KEAP Safeguarding Policy & Procedures

Policy Statement

Kernow Education Arts Partnership is a strategic arts education organisation working across Cornwall and beyond. The Writers’ Block is a creative writing venue and programme created and managed by Kernow Education Arts Partnership (KEAP). All staff and volunteers who work at The Writers’ Block are employed by KEAP as the registered charity and legal organisation.

This policy covers activity which takes place in The Writers’ Block, in other cultural and community venues and in schools. The reporting and responsibilities will differ depending on the location and groups being worked with.

KEAP has a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in KEAP activities from harm.  All children have a right to protection, and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable are taken into account.  KEAP will ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in KEAP activities through adherence to the Child Safeguarding guidelines adopted by KEAP. KEAP is fully committed to this aim, which over-rides all other concerns.

We believe that:

  • The welfare of the child or young person is paramount.
  • All children and young people, 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.
  • Staff and volunteers should be clear on how to respond appropriately.

Policy Aims

 The aim of KEAP’s Child Safeguarding Policy is to promote good practice and to allow all staff and volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child safeguarding issues

Where the policy refers to ‘staff’ this includes anyone employed by KEAP through the payroll or on a freelance basis or working with KEAP as a volunteer.

Review of Policy

This policy will be reviewed annually and amended when necessary.


Risk Assessments

 A new Risk Assessment will be carried out whenever any part of the Safeguarding procedures are changed.

A Reactive Risk Assessment will be carried out following a concern or disclosure of abuse being raised.


Promote Good Practice

 Abuse (emotional, neglect, physical or sexual) can occur within many situations including the home, the school and the arts environment.  Some individuals will actively seek employment or voluntary work with young people in order to harm them.  An artist or KEAP volunteer may have regular contact with young people and should seek to adhere to the highest standards of child safeguarding at all times.  They should be an important link in identifying cases where they need protection.  All suspicious cases of poor practice should be reported following the guidelines in this document, usually to the KEAP Director.


Code of Conduct

 Definition of terms: For the purposes of this Code of Conduct, the term ‘staff’ or ‘member of staff’ will include all artists, volunteers, trustees and paid employees who work on behalf of KEAP.

The term ‘child’, where used on its own, will include all children and young people under the age of 18.

All staff will be encouraged to demonstrate exemplary behaviour in order to protect themselves from false allegations.  The following Code of Conduct illustrates how to create a positive culture and climate.  It is based on the Independent Theatre Council’s report, ‘Working in Schools: A Practical Guide to Partnership’ and Sport England’s model Child Protection policy.

Your vehicle:

  • Drive slowly on the school and other venue premises. Take particular care when reversing.
  • If you do not know where the school entrance is, it is better to stop and go into the school on foot rather than drive around the school grounds.
  • It is a good idea to switch off any music when arriving on school premises
  • Never obstruct fire exits when parking, even if only temporarily, to find out where to go or unload.
  • Check with Reception where you can park. You may be allowed nearer to the school to unload.
  • Keep the vehicle locked at all times.
  • Never give a pupil or participant a lift in your vehicle.

On arrival at a school:

  • Go to Reception at the school to get signed in. Take photo ID, and DBS check if necessary. You will be given a Visitor badge to wear.
  • Make sure you know and follow school procedures and times.
  • Ask where the staff toilets are, never use the children’s toilets.
  • Avoid wandering around the school.

On arrival at The Writers’ Block or another venue:

  • Make yourself known to the KEAP staff in the KEAP office.
  • Make sure you know and follow The Writers’ Block procedures.
  • There are no staff toilets, you should use the disabled toilet if the general toilets are being used by children.

 Conduct around the school or venue:

  • You are an ambassador for KEAP & The Writers’ Block and a role model for the children. Everything you do should reflect this.
  • Do not smoke anywhere on the school or venue premises including in your vehicle.
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs should never be taken onto school or venue premises under any circumstances.
  • No-one should consume alcohol before arriving at a school or venue.
  • Prescribed drugs should be kept hidden and out of reach of the children e.g. in the locked vehicle.
  • Move around the school or venue quietly. Avoid shouting, loud laughter, slamming doors, or any unnecessary noise.
  • Make sure language and conversation is appropriate.
  • Ensure your actions do not conflict with school rules. Some schools do not allow sweets or chewing gum.
  • Take responsibility for clearing up after a workshop or performance. Take any rubbish with you.
  • Report any accidents or breakages immediately.
  • Wear your named visitor badge if required (except if in costume).

