1. Introduction and policy purpose
Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. The organisation seeks to achieve this in several ways, including directly advising people with asthma and their carers across a range of media, interacting with volunteers and working with the public and partners at events.
The purpose of the Safeguarding Policy is to ensure that in all of Asthma UK’s activities that:
- The safety and wellbeing of individuals and groups is considered and appropriately acted upon at times to protect those individuals or groups
- We maintain and protect the trust and reputation of Asthma UK and its employees.
2. Aims and scope
2.1 Safeguarding is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people – especially children, young people and vulnerable adults – to live free from abuse, harm and neglect. Safeguarding people Care Quality Commission. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
2.2 As a registered charity Asthma UK has a position of trust for people with asthma and in society in general. It will therefore have interactions with many people including people affected by asthma. This may include people who are vulnerable due to social, economic or health circumstances. Although the services provided by Asthma UK may be individually tailored, it does not constitute the provision of a healthcare service and does not (currently) seek personal information to provide that advice. In this regard Asthma UK’s resources and staff do not have a responsibility for medical care, but does have a moral and ethical responsibility to help protect people from harm.
2.3 Asthma UK will endeavour to provide a robust series of policies, procedures and a supportive, learning environment to create an effective safeguarding culture.
2.4 This policy sets out the foundations for effective Safeguarding practice within Asthma UK and throughout all Asthma UK activities. These areas include but are not limited to:
- Asthma UK Helpline
- Asthma UK digital support including WhatsApp and email support for people with Asthma and other projects involving digital media.
- Supporter Care Team
- Research and Policy
- Media team including social media and forums.
- Advice and content team
- Public events, meetings
- Any other contact with members of public
2.5 This policy is unable to cover every potential situation but is intended to clearly outline the principles of good safeguarding practice within Asthma UK so that every Asthma UK employee, volunteer, representative or partner is confident and competent to contribute to a safe environment for the people it works with and interacts with, and can take appropriate action when required.
3.1 Safeguarding is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland to denote measures to protect the health, well-being and human rights of individuals, which allow people – especially children, young people and vulnerable adults – to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.
3.2 Safeguarding children and promoting their welfare includes:
- Protecting them from maltreatment or things that are bad for their health or development
- Making sure they grow up in circumstances that allow safe and effective care.
3.3 Safeguarding adults and children includes:
- Protecting their rights to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
- People and organisations working together to prevent the risk of abuse or neglect, and to stop them from happening.
- Making sure people's wellbeing is promoted, taking their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs into account.
3.4 Vulnerable people (whether adult or child) can be neglected or abused. Abuse can take the form of:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Sexual abuse
3.5 Vulnerable people might also be subject to risk of trafficking, exploitation, female genital mutilation, radicalisation.
3.6 Online vulnerability may be in the form of cyberbullying, grooming, losing control of personal data (including financial data, pictures, videos), overuse and addiction to digital devices, risk to personal reputation (e.g. by sharing opinions, views and feelings) and accessing inappropriate sites.
3.7 Asthma UK and its employees need to consider all possible scenarios where vulnerable people might be identified:
- Employees are in face-to-face contact with someone they believe may be vulnerable
- Employees are in telephone contact with someone they believe who be vulnerable
- Employees are in digital contact (WhatsApp, social media messaging, email) with someone they believe may be vulnerable
- Employees believe that a dependant of a contact (e.g. children of a caller) may be vulnerable
- Employees witness (either in person or online) someone being made vulnerable
- Employees believe that the actions of Asthma UK, an employee or representative, or a partner or associate may put, or is putting an individual or group at risk of vulnerability.
- Any individual or group may be considered as vulnerable or in need of safeguarding. This may include employees, volunteers, associates and partners.
4. Core safeguarding principles
The following principles should form constant safeguarding themes through the culture, aims, policies and behaviours of all Asthma UK activities.
4.1.1 Asthma UK will have policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees, volunteers, associates or partners have had the appropriate checks so that any prior history or behaviours that constitute a potential safeguarding risk can be identified and mitigated as appropriate.
4.1.2 All Asthma UK employees, volunteers, associates or partners are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities as well as policies and procedures so that they may highlight areas of potential safeguarding risk to mitigate that risk.
4.1.3 Asthma UK has an open and reflective culture that encourages continual learning and appreciation of safeguarding risks throughout the organisation. The protection of vulnerable people from harm is a team effort and of paramount importance.
4.1.4 Policies and procedures will encourage the accurate documentation of safeguarding assessments, concerns, incidents and actions. This will allow audit and learning for the organisation.
4.1.5 Safeguarding policies and procedures will be easily accessible to all employees, volunteers, associates and partners. Internally they will be available on shared drive and externally through the Asthma UK website.
4.2.1 Asthma UK has a robust and auditable safeguarding training process. All staff will receive training thorough a workshop and for new staff joining Asthma UK this will be incorporated into the induction programme. Training is proportional to the safeguarding risks that an individual role may present. Opportunity for further training should be provided where appropriate.
4.3 Risk assessment
4.3.1 All Asthma UK employees consider potential safeguarding impact of any role they are providing on behalf of Asthma UK.
