Introduction & Summary of Policy
This policy outlines the measures which the BLDSA is taking in order to protect vulnerable persons who may engage in our sport, as participants, organisers, helpers or spectators.
The policy includes children, as well as ‘vulnerable adults’. Within law, a vulnerable adult is defined as one who cannot adequately protect themselves from harm. Within the arena of open-water swimming, this may involve the following groups of people (although the list is not exhaustive):
- Children who have not yet attained their 18th birthday
- Adults with certain learning or physical disabilities or mental health difficulties
- Swimmers, particularly those who may become confused or disorientated as a result of the cold
- All of those who are in need of, or who are receiving, emergency first aid or medical treatment, or rescue from the water.
Throughout this policy, the term “Vulnerable persons” is used to encompass the terms child and vulnerable adult.
It is the intention of the BLDSA to help vulnerable persons (whether they be children or adults) to protect themselves whilst undertaking activities under the oversight of the organisation. This includes swims, briefings, presentations, meetings, and occasionally travel to and from or accommodation at such events. In addition, when a child or vulnerable adult enters our organisation’s events, having been subjected to abuse outside the sporting environment, sport can play a crucial role in improving their self esteem. In such cases the association shall work with the appropriate agencies to ensure the person receives the required support.
The BLDSA is committed to helping all persons to enjoy the sport of open water swimming. With regard to vulnerable persons, we are fully committed to ensuring that:
- The welfare of the vulnerable person is paramount at all times
- All persons, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs, sexual identity or any other irrelevant factor, have the right to protection from abuse and discrimination
- All suspicions and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
All members of the association have a duty to be aware of potential issues regarding the protection of vulnerable persons. This includes ensuring their activities do not cause or facilitate harm to vulnerable persons, and reporting any concerns or complaints to the Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer. Volunteers working with the BLDSA are not expected to be trained to deal with situations or abuse or to decide if abuse has occurred, but merely to report any concerns they have.
Certain members of the organisation do have a particular responsibility for the protection of children and vulnerable adults. These include:
- The Safeguarding Officer, who is responsible on an association wide level for putting policies in place and ensuring they are regularly reviewed in light of new developments, ensuring that the policies are adequately disseminated, followed and enforced, providing help and advice, as well as seeking professional advice should this be required.
- The safeguarding committee who assist the safeguarding officer, and deputise for him or her when required.
- The executive committee, led by the BLDSA president
- Swim secretaries and other officials, who must be aware of particular protection issues in relation to their event.
The duties of these people, in addition to the membership as a whole, are explained in further detail throughout this document. Those members who are unsure as to their role should, in the first instance, contact a member of the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee. ￼
This policy is split into the following broad areas:
- Prevention of abuse/neglect (Section A) – this includes vetting procedures for those who work with vulnerable persons, as well as details on how the association seeks to create a culture which respects children and vulnerable adults and minimises the chances of abuse occurring
- Dealing with suspected abuse/neglect (Section B) – information on how to report any concerns, and who is responsible for acting in such circumstances. Further details describing various forms of abuse, and on how to recognise and appropriately report potentially abusive or neglectful situations, are contained as an appendix to this policy.
- Administrative issues and procedures (Section C) – including the makeup of the child and vulnerable adults protection committee, conduct of investigations, and arrangements for affiliated clubs.
In addition, there are a number of appendices to the policy. These include:
- Appendix I: Code of practice for those working with children or vulnerable adults
- Appendix II: Detecting and dealing with abuse or neglect – a guide for members
- Appendix III: Vetting questionnaire
- Appendix IV: Information on the BLDSA Child Protection Strategy
- Appendix V: Sample permission form for use of data & photographs
The BLDSA aims to prevent the occurrence of abuse and neglect by:
- Ensuring that a vetting system is in place, and setting standards for acceptable behaviour.
- Ensuring that the BLDSA creates an atmosphere which respects the contributions of children and vulnerable adults and minimises the risks of abuse or neglect occurring
Ensuring that a vetting system is in place, and setting standards for acceptable behaviour.
