Queen’s Hall Arts (QHA) recognises that the charity has a responsibility of care towards all users of our services and, in particular, that QHA has a responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children and adults at risk from abuse of any kind.
We recognise that:
Everyone has the right to live his or her life free from fear, violence or harm and be protected from harm or abuse
Young people and adults, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, racial heritage, language, socio-economic status, religious belief, sexual orientation or gender identity, have the right to equal protection from all types or harm or abuse.
“Children” refers to people aged under 18.
An “adult at risk” is any person aged 18 or over who has needs for care and support, is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
“Abuse” is any behaviour towards a person that deliberately or unknowingly causes the person harm, endangers life or violates their rights. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:
Abuse may consist of a single or repeated act of neglect or an omission to act.
The purpose of the Policy
To provide protection specifically for children and adults at risk who receive support and services from QHA.
To provide staff, trustees, freelance workers, agency worker, students, volunteers and anyone contracted by, or working on behalf of QHA, with guidance on procedures that they should follow in the event that they suspect that a child or adult at risk may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.
The Policy is based on the following principles
It is everyone’s responsibility to protect young people and adults at risk who are engaging with QHA in any way and to report any concerns to the designated Safeguarding Officer.
All Safeguarding concerns will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.
We will work with other agencies as appropriate in response to any concerns.
All personal data will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the appropriate Data Protection Act and Regulations, and QHA’s own data handling policies.
Recruitment and contracting third parties
QHA is committed to ensuring all necessary checks are made when recruiting staff, trustees, and freelance workers and volunteers.
All members of staff, volunteers and freelance workers and individual artists who are directly working and engaging with children or adults at risk, including online, will be vetted by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
All third parties contracted or otherwise invited by QHA to deliver work which will involve them to work directly with children or adults at risk, including online, must have a Safeguarding Policy which sets standards no less than the QHA Safeguarding Policy.
All members of staff, trustees and volunteers, whether or not directly working and engaging with children or adults at risk, including online, will be made aware of the Safeguarding Policy and their role in ensuring that it is fully implemented when recruited.
Training and review
All training of staff, trustees and volunteers will be delivered by a member of staff or external trainer qualified to deliver the training. Training should include (but not be limited to):
awareness of this policy
how to identify signs of abuse
how to listen, react and record any allegations or concern
who to contact at QHA
what steps to take in case of emergency.
Annual appraisals and the annual review of the Safeguarding Policy will be used as a refresher and an opportunity and to identify any necessary training and to ensure that DBS checks are up-to-date.
QHA deals with children and adults at risk in two main types of environment - as audience members to shows and events, and as participants in workshop/outreach activities, both in person and online. It also acts as a venue/host for activities provided by other organisations.
Shows and events:
Parents, guardians, carers and teachers and those in charge of groups are the primary carers, and the safety and behaviour of supervised children and adults at risk is primarily their responsibility while attending shows and events organised by QHA. If primary carers are unable to attend events, they must satisfy themselves that their children or adults at risk are properly supervised by another responsible adult acting on their behalf.
Children under the age of 8 will not be admitted to events unless accompanied by a responsible adult.
QHA will liaise with party bookers about ratios of carers to children/adults at risk, and bookings will only be accepted following agreement on levels.
QHA volunteers and front of house staff should not be put in a position where they are alone with children or adults at risk and should ensure that in exceptional circumstances when this could occur they seek the support of a second adult.
Anyone working with young people or adults at risk in workshops/outreach activities will be required to have undertaken a DBS check.
QHA will conduct risk assessments on workshops with specific reference to the protection of children and adults at risk. This will include:
A consideration of numerical ratios between staff and participants.
Total numbers and other issues relating to room size/activities.
The nature of the activity.
Access to and supervision of ancillary services - toilets, refreshments.
Information collection – emergency contacts, relevant medical data.
QHA recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances when this may not be practical in a one-off workshop situation with artists. In such circumstances a fully vetted QHA appointed person (usually a staff member) would be present in a supervisory capacity.
QHA will not engage in direct delivery of workshops to unaccompanied under 8’s. This provision will either be delivered in a “parent/toddler” context, or within an environment controlled by an appropriate body e.g. a registered nursery.
No activity will be delivered on a one-to-one basis with any child or adult at risk.
Online activity may take place via appropriate channels including (but not limited to) email, Zoom, Teams and private Facebook groups. The choice of channel in a given instance must be approved by the responsible QHA staff member.
QHA will ensure that online activity is delivered safely by:
Conducting prior review and/or risk assessment, to address factors including the nature and content of the activity, and specific risks associated with the particular digital platform being used.
Providing clear and specific directions to staff, activity leaders, facilitators, artists and volunteers on how to behave online.
Ensuring that online sessions are hosted only by a QHA staff member, group leader or other person duly authorised by QHA.
Restricting session access by use of passwords or ID codes.