4.3.2 There are clear and documented escalation procedures within each team.
4.3.3 All Asthma UK projects and plans include clear and documented consideration of potential safeguarding issues. A more robust assessment should be undertaken where there is greater potential risk.
4.3.4 Completion of a risk assessment form for all events
4.4.1 Through training, all employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of potential safeguarding concerns to look for and consider.
4.4.2 All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of the importance to escalate suspected safeguarding issues urgently and to the appropriate people externally and within Asthma UK.
4.5 Escalation and reporting – internally
4.5.1 All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of who they should inform of any potential safeguarding incident. This should also be done in writing so there is a clear audit trail.
4.6 Sharing and reporting – externally
4.6.1 All employees, volunteers, associates and partners can quickly identify the correct procedures for which authorities (for example police, local authority) should be informed of safeguarding concerns.
4.7.1 All employees, volunteers, associates and partners are aware of their responsibilities where safeguarding concerns are identified. This includes sharing the concerns internally and externally as appropriate and accurate documentation.
4.8.1 All employees, volunteers, associates and partners should be able and feel comfortable to raise safeguarding concerns about Asthma UK employees, volunteers, associates and partners. This should be done internally in the first instance but may be appropriate to inform external agencies (e.g. police, local authorities) should the safeguarding concern be deemed serious or urgent enough.
4.8.2 All employees to report concerns to who they feel comfortable to report to, first instance the line manager, or director or chief executive.
4.9.1 Asthma UK will continue to review its safeguarding policies and procedures on a regular basis and considering specific incidents or perceived risks. New areas of work by Asthma UK, including new types of relationships with individuals or organisations, should prompt a review of all relevant policies and procedures.
4.9.2 Asthma UK will have processes in place to review all safeguarding incidents and concerns raised to see where additional action is required or where policies and procedures need updating.
4.9.3 Asthma UK will seek external safeguarding advice where it is appropriate to do so following a specific incident or concerns, or if there is a specific event or project which carries a significant or new safeguarding risks.
5. Responsibilities and accountabilities
5.1 Safeguarding Lead
5.1.1 The Safeguarding Lead for Asthma UK is the Director of People and Organisational Development.
5.1.2 The Clinical Lead is the Responsible Officer required to implement the Safeguarding Policy, producing specific assessments and reports for the Chief Executive and Trustees as required. S/he is supported in the implementation of the policy by Safeguarding Champions.
5.1.3 The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for maintaining and updating this policy considering feedback, events and new activities undertaken by Asthma UK, and for reviewing the policy every two years to ensure it remains relevant for the organisation’s activities and risks.
5.1.4 New safeguarding concerns or incidents should be shared with the Safeguarding Lead, Senior Leadership Team and Chief Executive at the earliest opportunity. The Safeguarding Lead should maintain a log of all incidents.
5.2 Safeguarding Champions
5.2.1 Safeguarding Champions will be Heads of teams where there is high potential for contact with vulnerable people.
- Helpline Team (nurses) / Advice and Content
- Events and Fundraising
- Supporter Care and Media
- Research and Policy
5.2.2 The Safeguarding Lead is the main point of contact for Safeguarding Champions regarding safeguarding matters. They will be responsible for implementing, maintaining and updating safeguarding procedure for their relevant team(s). They should work with team members and relevant members of the Leadership team to consider, identify and mitigate against potential safeguarding issues.
5.2.3 Any safeguarding incidents should be shared with the Safeguarding Lead at the earliest opportunity and communicated in writing as soon as practicable. Where this not possible (due to the Safeguarding Lead being absent) or not desired (due to the Safeguarding Lead being potentially implicated) then another member of the Senior Leadership Team or Chief Executive should be informed. The Chief Executive (or Senior Responsible Officer) in their absence will escalate to the Chair of Trustees if deemed to be of sufficient gravity.
5.2.4 Safeguarding Champions should lead a culture within their teams that promotes the wellbeing and protection of all vulnerable adults and children. This culture will be supported through ensuring safeguarding risk assessments are carried out for all events and services and regular reviews are carried out to identify potential risks and learning from any incidents. Safeguarding Champions should consider the potential for actual and spurious claims being made against individuals working for or on behalf of Asthma UK.
5.2.5 The Safeguarding Lead should support Safeguarding Champions, teams and individuals to consider safeguarding risks in advance of events and new services. They should also encourage a culture of considering where potential safeguarding issues may have arisen and use these insights to inform the updating of Safeguarding policies and organisational learning.
5.3 Chief Executive, Senior Leadership Team and Board of Trustees
5.3.2 The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for safeguarding within Asthma UK and as such Trustees are responsible for approving the Safeguarding Policies, with policy scrutiny on a regular basis by the Nominations Committee.
5.3.3 The Chief Executive and Trustees are responsible for overseeing the performance of the Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Champions in their implementation of the policy.
5.3.4 The Chief Executive or Trustees may request written or verbal updates at any time should the need arise due to concerns around the implementation of the policy or an incident or to pre-empt a specific event or risk. Incidents are also reported quarterly through the CEO report to Board.
