The Boys' Brigade and Girls' Association
In the Republic of Ireland


Child Safeguarding Policy

Version 2.0 - February 2018



Contents

  • Definitions
  • Declaration of Guiding Principles
  • Code of Behaviour for Leaders and Employees
  • Code of Behaviour for Members
  • Breaches of Code of Behaviour
  • Recruitment of Leaders
  • Training of Leaders
  • Safe working practices
  • General Safety
  • Supervision Ratios
  • Risk Assessment
  • High Risk Activities
  • Physical Education
  • Trips and Holidays
  • Transportation
  • Accidents/Incidents
  • Children with Special Needs
  • Recognising Abuse
  • How to respond to a disclosure
  • Reporting Procedures
  • Dealing with Allegations
  • Dealing with a disclosure by an adult of childhood abuse
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Dealing with the press
  • Record Keeping, Access and Storage of Information
  • Confidentiality
  • Communications
  • Working in partnership with Parents/Guardians
  • Interagency Working

  • Appendices


  • Relevant Legislation
  • Definitions and signs of abuse
  • National Contacts for Tusla Social Workers
  • Holiday Leadership Regulations
  • Expedition and Outdoor Leadership Regulations
  • Brigade Insurance
  • The Boys' Brigade & Girls' Association

  • Forms

  • Annual Consent Form
  • Declaration by a Leader or Employee from Abroad
  • Declaration of Acceptance
  • Risk Assessment Check List for Company Meeting Place
  • Risk Assessment Form for Visits, Holidays & Activities
  • Internal Reporting Form

  • Definitions


    Declaration of Guiding Principles

    The Boys' Brigade & Girls' Association, as a Christian Youth Organisation is committed to providing a safe environment in which children can develop socially, emotionally, spiritually and form positive relationships.

    We provide the following activities to children:



    We believe that:
     1. Our priority to ensure the welfare and safety of every child who attends our organisation is paramount.
     2. Our guiding principles and procedures to safeguard children reflect national policy and legislation laid out in the Children First Act 2015, Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017 and Tusla's Child Safeguarding: A Guide for Policy, Procedure and Practice 2018.
     3. Our guiding principles and child safeguarding procedures should be reviewed every two years or sooner if necessary due to organisational issues or changes in legislation or national policy.
     4. All children have an equal right to attend an organisation that respects them as individuals and encourages them to reach their potential, regardless of their background.
     5. We are committed to upholding the rights of every child who attends our organisation, including the rights to be kept safe and protected from harm, listened to and heard.
     6. Our guiding principles apply to everyone in the organisation including management committee members, employees and leaders.
     7. Employees and leaders must conduct themselves in a way that reflects the principles of our organisation.
     8. We are committed to ensuring people's rights to confidentiality.


    The Designated Liaison Persons for The BB are

    Olive Good
    Philip Daley
    Brian Weekes
    Alan Ayling

    The Management Committee should ensure that all other policies and procedures governing the activities of the BB comply with the procedures outlined in this policy.


    Code of Behaviour for Leaders and Employees

    The code of behaviour for leaders and employees has been categorised under five headings:



    Child-Centred Approach



    Best Practice


    • Ensure that a parental consent form is completed for every child in each Company on an annual basis and that attendance records are maintained;
    • Ensure that parental consents are received for use of photographs and contacting members directly by mobile phone. Parent’s/guardian’s wishes must be respected;
    • Make parents/guardians and children aware of the Child Safeguarding Policy;
    • Ensure that employees and leaders are familiar with the evacuation procedures for any premises in which they are working.
    • Be inclusive of children with special needs;
    • Plan and be sufficiently prepared, both mentally and physically;
    • Report any concerns to the Regional Safeguarding Panel and follow reporting procedures;
    • Report to the Regional Safeguarding Panel any concerns that they may have about a fellow employee or leader’s practice which may cause harm to a child or the reputation of the organisation and complete an incident form;
    • Ensure all leaders are familiar with the BB Anti-Bullying which provides information on how to deal with bullying. Encourage children to report any bullying, concerns or worries;
    • Observe appropriate dress and behaviour;
    • Evaluate work practices on a regular basis;
    • Report and record any incidents and accidents;
    • Keep parents/guardians informed of any issues that concern their children;
    • Ensure proper supervision based on supervision ratios outlined in the Child Safeguarding Policy and ensure that two leaders are present at the start and end of a session.
    • Avoid, if at all possible, giving a lift to a child and if you do then make sure that parents/guardians have given prior consent;
    • Maintain awareness around language and comments made. If a leader thinks that something they said may have caused offence or upset, then try to address it in a sensitive manner.

