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Policies

The following policies have been approved by the Youth Theatre Committee and will be reviewed annually in respect of content and implementation.

  1. Rules
  2. Behaviour
  3. Child Protection
  4. Anti-Bullying
  5. Equal Opportunities
  6. Health, safety and risk management

RULES

  1. Please respect the Youth Centre and other people who may use the building

  2. Please enjoy yourself, join in and have a go!
  3. Please welcome new members to the Group
  4. Smoking is not allowed either in the youth centre building or its grounds
  5. If you have alcohol with you it will be confiscated and disposed of.  If you have been drinking, we will contact your parents.
  6. Please don’t gossip or talk negatively about any other members of the Youth Theatre.  Fighting or Bullying will not be tolerated.
  7. Please remember that all of the adults involved with the Youth Theatre are volunteers – please appreciate their contributions accordingly.
  8. Youth Theatre hours are 6:30pm-9.45pm on a Monday evening. There should be no loitering on school grounds outside of these hours. 
  9. All members are required to complete a registration form and pay an annual fee, which will be notified in September of each year.

BEHAVIOUR


All Youth Theatre Members and Leaders must treat each other with respect and courtesy. 

The disciplinary process follows the ‘Three Strikes and Out’ rule.

  •  Verbal warning
  •  Written warning
  •  Exclusion from Youth Theatre for the following week

Behaviour that warrants a verbal warning: 

  • Minor acts of rudeness and/or disrespecting the leaders and other youth theatre members
  • Failure to act upon a leader’s request
  • Disrespecting or damaging property and/or equipment
  • Taunting of a racist/sexist nature
  • Swearing
  • Smoking

Serious misbehaviour will warrant direct exclusion and the member will be asked to leave the Youth Theatre permanently. 

  • Fighting
  • Intimidation
  • Threatening behaviour to anyone
  • Bullying
  • Assault
  • Criminal damage
  • Theft
  • Possession of drink or drugs

CHILD PROTECTION

 

Haddenham Youth Theatre (HYT) is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children and young people. It recognises its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation.

HYT acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse. Members and volunteers will endeavour to work together to encourage the development of an ethos which embraces difference and diversity and respects the rights of children, young people and adults.

HYT recognises its duty of care under the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, the Children (Performances and Activities) (England) Regulations 2014, the Children Act 1989 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (in Scotland Protection of Children (Scotland) Act 2003), Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015.

Haddenham Youth Theatre believes that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount;
  • All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse;
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately;
  • All members, volunteers and employees of HYT should be clear on how to respond appropriately.

Haddenham Youth Theatre will ensure that:

  • All children will be treated equally and with respect and dignity;
  • The welfare of each child will always be put first;
  • A balanced relationship based on mutual trust will be built which empowers the children to share in the decision-making process;
  • Enthusiastic and constructive feedback will be given rather than negative criticism;
  • Bullying will not be accepted or condoned;
  • All adult members of HYT provide a positive role model for dealing with other people;
  • Action will be taken to stop any inappropriate verbal or physical behaviour;
  • It will keep up-to-date with health & safety legislation;
  • It will keep informed of changes in legislation and policies for the protection of children;
  • It will undertake relevant development and training;
  • It will hold a register of every child involved with HYT and will retain a contact name and number close at hand in case of emergencies. 

In implementing this child protection policy Haddenham Youth Theatre will:

  • Communicate to all volunteers their legal and moral responsibility to protect children and young people from harm, abuse and exploitation;
  • Communicate to all volunteers their responsibility to work at all times towards maintaining high standards of practice in protection of children;
  • Ensure that all volunteers / members understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person, or a worker’s conduct towards a child / young person, to HYT’s named person for child protection;
  • Ensure that HYT’s named person for child protection understands his / her responsibility to refer any child protection concerns to the statutory child protection agencies (i.e. Police and/or Children’s Social Care);
  • Ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of volunteers / members are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner;
  • Facilitate opportunities for children and young people to express their ideas and views on a wide range of issues in connection with the service they are provided with;
  • Facilitate involvement of parents or carers in the work of HYT and to make child protection policies and procedures available to them;
  • Undertake a risk assessment and monitor risk throughout the production process; 
  • Engage in effective recruitment of chaperones and other individuals with responsibility for children, including appropriate vetting (if necessary in consultation with the local authority);
  • Ensure that children are supervised at all times.  