5.3.5 Project sponsors should ensure that all project plans and briefs include a risk assessment to highlight potential safeguarding as a risk. This need not be a lengthy or onerous task but should be proportional to the potential risks. There should be documented evidence that safeguarding issues have been considered, any risks outlined and mitigations proposed.
5.4 Organisational Development Team
5.4.1 As part of standard employment checks, Asthma UK only offers employment conditional on receipt of suitable references.
5.4.2 For roles where a potential employee’s primary duties relate to contact with potentially vulnerable adults or children (currently our Helpline Nurses) Asthma UK undertakes a standard Disclosure and Barring Service check in addition.
5.4.3 As part of core induction processes colleagues are provided with information relating to safeguarding principles and are required to read all policies relating to HR practices including this Safeguarding Policy. In addition, managers provide colleagues with orientation and training in relation to the safeguarding procedures that must be followed for their duties. The Organisational Development Team will keep documentary evidence of training having taken place.
5.4.4 The People and OD team will also provide annual training workshops to promote and reinforce the principles of safeguarding to all staff. Safeguarding Champions will be responsible for identifying emerging learning needs and will work with the Safeguarding Lead to ensure that these needs are met.
5.4.5 Asthma UK only provide basic references for people leaving Asthma UK, this would cover the role and dates employed within the organisation. If the new employer requested further information about the employee then this would be assessed on a case by case basis.
5.5 Asthma UK Staff, volunteers, representatives
5.5.1 As set out above, as part of their induction all Asthma UK staff will be made aware of the Safeguarding Policy and the People and Organisational Development team will check that staff are aware of their responsibilities in the HR induction meeting. Line managers highlight to the employee the practices and procedures that operate in relation to safeguarding in their teams. Staff have a responsibility to read and understand the policies as they apply to them and their role. If they are assisting another team or member of staff beyond their usual role, they should familiarise themselves with the relevant policies.
5.5.2 As part of the employment process, prospective employees will be asked to disclose any previous criminal convictions or pending investigations.
5.5.3 It is the responsibility of individual members of staff to complete appropriate safeguarding training and assessments as appropriate to their role and responsibilities.
5.5.4 To maintain a Safeguarding culture, each member of staff has a responsibility to consider potential safeguarding risks and implications relating to any aspect of their role. Any potential concerns must be discussed with their line manager or Safeguarding Champion including if they do not feel competent or confident. It is recommended that any issues are documented (for example on email) to establish an audit trail. It may be appropriate to perform a more detailed safeguarding risk assessment as part of the planning process for an event or service.
5.5.5 Issues that prevent implementation of this policy and related policies must be highlighted to staff member’s line manager or Safeguarding Champion who should act or inform the Safeguarding Lead.
5.5.6 As standard management practice, employees will be given regular feedback on their performance including the identification of any learning and development needs. This feedback will highlight any areas that need addressing including in relation to safeguarding awareness. Employees will be supported to ensure that they can undertake their duties in line with our quality standards. Any issues will be managed in line with the Capability Procedure, (as set out in Section 3 of the Performance Management and Development Policy). Where employees fail to follow Asthma UK procedures disciplinary action may result as set out in our Grievance and Disciplinary Policy.
5.5.7 Where Asthma UK has volunteers, representatives or partners acting as agents of Asthma UK or who may, by implication, be associated with Asthma UK, it is essential that Asthma UK standards and values are not compromised. In these circumstances the highest level of safeguarding culture and behaviour should be maintained. This may require due diligence processes and/or sharing of Asthma UK safeguarding policies. Asthma UK may choose to insist of the same levels of checks and training as it would normally expect an employee.
5.5.8 Asthma UK may require a request of partners to disclose their safeguarding policies and address any specific concerns re members of staff in the employ of that partner.
5.5.9 Documentation of any processes taken to maintain Asthma UK safeguarding processes and inclusion within contracts is recommended.
5.6 Asthma UK partners and associates
5.6.1 Where Asthma UK has a contract, relationship or is providing support (including financial) to an individual or organisation a clear understanding of the organisation’s safeguarding values and policies should be shared and where necessary included in a contract to protect the reputation of Asthma UK. Organisations will be directed to the Asthma UK Safeguarding Policy.
5.6.2 Asthma UK should be informed of any potential or actual deviation from their safeguarding values or policies by any partner or associate at the earliest opportunity.
5.6.3 Any deviation from the safeguarding values or policies by any partner or associate from those of Asthma UK may represent a force majeure in any contract or agreement.
5.6.4 Where Asthma UK is working with a partner who is acting as agents of Asthma UK or who may, by implication, be associated with Asthma UK, it is essential that Asthma UK standards and values are not compromised. In these circumstances the highest level of safeguarding culture and behaviour should be maintained. This may require due diligence processes and sharing of Asthma UK safeguarding policies. Asthma UK will choose to insist of the same levels of checks and training as it would normally expect an employee.
5.6.5 Asthma UK may require partners to disclose their safeguarding policies and address any specific concerns re members of staff in the employ of that partner.
6. Important numbers and contacts
Immediate suspected danger for Adults, children & young people:
City of London adult safeguarding information:
020 7332 1224
Children and young people safeguarding information NSPCC:
0808 800 5000