Fairhaven Singers Safeguarding Policy

The Fairhaven Singers is a registered charity managed by a committee of volunteers elected at the Annual General Meeting. Committee members, who are all aged 18 or over, are trustees of the charity. To carry out its charitable objects it presents a number of concerts a year sometimes performing with orchestral groups, professional soloists and other choirs. Fairhaven Singers has a musical director who is not a member of the choir. Choir members attend weekly rehearsals in term-time in order to prepare for the concerts. From time to time Fairhaven Singers organises other activities such as social events (“Fairhaven Singers activities”). Fairhaven Singers does not advertise itself as an activity suitable for children or vulnerable adults. Most choir members are independent adults and generally the choir’s membership does not include children under 18, although it is possible for older teenagers to become members and rehearse and perform with the choir. Nevertheless, Fairhaven Singers recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of young people and children with whom it works and comes into contact, and believes all participating young people have the right to enjoy the activities of the choir in a happy, safe and secure environment. The policy also applies to vulnerable adults.

Contact with children falls into the following categories:

  • Young people may become members of Fairhaven Singers and attend its weekly
    rehearsals and Fairhaven Singers activities.
  • Children may form part of the audience at public performances given by Fairhaven Singers – they remain the responsibility of their parent/guardian on those occasions.
  • Children may take part in some concerts organised in conjunction with local schools.
  • Our Choral Scholarship scheme involves young people attending auditions, and seminars and social events with other choir members – it is not envisaged that they would be in one-to-one situations with Fairhaven Singers members on those occasions.

As a matter of good practice Fairhaven Singers has developed this policy to provide:

  • protection for children with whom Fairhaven Singers has contact
  • guidance to ensure that the risks of harm to children’s welfare are minimised
  • guidance on procedures that should be adopted in the event that any adult suspects a child may be experiencing, or be at risk of experiencing, harm.

The main laws and guidance supporting this policy are:

  • Children Acts 1989 and 2004
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Government guidance on safeguarding children (e.g. Working Together)
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Children and Families Act 2014
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • The Charity Commission’s ‘Strategy for Dealing with Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Issues in Charities’.

The policy applies to all choir members (including trustees and honorary members), volunteers and all others invited to perform or work with Fairhaven Singers.

Safeguarding Policy

Guidelines:

  • Children under the age of 18 must have the written permission of their parent or guardian to join Fairhaven Singers, and both the child and parent must complete an enrolment form. The parent or guardian retains full responsibility for the child’s transport arrangements to and from rehearsals and the venues for performances or activities.
  • Fairhaven Singers will also secure parental consent in writing to act in loco parentis if the need arises to administer emergency first aid and/or other emergency medical treatment.
  • Rehearsals and other activities will be conducted in an open environment to avoid private or unobserved situations. All adults associated with Fairhaven Singers should ensure that they are not alone with a young person.
  • Children in the audience before, during and after our concerts remain under the care of their parents, teachers or guardians

Privacy arrangements

  • In the rare event of it not being possible to arrive at a venue in concert dress, Fairhaven Singers will endeavour to ensure a child’s privacy is respected if required to change at a venue.
  • The Committee, in common with its policy for adult members, will not disclose contact details for any child member without first obtaining the permission of the parent/guardian. The purpose of any request for contact details, and the identity of any person making such a request, will be given to the parent/guardian.
  • Parents and guardians should be aware that photography, audio and video recording are undertaken from time to time at concerts and rehearsals. The images and recordings are used both on- and off-line, including on the web and social media. They provide valuable tools to promote the work of the choir to a wider audience, and form part of the historical record of our work.

Joint concerts with children

Fairhaven Singers will make appropriate joint working arrangements to ensure that school groups will always be in the care of their teachers and helpers and/or parents who will bear responsibility for their welfare at all times. This does not detract from the choir’s general responsibility to provide a safe environment for joint activities and the principles of this safeguarding policy still apply.

Event organisers and stewards

Fairhaven Singers relies entirely on volunteers to carry out its work. Volunteers on duty at an event will wear clear identification. The Secretary of Fairhaven Singers will maintain a register of all volunteers who are not members of Fairhaven Singers.

Child abuse

Fairhaven Singers endeavours by the implementation of this safeguarding policy to protect children and minimise the risks of abuse of young people. The term ‘child abuse’ is used to describe a range of ways that people harm children. They can be inflicted on a child or knowingly not prevented. In many cases children are subjected to a combination of forms of abuse. There are four main categories of abuse, namely: physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect. Fairhaven Singers notes the importance of being alert to signals of abuse and to the difficulty children may have in reporting it. To assist the Safeguarding Officer in responding appropriately to a child who has a complaint, it offers the following strategy:

  • Listen carefully
  • Explain to the child that, while this matter may need to be discussed with those in authority, it will be disclosed only to those who need to know about it; reassure the child that they are doing the right thing in telling you.
  • Avoid leading questions or closed questions.
  • Write down what has been said, with date and time and any names mentioned.
  • Tell the child what you are going to do next (in the first instance, report the matter to the ‘named person’ for safeguarding). Fairhaven Singers notes that it is not its role to investigate whether a child has been abused or not and it is not qualified to do so. This is the role of bodies such as Social Services, the NSPCC, or the Police.

Measures for implementation of this policy

  • The Fairhaven Singers committee will designate a choir member to be the ‘named person’ in respect of safeguarding. The named person shall undertake appropriate training as required and will be identified to children as the principal person they should turn to if they have any concerns or queries. Contact details for the named person are also given in the enrolment form and on the website.
  • Any concern regarding either a child or a choir member, employee or other adult must immediately be reported to the named person (or in his or her absence to the Chairman of the Committee) who will:
  • Obtain and record information from the person expressing the concern;
  • Assess the information quickly and carefully, ask for further clarification as appropriate;
  • Seek medical attention if necessary and or make a referral to a statutory child protection agency or the police without delay depending on the particular circumstances;
  • If in any doubt as to what to do, seek advice from Social Services;
  • Maintain confidentiality as far as possible subject to the principle of the welfare of the child being paramount which means that information may have to be shared (but only with people who need to know about it).
    Fairhaven Singers will recruit musicians, soloists and volunteers in accordance with this policy
  • The policy will be published on the Fairhaven Singers website and is disseminated to all members, employees and volunteers, who are required to familiarise themselves with its contents. It will be brought to the attention of any persons invited to participate in any choir activity.
  • The policy and procedures will be reviewed annually by the Committee and will be drawn to the attention of members after each review.

A copy of this policy is lodged with the choir’s Safeguarding Officer and will be available as soon as possible on the Fairhaven Singers website. It can also be sent to each parent, guardian or carer before the event upon request.