All persons whose work with the organisation involves regular, intimate or unsupervised contact with children & vulnerable adults (or data/photographs relating to them), or who has a management or oversight responsibility for such persons, is required to undergo a vetting process. This includes the following people (although the list is not exhaustive):
- Executive committee members and President
- Event organisers and their committee and officials
- Members of other official BLDSA committees
- All those who may man the BLDSA rescue boat
- All those who may act as first aiders at events
- All those likely to act in an official capacity during an event more than once in any twelve month period
- All those who may be advertised, recommended or utilised by the BLDSA’s officials as canoe/rowing boat escorts
- Any other persons as identified by the Safeguarding Officer or Committee from time to time
In cases where such people may be provided by another organisation (e.g. local canoe club, voluntary aid society and so on), internal vetting by the BLDSA shall not be required if the organisations are able to satisfy the relevant swim secretary that they have a vulnerable persons protection policy in place and the members supplied have been duly cleared. If the supplying organisation is unable to so satisfy the swim secretary, clearance by the BLDSA may be required. This will not be necessarily required if the contact is likely to be brief and non-intimate in nature, however swim secretaries should use their discretion in making such a decision. Swim secretaries are advised to consider these factors well in advance of their event, and to seek the advice of the child & vulnerable adult protection committee if required.
Where swimmers (or their parents) make a private arrangement with a friend or family member to provide a canoe escort (or other 1:1 contact), vetting shall not be automatically necessary, although it may be required, at the discretion of the swimmer/parents or the swim secretary. If not submitted to a clearance process, responsibility for the actions of such a person lie solely with the responsible adult who requested their services, and the BLDSA accepts no responsibility for any protection issues that may ensue. As a minimum standard, the swim secretary should be responsible for collecting the name, address and date of birth of all such persons, and storing these details so that a record is maintained in case of any future allegation.
The clearance process shall comprise four parts, these being:
- Vetting Questionnaire
- Criminal Records Check
- Agreeing to a code of good practice
This process (with the exception of the references) shall be repeated every two years (or more often, at the discretion of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer). On each occasion, two members of the child & vulnerable adults protection committee shall review the information gained from each different component of the clearance process and come to a joint decision as to whether the member should be cleared or refused clearance.
New members applying for clearance for the first time will be barred from undertaking any 1:1 contact with children or (potentially) vulnerable adults until the vetting process is completed. Members already cleared who are wishing to renew their clearance will be deemed to be provisionally cleared whilst waiting for the process to be completed.
Those individuals who fail to satisfy any portion of the vetting process, either through failure to engage with the process when requested, or where the process indicates that they may pose a risk to vulnerable persons, may be subject to conditions on their continued membership, as decided by the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee
Responsibility for ensuring that people have been cleared lies with the person requesting their services (usually the swim secretary).
In order to facilitate this, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer shall maintain a register of those who have been cleared, refused clearance, or have clearance pending, comprising their personal details as well as details of their clearance status and other relevant factors. Limited information from this register (usually – name, date of birth and membership number, together with the words “cleared” or “refused clearance”) will be supplied to swim secretaries (and other relevant event organisers) by 1st June each year, with any updates notified to such persons during the swim season. In addition, swim secretaries & event organisers may contact the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer at any time to clarify the status of any particular member(s).
The vetting questionnaire shall contain questions regarding the suitability of the applicant to work with children and vulnerable adults within the organisation, as well as collecting basic biographical data. The exact nature of the questionnaire will be decided on an ongoing basis by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee. One section of the form will include questions regarding the applicant’s criminal record. Possession of a criminal record does not necessarily bar the applicant from working with or being a member of the BLDSA, and full and early disclosure of facts on this form (rather than them being discovered unexpectedly during the formal criminal records check) will be viewed positively. The current version of the questionnaire is contained as an appendix to this policy
Criminal Records Check
Criminal records disclosures (at a standard or enhanced level, dependent on the nature of the activities being undertaken by the applicant), will be requested by a member of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee via an umbrella body. The cost of this will be borne by the association. This committee member will be responsible for ensuring that the form has been correctly filled in, and checking relevant identification documents. They should also take a photograph of the applicant and send this to the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer, for use in internal checking procedures.
In the case of applicants who have lived abroad for a significant period of time (usually >6 months), the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer should acquire expert advice as to the feasibility of checking for any criminal record within that country.
In the event that a criminal records disclosure process does not record any convictions/cautions etc., the member is deemed cleared as regards this stage of the process (after both checkers have seen it).
