UK Reads Online Safeguarding Policy
1. Statement of Policy
United Kingdom (UK) and Europe World Literacy Foundation regards the health, safety and welfare of all participants’ as one of its highest priorities. The charity recognises and fully accepts its moral and statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and its duty to protect staff, trustees and volunteers from unfounded allegations of abuse.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) provides a foundation for the UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation’s work both locally and internationally. All World Literacy Foundation participants have the responsibility to protect children “…from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse”.
1.2. Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation Participants, which includes:
- board members, volunteers, interns, consultants, workers and contractors, suppliers, supporters (including donors, sponsors, advocates, ambassadors). Also, the staff and representatives of partner organisations/government with whom the UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation has a formal working relationship, and anyone who has been brought into contact with children while working for or with the UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation
- UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation visitors – these include people such as journalists, media, researchers, celebrities, etc., who may come in contact with children through the World Literacy Foundation are also bound by this policy.
It should be read in conjunction with the following policies;
- Equality and Diversity Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- Staff Code of Conduct
All staff, volunteers and external contactors must read, sign and agree to abide by this policy before they commence involvement with UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation.
1.3 Principles of Safeguarding at UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation
We will ensure:
- A safe environment for all participants and their families
- Those suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm or abuse are identified and referred to the necessary agencies as appropriate
- All staff, trustees and volunteers learn about safeguarding, the charity’s policies and procedures and how to keep themselves and others safe.
We will do this by:
- Appointing and training a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy (DDSL) to lead on all safeguarding matters.
- Raising awareness of issues relating to the welfare and safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults
- Promoting a safe environment at all organised events and celebrations.
- Ensuing staff follow behavioural guidelines as set out in the Code of Conduct. (See Appendix 1)
- Engaging with stakeholders to ensure their commitment to safeguarding.
- Ensuring staff, trustees and volunteers recognise the signs of abuse or that an individual may be at risk of significant harm
- Working with other agencies as appropriate (e.g., Childrens’ Services, Local Safeguarding Children’s Board) where an individual is being, or at risk of being, significantly harmed
- Providing a framework for reporting and dealing with concerns and disclosures
- Establishing clear procedures for the reporting and handling of allegations of abuse against staff, trustees or volunteers.
- Requiring staff, trustees and volunteers to undertake safeguarding training as appropriate.
1.4. Legislative Frameworks
The legislative frameworks around our policy are:
Children’s Act 2014, which is fundamental to people working with children and young adults in the UK
Protection of Children Act 1999 requires employers to carry out Criminal Record Checks before employees are allowed to come into contact with children
Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it is an offence for a person over 18 to have a sexual relationship with a child under 18 where that person is in a position of trust in respect of that child, even if the relationship is consensual.
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 sets out the type of activity in relation to children and adults at risk for which employers and individuals will be subject
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which changed the definition of Regulated Activity including who is eligible for a barred list check.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2019 reaffirms safeguarding as everyone’s responsibility and the sharing of information between agencies.
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 requires all staff to read and understand their responsibilities if engaged in ‘regulated’ activities with young people.
The Charity Commission – Safeguarding for Charities and Trustees 2017 provides guidance on what to do to protect people who come into contact with your charity through its work from abuse or mistreatment of any kind.
Definitions of Abuse
The following are recognised as definitions of abuse, although any act which harms a child, young person or vulnerable adult should also be considered:
Physical Abuse – may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning or suffocating. It may be done deliberately or recklessly, or be the result of a deliberate failure to prevent an injury occurring
Neglect – the persistent or severe failure to meet a child’s, young person’s or vulnerable adult’s physical and/or psychological needs, which may result in serious impairment of their health or development
Sexual Abuse involves a child, young person or vulnerable adult being forced or coerced into participating in or watching sexual activity of any kind. Any apparent consent or awareness is irrelevant
Emotional Abuse – persistent emotional ill treatment or rejection; includes abusive or offensive electronic communications. This causes severe and adverse effects on behaviour and emotional development, resulting in low self-esteem. Some degree of emotional abuse is present in all forms of abuse.
Financial Abuse – in intimate or parental relationships is a way of controlling a person’s ability to acquire, use, and maintain their own money and financial resources
Significant Harm – The Children’s Act introduced the concept of significant harm as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interest of the children.
