficult it must have been to talk.

To react: Listen quietly, carefully and patiently without speculating or jumping to conclusions. To refrain from investigating, interrogating or deciding whether or not the child is telling the truth. To communicate with the child in a way that is appropriate to their age, understanding and preference. To explain what you must do next and whom you must talk to.

To record: Make some very brief notes at the time and write them up in detail as soon as possible. To record the date, time, place, words used by the child. To record the actual words used; including any swear words or slang. Record statements and observable things as fact and not opinion.

Record Keeping

All concerns, discussions and decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions, will be recorded in writing. Information will be kept confidential and stored securely, in separate files for each child.

Records will include:

  • a clear and comprehensive summary of the concern
  • details of how the concern was followed up and resolved, and
  • a note of any action taken, decisions reached and the outcome.

Further safeguarding responsibilities:

  • To report the concern in a timely manner
  • If the child is in immediate harm to call the local safeguarding officer or, if out of hours, the police on 999
  • If the child isn’t at immediate risk to call the local safeguarding officer straight away or, if out of hours, first thing in the morning.
  • If there is a concern, or a disclosure, that a child or a young person is at risk or is being abused to contact Leicester Council’s Children’s Social Care team
  • If a child is at immediate risk, to call 999, or the police on 101
  • If unsure how best to proceed and advice needs to be sought, to contact the LSO, the police on 101 or Childline

Safeguarding concerns or allegations about another practitioner 

If a practitioner has a safeguarding concern about another practitioner or an allegation of harming or posing a risk of harm to children then

  • this will be referred to the UYA Artistic Director
  • where there is a concern/allegation about the Artistic Director, this should be reported directly to the local authority designated officer(s) (LADO)3

All practitioners should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in UYA’s safeguarding provision and know that such concerns will be taken seriously. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures are in place for such concerns to be raised with UYA’s leadership team (Artistic Director and Executive Director).

Where a practitioner feels unable to raise an issue with the leadership team, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, they are made aware upon employment of other whistleblowing channels open to them.

The NSPCC Whistleblowing Advice Line is available as an alternative route for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally, or have concerns about the way a concern is being handled by their employer. Staff can call 0800 028 0285 and the line is available from 08:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 18:00 at weekends. The email address is: help@nspcc.org.uk

Alternatively, staff can write to: National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), Weston House, 42 Curtain, Road, London EC2A 3NH

1 Keeping children safe in education 2023 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

2 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/41/contents

3 https://lrsb.org.uk/lado-local-authority-designated

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