Safeguarding Policy

Our Policy

Our Safeguarding Policy covers our response to Safeguarding here at the University of Derby, including who is involved in our safeguarding response, how we deal with disclosures, how to spot the signs of abuse and how we safeguard students who are learning online with us. 

Safeguarding Policy and Procedure

Policy Document
Appendix 1. Safeguarding training plan
Appendix 2. Reporting and responding to a safeguarding concern
Appendix 3. Guidance for receiving a disclosure of abuse
Appendix 4. Guidance for delivering organised online activities for children
Appendix 5. Types of abuse and how to spot the signs
Appendix 6. Safeguarding contact details

Other related policies
Under 18's in Higher Education

1.    Purpose/Abstract. The University is committed to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect and ensuring that all staff and students are aware of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding, are alert to safeguarding concerns and know how to respond to concerns.
Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone in the University community. We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and each other safe and have a duty to act if we are concerned for the wellbeing of another.

This policy sets out the University of Derby’s (UOD) approach to safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk within the University. It also demonstrates how the university will deal with concerns raised that indicate that a member of our staff or student body may be at risk of abuse or neglect, and the type of action that the University may take to manage such matters and provide support.

2. Scope. This policy applies to all university activities, undertaken at any UoD campus in the UK, including DSRL (Derbyshire Student Residences Ltd) Halls of Residence within Derby. This policy applies to all staff and students of the university, including those that do not have a specific role in relation to safeguarding matters, and visitors or contractors engaged by the University who may come into contact with a child or adult at risk as part of their work or activities. Staff and students on work-based placement learning in clinical settings, health care, and social care may come into regular contact with children and Adults at Risk. Students on work-based placement learning are encouraged to invoke the safeguarding policy and procedures of the organisation in which they are carrying out their placement. However, if this is not appropriate or if no action is taken, students are encouraged (with the support of their Personal Academic Tutor) to follow this safeguarding policy for reporting of safeguarding concerns.

For the purposes of this policy this includes the Union of Students. The University and the Union of Students are committed to working together and sharing information in order to safeguard the interests and wellbeing of children and adults at risk, e.g. in relation to individuals and activities with student societies and volunteering. 

The University reserves the right to request appropriate safeguarding policies and assurances from contractors and placement providers. The University expects organisers bringing under-18s onto its premises, e.g. for conferences, summer schools or school visits, to ensure they have local safeguarding procedures and are familiar with relevant UOD policies.

Out of Scope: Safeguarding issues that arise as a result of private agreements made outside the University by students, e.g. with private halls of residence, private landlords or private counselling. In such cases, the University may facilitate a referral or a discussion, but the student is expected to follow the procedures of the appropriate private organisation or the professional body. However, the University may consider using this policy when both parties (the reporter and reported) are UoD students or involve UoD staff.

In addition, Derby Theatre is out of scope for the purposes of this policy as a subsidiary to the university. It has in place a separate safeguarding policy and procedure.  

3. Definitions. The term “safeguarding” is defined as actions taken to promote the wellbeing of children and adults with care and support needs and protect them from harm. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding applies if a child or an adult with care and support needs is experiencing or at risk of abuse and neglect.

The term "staff" will be used to describe those people employed on a contract of employment at UOD, as well as those contracted through an agency, working on consultancy agreements, as contractors, on a voluntary or unpaid basis, or otherwise working for or on behalf of UOD. This Policy details the legal requirements, organisational procedures and best practice applicable to all staff.

The term "student" will be used to describe any student registered with UOD on a programme of study.

The legal definition of a "child" is a person under the age of 18. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently and/or is in higher education does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection. For the purpose of this Policy, the terms "child" and "children" will be used to describe all children and young people under the age of 18 participating in activities led by University of the Derby ("UOD" or "the University"). The University is not however ‘in loco parentis’ (having the legal status of a parent) and cannot accept the responsibilities of guardian to any member of its community.

When it comes to safeguarding adults, there are two significant categories defined in legislation – a "vulnerable adult" and an "adult at risk".