Extremism and Radicalisation – Extremism is defined as ‘vocal or active opposition’ to fundamental British values; democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith. Radicalisation is defined as ‘the way in which a person comes to support terrorism and encourages other people to believe in views that support terrorism’
Safeguarding – protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults from maltreatment, preventing impairment of their health or development and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
Child Protection – any activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm
Child/Young Person – anyone under the age of 18
Vulnerable Adult – for the purposes of this policy, an individual under the age of 25, with specific personal or situational needs, which increase their risk of suffering significant harm
Regulated Activity – Those working in specified activities will be classed as engaging in regulated activity. Put simply, this is anyone who is teaching, training, instructing, coaching, caring for or supervising children or providing personal care, healthcare, social work, assistance with household matters and personal affairs, and transportation to vulnerable adults.
2. Roles & Responsibilities
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and all staff, trustees and volunteers involved in the charity’s activities have a role to play. UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation will ensure that staff, trustees and volunteers undergo safeguarding training at induction, advanced training (as appropriate) and will take part in the annual CPD programme where safeguarding updates/refreshers will be programmed.
2.1. Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)
The DSL is Caroline Burkie
The Deputy is Annie Ashford-Barnden
The DSL and DDSL will be responsible for:
- Managing the referral of cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the relevant
- Providing advice and support to staff, trustees and volunteers who have made referrals to other agencies.
- Keeping detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals.
- Referring cases to the Channel programme via the MASH team where there is a radicalisation
- Maintaining secure and accurate records of any child protection concern, referral, complaint or allegation.
- Attending case conferences and review meetings as
- Communication of the policy and arrangements to all relevant parties including but not limited to children, young people and vulnerable adults, their parents and families, staff, trustees and volunteers.
- Engaging with local authorities and other agencies as
- Ensuring that staff, trustees and volunteers receive safeguarding training appropriate to their roles and update this
- Maintaining accurate and up to date employment records of all staff, trustees and volunteers including DBS checks.
- Maintaining safeguarding training records.
- The safety of all participants, including when a child or young person is absent or missing, without
- Providing periodic reports to the board about safeguarding incidents or referrals as well as policy
- Acting as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff, trustees and volunteers.
2.2 Designated Safeguarding Trustee
The Designated Safeguarding Trustee is Andew Kay
- Ensuring the charity’s policies reflect prevailing legal and contractual requirements.
- Full compliance of the legislative
- Assuring the implementation plan proposed by the DSL
- Apprising the board of trustees regarding policy implementation and
- Supporting the DSL and DDSL in the execution of their responsibilities
2.3. Photography and Image Sharing
The charity recognises its safeguarding responsibilities and potential issues when people are taking photographs or filming an event. It will always obtain parental consent before any child, young person, or vulnerable adult is photographed or filmed. Publication of images will be with the direct consent of the parent/carer and the child.
2.4. Dealing with Concerns and Disclosures
If any member of staff, trustee or volunteer is concerned about the welfare or safety of a child, young person or vulnerable adult, they must report their concerns to the DSL, DDSL or Trustee with Safeguarding Responsibilities as soon as practicably possible. Staff, trustees and volunteers will receive training on how to deal with disclosures made by a child, young person or vulnerable adult. Written notes of the disclosure will be made by the member of staff, trustee or volunteer and these will be held in a secure location and shared with the relevant agencies as appropriate.
- On-Line Safety
UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation delivers many of its activities using online platforms to expand our reach and serve a greater number of children across the UK.
We believe that:
- children and young people should never experience online abuse of any kind.
- children and young people should be able to use the internet for education and personal development, but safeguards need to be in place to ensure they are always kept safe.
We recognise that:
- the online world provides everyone with many opportunities; however, it can also present risks and challenges.
- we have a duty to ensure that all children and young people involved in our organisation are protected from potential harm online.
- we have a responsibility to help keep programme participants safe online, whatever network and device they are using.
We will seek to keep programme participants safe by:
- Appointing an Online Safety Coordinator – the same person as our Designated Safeguarding Officer.
- Ensuring that parental consent is obtained prior to any child or young person engaging in the programme. (this can be in the form of an e-mail)
- Tracking all official online activities for review where necessary – these recordings will be stored securely for a period of 12 months following the completion of the programme.
- Providing clear and specific directions to staff and volunteers on how to behave online through our code of conduct.
- Supporting and encouraging programme participants using our service to use the internet, social media and mobile phones in a way that keeps them safe and shows respect for others.
