CHILD PROTECTION - POLICY & PROCEDURES
We intend to create in our services an environment in which children are safe from abuse and in which any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately responded to. In order to achieve this we will:-
Exclude known abusers
Prevent abuse by means of good practice
Respond appropriately to suspicions of abuse.
Liaise with other bodies
With the proviso that the care and safety of the child must always be paramount, RESTORED will do all in its power to support and work with the child's family.
COMPLAINTS & GRIEVANCES
Everyone has the right to express dissatisfaction, disquiet or concern about their experience of RESTORED and its services.
Complaints are such expressions coming from outside the organisation – Service Users, NHS or other Statutory or Voluntary Service, Colleagues, anyone attending an event arranged by or with RESTORED, any member of the public.
The complaint may be about a service, a particular individual (paid or unpaid) working for RESTORED or on RESTORED’s behalf, or about material produced by RESTORED.
A grievance is an expression of concern, dissatisfaction or feelings of unfair treatment by someone from within the organisation. This includes employed Staff, Volunteers, Sessional Workers and trustees.
RESTORED’s policy is to regard all complaints and grievances as a constructive way to improve and develop services, and the organisation. RESTORED aims to listen to and review such expressions with openness and respect, and without judgement, reprisal or discrimination.
RESTORED aims to deal with complaints and grievances as quickly and informally as possible (although all incidents will be reported to the Director).
Monitoring Complaints and Procedures
RESTORED Trustees, RESTORED Director and a Service User will review complaints, however informal, as part of monitoring services. The identity of those involved – complaints or worker – will not be revealed in this process, and only the details necessary to consider broader issues raised by a complaint or grievance, will be provided to this committee. The Director is responsible for this process.
RESTORED appreciates that making a complaint or raising a grievance can be stressful. Anyone making a complaint has the right to support from someone outside of and independent from RESTORED. Anyone raising a grievance has the right to the support of their line manager or such other person from within RESTORED that they feel comfortable with. A trade union or professional organisation representative, or other appropriate advisor chosen by the person raising a grievance or by the person whom the complaint/grievance concerns, may also be involved in any instance where formal stages of the procedure are reached.
RESTORED aims to respect confidentiality at all stages of a complaint. You are encouraged to seek advice and support, but should not discuss details of a complaint informally or outside of RESTORED, except with a professional advisor acting on your behalf during investigation of a formal complaint.
Whilst respecting an individual’s wish for confidentiality it should be noted that complaints/grievances cannot realistically be investigated without relevant details being provided. We cannot investigate anonymous complaints, but will take notice of any as feedback.
Information will be shared only in so far as it is relevant to the procedure. It will not be discussed formally or informally with anyone not directly involved, unless this becomes necessary as a result of the investigation. This will not be done without letting the person making a complaint know, in advance, what information is being revealed and to whom.
If the process involves or raises issues that may affect other service users, it may not be possible to keep full confidentiality.
Where a grievance or complaint results in disciplinary or legal action the management committee [as employers and the liable governing body of RESTORED have the right to all information that affects them.
Guidance for workers and Trustees when receiving complaints:
Complaints can be a constructive way to improve and develop service areas. They are legitimate expressions of an individual’s feelings of dissatisfaction or concern. We aim to be open to, and respectful of, complaints. Complaints may not always be made in ways, or at times, that are easy to receive. They may feel threatening or hurtful, however they are made. They may undermine our personal/professional confidence and sense of empowerment, and may raise concerns about RESTORED’s reputation and on behalf of colleagues. While adhering to the complaints policy and procedure, and the confidentiality boundaries within that, you are encouraged to seek support, from your line manager, in supervision of the Director.
Where you are the first person to receive a particular complaint, it is important to listen carefully, and establish the details and concerns of the complainant. We all hope that complaints can be resolved at the early, informal stage. Your response here can be crucial in achieving this. You should notify your line manager of any matter raised and resolved at this stage, even though no further action seems to be required. You should ensure that the complainant is given a copy of the Complaints Procedure and has full access to the Complaints/Grievance Policy (photocopies available from the Support Services Co-ordinator) or can be viewed/printed from the website.
