Trustees, staff, volunteers and contractors may interact with children under 16 years of age and adults at risk (hereafter called vulnerable individuals) during their work. This policy’s purpose is to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable individuals.
The aim of this policy is to:
• inform staff, contractors, volunteers and visitors of Bipolar Edinburgh’s approach to safeguarding
• provide guidance on safeguarding issues to look out for
• describe the procedure for referring safeguarding matters to the nominated officer
Safeguarding means protecting individuals’ health, well-being and human rights. It enables them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect . Bipolar Edinburgh recognises the importance of vulnerable individuals' safety, welfare and needs and that all individuals have a right to protection from discrimination and abuse.
A vulnerable individual is any child aged or an adult who:
• cannot look after their own well-being, property, rights or other interests
• is at risk of harm from themselves or someone else
• is disabled or has a condition (mental, neurodiverse or physical) that means they are more vulnerable to being harmed than other adults
All of these conditions must be met for the individual to be classed as a vulnerable adult.
Relevant legal frameworks include:
• Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, as amended
• Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000
• Equality Act 2010
• Human Rights Act 1998
• Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003
• Mental Health (Scotland) Act 2015
• Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
The Chair of the Board of Trustees is responsible for implementing, operating and monitoring this policy. The Executive Director is responsible for implementing the recruitment procedures.
Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility. Bipolar Edinburgh will educate staff, volunteers and contractors about safeguarding matters.
Identification and reporting
Bipolar Edinburgh will:
establish and maintain an environment where vulnerable individuals feel safe
appoint a trustee whom staff, volunteers, contractors, service users and outside agencies can approach if they are concerned
ensure staff, volunteers and contractors understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse or harm and responsibility for referring concerns to the nominated trustee
ensure that service users understand the responsibility placed on Bipolar Edinburgh for protecting vulnerable individuals
follow approved procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff, a volunteer or another adult with the nominated trustee
make safeguarding information available
Types of abuse
Abuse can take different forms:
Neglect or self-neglect
Bipolar Edinburgh has implemented policies and procedures to ensure as far as possible that persons who are unsuitable to work with vulnerable individuals are not employed by the organisation or allowed access to vulnerable individuals as volunteers or visitors. People who perform regulated work will be expected to become members of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme before being left alone with vulnerable individuals.
The Data Protection Act 2018 permits personal data sharing with statutory agencies, without the permission of the data subject (the vulnerable individual or their parents/caregivers, where appropriate) in certain circumstances where it is in the vulnerable individual’s best interests. Advice from the Data Protection Officer should be sought before personal data is shared outwith the organisation.
Responding to concerns
This process provides a general guide for responding to a safeguarding concern.
Safeguarding refers to the action taken in response to concerns that a vulnerable individual may be at risk of harm. The test is ‘significant harm’ or risk of significant harm. There is no legal definition of significant harm or a distinction between harm and significant harm. The extent to which harm is significant will relate to the severity or anticipated severity of impact on a vulnerable individual’s health and development.
1. If you are concerned that a vulnerable individual may be at risk of harm or has been exposed to abuse, recognise this as a safeguarding concern and act immediately.
2. If you suspect a vulnerable individual may be at risk and/or a vulnerable individual discloses information suggesting they have been at risk:
• collect information using open-ended questions
• take the vulnerable individual to a private and safe place (keeping the door open)
• reassure the vulnerable individual and stress that they are not to blame and that they were right to tell you
• listen to the vulnerable individual and tell them that you believe them
• tell the vulnerable individual that you have to speak to someone who can help to keep them safe
• don’t interview the vulnerable individual, keep questions to a minimum and encourage the vulnerable individual to use their own words
• investigate the issue yourself
• ask the vulnerable individual to write down what they said or repeat it to another adult
• record the conversation on any device
• ask another adult to witness their disclosure; the vulnerable individual has chosen to tell you
3. Record as soon as possible exactly what the vulnerable individual said to you, what you heard or what you saw and any other relevant information.
4. Report the concern to the nominated officer along with a copy of your record.
5. Where there is a safeguarding concern, the nominated officer may share relevant information with police or social work without delay, provided it is necessary, proportionate and relevant.
Social Care Direct: 0131 200 2324 (office hours), 0800 731 6969 (out of hours)
Police (non-urgent): 101 (non emergency) 999 (emergency)
Version 1.0 approved by the Board, 16th March 2023.