Oxford Community Action

Safeguarding Policy & Procedures

Approved by Directors: August 2022

  1. Purpose: The purpose of OCA is tosupport new and emerging Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities (BAME) alongside more established BAME communities to tackle and overcome barriers created by structural inequalities (e.g. labour market and ethnic health inequalities) that prevent BAME individuals and communities from reaching their full potential and enjoying equal representation and participation as active citizens within UK institutions and wider civil society.
    1. As part of this purpose we provide a range of activities for the public which include but are not limited to:
      • Children’s activities
      • Adult food parcel support
      • Community Meals
      • Community research & advocacy
  2. Scope
    1. This document sets out the safeguarding responsibilities of the Organising Team, staff, volunteers, sessional workers and directors. It provides guidance on identifying abuse and neglect as well as responding to, reporting and recording concerns.
    2. Safeguarding children[1]:
      Safeguarding children duties apply to any charity working with, or coming into contact with, anyone under the age of 18.Safeguarding children means to:
      • protect children from abuse and maltreatment
      • prevent harm to children’s health or development
      • ensure children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
      • take action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.
    3. Safeguarding adults at risk[2]:
      Safeguarding adults at risk means protecting their right to live in safety and free from abuse and neglect.
      Safeguarding duties for adults at risk apply to any charity working with anyone aged 18 or over who:
      • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and
      • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
      • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

      An adult at risk of abuse may:

      • have an illness affecting their mental or physical health
      • have a learning disability
      • suffer from drug or alcohol problems
      • be frail.
    4. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all Organising Team, staff, volunteers, sessional workers and trustees who have direct contact with children or adults at risk, or who have access to information about them, have a responsibility to safeguard, signpost and promote their welfare.
    5. This policy refers to the safeguarding of: the children who attend our sessions, the adults who attend our sessions, our volunteers, our sessional workers (visitors), our staff and our directors.
  3. Context and background
    1. The statutory framework for adult safeguarding in England is set out in the Care Act 2014 and related Statutory Guidance and regulations. This policy is informed by the Act and it reflects the culture shift required in safeguarding practice to ensure that people who are being abused or neglected, or who may be at risk, are supported to make choices and, wherever possible, remain in control of decision making. OCA will promote empowerment and wellbeing throughout its safeguarding practice.
    2. The statutory framework for children’s safeguarding is the Children Act 2004 and related guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ (2018). Voluntary organisations have legal responsibilities under The Children’s Act 2004 Section 11 – a duty to safeguard and promote welfare.
    3. The Care Act 2014 defines an adult at risk as a person who has care and support needs and is, or is at risk of, being abused or neglected and unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect (or risk of it) because of those needs. The Care Act statutory guidance identifies different types of abuse of an adult at risk.
    4. Child protection involves taking steps to safeguard children and young people at risk or suffering from physical, emotional or sexual abuse. More information about the different forms of child abuse can be found here.
  4. Policy