HYT has a commitment to allow volunteers to access appropriate training. All volunteers will undertake basic safeguarding awareness training which will be updated regularly. This policy will be regularly monitored by the HYT Committee and will be subject to annual review. 

 

Recognising the Signs of Abuse

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institution or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Children can be abused by an adult, or adults, or another child or children.

 

Physical Abuse: A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms or, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

 

Emotional Abuse: The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capacity, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.

 

Sexual Abuse: Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex), or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Woman can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

 

Child Sexual Exploitation: This is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

 

Neglect: The persistent failure to meet a child’s basis physical and / or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance misuse.

Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers): or
  • Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

 

Bullying: Bullying may be defined as behaviour by an individual or a group, repeated over time, which intentionally hurts another individual or group, either physically or emotionally. It can take many forms, including:

  • verbal abuse, such as name calling or gossiping
  • non-verbal abuse, such as hand signs or text messages
  • emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone
  • undermining, by constant criticism or spreading rumours
  • controlling or manipulating someone
  • racial, sexual or homophobic bullying
  • physical assaults such as hitting and pushing
  • making silent, hoax or abusive calls.

Bullying can happen face to face or virtually, for example online via social networking sites, online forums or gaming or via mobile phones. The use of information communications technology (ICT) to bully impacts on the way bullying takes place – it can happen at any time of day and can be much more subtle or hidden, including taking place when a child is alone in their room. It also potentially involves a much larger audience, including a large number of bystanders and spreads very quickly to become ‘viral’. (Department of Education)

 

Reporting an Incident or a Concern

All organisations working with children and young people should have a Safeguarding Lead in place. The Safeguarding Lead will provide a direct point of contact for any member or volunteer who has a child protection concern, record any concerns in a clear (and secure) manner, and ensure that the appropriate action is taken. The Safeguarding Lead should also ensure that the Child Protection Policy is being fully adhered to.

The Safeguarding Lead for HYT is Nichola Zijderveld.

She can be contacted on…07856 601476…………………………………………………

If the Safeguarding Lead is not available, advice should be immediately sought from: The First Response Team on 0845 4600001 (outside of office hours call: 0800 999 7677) email: secure-cypfirstresponse@buckscc.gcsx.gov.uk

NB. This email address is only secure if emailing from another secure account.

 

Policies and Procedures

HYT’s Child Protection Policy has been written in line with the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board multi-agency procedures. This policy should also be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Behaviour policy
  • Anti-Bullying policy
  • Equal Opportunities policy
  • Health, safety and risk management policy
  • Data protection policy

All volunteers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with all relevant policies and procedures. This policy will undergo internal review on an annual basis by the committee. The next review is June 2019.

 

What to do if you are concerned about a child

  • If you see or suspect abuse of a child while in the care of HYT, please make this known to the named person with responsibility for child protection. This named person will assist with decision making around the appropriate action. They should follow the BSCB advice on ‘What to do if you are concern about a child in Buckinghamshire’. If the child is at immediate risk of harm, call 999.
  • If you suspect that the person with responsibility for child protection is the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
  • Please make a note for your own records of what you witnessed as well as your response, in case there is follow-up in which you are involved. 
  • If a serious allegation is made against any member of HYT, chaperone, volunteer etc., action will be taken to ensure the individual does not have further contact with the child until the investigation is concluded. The individual will be excluded from the rehearsal rooms and performance venue and will not have any unsupervised contact with any other children in the production.  

Disclosure of abuse 

If a child confides in you that abuse has taken place:

  • Remain calm and in control but do not delay taking action. 
  • Listen carefully to what has been said. Allow the child to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don't ask questions that suggest a particular answer. 
  • Don't promise to keep it a secret. Use the first opportunity you have to share the information with the person with responsibility for child protection. Make it clear to the child that you will need to share this information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help. 
  • Reassure the child that 'they did the right thing' in telling someone. 
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next.
  • Speak immediately to the person with responsibility for child protection. It is that person's responsibility to liaise with the relevant authorities, usually Children’s Social care or the Police. 
  • Never investigate or take sole responsibility for a situation where a child makes a disclosure 
  • As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child's own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, and who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record. 