If any items are revealed in the disclosure process, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer must be informed immediately so that appropriate safeguards (such as suspension) may be put in place, and an investigation begun. The investigation should initially comprise an interview with the member to establish their knowledge of the information revealed (unless revealing this information to the member is prohibited by CRB procedures). If the accuracy of the disclosure is disputed by the member, the investigation should be put on hold until the CRB appeals procedure has been completed.
There can be no comprehensive list of those offences which preclude acceptance into a position within the BLDSA, instead the members of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee viewing the disclosure must make a decision as to whether a risk may be posed to the protection of vulnerable persons coming into contact with the association. Legal advice or similar may need to be sought in some circumstances
If the items shown on the disclosure obviously have no bearing on the applicant’s suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults (e.g. minor motoring offences), the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer may authorise clearance without a full investigation. It is the policy of the BLDSA that ex-offenders should be welcomed in the organisation, with restrictions or bars on membership the exception rather than the rule, and only in situations where the member’s criminal record represents a continued risk to vulnerable persons in the organisation.
Details of the criminal records (or lack thereof) of persons seeking clearance will be treated confidentially, with only persons requiring access to this information (usually limited to the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee) allowed to do so. All disclosures will be destroyed within 6 months of a decision being reached, unless exceptional circumstances (as defined by the child & vulnerable adult protection committee) dictate that they should be kept for longer – if this is the case the member will be informed at the earliest opportunity. During the period of retention, the disclosures will be kept securely by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer or their nominated deputy.
Due to the diverse geographical locations of members of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Commitee, it may sometimes be necessary to send information by post. In the case of information relating to criminal records or other sensitive information, this should be done using recorded delivery, in order to ensure confidentiality is not breached. Use of telephone for transmitting such information is left to individuals’ judgement. Fax, email or voicemail should not be used as a means of transmitting confidential information.
Under no circumstances will information relating to BLDSA members’ criminal records be released to any person not requiring it for the purpose of making a decision as to the suitability of the member to work with children and vulnerable adults. Those members who are privy to this information must ensure that it is used only for this purpose.
All persons seeking clearance for the first time should supply the names and contact details of a referee who can comment on their suitability to work with children and vulnerable adults. Ideally, this should be a recent employer or supervisor in another sports club, and must be from someone outside of the BLDSA. References from family members will not be acceptable.
References will be taken up by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee, who will ask the referee to comment on the following areas:
- The nature and duration of their relationship with the applicant
- Whether the applicant has ever been subject to any disciplinary investigation or action that they are aware of
- Whether they consider the applicant suitable to work with children and vulnerable adults within the BLDSA (an outline of the kinds of activities undertaken by our members should be provided).
The BLDSA will pay the reasonable expenses of referees undertaking this task (normally limited to postage costs, by means of including a stamped addressed envelope)
Agreeing to a code of good practice
The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee shall produce a code of good practice for those members of the BLDSA who come into contact with children or vulnerable adults. Every member applying for (or renewing) their clearance will be provided with a copy of this. The code should be read, and then the slip on the bottom signed and returned to the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer.
Compliance with the code will be monitored at events by members of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee.
Ensuring that the BLDSA creates an atmosphere which respects the contributions of children and vulnerable adults and minimises the risks of abuse or neglect occurring
The BLDSA aims to create an environment where the contributions of all its members are respected, including those of children and vulnerable adults. Children and Vulnerable Adults often have the hardest time of all in having their views listened to, and so extra attention should be paid to ensuring that they receive a fair and respectful hearing, on a par with all other members.
All members, but event organisers in particular, have a responsibility to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are adequately protected. In addition, as part of the BLDSA’s commitment to provide a culture of safety for all its members, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer/Committee may occasionally issue guidance (either on an organisation-wide basis, or to individual members) which is aimed at ensuringthe protection of, and respect for, vulnerable members. This guidance should be followed.
Those members acting as swim secretaries must undertake a period of education in vulnerable group abuse risk assessment, detecting possible cases of abuse, dealing with disclosures of abuse, and reporting concerns to the relevant authorities, the exact nature of which will be decided from time to time by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer. Alternatively, they may wish to appoint a deputy from their swim committee to undertake this. In addition, ongoing training in the BLDSA’s own procedures and policies will be made available to all officials and other interested parties as part of the annual Health & Safety Symposium, and should be attended by at least one representative from each swim.