    1. OCA is committed to safeguarding[3] all adult participants and child visitors, volunteers, staff, trustees and sessional workers regardless of ethnicity, religion, immigration status, marital status, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation or beliefs. Some visitors may be adults at risk, others are children. This policy defines a child as any child under the age of 18. OCA aims to create relationships of trust with participants and takes an empowerment approach to our activities that promotes the independence and power of people we work with. This way of working will also inform our safeguarding.
  5. Related documents
    1. This policy should be read alongside other OCA policies and procedures including the following[4]:
  6. Procedures
    1. Auditing policies and procedures for safeguarding
      1. An audit of safeguarding concerns, action taken and training and support provided for Organising Team members, staff and volunteers will be conducted annually by the Directors. The safeguarding policies and procedures will be reviewed annually or in the light of significant changes to best practice or legislation, or the practices of this group.
    2. Roles and responsibilities
      1. All the Organising Team, Directors, staff and volunteers have a duty to familiarise themselves with and adhere to this policy. The Organising Team, staff and volunteers are also responsible for ensuring that they undertake the relevant training identified for their role.
      2. The Directors will appoint a Safeguarding Officer who is responsible for the updating and implementation of the Safeguarding Policy.
      3. The Safeguarding Officer at time of last revision of this policy is named as Hassan Sabrie and contact details can be found in Appendix one. This position was elected at the directors meeting on 23rd of August 2023, The Safeguarding Officer appointed will receive an enhanced DBS check and training relevant to their role.
      4. The Safeguarding Officer will:
        – Ensure that the safety and welfare of adults at risk and children is OCA’s highest priority;
        – Ensure that this policy is enacted and monitored including briefing, training and gathering feedback from volunteers;
        – Ensure appropriate levels of DBS checks are carried out according to the roles of staff and volunteers;
        – Act as the main contact for discussing information and concerns around safeguarding adults at risk and children;
        – Ensure that safeguarding concerns are heard and acted upon, including reporting of concerns to appropriate authorities when necessary;
        – Attend appropriate training to ensure all co-ordinators/volunteers remain up to date with current practice and legislation and ensure co-ordinators and volunteers have access to further appropriate information.
      5. Where the actions of the Safeguarding Officer are in question, the matter will be referred to the other Directors who will temporarily take on these responsibilities while an investigation takes place.
    3. Recruitment and DBS checks
      1. All potential Organising Team members, staff and volunteers will be required to:
        – Complete an informal interview to assess their experience and suitability for the role;
        – Receive a DBS check based on their role. For staff/volunteers supervising children on a regular basis this will be an enhanced check. For other roles it will be a basic check.
      2. OCA will monitor the demographics and needs of participants and review the level of DBS checks required to ensure the safety and welfare of participants on an annual basis or more frequently as required.
    4. Training, supervision and support
      1. All Organising Team members, staff and volunteers will receive training and support appropriate to their role to ensure safeguarding policies and procedures are understood and implemented. This will include, but not be limited to:
        – Induction programme – including discussion of safeguarding policy and procedure, opportunity to ask questions;
        – Shadowing – to develop understanding of OCA ways of working;
        – An allocated Director who the volunteer can seek support from.
        – Training – where appropriate, Organising Team members, staff and volunteers may attend safeguarding training either internally or via an external provider.
    5. Allegations of abuse
      1. Any OCA Organising Team member, Trustee, staff member or volunteer who receives a disclosure of abuse should follow the guidance below.