In all situations, including those in which the cause of concern arises from a disclosure made in confidence, the details of an allegation or reported incident will be recorded, regardless of whether or not the concerns have been shared with a statutory child protection agency.

An accurate note shall be made of the date and time of the incident or disclosure, the parties involved, what was said or done and by whom, any action taken to investigate the matter, any further action taken e.g. suspension of an individual, where relevant the reasons why the matter was not referred to a statutory agency, and the name of the persons reporting and to whom it was reported. 

The record will be stored securely and shared only with those who need to know about the incident or allegation.

 

Allegations or concerns regarding a member or volunteer within Haddenham Youth Theatre

Disclosures of abusive or inappropriate behaviour towards children may be made in relation to members or volunteers working within an organisation. Alternatively, members or volunteers may have concerns regarding behaviour they have witnessed from another member or volunteer towards children.

In some cases, allegations can be made against a member or volunteer due to their own naivety regarding the appropriateness of their behaviour when working in a position of trust, or from a lack of training about safeguarding boundaries. All volunteers will undertake basic Child Protection training. New volunteers will be given access to the BSCB Professional Boundaries leaflet.

HYT’s lead for managing allegations is the Safeguarding Lead. Contact details for the named person are provided within this policy. In response to any allegation, the Safeguarding Lead will respond in line with the BSCB Procedure for Managing Allegations and where appropriate must contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). If the concern relates directly to the named person for managing allegations, HYT will approach the LADO directly for advice. In order to support the managing allegations process, HYT will:

  • Follow all advice given by the LADO throughout the investigation process, including how to manage the volunteer against whom the allegation is made, as well as supporting other volunteers within the HYT.
  • Follow all advice given by the LADO relating to supporting the child or young person making the allegation, as well as other children and young people connected to HYT
  • Ensure feedback is provided to the LADO about the outcome of any internal investigations within HYT.

Transfer of Risk: Should an individual member or volunteer be involved in child protection, other safeguarding procedures or Police investigations in relation to abuse or neglect, they must inform the HYT Safeguarding Lead. In these circumstances, HYT will need to assess whether there is any potential for risk to transfer to HYT and the individual’s own work with children or young people.

 

Process to be followed should a disclosure take place during a HYT session

  • Make sure the group and individuals are safe
  • Assess the situation and gather any additional information required.  Make physical space where necessary / appropriate (e.g. move people away, separate individuals etc.)
  • Call for backup or additional supervision support in order to maintain the adult / child ratio (e.g. via the HYT committee WhatsApp group)
  • Select the most appropriate individual to deal with the situation in the moment
  • Deal with the incident in line with the HYT Safeguarding policy and ensure someone records the actions taken
  • Where possible, other adults to continue running the group session. If the situation deems this impossible, contact parents to arrange for early collection
  • Debrief between the adults involved
  • Arrange a post-incident review with the Safeguarding officer, those involved and others, as appropriate. 

Recruitment of Volunteers

HYT will ask for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all volunteers and reserves the right to reject a volunteer if the results of the check show the volunteer is unsuitable.

Any DBS certificate secured in a different role must be seen by the HYT Director prior to a volunteer becoming involved with HYT. The DBS clearance reference number will be recorded and stored securely on file.

HYT will recheck a volunteer’s DBS every 3 years. 

A positive disclosure will need a risk assessment. HYT will ask the individual to bring in the DBS certificate to review the information and to determine the next steps.

 

Recording and Record Retention

Should a disclosure of abuse, or an allegation be made against a member or volunteer, HYT is required to maintain records in a way that is confidential and secure. Please refer to HYT’s Data Protection policy. When a member or volunteer is disclosed to, and shares that information with the Safeguarding Lead, it is the Safeguarding Lead’s responsibility to ensure that the information is recorded and stored in a confidential way. HYT is required to keep records of the concern and subsequent actions taken for a minimum of 6 years. This record will not be shared with any other members or volunteers. If an allegation is made against a member or volunteer, a comprehensive, confidential summary of the allegation will be kept on file. This record will be kept by HYT until 10 years after the allegation and will include a clear outcome, including when cases have been investigated and found to be without substance.