Swim secretaries (or their deputies) are expected to use the knowledge gained during this training in order to undertake an assessment as to the protection risks involved in their event and produce a plan to remedy them (as part of their general risk assessment); as well as upholding good practice standards amongst the membership during their event. The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee have developed a generic risk assessment covering general protection issues pertinent to many swims, in order to assist with this process. Risk assessments should be returned together with the Health & Safety risk assessment at least one calendar month before the event, and their comprehensiveness and appropriateness, as well as their implementation, will be monitored by a member of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee.
All members of the BLDSA who have received training in child & vulnerable adult protection, either through the BLDSA or via other means, will have their qualification recorded on a central database held by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer, who will then identify any persons who are still in need of training and make this available.
Data relating to children or vulnerable adults will be collected, used, stored and disposed of in accordance with the Data Protection Act. In addition, all of those who handle data on children or vulnerable adults must have undergone a the clearance process described above
Where such data is published (e.g. in event programmes, the BLDSA website, press releases etc.), permission will be sought from the member and/or their parent before this takes place. BLDSA officials are expected to use their judgement to determine whether specific permission is required.
Photographs will be processed using the same principles as for data. Those taking, processing or publishing photographs on behalf of the BLDSA should have undergone the clearance process as described above.
Good practice dictates that photographs of vulnerable persons (such as swimmers exiting the water, or those in swim suits) should be taken and published with due regard to the subject’s modesty. Event organisers are responsible for making sure that any photography undertaken by their officials or by spectators is appropriate and that permission for this has been formally or informally sought by the subjects of the photographs. The BLDSA Publicity officer will be responsible for moderating and appropriately dealing with photographic content for the BLDSA website, newsletters or press releases in accordance with best practice standards.
In order to facilitate A3.20 and A3.21 above, the membership application form for both juniors and adults will include a tick-box asking for permission for use of photographs and data within the organisation (including its website). In those who refuse permission, or for external publicity, further consent will still need to be sought as described above. The form in appendix V may be used for this purpose, although any other form of consent will be considered acceptable.
It is possible that vulnerable persons may witness, or be involved in, distressing events (such as rescue of a severely ill swimmer, being alone with such a swimmer on the water whilst waiting for help, or observing the abuse of another vulnerable person) which may affect their future well-being or enjoyment of the sport. This of course may apply to anybody seeing such an event, but children and vulnerable adults may be particularly at risk. All vulnerable persons who are involved in a distressing incident must be assessed & reassured as soon as possible, and if necessary referred to a counsellor or other appropriate professional. In addition, the swim secretary should ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that vulnerable persons are not put in such a position, taking into account the person’s prior experience and maturity.
The BLDSA President and Executive Committee, through the general secretary shall be responsible for ensuring that job descriptions exist for all types of officials in the association, and for distributing these to the person(s) undertaking these roles. Where qualifications are required to undertake a role (e.g. first aiders, powerboat operators, health & safety officials), original copies of certificates must be seen and copies retained by the membership secretary.
All members of the association (and all parents/guardians of junior members) will be supplied, upon joining, with a summary of the BLDSA’s child & vulnerable adult protection policy, which will contain, at a minimum, the following information:
- Outline of the policy
- Details of the child protection officer and committee, explaining how to contact them if required
Preparedness The Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer/Committee shall provide a document giving guidance on how to detect and respond to incidents, disclosures, or suspicions of abuse or neglect . This guidance shall be provided to all event organisers, executive committee members, and anybody else who requests it.Extra training in this area will be made available to any member requesting it, through the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer.B1.01
Each swim secretary must ensure that they (or a nominated deputy) take on responsibility for monitoring, and dealing with, any incidents of abuse or neglect, disclosures, or other concerns, during their event. A statement to this effect (in addition to the contact details of the responsible person) must be publicised e.g. at a briefing, or in the programme.
This person should be physically present and contactable throughout the event, and should usually be the person who undertook the training described in A3.10 above. They should be equipped with the guidance document described in B1.00, this policy, the swim’s risk assessment, a list of all participants in the event (and contact details for their parents/carers if appropriate), and have access to a telephone. They should also have the contact details of:
- Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee/Officer
- Local Social Services Child Protection Unit
- Police (including crimestoppers number, location of nearest police station)
Dealing with the incident
Any person witnessing, hearing about, or suspecting that abuse or neglect may have occurred has a responsibility to act. The way in which they do so is detailed in the guidance document described in B1.00. Full backing will be given to all members (or non-members) who in good faith report their suspicions.