    Inappropriate Behaviour

    • Avoid spending excessive amounts of time alone with a child;
    • Don’t use or allow offensive or sexually suggestive physical and/or verbal language;

    The Boys' Brigade & Girls' Association Child Safeguarding Policy
    • Don't single out a particular child for unfair favouritism, criticism, ridicule or unwelcome focus or attention;
    • Don’t allow/engage in inappropriate touching of any form;
    • Don’t hit or physically chastise children;
    • Don’t socialise inappropriately with children e.g. outside of structured organisational activities. Physical Contact
    • Seek consent of child in relation to physical contact (except in an emergency or dangerous situation);
    • Avoid horseplay or inappropriate touch. Health and Safety
    • Don’t leave children unattended or unsupervised;
    • Provide a safe environment;
    • Be aware of accident and incident procedures and follow accordingly.


    Code of Behaviour for Members

    • Respect the role and authority of the leadersbr> • Respect the views and feelings of other members of the Company;
    • Respect the right of every member to express their view and opinion;
    • Respect the right of every member to be heard and listened to;
    • Respect both leaders’ and members’ personal privacy and property;
    • Show due care and responsibility for equipment and property;
    • Deem unacceptable the following activities and behaviour:
       Consumption of alcohol and smoking during Company activities;
       Physical abuse of other members and / or leaders;
       Verbal abuse including ‘put downs’ of other members and leaders;
       Wilful destruction or damage to property or equipment;
       The misuse of any substance or stimulant;
       The use of camera phones in the changing facilities at any event


    Breaches of Code of Behaviour

    Disciplinary procedures if a leader is found in breach of Code of Behaviour

    Each breach of the Code of Behaviour will be assessed by the Captain.

    If a leader is deemed to bein breach of the Code of Behaviour the Captain will speak to the individual leader. The Captain will determine whether the leader should be given a warning on that occasion but will remind the leader of the standards expected of BB leaders.

    If there is a further breach of the Code of Behaviour by leader following a warning, the Captain will meet with the leader and the Captain will ask the leader to resign from their position.

    If a serious allegation of abuse is made against a leader, the Management Committee will suspend the leader until such time as the investigation has been completed and the Management Committee will then determine the position of the leader in the BB subject to the findings of the investigation.

    Disciplinary procedures if an employee is found in breach of Code of Behaviour

    Each breach of the Code of Behaviour will be assessed by the Management Committee. If an employee is deemed to be in breach of the Code of Behaviour the Management Committee will speak to the individual employee. The Management Committee will determine whether the employee should be given a warning on that occasion but will remind the employee of the standards expected of BB staff.

    If there is a further breach of the Code of Behaviour by staff following a warning, the Management Committee will meet with the employee and the Management Committee will dismiss the employee from their position

    If a serious allegation of abuse is made against an employee, the Management Committee will suspend the employee until such time as the investigation has been completed and the Management Committee will then determine the position of the employee in the BB subject to the findings of the investigation.

    Disciplinary procedures if a member is found in breach of Code of Behaviour

    When a member or their parents/guardians are not happy with the way members were treated by leaders of the BB (except complaints involving child protection concerns), they may lodge a complaint using the BB Complaints Policy. Members who are found to be in breach of the Members Code of Behaviour may be subject to disciplinary actions. The disciplinary action should be agreed between at least two leaders of the Company and should be appropriate to the seriousness of the incident/s. The parents/guardians of the member and the member will be informed of the disciplinary action which will be taken. Where leaders take disciplinary action against a member, the Captain/leader in charge should be informed. The options for disciplinary action include: a) Providing support to the member to get them to understand that their behaviour is not acceptable and monitoring their behaviour. b) For continued breaches or more serious breaches of the Members Code of Behaviour, allow the member to continue to participate in the event/activity once they have apologised for their behaviour and promised not to breach the code of behaviour again. Their behaviour would be closely monitored. c) For the most serious breaches of the Members Code of Behaviour or where a member fails to rectify behaviour following application of option (a) and (b) above, sending the member home; not allowing them to participate in any further company events/activities and terminating their membership of the Company will be considered.


