John O'Connor Writing School | Child Safeguarding Procedures
Welcome to the inaugural John O’Connor Writing School and literary arts festival 2016. The three-day festival will be hosted in some of Armagh’s most historic, graceful and inspiring buildings including the magnificent Georgian Armagh Public Library, the Market Street Library, the Market Place Theatre, the Charlemont Arms Hotel and upstairs at Armagh County Museum! The writing school in John O’Connor’s name is intended to mark the rediscovery of his highly acclaimed novel, Come Day Go Day and to involve people in the art of writing fiction, creative non-fiction and commercial communications. The three days promise to offer a unique mix of arts events, writing courses and Masterclasses which will provide something for everyone.
john oconnor, armagh, writing school, masterclass, november, literary events, tutor, writing, events, paul muldoon, muldoon
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Responsibilities of the Association

At the outset of any event involving children the company will:

  • Undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk.
  • Identify at the outset the person with designated responsibility for child safeguarding.
  • Engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting (wherever necessary and in consultation with the relevant statutory authority).
  • Ensure that children are supervised at all times.
  • Know how to get in touch with the local authority social services, in case of the need to report a concern.


Parents

  • The Association believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and the Association . Parents, where necessary will be encouraged to be involved in the activities and events where relevant, and to share responsibility for the care of children. All parents will be given a copy the company s Child Protection Policy and procedures as required.
  • All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children

After events or activities organised by the Association. It is NOT the responsibility of the Association to take children home.

Unsupervised Contact

  • The Association will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with

children.

  • If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children.
  • If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimize risk. For

example, work will be carried out in a public area, or in a designated room with a

door open.

  • If it is predicted that an individual is likely to require unsupervised contact with children, he or she may be required to provide a recent criminal record disclosure.


Physical Contact

  • All adults will maintain a safe and appropriate distance from children.
  • Adults will only touch children when it is absolutely necessary in relation to the particular activity.
  • Adults will seek the consent of the child prior to any physical contact and the purpose of the contact shall be made clear.


Managing sensitive information

  • The Association will not take use or store photographs or images of children without the express written permission of parents and/or carers.
  • Permission will be sought from the parents for use of any so agreed photographic material featuring children for promotional or other purposes.
  • The Association’s web-based materials and activities will be carefully monitored for inappropriate use.
  • The Association will ensure confidentiality in order to protect the rights of its members and volunteers, including the safe handling, storage and disposal of any sensitive information such as criminal record disclosures.


Suspicion of abuse

  • If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of the Association, please make this known to the person with designated responsibility for child safeguarding. If you suspect that a person with responsibility for child safeguarding is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the Chairman or second designated officer for Child Safeguarding.
  • Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved. All written records must be provided to the designated officer within 24 hours.
  • If a serious allegation is made against any member of the Association, volunteer, chaperone, venue staff etc, that individual will be suspended immediately until the investigation is concluded by the appropriate statutory authority. The individual will not have any contact with any other child during that time in relation to any of the Association’s activities, and pending the result of the statutory investigation.


Disclosure of abuse

If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:

  • Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action.
  • Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace

and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer.

  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help.
  • Reassure the child that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually social services or the police.
  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record.


Recording

  • In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will

be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.

  • An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure,

the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken eg. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported.

  • The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation, and within 24 hours of the event.


Rights & Confidentiality

  • If a complaint is made against a member of the Association, he or she will be made aware of his rights.
  • No matter how you may feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the child who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under

the Data Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal

investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.

  • In criminal law the Crown, or other prosecuting authority, has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Accidents

  • To avoid accidents, chaperones and children will be advised of “house rules” regarding health and safety and will be notified if areas are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.
  • If a child is injured while in the care of the Association, a designated first-aider will

administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in the Association’s accident book.

This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child safeguarding.

  • If a child joins in an activity and has already an obvious physical injury a record of this will be made in the accident book. This should be brought to the attention of the Safeguarding officer.

Where appropriate the parent or carer should be asked if they are aware of the injury, and their responses noted. This record will be countersigned by the person with responsibility for child safeguarding. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in the activity organised by the Association.

Criminal Record Disclosures

  • If the Association believes it is in its best interests to obtain criminal record disclosures for chaperones or other personnel, it will inform the individual of the necessary procedures and the level of disclosure required. A Standard disclosure

will apply for anyone with supervised access to children. An Enhanced disclosure

will be required for anyone with unsupervised access.

  • The Association will have a written code of practice for the handling of disclosure information.
  • The Association will ensure that information contained in the disclosure is not misused.


Chaperones

  • Chaperones will be appointed, where necessary, by the Association for the care of children during the Activities organised by the Association. By law the chaperone is acting in loco parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child. The maximum number of children in the chaperone’s care shall not exceed 12.
  • Potential chaperones will be required to supply photographic proof of identity (eg.

passport, driving licence) and two references from individuals with knowledge

of their previous work with children, unless already well known to the company. They

will also be asked to sign a declaration stating that there is no reason why they would be considered unsuitable to work with children.

  • Chaperones will be made aware of the Company Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
  • Chaperones will not usually have unsupervised access to children in their care.

If unsupervised access is unavoidable, or if this is a requirement of the local authority, a criminal record disclosure will be sought.

  • Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of the producer. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily, the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue.
  • If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform the producer and not allow the child to continue.
  • Under the Dangerous Performances Act, no child of compulsory school age is

permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb. This could include

working on wires or heavy lifting.

  • During any performance activity, chaperones will be responsible for meeting children at the entrance and signing them into the building where this facility is not already provided by the relevant building/organisation.
  • Children will be kept together at all times except when using separate dressing rooms.
  • Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times.
  • Children are not to leave the building unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents.
  • Children will be adequately supervised while going to and from the toilets.
  • Children will not be allowed to enter adult dressing rooms.
  • Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures

in the venue, and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger.

  • Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the society.
  • Chaperones should examine accident books each day. If an accident has occurred, the producer is not allowed to use that child until a medically qualified opinion has been obtained (not just the word of the parent or child).
  • Chaperones should have written arrangements for children after performances. If

someone different is to collect the child, a telephone call should be made to the parent to confirm the arrangements.

  • Children should be signed out when leaving and a record made of the person collecting.

• If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child or make arrangements to take them home.