Anyone making a complaint has the right to advocacy and support, and we make this clear to them. It is not appropriate for anyone within RESTORED to offer support of this kind to complainants. Where a written formal complaint is received, the management committee will designate a person from RESTORED to act as liaison with the complainant. Once the matter has reached this stage, it is important that the complainant/their representative is dealt with only by that liaison person.
Any person being complained about will be supported through the process by RESTORED, heard and kept fully informed, and may also have support from an advocate or professional advisor if they wish. RESTORED aims to respect confidentiality at all stages of a complaint. You are encouraged to seek advice and support, but should not discuss details of a complaint informally or outside of RESTORED, except with a professional advisor acting on your behalf during investigation of a formal complaint.
Procedure for making a formal complaint (to be given to complainants):
Please note: RESTORED respects confidentiality but points out that to fully investigate a complaint some details will need to be shared within the organisation. You will be informed, in advance, about anything that is shared and who is told what. You may have a supporter to help you during any part of the complaints procedure. This may be a friend or advisor helping to write a letter, accompanying you to any interview or meeting, or any other help you need. Advocacy services, the CAB, and other voluntary organisations offer this kind of help. It is not possible for anyone in RESTORED to help you in these ways when you are making a complaint about RESTORED.
RESTORED aims to provide quality services to all those making contact with us. If for any reason you are not satisfied or have a concern please let us know. Most complaints can be sorted out quickly and simply, leading to a better situation for everybody.
• If you are unhappy about a service or an individual it is sometimes ok to tell them directly. If that is difficult, or does not sort the problem out please contact the Director. An informal talk may result in a response straight away. Where that is not possible we will give you information about what is happening within 5 working days.
• If you are not satisfied with the result you may then make a formal complaint to the Director. Formal complaints may be put in writing; however you are welcome to use whatever medium you are comfortable with. If your complaint is about, or concerns, the Director, please contact the support services co-ordinator who will be able to help you to do this. Remember to keep copies of all your letters.
• You will receive a written acknowledgement within 5 working days. You will also be told who in RESTORED will liaise with you during the investigation. We aim to fully explore your complaint and give you a detailed reply within 15 working days. Any delay will be explained by your liaison worker, who you may contact at any point during this time.
• If you are dissatisfied with that result you may wish to ask the Director to report the matter to the Trustees. This will be done at their next meeting from receiving your request. The Trustees meets every 6 weeks, and the date of the meeting will be confirmed to you. The Trustees will decide on the appropriate steps to be taken and keep you
Complaints are resolved by:
• Apologies sincerely given and received
• Respecting and protecting individuals’ rights
• Accepting responsibility
• Correcting mistakes
• Making changes that show learning as a result of looking into a complaint
You will know if your complaint is resolved for you when you have a feeling of being heard and respected; of having a clearer understanding of what has happened; are can see the changes made.
If you have heard back from the trustees and still feel your complaint is not resolved you may appeal about their decision.
You must state that you want to appeal, in writing to the trustees, within 10 working days of being told their decision.
A Trustee will arrange to meet with you, within 10 working days from receiving your letter. We will also ask an independent observer and let you know, in advance, who this will be. You are entitled to have an advocate or supporter with you at the meeting, or to help you in any way.
The people involved in the complaint will be asked to come and the Panel will ask questions, and hear anything they have to say. You/your supporter will also be able to ask questions. The Panel will discuss with you your views on what has been said at this meeting.
The Panel will then contact you, in writing, within 3 working days, giving the details of their decision about the complaint, and any action being taken. This decision will be the final one from RESTORED; there are no further in-house procedures. You would need to get advice from an organisation such as the CAB or a solicitor as to any further steps you may be able to take.
Full details about all RESTORED’s policies and how we work are available from the Administrative Assistant and on the RESTORED website www.restored.support
RESTORED is committed to being a fair employer, and to the values of RESTORED being applied equally to Workers, Paid or Unpaid, and to the Trustees.
Everybody has the right to express a grievance – that is a complaint, a concern, or a feeling of being unfairly treated. RESTORED wants to know about any grievance you have. Most can be sorted out simply and quickly. Following the procedure below will help to do this. You may have a supporter to help you at any time.
Proceedings of a grievance are kept confidential to those involved where possible. If the matter is serious enough to go beyond Step 2 the trustees may need to be informed. Where a grievance matter affects the welfare of another person confidentiality may not be possible.