- Developing clear and robust procedures to enable us to respond appropriately to any incidents of inappropriate online behaviour, whether by an adult or a child/young person.
- Reviewing and updating the security of our information systems regularly.
- Ensuring that usernames, logins, email accounts and passwords are used effectively.
- Ensuring personal information about programme participants who are involved in our organisation is held securely and shared only as appropriate.
- Ensuring that images of programme participants are used only after written parental permission has been obtained, and only for the purpose for which consent has been given. (this can be in the form of an email)
- Providing supervision, support and training for staff and volunteers about online safety.
- Examining and risk assessing any social media platforms, e.g., WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and any other new technologies before they are used on
behalf of the organisation, ensuring that they are only used for the purposes of education and in accordance with the code of conduct.
If online abuse occurs, we will respond to it by:
- having clear and robust safeguarding procedures in place.
- providing support and training for all staff and volunteers on dealing with all forms of abuse, including bullying/cyberbullying, emotional abuse, sexting, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
- making sure our response takes the needs of the child experiencing abuse, any bystanders and our organisation as a whole into account.
- reviewing the plan developed to address online abuse at regular intervals, in order to ensure that any problems have been resolved in the long term.
- Safer Recruitment
UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation operates safer recruitment and employment practices and will not permit a person to work with children if they pose an unacceptable risk to children’s safety or wellbeing.
Staff checks and critical process undertaken include:
- Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check where the member of staff, trustee or volunteer is involved or likely to be involved in ‘regulated’ activity. Where this is not the case a standard DBS check will be made.
- Where a conviction is recorded, the DSL will carry out a risk assessment and decide whether to confirm or reject the individual’s appointment. (Anyone that is barred from working with children will NOT be appointed)
- 2 employment/education references including the most recent employment
- Check on gaps in work history
- Evidence of identity is obtained, including the right to work in the UK
- Qualifications are checked and verified with original certificates
- Areas of concern in the CV or application will be addressed during the interview
- Applicants sign the application form to declare the information they have provided is true
4. Allegations against Staff, Trustees or Volunteers.
The primary concern in the event of an allegation is to ensure the safety of the young person or vulnerable adult. In all cases, action will be taken quickly, confidentially and professionally, with all parties clear that suspension is not an indicator of guilt, but a required part of a process.
Where an allegation is made, the CEO, Safeguarding Trustee and DSL will meet to discuss the required action. In order that a full and fair investigation can be carried out, consideration must be given to suspending the member of staff, trustee or volunteer. Where it is clear that a criminal offence may have occurred, the matter must be reported to
the police. Any subsequent dismissal and/or must be reported to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
In the event that a member of staff, a trustee or volunteer suspects any other member of staff or a trustee or volunteer of abusing a child, young person or vulnerable adult, it is their responsibility to report these concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or Deputy), except when they are the person against whom the allegation is being made. In this instance, the report should go to the Designated Safeguarding Trustee and /or Chief Executive.
Review of policy:
This policy will be reviewed every 12 months. The Designated Safeguarding Lead will manage the review, and staff will be consulted in this process.
To the employee:
Please read this policy in conjunction with the UK and Europe WLF Code of Conduct (See Appendix 1) Sign and date below and return for the records.
I have read and understood this policy and the associated Code of Conduct.
Code of Conduct – Professional Behaviours
All staff, volunteers and external contractors must adhere to these professional behaviours whilst working/volunteering for the UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation:
- Treat all children and with respect.
- Do not use language or behaviour towards children that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally unacceptable.
- Do not engage children under the age of 18 in any form of sexual intercourse or sexual activity including paying for sexual services. Staff should be aware of section 16 of The Sexual Offences Act 2002 which states that a relationship between a person in a position of trust with a learner under the age of 18 is a criminal offence.
- Contact with children should be through the UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation’s authorised mechanisms, e.g., e-mail address. Communication through all personal social media platforms must not be used and staff should not share their home address with children or their parents.
- Avoid working alone with a child and wherever possible, ensure that another adult is present or nearby. This is particularly important when delivering on-line sessions.
- When delivering on-line literacy sessions, ensure that you first obtain the written consent of the child’s parent/carer. This can be in the form of an e-mail response to an invitation.
- Ensure that on-line sessions are delivered with the same level of care and diligence as face-to-face lessons, e.g., be mindful of your environment and background.
- Do not invite unaccompanied children into your home unless they are at immediate risk of injury or in physical danger.