Ensuring firewalls are in place to protect the digital platform against intrusions and malware.
Supporting and encouraging the children, young people and adults using our service to use the internet, social media and mobile phones in a way that keeps them safe and shows respect for others.
Supporting and encouraging parents and carers to do what they can to keep their children, young people and adults at risk safe online.
Ensuring that all children under 8 are monitored by a parent or carer.
Not delivering any live on-line activity on a one-to-one basis with any child or adult at risk.
Following the clear and robust procedures set out in this document to enable us to respond appropriately to any incidents of inappropriate online behaviour, whether by an adult or a child/young person.
All staff, activity leaders, facilitators, artists and volunteers must:
Agree which technology/systems will be used before the session.
Complete connectivity, technology and content checks before starting.
Disable private messaging channels.
Disable screen-sharing for participants (it may be enabled for presenters).
Review material to be presented before screen-sharing, ensuring (for example) removal of pop-ups and advertisements.
Obtain consent from all participants if online sessions are to be recorded.
Ensure that all participants wear appropriate clothing.
Advise all participants to ensure that personal items are not visible in the background.
Keep chat/messaging under active review.
Keep distractions and disturbances to a minimum.
Use a headset or headphones, where possible.
Ensure participants adhere to all relevant policies on behaviour and conduct.
End any online activity if a safeguarding issue is presented and report this immediately (through the channels laid out in the Safeguarding Policy).
When communicating online, staff, activity leaders, facilitators, artists and volunteers will:
Always maintain appropriate professional boundaries.
Not post any inappropriate or offensive material that could damage personal or organisational reputation.
Choose one or two ways of communication and ensure that everyone follows the agreed communication method.
Try to communicate within agreed hours as much as possible which are in line with the workshop or group activity.
Only communicate through the approved channels.
Use specific email accounts for roles at the organisation so volunteers and staff don’t use personal emails.
Advise volunteers and staff not to share personal information.
Create a safe online environment. Ensure that participants follow the guidance for online calls, including that all participants should be dressed appropriately and behave in manner expected in a workshop or activity.
Consider the background on the call for staff/volunteers and also for the participant.
Record the sessions if possible (with consent) so any comments, interactions and concerns can be monitored and kept on record.
Ensure staff/volunteers control those in the call via safe sharing of access details. The group leader will always begin and end each session.
When working online, staff and volunteers will protect Personal Data:
All online activity will comply with QHA policy and will follow the guidance outlined by the government within the Data Protection Act 2018.
Specific considerations when communicating online:
Ensuring that contact details are not shared in group emails by using the Bcc system.
Ensuring that shared usernames and other personal data are not shared in a public arena.
Ensuring that access to any data collection system is secure and password protected.
When hosting an online call ensuring that full names of participants are not visible for everyone to see on the screen.
Ensuring that no personal data are shared on insecure platforms.
When communicating internally regarding a young person or safeguarding issue always using initials of the name, and not writing the full name in the email trail.
Ensuring all parental/carers’ or individuals’ permission has been received for the use of any photos, videos or personal information of participants on an online platform.
Activities provided by third parties:
Contracts or other agreements between QHA and third party providers of activities which may involve children or adults at risk will include specific provision for the safeguards which will apply. In addition to any practical details which may need to be specified in a given case, all such third party providers will be required to provide evidence of their own policies, procedures and liability arrangements setting standards no less than those applied by QHA.
Procedures for dealing with suspected abuse or other inappropriate behaviour
All cases of concern, whatever the type of incident or disclosure by a child/adult at risk, must be reported to the Safeguarding Officer who will take appropriate action.
All interventions must be lawful, proportional to the risk and should acknowledge the wishes of the person at risk. Information obtained regarding children or adults at risk will be treated sensitively and in confidence, notwithstanding the need, in some instances, to refer to specialist agencies. In exceptional cases, there may be a necessity to report concerns without the child or adult at risk’s permission.
All concerns and actions taken should be fully recorded in case of further investigation. All incidents must be reported to the QHA Board of Trustees at the appropriate time.
The Safeguarding Officer may seek guidance, from Northumberland County Council or the Police, on whether to report the matter further, and involve other bodies if appropriate.
In the event of suspected abuse, all concerns must be recorded and reported immediately. If appropriate, the individual(s) subject to the suspected abuse and/or the individual(s) against whom suspicions have been raised should be informed that a Safeguarding Report is being prepared.
Implementation and review
Staff members are individually responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the policy within their areas of work.
The Safeguarding Officer for Queens Hall Arts is:
Katy Taylor, Artistic Director/Manager: 01434 652477
Other contact numbers:
Northumberland County Council Safeguarding Teams:
Children: Onecall: 01670 536400 Vulnerable Adults: 01670 536400
Emergency Duty Team: 0345 6005252
In an emergency: Call 999
The Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the QHA Board’s Operations Committee, and any changes approved by the QHA Board.