 Conduct with Children:

  • All artists should have an Enhanced Disclosure certificate which is less than 3 years old if undertaking regulated activity.
  • We tend to use first names in The Writers’ Block, but be aware that most teachers will be known by their surname and you should respect this.
  • Schools have different Child Safeguarding codes of conduct, for instance no use of first names. Check with the school about their policies.
  • Treat all children and young people with respect. Don’t automatically laugh at something a child says to you; they may not have intended it to be funny.
  • Never reprimand or shout at a child.
  • Give enthusiastic and constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.
  • Avoid being left alone with a single child.
  • Do not initiate any physical contact with children. It should not be necessary.  If the nature of the workshop requires any physical contact this should be discussed with the teachers in advance.
  • If a child initiates physical contact such as approaching you for a hug, deflect them if possible and stay side on to the child.
  • Do not encourage children to sit on your knee. Sit beside them.
  • You are not in the school in a disciplinary capacity. Leave that to the teachers.
  • Avoid getting involved in issues that arise amongst the children. For instance, don’t try to break up a fight.
  • If a child informs you of a problem, tell a teacher. Don’t hang around while the teacher deals with the situation.
  • If a child has an accident the staff are responsible for administering first aid.
  • If you are exploring sensitive issues, such as bullying or drugs, children could approach you with their problems. Without being dismissive, try to avoid becoming involved.  Do not agree to keep the issue secret, and encourage them to tell a teacher or parent.
  • If something a child tells you leads you to suspect that they are being abused you are obliged to report it to the Designated Child Safeguarding teacher if you are working in or with a school. Otherwise you must report it to KEAP’s designated child protection officer, the Director.
  • Maintain professional behaviour at all times.

Practices never to be allowed

The following should never be allowed.  You should never:

  • Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative activities.
  • Work or perform without the presence of a teacher/s.
  • Share a bedroom with a child. If alone with a child in a room, for any reason, the door should be left open.
  • Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate touching.
  • Allow children to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Make sexually suggestive comments to a child, even in fun.
  • Reduce a child to tears as a form of control.
  • Allow allegations made by a child to go unchallenged, unrecorded or not acted upon.
  • Do things of a personal nature for children that they can do for themselves.
  • Never take responsibility for a child under any circumstances.

Health and Safety

  • Staff and volunteers are expected to promote Health and Safety considerations to children and young people.
  • All volunteers and staff must agree to work in accordance with KEAP’s policy on Health and Safety and to work without causing danger to themselves, to other volunteers or to the general public.
  • Risk assessment should be a part of planning any project and should take into account all aspects of the project, but particularly any risks relating to protection of children and young people. Risk management should be an ongoing part of every project.


Communicating with Children & Young People by Email, Phone, Text and Social media

It is recognised that from time to time KEAP may deliver work directly with young people rather than through a school or youth group and that most areas of work allow us to communicate through a virtual medium such as online, or via texting, so it is important to consider young people’s safety when they use this form of media.

Where these situations are expected to arise, the Director should be informed and the following code of conduct should be followed.

Contacting a young person:

All under 18’s must have parental/guardian permission for KEAP to contact the young person via email or mobile phone.

Via email

When emailing young people about a KEAP piece of work, all email addresses of young people must be “blind carbon copied” (bcc) so their email address can be concealed. You must always copy in a member of staff so no emails are just between just you and a young person. Emails from young people to a practitioner should go via a KEAP email address and forwarded onto the practitioner where possible.

Via mobile phone

Contacting a young person on their mobile should be done within office hours and when another member of staff is present. If contact takes place outside these hours or when there are no other staff members present ensure that it is recorded and emailed to the Director on [email protected] .

Social media

You should never use social media to contact or communicate with a young person. You should not accept their friend requests on Facebook, or use any type of instant messaging service such as Messenger or Snapchat. WhatsApp projects groups may be required for some projects, but these will be set up by KEAP, only for young people over the age of 12, and will be closely monitored.

You should also recognise that your personal social media profile and behaviour will reflect on you as a professional working with young people, so you should review who is able to view your posts, and where it is not possible to control this (e.g. Instagram) you should consider your content carefully.

If a young person initiates inappropriate contact via email, text, phone or social media, KEAP staff must inform the young person that it is inappropriate and then inform the Director.


Recruitment and Training of Staff and Volunteers

KEAP recognises that anyone may have the potential to abuse children in some way.  All reasonable steps are taken to ensure suitable people are recruited.

Interview and induction:

  • Consent should be obtained from an applicant to seek an Enhanced Disclosure should that be necessary for the post
  • Two confidential references will be required, of which one should be regarding previous work with children (for posts in which there will be direct contact with children).
  • Evidence of identity (passport or driving licence with photo) will be required.
  • All staff and volunteers will be required to undergo an interview carried out to acceptable protocol and recommendations.