- Never use any computers, mobile phones, video cameras, cameras or social media to exploit or harass children, or access child exploitation material through any medium.
- Do not promote or encourage a child to take part in any extremist ideologies.
- Never use physical punishment on children.
- Do not hire children for domestic or other labour.
- Always comply with relevant UK and local legislation, including laws in relation to the child workforce.
- Immediately report concerns or allegations of child exploitation and abuse and policy non-compliance in accordance with appropriate procedures
- Immediately disclose all convictions and other outcomes of an offence that relates to child exploitation and abuse, which occurred before or occurs during association with UK and Europe World Literacy Foundation.
- Be aware of behaviour and avoid actions or behaviours that could be perceived by others as child exploitation and abuse.
- When photographing or filming a child or using children’s images for work-related purposes, take care to obtain informed consent from the child and parent or guardian of the child before photographing or filming a child. An explanation of how the photograph or film will be used must be provided.
- Always ensure that photographs, films, videos and DVDs present children in a dignified and respectful manner and not in a vulnerable or submissive manner. Children should be adequately clothed and not in poses that could be seen as sexually suggestive.
- Ensure images are honest representations of the context and the facts and ensure that document/file titles do not disclose the personal details of the child or their family.
Subscribe our news!
World Literacy Foundation (WLF) aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2040. UK Reads – a WLF initiative focuses directly on the children impacted by illiteracy in the United Kingdom. This initiative provides children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to suitable, fun and engaging free books. New scientific research confirms that a child’s early years brain development shapes the adults they become, the success they achieve and the contributions they make to the economy and society. Research has also identified the “word gap” which means many children who grow up in low-income families enter school with substantially smaller vocabularies than their classmates. This disadvantage leads to further disparities in achievement and success over time, from academic performance, persistence to earnings and family stability, even 20 to 30 years later. UK Reads focuses on early intervention so that every child has the strongest chance to reach their full potential.
Our UK story so far… In 2005, the World Literacy Foundation started the transportation of children’s books to Africa and a few years later we expanded our programs to the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. In 2012 we began the World Literacy Summit at Oxford University, bringing together the global literacy community to build greater collaboration and partnerships. Due to its success, the summit was held again in 2014, 2018 and in 2020 we moved to a Covid-19 safe online conference. As a response to the vital need for UK children to have access to books at home, supporting parents to become their child’s first teacher and literacy support, UK Reads was launched in 2020. Our UK services will reach 2000+ children this year.
Mission To promote reading skills and literacy for children, beginning at birth to nineteen years old and to support parents to become their child’s first teacher Vision For every child in the UK to have access to free books and the literacy support they need by engaging and supporting families to understand the critical importance of childhood literacy and take a proactive role in their child’s reading development.Our global impact In 2019, the team reached more than 315,000 children and young people with our services in the US, Australia, UK, Africa, and Latin America – all thanks to generous donations and volunteer support. Literacy is the pathway to young people reaching their full potential.
Children today read less frequently than any previous generation and enjoy reading less than young people did in the past, according to new research. Flora Ferguson, with her storybooks. How I managed to raise a little bookworm in the age of smartphones and tablets Read more The work, to be published by the National Literacy Trust in the run-up to World Book Day on Thursday, shows that in 2019 just 26% of under-18s spent some time each day reading. This is the lowest daily level recorded since the charity first surveyed children’s reading habits in 2005. It also found that fewer children enjoy reading, and that this dwindled with age: nearly twice as many five to eight-year-olds as 14 to 16-year-olds said they took pleasure from reading. Overall, just 53% of children said they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot” – the lowest level since 2013. The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen said the findings should act as a wake-up call for the government. “We have countless examples of research showing that children who read for pleasure widely and often are best able to benefit from what education offers. Berating parents, children or teachers for ‘failing’ will solve nothing. It [improving reading levels] needs full government backing, with as much money and effort as they put into compulsory phonics teaching, to support schools and communities in this.” The survey found a marked gender divide when it comes to reading for pleasure: less than half (47%) of boys were keen readers, compared with 60% of girls. A third of children surveyed reported being unable to find things to read that interested them. World Book Day, a charity event held annually in the UK and Ireland, will this year call on readers of all ages to “share a million stories” by reading aloud or listening to a story for at least 10 minutes a day with friends and family. World Book Day chief executive Cassie Chadderton said this activity can turn a reluctant reader into a child who reads for pleasure.