        Stay calm and listen carefully
        – Remain non-judgemental
        – Reassure the child or adult at risk that the abuse was not their fault
        – Call emergency services if urgent medical/police help is needed
        – Explain that you will need to discuss what they have told you with another OCA team member
        – Record all facts

        Promise to keep any aspect of the disclosure confidential
        – Challenge the alleged abuser
        – Investigate the alleged abuse yourself
        – Discourage anyone from reporting concernsBe judgemental or overreact
        – Ask leading questions

    6. Reporting concerns
      1. If any Organising Team members, staff member or volunteer has concerns that a child or adult at risk is at risk of or currently being abused, they must bring this to the attention of the other the OCA Safeguarding Officer or another Director.
      2. Any Organising Team members, staff and volunteers in attendance at a session will debrief at the end of each session and discuss any safeguarding concerns.
      3. If it is agreed the concern needs further attention, anyone acting on behalf of OCA will:
        – For both adults and children, their wishes should be kept at the centre of any action taken and they should be informed of progress at all stages.
        – For adults: discuss the concern with the person concerned and seek their view on next steps. If the concern is serious enough to warrant a report to social services or the police, every effort must be made to seek their consent. In an emergency, follow the procedure outlined in the appendix two flowchart.
        – For children: depending on the nature of the concern, it may be discussed with the child and/or their parent/guardian. For immediate concerns, a report may be made to children’s social services or the police. If the parent or carer is accused of abusive behaviour, exercise caution in approaching them directly and seek advice from the children’s safeguarding team.
    7. Recording concerns
      – All concerns regarding actual or suspected abuse should be recorded by the Directors in the Safeguarding Log.
      – The date of the concern
      – The nature of the concern
      – The location/event at which the concern was raised
      – Any action taken and the reasons for the action (or inaction)
      – The names of those involved.
    8. Confidentiality
      1. We operate a policy of confidentiality within the group which means that people do not share personal information about each other outside of group members. All concerns are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. However, OCA recognises that there may be times when information needs to be shared in order to safeguard or protect a child or adult at risk.
      2. When such situations arise, all possible efforts will be made to discuss the concern with the individual involved and seek their consent for information sharing. Where this is not possible, the individual will be kept informed about any information that is shared about them.
    9. Allegations made against a staff member or volunteer
      1. Any allegations that an Organising Team member, Trustee, staff or volunteer has abused a child or adult are reported immediately to the OCA Safeguarding Lead and we refer any such complaint to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
      2. We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
      3. Where the OCA Organising Team and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the team member in question may be suspended for the duration of the investigation.
    10. Safeguarding adults
      1. OCA will practice safe recruitment of Organising Team members, volunteers, staff and Trustees as described above.
      2. OCA commits to supporting its safeguarding work by signposting people to appropriate services that may help meet their support needs.
      3. All action taken in regard to safeguarding of adults at risk, including referrals to Social Services and the police, must be subject to the consent of the participant. In every situation, it will be assumed that a person can make their own decisions and action will only be taken in the absence of consent from the participant where they or other adults at risk or children are at significant risk of or experiencing harm.
    11. Safeguarding children
      1. Actions taken in respect of children must be subject to parental/guardian consent unless doing so would put the child in danger.
      2. OCA will practice safe recruitment of Organising Team members, volunteers, staff and Trustees as described above.
      3. OCA will strive to provide safe environments for all children and adults for any activities delivered as part of our programme. This includes:
        – Creating a child friendly space
        – Avoiding accidents
        – Child protection
        – Sensitivity
        – Aiming to deploy adult: child ratios as recommended by the Department for Education (one adult to 10 children over the age of 8).
      4. All children under 8 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at OCA.
      5. Volunteers without an enhanced DBS check and who are regularly supervising children are not left unsupervised with children, either on or off site.
    12. Health and safety
        1. All children and adults have the right to be safe and to be protected from harm. OCA will ensure that health and safety procedures are followed to create a safe environment. Any potential hazards will be drawn to the attention of staff, volunteers and participants and will be dealt with as soon as possible.
      1. However, there is always the risk of accidents particularly when there is a large number of people, and ultimately adults are responsible for themselves.
  7. Approval
    1. This Safeguarding Policy is was approved by the Directors on 23rd August 2022



OCA Safeguarding Officer

Name: Hassan Sabrie
Telephone:   07412 537961
Email: [email protected]


In an emergency call 999

If you have a concern about a child, please call MASH on 0345 050 7666 during office hours (8.30am – 5pm, Monday to Thursday, 8.30am – 4pm, Friday)

Outside office hours call the Emergency Duty Team on 0800 833 408

The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is the front door to Children’s Social Care for all child protection and immediate safeguarding concerns. If there is an immediate safeguarding concern where a child is deemed at risk or has potentially suffered significant harm, the MASH team should be contacted immediately.

For example:

    • Allegations/concerns that the child has been sexually/physically abused.
    • Concerns that the child is suffering from severe neglect or other severe health risks.
    • Concern that a child is living in or will be returned to a situation that may place him/her at immediate risk.
    • The child is frightened to return home.
    • The child has been abandoned or parent is absent.

Concerns or allegations about a professional working with children

    • If you are a practitioner and have concerns about another practitioner or volunteer who works with children, or you need to report them, you will need to contact the Local Authority Designated Officer(LADO) on 01865 815956.

Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults

In an emergency call 999
Tel: 0345 050 7666
Tel 2: 0800 833 408 (out of hours)

See also: https://www.osab.co.uk/how-to-report-concerns/

[1] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees

[2] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees

[3] The term ‘safeguarding’ refers to the reasonable steps charities should take to protect people who come into contact with their charity from harm (Safeguarding and protecting people or charities and trustees, Charity Commission, December 2017 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-trustees)

[4] These policies were under development at the time of this policy being agreed.