Once the initial stage of the incident has been dealt with and referrals made to the relevant authorities, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer must be informed at the earliest opportunity. Written details should be provided to him/her by anybody involved in the incident, describing what happened and what was done, using the form developed for this purpose. The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer is then responsible for putting further safeguards in place (e.g. by suspending members), supporting those who were involved in the incident, and liaising with the statutory authorities. ￼
Following the investigation by Social Services/Police (or immediately if this does not occur), the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer will instigate an internal process in order to safeguard the future needs of children or vulnerable persons within the BLDSA.
Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee The AGM shall appoint a Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer, who shall be a member of the executive committee.C1.11
The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer shall select at least three persons from the membership of the BLDSA to serve on the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee, which he/she shall chair.C1.12
The Child & Vulnerable Adults Officer/Committee have overall responsibility for the protection of children and vulnerable adults within the BLDSA, under the oversight of the executive committee & president , including administering and reviewing this policy. They should undergo training appropriate to their role, and may occasionally draw upon the help of external bodies in order to help them safely protect the vulnerable persons within the BLDSA.
The BLDSA shall indemnify itself and the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer and Committee against any claims which may be brought against them as a result of their actions, and shall provide access to legal advice should this be required.
Compliance with this policy is mandatory for all BLDSA members and during all events run under the auspices of the BLDSA. In order to ensure that compliance occurs, the following systems are in place:
- The completion of Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Risk Assessments, together with the comprehensiveness and appropriateness of the assessment, will be monitored. Should any concerns be raised by the member of the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee who is monitoring this, the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer will liaise with the relevant event organiser to ensure that proper procedures are in place and documented before the day of the event. Should this not be achieved to the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer’s satisfaction, the event will not be permitted to run.
- Members of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee will be present at the majority of events each season, and will be responsible for monitoring practice in the area of Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection. Should they note any lapses, they are responsible for taking immediate action to remedy the situation, and for referring the matter to the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer who may wish to instigate an investigation.
- All affiliated clubs will be asked to return a questionnaire sent at the beginning of each year checking that they have the necessary procedures in place and intend to follow them. A random selection of clubs may have an event monitored as described above. Any concerns relating to this will be followed up by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer.
Investigations may be instigated by the Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer, if they have any concerns regarding vulnerable person protection issues. Circumstances which should always result in an investigation include:
a. Evidence of previously unknown criminal record, or other cause for concern occurring during the vetting process
b. Reports that a member failed to follow the code of good practice, or any part of this policy
c. Reports of abuse/neglect by a member of the BLDSA, or at a BLDSA event.
d. Complaints or concerns that the BLDSA’s procedures for the protection of vulnerable persons are in any way insufficient
Members who are accused of, or suspected of, posing any risk whatsoever to children or vulnerable adults will have their membership of the BLDSA suspended until such time as the investigation has concluded.
The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer will be responsible for reviewing cases where suspension may be required, and issuing a letter to that effect to the member concerned. Notification should also be sent to other relevant parties (e.g. organisers of upcoming events) so that they can ensure the suspension is not broken. The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer should also consider notifying external organisations which the suspended member is known to be involved with (e.g. employers, voluntary organisations, clubs) if there is any reason to suspect they may pose a risk to vulnerable persons in that external organisation.
Suspended members should not normally have any contact with other members of the organisation (other than family members, housemates etc.), however they may nominate one member (who is not involved in any way with the investigation) as their representative. This person may provide support and/or attend meetings/interviews etc to act as an advocate for the suspended member.
Upon receipt of a child & vulnerable adult protection incident form, investigations will be carried by a member of the child & vulnerable adults protection committee, or, if necessary, more than one member.
If any interviews are carried out, at least two people from the investigating team should be in attendance. Minutes of the interview should be produced and agreed between the interviewers and interviewee. Reasonable travel expenses of all who attend the interview or meeting will be borne by the BLDSA.
A written report of the investigation and recommendations for action should be produced by the investigating team, together with copies of any statements, interview minutes etc. This report should be passed to another member of the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection committee who has not previously been involved in the case, who should review the documentation and add their support (or otherwise) to the recommendations it contains. The full child & vulnerable adults protection committee will conduct a review of all incidents and investigations at the end of each season.