    Recruitment of Leaders

    The BB has specific regulations and requirements for all adults working in the name of the BB including leaders working in Companies, those with responsibilities in Districts, including Office Bearers and Reserve Officers, and those working at Regional level.

    Individuals who wish to become leaders in the BB are interviewed and nominated by the Chaplain and Captain of the Company and complete the Leader Registration Form and a Vetting Invitation Form (both available from Regional Headquarters and the BB website www.boysbrigade.org).

    The completed Leader Registration Form Vetting Invitation Form and documents verifying identity and current address are sent to the Regional Headquarters. On receipt of the documentation from the Company, Regional Headquarters, will transfer the information from the Vetting Invitation Form onto the NYCI Vetting Request form and email it to NYCI’s Youth Work Vetting Consortium Liaison Persons. The NYCI’s Liaison person will create a vetting application and send an email to the individual applying to be a leader requesting them to complete the E-Vetting application on-line. Once this on-line application has been completed by the individual, the NYCI Liaison Person will review it, and if in order, submit it to the National Vetting Bureau. Once vetting has been completed the National Vetting Bureau will notify the NYCI Liaison Person that a vetting disclosure is available. The NYCI Liaison person will access the vetting disclosure and forward it to Regional Headquarters.

    Regional Headquarters will require individuals who have immigrated to Ireland or have resided overseas for a long period to complete a sworn declaration that there is nothing in their background which would prevent them from working with children.

    Regional Headquarters will also write to the referees provided on the Leader Registration Form seeking completion of a Volunteer Reference Form for the individual wishing to become a leader. Consideration will be given to the information contained on the vetting disclosure and references received and if all is satisfactory, names of suitable leaders will be forwarded to the Management Committee for ratification of their appointment. The leader will then be registered, allocated a registration number and sent a leader registration card. The Captain of the Company will be informed that the leader can now commence working with children in the company.

    If there is information on the vetting disclosure or references that indicates that the individual should not be appointed, Regional Headquarters will inform them in writing, giving reasons. An individual who is deemed unsuitable to work with children has the right of appeal. The appeal should be made in writing to the Regional Safeguarding Panel.

    In the case of a vetting disclosure that contains information that makes it unclear whether or not an individual should be registered, then a referral to the Regional Safeguarding Panel will be made. Members of the panel will consider the suitability of the individual, and conduct a risk assessment based on whether the nature of the information on the disclosure poses any risk to the welfare of children or other adults. If the panel agree that the applicant is suitable to work with children their name will be forwarded to the Management Committee for ratification of their appointment, then Regional Headquarters will register the individual. In certain circumstances it may be appropriate for an individual to be registered for a probationary period, with a date set for review. It may also be the case that an individual could be registered with certain conditions attached (for example that they do not drive the minibus etc.). An individual who is still deemed unsuitable by the panel has the right of appeal. The appeal should be made in writing to the Chair of the Management Committee within three months of notification of unsuitability.

    Leaders under 18 years of age

    The BB seeks to develop and empower children and part of that empowerment process is to encourage teenagers to take responsibility for a range of roles within the Company or Section. Giving responsibility to a teenager for a group of younger children can have immense benefits for all involved and offer opportunities to learn and develop new skills.

    It is important that proper support and information is sought from and provided to a teenager taking on this young leadership role.

    Teenagers who wish to become young leaders in the BB should complete the Young Leader Application Form which is available from Regional Headquarters. Where that teenager is aged 16 - 17 years of age, they should complete a Vetting Invitation Form and forward both forms to Regional Headquarters along with a Parental Consent form for Garda vetting completed by the teenager’s parents. Once Garda Vetting has been completed satisfactorily, the names of suitable young leaders will be forwarded to the Management Committee for ratification of their appointment. Following this Regional Headquarters will register them as a young leader. The Captain shall be informed that the person can commence working with a younger age group.

    Young leaders shall work in partnership with or under the supervision of an adult leader and never be left in sole charge of any group. Young leaders shall be provided with the necessary information to allow them to work safely within the Company/Section.

    When a young leader reaches the age of 18 and wishes to continue to work in a Company, they must complete the rest of the recruitment process to become a leader.

    Age appropriate Child Protection training will be provided at a level suitable to leaders under the age of 18.

    Re-Vetting of Leaders

    It shall be the policy of the BB that all staff and leaders will be subject to re-vetting every four years.