The legal definition of a vulnerable adult is complex and depends not just on  the characteristics of the individual in question but the context in which they are interacting with others. A vulnerable adult is a person who is eighteen years or older and is the subject of regulated activity, which can be summarised as follows and excludes family/personal arrangements:

⦁    Providing healthcare
⦁    Providing personal care
⦁    Providing social work
⦁    Assisting with cash, bills and/or shopping
⦁    Assistance with the conduct of a person’s own affairs
⦁    Conveying

The term ‘Adult at Risk‘ is detailed in the  Care Act 2014 and focuses on the situation causing the risk, rather than the characteristics of the adult concerned. An Adult at Risk is an adult who:

⦁    has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs)
⦁    is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
⦁    as a result of those needs, is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it2

While under-18s cease to be children when they turn 18, adults may move in and out of the scope of the vulnerable adult and Adult at Risk definitions. 

UOD will not always know when an adult is facing the types of health and personal issues which would render them vulnerable or at risk, and to an extent will always be dependent on those individuals, or a third party, notifying the University. Generally speaking, if staff are concerned that an adult may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from significant harm or exploitation, or if an adult is in need of community care services because of disability, age or illness, then it is sensible to proceed on the basis that they may be an adult at risk.

Throughout this policy the term "Adults at Risk" is used to refer to adults who are (or are likely to be) either a vulnerable adult or an adult at risk.

Children and vulnerable adults or adults at risk may be perpetrators as well as victims of abuse and neglect.

Care and support needs: Where because of mental or physical illness, physical or intellectual disability or frailty, practical support, also known as social care services, is needed. This support might be living in a nursing or residential home, living in a supported living placement, receiving help in their own home to carry out personal care or daily living tasks, or help to access the community.

Abuse or neglect: could include: 
⦁    physical: causing non-accidental injury or trauma, over-medication, unnecessary restraint, careless manual handling, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 
⦁    sexual: any sexual act towards a child or any sexual act that an adult didn’t consent to or couldn’t understand. This includes non-contact sexual abuse, such as exposing to pornography, encouraging to watch or hear sexual acts, not taking proper measures to prevent exposure to sexual activities by others, grooming, exploitation, persuading to perform sexual acts over the internet and ‘flashing’. This includes child on child sexual violence and harassment 
⦁    psychological or emotional: threats, intimidation, undermining, insulting, harassment, humiliation, bullying, cyber-bullying, denying opportunity, over-protection, witnessing domestic violence, coercion, being drawn into criminal activity including county-lines 
⦁    financial: theft, borrowing money and not repaying it, obtaining money by deception, misappropriating benefits, putting on pressure about wills, cash, property, possessions 
⦁    neglect: ignoring/not identifying medical, physical or emotional needs, not providing access to care, not providing adequate supervision, withholding essentials such as medication, food, water and heating 
⦁    discriminatory: all forms of harassment and unequal treatment based on age, disability, gender reassignment, ethnicity, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation (protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010) 
⦁    institutional: repeated poor care and treatment of vulnerable adults, and unsatisfactory professional practice 
⦁    modern slavery: slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude 
⦁    self-neglect (adults only): not caring for personal hygiene, health or surroundings, including behaviour like hoarding which puts the person, or others, at risk

Further details and other examples can be viewed on the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) website

4. Responsibilities. Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone in the University community. We all have a role to play in keeping ourselves and each other safe and have a duty to act if we are concerned for the wellbeing of another.

The following structures are in place to support the university community with this responsibility. Unless stated otherwise, an individual with a particular responsibility may devolve the tasks associated with this responsibility to another.

Governing Council is UOD's governing body. The University Executive Board is responsible for the executive management of UOD. The University Executive member with overall responsibility for ensuring that this Policy is implemented, upheld and regularly reviewed, is the University Secretary and Registrar.  The University Secretary and Registrar should work with the Safeguarding Officers and governance structures to ensure effective implementation of safeguarding policies and procedures.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead ("DSL") is responsible for responding to safeguarding concerns, allegations or incidents, as well as managing contact with external agencies including referrals to adult or children's social care, the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer), the police and/or the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), as appropriate. 

The DSL is assisted by Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (“DDSLs”). Relevant staff members will become DDSLs, responsible for receiving and responding to safeguarding concerns within the University, forming a safeguarding panel when required to discuss safeguarding concerns, and acting as a point of contact for queries or concerns on safeguarding matters. In the absence of the DSL, the DDSLs will fulfil those DSL duties.

The DSL and DDSLs will undergo relevant safeguarding training and refresher training as appropriate. (see appendix 1)

In addition to the DSL and DDSL, the university operates a Local Safeguarding Officer (LoSO) model. Each College and Professional Service Team has a nominated LoSO who will ensure that good safeguarding practice is embedded and active within their area, provide information, advice and guidance to staff and students about safeguarding and disseminate updates, news and training relating to safeguarding within their area.