All staff and volunteers should receive formal or informal induction, during which:

  • A check will be made that qualifications can be substantiated.
  • The job requirements and responsibilities will be clarified.
  • They should receive a copy of KEAP’s Code of Conduct and sign to say they have received and read it.
  • Child safeguarding procedures are explained and training needs are identified.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure:

The DBS’s aim is to help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable to work with young people or other vulnerable members of society.

There are three types of check which are undertaken by the DBS:

Standard checks: These are suitable for eligible roles that do not involve regular contact with children or vulnerable groups such as finance or security. A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering.

Enhanced checks: These are suitable for eligible roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering with children, young people and/or vulnerable groups. An enhanced check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. Intelligence held by the police may also be included if the Police reasonably believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision.

Enhanced with DBS Barred List checks: These are suitable for roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering in a regulated activity with children and / or vulnerable adults. An enhanced check with DBS Barred list check will show the same information as an enhanced check along with any information held on the barred list(s) being checked.

KEAP requires any member of staff whose role is deemed ‘regulated activity’ by the Disclosure and Barring Service to have an Enhanced Disclosure with a barred list check, which is less than 3 years old or which can be viewed through the DBS Update Service.  KEAP reserves the right to ask for a new disclosure if the current one is not deemed suitable. KEAP can process DBS checks, please contact Helen Reynolds on [email protected]

For more information, please see Disclosure and Barring Service website


Staff and volunteers will receive training to:

  • Analyse their own practice against established good practice and to ensure their practice is likely to protect them against false allegations.
  • Recognise their responsibilities and report any concerns about suspected poor practice or possible abuse.
  • Respond to concerns expressed by a child or young person.
  • Work safely and effectively with children or young people.

KEAP requires staff and volunteers to attend at least one good practice and child safeguarding awareness training workshop, to ensure their practice is exemplary and to facilitate the development of a positive culture towards good practice and child protection.

KEAP will programme these workshops as required and in the meantime, before formal training takes places, staff and volunteers will receive informal training and this Child Safeguarding Policy & Procedures.


  • Staff and volunteers will have access to a complaints procedure.
  • Staff will have an annual review meeting.

Use of photographs and video

  • Schools or parents will be asked to give their permission for photographs/video to be taken.
  • Schools must give prior written permission for the use of any photographs or video (see attached permission form – Model 1).
  • Children’s names will not accompany photographs unless they are, for example, prizewinners or members of a troupe where we have the permission of either their parent or school. For older young people, first names may be used, with parental permission.

Responding to allegations or suspicions

It is not the responsibility of anyone working for KEAP, in a paid or unpaid capacity, to decide whether or not child abuse has taken place.  However, there is a responsibility to act on any concerns using the process outlined in Model 5 Flowchart: Reporting child protection concerns.

KEAP assure all staff that it will fully support and protect anyone who in good faith reports their concern that a colleague is, or may be, abusing a child.

If a member of staff or volunteer was worried about sharing concerns about abuse with a senior colleague, they can contact the Safeguarding Children Unit, Social Services, the police or phone the NSPCC Helpline. These contact details can be found on p10.

Where there is a complaint against a member of staff there may be three types of investigation:

  • A criminal investigation.
  • A child protection investigation.
  • A disciplinary or misconduct investigation.

Complaints against a member of staff will always and without exception be investigated.  The police and other agencies will be informed at the discretion of the school/KEAP and the designated officer will be informed in all cases.   The results of the police and child protection investigation may influence the disciplinary investigation, but not necessarily.

 KEAP’s Designated Officer with responsibility for Child Safeguarding:

The Designated Officer will, in all cases, be the Director of KEAP. The Deputy Designated Officer is Helen Reynolds.   When an artist is working in a school and has a concern or is disclosed to, they should report to the school’s designated child safeguarding officer in full and make an account to the KEAP Director.  See attached Model 2 – Reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse – contact details.

 If the activity is not taking place in a school, reports should be made directly to the KEAP Designated Officer.

Accidents and injuries:

If a child or young person is injured – while at a KEAP event or participating in a KEAP project in a school – the KEAP member of staff or volunteer must make a record of the injury in KEAP’s or the school’s accident book.  This record should be counter-signed by a teacher if in a school.

If a child or young person arrives for a KEAP arts activity with an obvious physical injury, a record must be made in the school’s accident book.  This record should be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for the individual.  This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later.  It will also be a record that the individual did not sustain the injury whilst working with KEAP.