• Speak to your line manager in the first instance. If your grievance is with them then contact the Director instead. You and/or the line manager can involve the Director in your discussions/the procedure at any time.
• Make sure the person you contact realises that you want to talk about a grievance. Ask for a time and place appointment where you can talk in confidence about the matter.
• If it helps make notes about what happened, and how you feel, so that you can be clear about it when you meet up.
• Remember that everyone involved with RESTORED wants the best experiences for the service users, other members of the team and for themselves. Making a grievance known helps that to happen.
• You may feel that your grievance has been dealt with as a result of that initial meeting, or talking to the Director. However, if you are not satisfied you should continue as follows.
• If you have only met with your line manager up to now, contact the Director and explain the situation. There may well be a way of resolving the matter, or making changes that help, at this point. If not, or if you have already involved the Director and are still not be happy about the action taken so far, then
• Involves you writing to the Chair of Trustees making the situation known to them. Keep a copy of your letter. Send it via RESTORED marked for the Chair of the Trustees, Urgent and Strictly Confidential. It will be forwarded immediately, and you will hear back within 5 working days of receiving your letter.
• One of the Trustees will meet with you. You are welcome to have a supporter with you at this meeting. You will have the opportunity to talk about your grievance and why earlier attempts to resolve it have not been successful for you.
• At this meeting either the matter will be resolved to your satisfaction or it will be agreed as to how to proceed further. The management committee member will keep you fully informed as to RESTORED’s actions.
Where a resolution or agreement is reached it is binding on all concerned. Support for individuals and monitoring of outcomes of resolutions will be provided by, or on behalf of, the Trustees.
The Trustees have rights as Employers, and as the liable governing body of RESTORED, to make decisions and give directions for action about issues arising from a grievance. They also have the right to take disciplinary action where appropriate.
Employees and volunteers have rights through employment and general law. CAB’s and solicitors can advise any individual regarding these.
Where those making a complaint/raising a grievance have redress through law RESTORED will comply with such procedures as are legitimate and appropriate.
Correspondence from legal advisors/professional representatives should be marked ‘Strictly Confidential’ and addressed to the Chair of the Trustees in the first instance.
The Chair of Trustees shall appoint a legal representative to act on their behalf and all future correspondence and/or discussion will be undertaken by them, or through arrangement with them.
This policy was adapted by kind permission of Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association
Maintaining confidentiality is an essential part of all services offered by RESTORED. It contributes to creating a safe environment, and to relationships based on trust. This enables Service Users to speak most freely and engage meaningfully. It enables Workers to function more effectively, and ethically.
RESTORED Staff, Volunteers and Trustees aim to respect the dignity and worth of every individual; and to maintain their rights to a private and confidential service.
This means that access to and sharing of information is restricted and on a ‘need to know’ basis. However, confidentiality is between the service user and RESTORED, to allow for sharing within supervision and line management. This is done only when necessary, to ensure the best possible guidance for an individual service user, and to support workers – paid and unpaid – to work to best possible practice.
Information is not passed on outside of RESTORED without a service user’s expressed permission unless there is a requirement by law, or someone is believed to be at serious risk. Where RESTORED determines that a breach of confidentiality has to be made, wherever possible the service users will be fully informed as to why, what, how and to whom. Information shared in this way will be kept to the minimum necessary to deal with the issue directly leading to the breach of confidentiality.
Community Support Workers/counsellors/volunteers working within RESTORED services, agree confidentiality with Service Users as part of the contract of the therapeutic relationship. They are expected to work under the codes of practice and ethics of their qualifying body, in addition to following RESTORED guidelines and practice. Any use of service users’ work for case study/other professional development purposes is clearly agreed with a service user in advance, and every effort made to ensure anonymity. Service users have the right to withhold such agreement, and this in no way affects the services they are offered.
Group facilitators agree confidentiality as part of the groups’ rules and boundary setting processes. Group members are expected, and regularly reminded, to be as careful about maintaining confidentiality as workers. This includes therapy, learning and training groups.