Please see Appendix 6 for contact details for Safeguarding Leads, Deputies and Officers at UOD.

Governance UOD has an established Safeguarding Committee within its formal governance and committee structure. The DSL, the DDSLs and other key individuals at UOD (including Student Services representation and Prevent lead), meet quarterly to receive safeguarding reports and to monitor this Policy regularly (for example, following a safeguarding incident or a change in relevant regulations). 

An annual report will be shared with the University Executive. Such reporting will be subject to confidentiality requirements (i.e., all personal details will be omitted from any documents shared).

Chief People Officer is responsible for
⦁    ensuring overall responsibility for staff safeguarding 
⦁    the provision of policies and procedures to ensure staff are aware of and carry out their roles and responsibilities in regards to safeguarding

Head of Admissions is responsible for:
⦁    Advising on the admission and support of students who are aged under 18
⦁    Providing details of students who are under the age of 18 to the College and relevant support services

Head of Student Experience is responsible for
⦁    Providing advice and guidance about risk assessments for activities with groups of young people on or off campus in relation to transition work and work with local Schools and Colleges under the widening access work

PVC Deans/ Directors and Heads of Department are responsible for:
⦁    Ensuring appropriate risk assessments are carried out for relevant activities
⦁    Identifying staff, students and volunteers who may require a DBS check due to the nature of their role/activities
⦁    Liaising with their People, Experience and Culture Business Partner (PEC) to ensure that appropriate DBS checks take place
⦁    Where relevant, monitoring the welfare of staff who are aged under 18 (in conjunction with PEC)
⦁    Ensuring safeguarding concerns within the department are reported in accordance with this policy

Head of Security
⦁    Manages the university Incident Responder Network and these are promoted widely for disclosures, reporting, support, or guidance relating to a safeguarding incident for any member of the University community
⦁    Ensuring that suitable visitor management policies and procedures are in place
⦁    Acts as a key liaison with local police force(s) to ensure ongoing safety across our campuses

All Staff acting on behalf of UoD have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk including;
⦁    familiarising themselves with this policy and undertake training relevant to their role or professional activities (see Appendix 1)
⦁    being vigilant of the signs that may indicate a child or adult at risk is being abused, or is at risk of being abused (see Appendices 5)
⦁    immediately reporting any safeguarding concerns via the safeguarding referral form found on our webpages
⦁    if a child or Adult at Risk makes a disclosure, following the reporting guidelines in Appendix 2

5. Policy Statement. Local authorities have the responsibility to lead in investigating safeguarding concerns, but every organisation and everyone who comes into contact with a child or adult at risk has a responsibility to help keep them safe. 

Staff and students who have contact with children or adults at risk directly, or with those who have caring responsibility for children or adults at risk, have a responsibility to be alert to the possibility that an individual may be at risk of, or has experienced abuse or neglect. 

Anyone may witness or become aware of information suggesting that abuse and neglect is or is at risk of occurring and it must not be assumed that someone else will share the information. It is not everyone’s responsibility to investigate concerns but it is everyone’s responsibility to share concerns appropriately. Early sharing of information is key to providing an effective response to concerns. 

The University will refer when necessary (and ideally, with the involved person/s consent), to statutory services. Safeguarding referrals to the relevant statutory authority will be proportionate and made on the basis of identified and considered risk, including consideration of the impact of the referral on all involved. Staff dealing with safeguarding concerns should never promise confidentiality as information may need to be shared.

Good safeguarding practice takes account of the wellbeing of all of those involved. Students or staff who are affected by safeguarding concerns will be offered support from within the University or signposted to support externally. All staff and students whose roles and responsibilities include regular contact with children and potentially vulnerable individuals will receive training and guidance appropriate to their role. All staff will be made aware of this policy and procedure and related guidance.

5.1 Consent and Confidentiality. It is preferable for the person involved in a safeguarding referral to be engaged with it being made, so we must seek their consent before onward referral, except where doing so may place them or others at greater risk, such as in the case of radicalisation concerns where consent would not be sought. 

Prior to any external referral, the University will carry out a risk assessment to ensure that the individual’s rights to privacy, and the University’s obligations under relevant data protection legislation, are considered alongside risks to the welfare of all those involved. In some case, the University will, having completed a risk assessment, make a referral regardless of consent and as such staff cannot give an assurance of confidentiality. Confidentiality is necessarily limited by the law and by some university policies.