    Training of Leaders

    All new leaders, on the first time of starting work within a Company should receive induction from the Company Captain, or delegated person. This induction will include emergency procedures and an explanation of the Child Safeguarding Policy. The new leaders will be issued the leaders card and emailed a copy of the Child Safeguarding Policy.

    The BB encourages all leaders to attend Youth Leader Training as soon as is practical. It is mandatory that all leaders undertake the Child Safeguarding training module by the end of the first full session following their appointment as a leader. At the training, leaders will be asked to complete a Declaration of Acceptance stating that they will follow the procedures laid out in the Safeguarding Policy and exercise a duty of care to the children in their charge. New leaders will also be encouraged to complete the Tusla e-learning module to complement the Child Safeguarding training provided by the BB.

    Employees and leaders who hold a role at Regional level will be required to complete the Tusla elearning module within three months of their appointment.

    All leaders should attend a Child Safeguarding training every three years.

    Training will be provided by the Regional Training Team in each District and it is the Captain’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate training is attended by all leaders.

    It is also the Captain’s responsibility to ensure that any young leaders in the Company are protected by the same standards of care as other children and that they attend appropriate training. Regional Headquarters will keep a record of all Child Safeguarding training attended by leaders and employees

    Safe Working Practices

    No activity, even a simple normal meeting night, that is ever undertaken is totally without an element of danger, however it is measured. For example, the misuse of furniture through children sitting improperly on it, tilting it back or children lifting apparatus incorrectly are common causes of simple, avoidable accidents. The activities which the BB pursues, and the places in which these activities are carried out, fall, for safety consideration purposes, into three clearly defined locations: indoors, outdoors and where high risk events are to be held (either indoors or outdoors).

    General Safety

    • Leaders should be aware of any health issues, including allergies (particularly to aspirin, elastoplasts and penicillin), concerning individuals which might have implications for participation in certain activities.
    • All leaders should be fully aware of the emergency exits and assembly areas to be used in the event of an emergency evacuation of the premises when necessary, including name checks to ascertain all are safely evacuated. All children should be aware of these procedures through regular emergency drills. Leaders should be aware of the location of fire alarms, extinguishers and First Aid box. Remember, a fire extinguisher will only put out a small fire.
    • All emergency exits should be kept permanently clear of any obstructions. It is the responsibility of the Leader-in-Charge of the event to see that this requirement is met on an event-to-event basis.
    • All leaders should have ready access to the properly maintained First Aid Kit and should have appropriate basic knowledge in its use. The First Aid Kit, however should not contain analgesics, be checked and updated every six months.
    cburn sprays, expectorants and astringents for use with children or leaders. The First Aid kit should • Leaders should know where the nearest telephone is located and not rely on mobile phones.
    • On an annual basis, the Company Captain and leaders should satisfy themselves that the premises in which the Company customarily operates, and the resources to be used, are safe for the activities of the Company. This annual risk assessment must not be taken lightly.

    Recruitment of Leaders

    The Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association in the Republic of Ireland (The BB) is committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of all members and leaders. We also try to ensure that members have a positive and enjoyable experience when participating in the BB and that leaders are valued as they volunteer with the BB.
    This complaints procedure aims to cover any situation which may arise, when children or their parents/guardians are not happy with the way the children were treated while they were at an event/activity run by the BB. This complaints procedure should be followed if a leader feels that they have a grievance against the operation or decisions of the Organisation or another leader which affects their ability to perform their job satisfactorily.

    Complaints may arise in response to:
    • An alleged breach of the Code of Behaviour by an employee or leader;
    • A particular practice issue;
    • Perceived poor attitude of an employee or leader;
    • A child feeling unhappy about an incident or an event;
    • A parent/guardian feeling unhappy about an incident or event involving their child;
    • Dissatisfaction in relation to an aspect of the service being provided.

    What Complaints are accepted
    • Complaints involving child protection concerns must be dealt with in accordance with the BB procedures as set out in the Safeguarding Policy and Procedures and not through the Complaints procedure;
    • The Complaints procedure below should not be used to disagree with a national policy set by the Organisation.

    There are basic rules for the acceptance of complaints:
    • Complaints must be raised within three months of you knowing the facts (the BB will not deal with complaints that are older);
    • The BB does not investigate anonymous complaints;
    • Complaints that are broadly or substantively the same as a previous Complaint will not be accepted;
    • The BB will refuse any Complaints which are believed to be vexatious or malicious.