 

Confidentiality and Information Sharing

All volunteers will be made aware of the confidential nature of child protection information and the importance of appropriate information sharing in effectively safeguarding children.

Child protection concerns, disclosures from children or safeguarding allegations made against another member or volunteer must not be discussed across HYT as a whole. This information should be shared solely with the Safeguarding Lead (or with Children’s Social Care / LADO as appropriate).

Personal information which is shared by the child or young person on a 1:1 level, such as sexual orientation or gender identification, should not be disclosed to HYT as a whole.

If volunteers need to discuss situations in order to gain a wider perspective from colleagues, this should be done on an anonymous basis with names and other identifying information relating to the child and their family remaining strictly confidential.

Volunteers can seek further guidance and advice from the following information which is available on the BSCB website.

  • BSCB Multi Agency Information Sharing Code of Practice
  • HM Government Information Sharing Guidance (2015)
  • Seven Golden Rules for Information Sharing

 

Photographs and Images of Children 

As confirmed in the Data Protection Act, HYT will ensure written consent is sought from the parent or carer of any child under the age of 18 using our services before any photographs are taken. If consent is given, HYT will make a clear agreement with the parent or carer as to how the image will be used (for example, on the HYT website) and how widely. Due consideration will be given to the appropriateness of clothing and posture, and details such as a child’s name or age will not be shared unless integral to the use of the image (such as within a review of a performance) in particular when additional identifiers (i.e. a school or uniform logo) are being shared.

If parents or other members of the audience are intending to photograph or video an event they will be made aware of HYT’s policy. The use of cameras or mobile phones with camera or filming capability in dressing rooms and other inappropriate environments is expressly forbidden.

 

E-Safety

Most of our children will use mobile phones and computers. They are a source of fun, entertainment, communication and education. However, we know that some men, women and young people will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to enticing children to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings. HYT’s E-Safety policy explains how we try to keep children safe by not communicating with children via their phone, but with their parents. Cyber-bullying by children, via texts and emails, will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying. Occasionally volunteers need to be able to use technology as part of their role; for example, a Facebook page or email. This is solely for communicating important information regarding rehearsals and performances and is monitored by the HYT Committee.

 

Extremism and Radicalisation

All childcare settings have a legal duty to protect children from the risk of radicalisation and being drawn into extremism. There are many reasons why a child might be vulnerable to radicalisation, e.g.:

  • feeling alienated or alone
  • seeking a sense of identity or individuality
  • suffering from mental health issues such as depression
  • desire for adventure or wanting to be part of a larger cause
  • associating with others who hold extremist beliefs.

Signs that a child might be at risk of radicalisation include:

  • changes in behaviour, for example becoming withdrawn or aggressive
  • claiming that terrorist attacks and violence are justified
  • viewing violent extremist material online
  • possessing or sharing violent extremist material.

If a member or volunteer suspects that a child is at risk of becoming radicalised, they will record any relevant information or observations and refer the matter to the Safeguarding Lead.

 

Visitors

All visitors to HYT are required to follow the same guidelines laid out for volunteers. Visitors will be made aware of our Child Protection Policy, made clear as to appropriate conduct with children and young people and will know how to raise a concern about a child. If a visitor is likely to have unsupervised access to children and young people, HYT will ensure they are DBS checked and follow any safeguarding guidelines: for example, not using their mobile phone to photograph or video children or young people or to ensure that doors are left open / they are visible during one on one contact.

 

Parents

HYT believes it to be important that there is a partnership between parents and HYT. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the activities of HYT and to share responsibility for the care of children. 

All parents will have access to HYT’s Child Protection Policy and procedures via the HYT website.   All parents have the responsibility to collect (or arrange collection of) their children after rehearsals or performances. HYT has a responsibility to ensure suitable arrangements are in place to take children home. HYT volunteers will not allow any child to make their own way home without prior written consent from the parent. HYT will not send a child home in a taxi even if a parent has requested it.

Parents are not to enter the backstage and dressing room area at any time during or after a performance. HYT volunteers and chaperones will bring all children to the parents at the end of the performance. If an urgent message needs relaying to a child, parents should speak to a volunteer front of house.