If someone discloses to KEAP staff:

It is possible that a child or young person who is suffering, or has suffered, abuse will disclose to a KEAP member of staff.  This is something that everyone should be prepared for and must handle carefully.  Follow the procedure outlined in Model 3- Advice on how to respond to a child making an allegation of abuse  and Model 4 – a checklist for reporting suspected abuse.  Both documents are based on models provided in NSPCC’s ‘firstcheck’.

In confidence, make the KEAP Designated Office fully aware of the situation.

Rights and confidentiality:

If a complaint or allegation is made against a member of KEAP’s staff, they should be made aware of their rights under both employment law and internal disciplinary procedures.  This is the responsibility of the KEAP Director.   Both the alleged abuser and the person who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998.     In criminal law the Crown or other prosecuting authority has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.   See attached NSPCC flowchart for reporting of concerns (Model 5).

Internal enquiries and suspension:

In the event of an accusation of abuse being made against any member of KEAP’s staff, the individual accused will be automatically suspended pending further investigations.  The temporary suspension of a member of staff in no way implies guilt or innocence.  It is a measure intended to protect and reassure both staff and children.

KEAP’s Disciplinary Committee (composed of the Director, Chair of Trustees and one other Trustee) will assess all cases based upon available information.

The member of staff against whom an accusation of abuse has been made will be summoned to an interview with the Disciplinary Committee as early as possible.  They are entitled to be accompanied to this interview.  Minutes will be taken of the interview.  The task of the Disciplinary Committee is to decide whether or not the accused member of staff should be allowed to continue to work with children.  At all times the welfare of children should be of paramount importance.

In all cases where the accusation of abuse is found to be true, the Disciplinary Committee will normally terminate the employment, contract or agreement with the individual.  A Trustee found to have abused a child will be asked to stand down from KEAP.  Lesser measures may be taken at the discretion of the Disciplinary Committee.

Action if bullying is suspected

The same procedure should be followed as set out above in ‘Responding to allegations or suspicions’.

Whistle Blowing Policy

Staff must acknowledge their individual responsibility to bring matters of concern to the attention of senior management and/or relevant agencies. Although this can be difficult this is particularly important where the welfare of children may be at risk.

You may be the first to recognise that something is wrong but may not feel able to express your concerns out of a feeling that this would be disloyal to colleagues or you may fear harassment or victimisation. These feelings, however natural, must never result in a child or young person continuing to be unnecessarily at risk. Remember it is often the most vulnerable children or young person who are targeted. These children need someone like you to safeguard their welfare.

Don’t think what if I’m wrong – think what if I’m right

Reasons for whistle blowing

  • Each individual has a responsibility for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour
  • To prevent the problem worsening or widening
  • To protect or reduce risks to others
  • To prevent becoming implicated yourself

What stops people from whistle blowing

  • Starting a chain of events which spirals
  • Disrupting the work or project
  • Fear of getting it wrong
  • Fear of repercussions or damaging careers
  • Fear of not being believe

How to raise a concern

  • You should voice your concerns, suspicions or uneasiness as soon as you feel you can. The earlier a concern is expressed the easier and sooner action can be taken
  • Try to pinpoint exactly what practice is concerning you and why
  • Approach the KEAP Child Protection Officer or School Child Protection Officer.
  • If your concern is about your immediate manager/Headteacher, or you feel you need to take it to someone outside the school/organisation, contact the Safeguarding Children Unit.
  • Make sure you get a satisfactory response – don’t let matters rest.
  • Ideally, you should put your concerns in writing, outlining the background and history, giving names, dates and places where you can.
  • A member of staff is not expected to prove the truth of an allegation but will need to demonstrate sufficient grounds for the concern.

What happens next

  • You should be given information on the nature and progress of any enquiries.
  • Your employer has a responsibility to protect you from harassment or victimisation.
  • No action will be taken against you if the concern proves to be unfounded and was raised in good faith.
  • Malicious allegations may be considered as a disciplinary offence.

Self reporting

There may be occasions where a member of staff has a personal difficulty, perhaps a physical or mental health problem, which they know to be impinging on their professional competence. Staff have a responsibility to discuss such a situation with their line manager so professional and personal support can be offered to the member of staff concerned. Whilst such reporting will remain confidential in most instances, this cannot be guaranteed where personal difficulties raise concerns about the welfare or safety of children.

Further advice and support

It is recognised that whistle blowing can be difficult and stressful. Advice and support is available from the KEAP Director and board of trustees.


The Model forms referred to in the above policy – Image Permission Form, Reporting allegations or suspicions of abuse, Responding to a child making an allegation of abuse, Checklist for reporting suspected abuse can be viewed here Model forms to accompany KEAP Child Safeguarding Policy rev’d Oct 2021