    Who can make a complaint

    Complaints can be made by:
    • Children who are members of the BB;
    • Their parents/guardians;
    • Leaders of the BB;
    • Other advocates on behalf of children.

    How to make a complaint
    • If the complaint is in relation to the safety and welfare of children the complaints should be made to the Regional Safeguarding Panel;
    • Other complaints by members or their parents/guardians should be made to the Captain of the Company of which the child is a member, with whom you should raise the concern orally;
    • Complaints by leaders should be made to the Captain of their company initially;
    • If the complainant does not want to discuss the matter with the Captain of the Company, if the Captain cannot answer the complainant’s concern, the complainant is dissatisfied with the initial response of the Captain to a complaint, or if the complaint is more serious, the complaint can be made in writing to the Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee.

    Information the Complainant needs to provide
    Complaints by members or their parents/guardians should be made, in the first instance, orally to the Captain of the Company and provide them with the following information to allow her to investigate the complaint:
    • Name of child affected and the section or event they were involved in;
    • If the complaint is being made by a parent/guardian, the name and address of the parent/guardian;
    • Exactly what the complainant is dissatisfied with;
    • The name of the leader who dealt with the matter the complainant is dissatisfied with. Complaints by leaders should be made, in the first instance, orally to the Captain of their Company and provide them with details of the operation or decision of the Organisation or other leader which they feel is affecting their ability to perform their job satisfactorily. Complaints made in writing should be made on the Complaints Form.(included in the appendices or available on the BB website) and give as much factual details as possible to allow the matter be investigated.

    If I make a Complaint how will my Complaint be dealt with
    Your complaint will be dealt with fairly and objectively. The BB policy is to deal with any valid Complaints in a positive and pro-active manner and expect resolutions and outcomes to contribute to a process of continuous improvement.
    Please bear in mind that Captains in the BB are volunteers and have other calls on their time. It may therefore take time to process a complaint; however you will be kept informed of the progress of the complaint with an acknowledgement of a formal complaint within seven days and response to the complaint within four weeks. Where it is not possible to respond to the complaint within four weeks, you will be provided with an update within that period and the matter resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.
    The Captain or Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee may need to speak to you and a number of other people to fully understand your complaint and the circumstances surrounding it.
    Ultimately the Captain or Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee will make a decision about the Complaint and will inform you in writing as to whether your complaint is upheld or not and the actions that will be taken as a result.
    The Captain or Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee will keep records of all complainants received, investigations undertaken and outcomes reached and responses to the complainant.
    Actions that may be taken in response to the investigation of a complaint: Responses to a complaint might include:
    • An apology (either verbal or written) to the complainant and/or the member;
    • An explanation provided to the complainant and/or member, e.g. as to why something happened;
    • A review of a decision made;
    • An assurance that any poor practice identified in the investigation will be addressed at future activities;
    • A meeting with the employee / leader (who is the subject of the complaint) and the complainant in order to resolve the situation;
    • Compulsory attendance by leader at specific training event;
    • A period of supervision of leader by Captain in Company;
    • In the case of a serious incident the suspension or dismissal of leader.

    What if I am not satisfied with the outcome of my Complaint

    If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your Complaint or the way in which it was handled, then you may appeal. You must appeal within 21 days of being given the decision and outcomes of your Complaint. Your appeal must be formally lodged in writing to the Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee. In your appeal, you must clearly explain the basis on which you are making the appeal and your preferred outcome to resolve the issue. Your appeal will consider the process undertaken to handle the original complaint and the outcome of the original Complaint. You will be kept informed of the progress of your appeal with an acknowledgement of your appeal within seven days and a response within four weeks. Where it is not possible to complete the appeal within four weeks, you will be provided with an update within that period and the matter resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.

    Your appeal will be investigated by the Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee. They may need to speak to you and a number of other people to fully understand your appeal and the circumstances surrounding the investigation of your Complaint. Anyone being spoken to by the Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee as part of the appeal is free to bring another person with them to meetings. The Regional Safeguarding Panel/Management Committee will make a decision about the appeal and will inform you whether your appeal is upheld or not and the actions that will be taken as a result.

    If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the appeal, there is no further escalation of the Complaint and the BB will not consider further any action regarding the Complaint or the appeal.

    Recruitment of Leaders

    Recruitment of Leaders

    Recruitment of Leaders

    Recruitment of Leaders



    Child Safeguarding Policy PDF