Where appropriate staff should normally inform the person making the disclosure that the information will be passed on to the DSL, who may then have to pass this to the Police or Social Services.
The need to break confidentiality is rare but it most certainly applies in relation to some safeguarding issues. These may include but are not limited to:
⦁    where the welfare of a child or adults at risk is at risk
⦁    where a student is at risk of being drawn into terrorism or ideologies that support terrorism
⦁    discussions where an intention to harm oneself or someone else are expressed
⦁    discussions where involvement in; or intention to become involved in; terrorism, or support for terrorism or extremist ideologies is expressed.
When it is considered necessary to break confidentiality, staff are advised to first discuss the issues with the DSL, DDSL or senior colleague (if possible) in Student Services and to do so on what is called a ‘need to know’ basis only. 

There may be exceptional circumstances where it is not possible to inform the person making the disclosure that the information will be passed on: e.g. if this would be likely to impede the investigation of a crime or the arrest of an offender or put the safety of others at risk – this should be discussed immediately with the DSL or senior member of Student Services staff if possible.

Any discussions and decisions around confidentiality and disclosures will also include the University Data Protection Officer.
Staff can raise a concern anonymously (not revealing the name of the person about whom they are concerned) via the online reporting tool or with the DSL to seek advice about next steps. 

Only those who need to know, from a professional perspective, will be informed or receive written information about allegations, in accordance with legislative requirements.

5.2 Record Keeping. It is the responsibility of the DSL to maintain records of all concerns raised and actions taken. Such records are held centrally and securely within Student Services, separate from an employee or student’s personal records.

All records created in accordance with this policy are managed in accordance with the University's policies that apply to the retention and destruction of records. 

Information about any allegations or suspicions of abuse must be shared on a need-to-know basis only. 
Details of completed risk assessments relating to activities involving Children or Adults at Risk must be retained by the relevant department (Student Services) whilst an activity or event is ongoing and for a minimum of seven years after it has ceased (or the risk assessment has been superseded). 

The University will undertake a regular review of this policy and the University's safeguarding procedures, including an update and review of the effectiveness of procedures and their implementation and the effectiveness of inter-agency working.

5.3 Admission of students under 18 years. The University has in place specific policies and procedures around managing applications from students who are under 18 years of age. See webpages

5.4 Children on the premises. The University has in place specific policies and procedures around children on the premises. See webpages

5.5 Online safeguarding.

5.5.1 Online and/or remote learning - There are different risks presented by the internet in relation to safeguarding vulnerable people from harm, abuse and exploitation. Harm and abuse can be very easy to carry out over the internet and can be difficult to track. 

We encourage people to talk about their online activity particularly if they have questions about the reliability of sources or are concerned about something they have seen/received. 

Anyone with a concern that they or someone else may be at risk of online harm, abuse or exploitation should report this via our online reporting tool or speak directly with the DSL. 

The UoD will ensure any use of online learning tools and systems is in line with privacy and data protection/GDPR requirements.

All staff are expected to adhere to IT-related policies including Acceptable Use Policy, and the ‘how we work’ document. 

See Appendix 4 for guidance in relation to online sessions including children

5.5.2 Indecent Images of Children - If a member of staff or a student becomes concerned that an adult or child connected with UOD has or may have indecent images of children in their possession, the person who has concerns should report these as soon as possible via the online reporting tool or directly to the DSL. Concerns should be reported   even when the person who has or may have possession of the indecent image  is under 18 (and even if the image is of themselves).

A member of staff or a student who is concerned about the possession by another person of indecent images of children should not:
a.    discuss their concerns with the individual in question;
b.    ask them questions about the images;
c.    forward the images to themselves or any other individual or copy or print them; or
d.    try to confiscate the images or any device on which they are stored, as these actions may jeopardise any subsequent UOD and/or criminal investigation.

It is important not to view the images, or if they are viewed inadvertently to cease viewing them immediately.

5.6 Placements and partner institutions.

5.6.1 Partner institutions - Partner institutions are expected to investigate concerns relating to partnership students and to have appropriate policies for ensuring the safeguarding of partnership students, subject to the agreement between the partner and the University.