All such contracts are expected to enhance RESTORED's basic confidentiality policy and practice. Any agreement that may potentially hinder or conflict with this must be discussed with the Director of RESTORED to resolve the difficulty. RESTORED’s basic confidentiality policy and practice will always have priority, and Workers, Volunteers, Counsellors/Therapists should note that where a resolution cannot be found that satisfies this, then placement/work offers will be withdrawn.
Service Users and partners in service provision are made aware of the confidentiality policy and procedures through:
Practice and guidelines
However, there are a few instances where a breach of confidentiality, without the service user’s permission, may become necessary:
RESTORED will want to seek appropriate help where there is a risk of grave harm to the child or others, and/or where the child is talking or acting in a way that indicates they are seriously considering suicide. RESTORED will work with the child to agree a plan of action and to access help. Where such an agreement cannot be made and concerns remain, RESTORED will follow the procedure for breach of confidentiality (see below).
If the child is considered to be at risk from the actions of others, RESTORED will support the child in accessing appropriate help. Where this is not possible, RESTORED will initiate informal discussions with the appropriate service and where necessary follow the procedure for breach of confidentiality.
Where there is deemed to be an immediate risk to a member of the public, RESTORED worker (paid or unpaid) :
RESTORED will take such action as is required to ensure the safety of the person concerned. This may include involving the police.
RESTORED operates zero tolerance of abuse of any kind towards service users, employees and volunteers, from any source.
There are no other circumstances under which RESTORED would break confidentiality against the service users’ wishes. Where service users are deemed to be particularly vulnerable e.g. from ill health, self-harm etc. this will be emphasised throughout RESTORED’s contact with them.
Confidentiality and Suicide (service users over 16 years of age):
Many people consider suicide at some time in their life. Not everyone considering or talking about suicide is actually preparing to take their life at that point. Others may reveal that they are at high risk of taking action in the immediate or foreseeable future. RESTORED does not actively support the taking of one’s own life, but will not condemn an individual’s decision to do so.
In all cases RESTORED will explore with the service users what has brought them to this point in their lives, and why they are sharing this information with us. RESTORED will support them within the limits of the services it provides, and encourage and support access to other services that can help.
If a service user makes contact having made a suicidal act we will not seek medical or other help for the service users, without their permission. This is made clear to service users, and they are reminded of this throughout the contact period. We will endeavour to encourage them to give permission, and support them to take any action they identify as acceptable to them, to reduce the risk of harm from their actions.
Where the service user is physically present they are advised that if they become unconscious as a result of their action, we will call for an ambulance and/or other help.
All workers are fully informed of RESTORED’s policy regarding suicide, during the induction process and training.
Procedure for Breach of Confidentiality
A breach of confidentiality will only be made when all the following steps have been taken. Except where immediate action is required to preserve life, no breach of confidentiality will take place unless authorised by the director.
At all times RESTORED will make every effort to inform the service users of the reasons for our decisions and actions, and to keep them updated with regard to our discussions.
Confidentiality should not be breached as an immediate response to a request for information from:
If the service user is readily available or contactable, they may be approached to ask them if they wish us to provide the information requested. They will be advised of any concerns we may have about the consequences of providing that information to the enquirer. Where the service user gives permission it is preferable for them to be involved with the process of sharing the information or written permission in advance should be obtained.
Requests for information when not authorised by the service user or when the service user is not contactable must be made directly to the director of RESTORED. No other paid or unpaid worker is in a position to give out confidential information. No breach will be made without exploring fully the authenticity of the enquirer, the nature of the information required, the reasons for the enquiry and why the enquiry has been directed to RESTORED.
Enquirers who express concern or anger at being made to wait for or refused answers, will have clarified for them that RESTORED does not hold information concerning a service user’s health, family circumstances or lifestyle, that are vital to preserve life. It is extremely unlikely that any harm will be caused by any delay or refusal. The harm to the service user, when trust is broken by breaching confidentiality, is very likely to outweigh other risks.
In the rare event of a breach of confidentiality taking place the director will provide a detailed report to the committee and, subject to legal restrictions, this report will be copied to the service user.
In the event of any breach of confidentiality happening outside the procedures outlined above, an internal investigation will take place, even where no complaint is made. Anyone working within RESTORED, who fails to uphold the principles and standards of the policy and procedures on confidentiality, is subject to serious disciplinary action.
This policy was adapted by kind permission of Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association