Action taken following an investigation should not be punitive, but rather looking to safeguard the children and vulnerable adults who come into contact with the association. Once a decision has been reached, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer will be responsible for enacting this, as well as filing the report in a safe place
Details of investigations will not normally be released to any member outside of the child & vulnerable adult protection committee, except in the following circumstances:
i. They may be passed to external agencies (such as the police or social services) if it is considered that information regarding a risk to children or vulnerable adults has been discovered.
ii. Those who are the subject of an investigation, or the complainant, or who are otherwise involved in the investigation (e.g. a child’s parents) will normally be provided with a summary of what was discovered and what action was taken (unless to do so would further endanger any vulnerable persons, or might lead to bullying of those who have been involved in the investigation), and all will be given details of how to appeal.
iii. A brief summary of the outcome of the investigation (e.g. “Member X was removed following a child protection investigation”) will be provided to the executive committee, and, if appropriate, swim secretaries, however no other details will be gone into with these persons.
iv. Any person involved in considering an appeal against a decision (see below) will be supplied with details of the initial investigation
If there is any suspicion at any time that abuse or neglect may have occurred, the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer or member of the committee will take brief statements from those who saw/complained of the event and pass these to the relevant authorities (if this has not already been done) and suspend any member(s) involved who may pose a further risk. The investigation will then be adjourned until such time as proceedings by the police or social services have been completed. The role of the BLDSA investigators shall not be to establish what happened, or decide whether or not abuse/neglect has occurred, only to judge if there is a future risk to children or vulnerable adults within the organisation, or if any lessons can be learned, and to put future safeguards in place as a result.
Clubs affiliated to the BLDSA who wish to run events under BLDSA rules or insurance must comply in full with this policy. They may, in addition, have their own policies which set in place procedures in addition to those identified here, or for use during events not run under the auspices of the BLDSA.
All affiliated clubs must have their own nominated officer/contact person for Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection. This person may administer the BLDSA policy within their own club (e.g. by running a vetting process in accordance with this policy, rather than routing all vetting requests through the BLDSA), subject to the oversight, approval and monitoring of the BLDSA Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee.
Authority to Act
In order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults within the BLDSA, members of the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee require the authority to act independently in certain circumstances.
The Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer shall have the authority to suspend members from work with children & vulnerable adults, or from all work with the BLDSA, for the purpose of safeguarding vulnerable persons whilst an investigation is undertaken. They shall also have the authority to instigate such an investigation.
The Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee shall have the authority to conduct an investigation instigated under C5.11 above, and to permanently remove them from the association, or place conditions on their continued membership, for the purposes of Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection.
Assessment of an applicant’s suitability to have contact with children or vulnerable adults (by means of viewing CRB disclosures, references, vetting questionnaires and other relevant material) shall be undertaken for each applicant by two members of the Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee, neither of whom should be related to the applicant.
All those concerned (e.g. those who are the subject of an allegation, those who made the complaint etc.) have a right to appeal against a decision made under paragraph C5.11-C5.13 (or a failure to make such a decision) by notifying the president of the BLDSA within 3 months of being notified of the decision (or, in the case of an ongoing suspension, at any time). Details of how to go about this should be included with the notification letter. The president (or their nominated deputy) should conduct a review of the case, and make any recommendations to the emergency committee, who will make a final decision. Confidential information may need to be released to the president and emergency committee to facilitate this, with the permission of the person to whom the information pertains, and must be treated equally confidentially by such persons.
The Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer/Committee shall have the authority to issue guidance to the membership on protection matters, or make amendments to the code of practice, as they deem necessary. Any such changes should be notified to the executive committee by the Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Officer at the next meeting as part of his or her report.
Miscellaneous The Child & Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee shall review this policy at least once every 12 months (or sooner, in light of developments in Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection) and make any recommendations for changes to the executive committee and AGM.
Copies of this policy (together with all guidance documents, code of practice etc.) shall be kept by the Child & Vulnerable Adult Protection Officer, and distributed to all relevant parties, including (but not limited to):
a. Members of the executive committee
b. Members of the Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Committee
c. Swim secretaries
Receipt of these documents by the above persons must be recorded by signature, and returned to the sender. In addition, these documents will be available on the association’s website, and made available to any person who requests them.