5.6.2 Placement settings - Where a safeguarding related incident occurs in a placement setting, involving a UoD member of staff or student, the placement involved should implement its own safeguarding policy and procedure, liaising with external agencies as appropriate to ensure the immediate safeguarding of individuals concerned. The placement should as part of its procedures, inform the UoD DSL immediately so any parallel action required can be taken by the University as appropriate.
Placement settings should provide suitable induction programs to make this reporting route and any placement specific policies, procedures and guidance clear to placement students and staff at UoD.

5.6.3 Partnerships with Others - The university recognises that it is essential to establish positive and effective working relationships with other agencies e.g. Local Authority, Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), Police, Health, National Youth Advocacy Service, Youth Agencies, Local counselling agencies, CAMHS, Local Safeguarding Boards etc.

5.7 Concerns that relate to criminal matters. The University reserves the right to report to the Police any incident which it believes may constitute a criminal offence. It should be noted that the University does not undertake criminal investigations and individuals who believe that they are a victim of crime should report this to the police or other relevant authority.

5.8 Malicious allegations. The University will seek to ensure that this Policy is not used in a way which causes unwarranted detriment to others. The University will act when vexatious or malicious allegations are made or when deliberately false information is provided. In such circumstances, disciplinary action may be taken, and any investigation based upon those allegations may be terminated.

5.9 Safeguarding and Staff.

5.9.1 Allegations against staff - The university has in place a ‘how we work’ document which sets out clearly its expectations in terms of staff behaviours. Nevertheless, allegations against staff may occur. All allegations and concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with according to the relevant statutory guidance.

Where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff, the relevant staff disciplinary procedures may be invoked as well as potential reporting of the case to the appropriate authorities, normally the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). Following this, any investigation taken under Local Safeguarding Children’s Board procedures or by the Police may take precedence over internal university procedures. The University will always manage such matters in a manner which does not prejudice or compromise any criminal or regulatory investigation. 

Any such allegations must be reported to the DSL or via the online reporting tool, as soon as possible. The DSL will consult on the matter with PEC and will, if appropriate, report it to the LADO.

Where an allegation is made by a student, the allegation may be investigated through internal university procedures. If it is subsequently found that a student has made an allegation that is malicious or vexatious, or that the allegation was prompted by the student’s inappropriate behaviour, the alleged breach to the student code of conduct may be investigated via Student Conduct Procedures.

If you work in 'regulated activity' (as defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012), you are obliged to report any change in your circumstances that impacts or might impact your suitability to work in that role, either to your PVC, Director or Head of Department, or other senior leader for FE and apprentices as outlined in the University ‘How We Work Policy’ (see webpages)

5.9.2 Recruitment, selection and employment procedures. The University’s Guidelines on recruitment, selection and employment procedures can be found on our webpages. The University will take all appropriate steps during the recruitment and selection process to ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with Children and Adults at Risk. The University has robust recruitment processes in place to deter and prevent people who are unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults from securing employment.

6. Sanctions. All members of the University community have the right to freedom from harm and / or abuse. Any action(s) or omission(s) by any member of the university community that fails to appropriately safeguard a member of our community may result in disciplinary action. This is in line with our How We Work Policy.

6.1 If an employee breaches the standards outlined in this document it may lead to action under the disciplinary procedure and in serious cases, it may result in dismissal.

6.2 if you are working for us but are not directly employed e.g. contractors, agency workers, volunteers, etc. you are also expected to comply with the standards when working for us. A failure to do so may result in the termination of your contract or engagement and render you unsuitable for consideration for future work opportunities with us.

6.3 For members of the GC, including members of sub-committees of the GC, you are also expected to comply with the standards (in particular section 2, how we work) when carrying out your duties as a member of the GC or when representing UoD, whether that is in an official or a personal capacity. Any breach of the standards may lead to removal from office under our Instrument and Articles and the Ordinances. In some cases, we may need to report allegations of improper behaviour to the Office for Students (OfS) or other relevant bodies in line with our regulatory duties as an FE and HE provider and our conditions of registration.

7. Equality Analysis. An equality analysis (EA) has been conducted in relation to this policy. It is not expected that this policy will have adverse impact on a specific group or individuals. The EA will be regularly revisited, in line with any Policy review, or sooner if required.

Title Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
Document Type Policy
Version Version 1.0
Area The Registry
Author Head of Student Services
Owner Head of Student Services
Team Student Services
Equality Analysis Conducted
Approval Body Governing Council
Last approval date February 2024