 

Unsupervised Contact

HYT will attempt to ensure that no adult has unsupervised contact with children. 

If possible there will always be two adults in the room when working with children. 

If unsupervised contact is unavoidable, steps will be taken to minimise risk. For example, work will be carried out in a public area or in a designated room with a door open. If it is predicted that an individual is likely to require unsupervised contact with children, he or she may be required to obtain a criminal record disclosure (DBS) from the Disclosure and Barring Service 

 

Accidents 

To avoid accidents, volunteers and children will be advised of "house rules" regarding health and safety and will be notified of areas that are out of bounds. Children will be advised of the clothing and footwear appropriate to the work that will be undertaken.  If a child is injured while in the care of HYT, a designated first-aider will administer first aid and the injury will be recorded in HYT’s accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection.  

If a child arrives at a session with an obvious physical injury, a record of this will be made in the accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for child protection. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later and will also be a record that the child did not sustain the injury while participating in any HYT activity.

 

Chaperones 

Chaperones will be appointed by HYT for the care of children during the production process. The chaperone is acting in loco-parentis and should exercise the care which a good parent might be reasonably expected to give to a child. The maximum number of children in the chaperone's care shall not exceed 12.

  • Chaperones will be made aware of HYT’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures. 
  • Chaperones may have unsupervised access to children in their care; consequently, a criminal record disclosure will be sought as a requirement of the local authority.
  • Where chaperones are not satisfied with the conditions for the children, they should bring this to the attention of a committee member. If changes cannot be made satisfactorily the chaperone should consider not allowing the child to continue. 
  • If a chaperone considers that a child is unwell or too tired to continue, the chaperone must inform a committee member and not allow the child to continue. 
  • Under the Dangerous Performances Act no child of compulsory school age is permitted to do anything which may endanger life or limb.
  • During performances, chaperones will be responsible for supervising children backstage.
  • Children will be kept together at all times except when using separate dressing rooms. 
  • Chaperones will be aware of where the children are at all times. 
  • Children are not to leave the place of performance unsupervised by chaperones unless in the company of their parents. 
  • Children will be adequately supervised while going to and from the toilets. 
  • Chaperones should be aware of the safety arrangements and first aid procedures in the venue and will ensure that children in their care do not place themselves and others in danger. 
  • Chaperones should ensure that any accidents are reported to and recorded by the organisation.
  • Chaperones should have written arrangements for children after performances. If someone different is to collect the child, a telephone call should be made to the parent to confirm the arrangements. 
  • Children should be signed out when leaving and a record made of the person collecting. 
  • If a parent has not collected the child, it is the duty of the chaperone to stay with that child until arrangements have been made to take the child home.
 ..........Dated June 2018...............................

ANTI BULLYING

 

It is the policy of Haddenham Youth Theatre to provide a neutral and harmonious environment which is free from harassment and intimidation.  Bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and all members and leaders are expected to comply with this policy.  Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action which, where appropriate, may warrant the withdrawal of membership.


EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

 

We aim to promote equal opportunities in all aspects of the Youth Theatre, regardless of age, gender, religious beliefs, political opinion, ethnic origin disability, race or sexual orientation.  We aim to challenge and oppose discrimination in any form it may take – language and/or behaviour.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

 

It is the aim of Haddenham Youth Theatre to provide and maintain, as far as possible:

  • A safe and healthy place to rehearse and perform
  • Safe working procedures
  • Safe equipment 

In accordance with our statutory responsibility: 

  • We have taken out insurance to cover the relevant liabilities appropriate to a voluntary organisation run by volunteers
  • All leaders and volunteers are provided with regular training that will assist them to work safely
  • An inspection of the premises and equipment will be carried out at least once a year
  • All defects and hazards are reported to the Youth Centre Management Committee
  • All equipment purchased or acquired is suitable and safe for the intended use
  • We maintain an accident book.
  • A first aid box is maintained and available for use.  All leaders and volunteers are aware of its location.
  • The Youth Theatre Committee review risks when planning productions.  We ensure the level of risk presented is low/acceptable.  Contacts details, permission slips, relevant health details are held for each member. 
  • Fire Drill/Evacuation procedures are laid down by the Youth Centre Management Committee.