Safeguarding exists to ensure that vulnerable groups – including disabled or elderly adults and children – have their well-being, health and rights protected. In practice, this means ensuring that they are protected from abuse, neglect and practices that prevent them from being happy and healthy, especially in the case of children. How does this apply to workplaces?
Safeguarding may be most commonly associated with the rights of children and elderly people, but it actually applies to any individual regardless of their gender, religion or ethnicity. This means that many employers will have obvious safeguarding responsibilities, for example, if they work in social care or education or have employees or customers with disabilities.
What does this mean in practice?
The topic may seem complex, but most of it actually comprises common-sense principles of good care. If your business works with vulnerable adults or children, you are very likely to be doing the majority of necessary actions anyway as part of your delivery. This will include ensuring that:
-Vulnerable people have due consideration taken of their health needs
-Children are kept in safe environments and away from hazards
-Disabled people are given the equipment that they need to go about their business safely – for example, accessible offices and disabled toilets
-No group experiences discrimination
-No group experiences abuse whilst in your care or employment
How can you ensure these things are achieved?
Recruitment is a key area, and you must ensure that you conduct a DBS check for new employees that will be working with potentially vulnerable groups. Find out more about DBS check processes at DBS checks via carecheck.co.uk. Additionally, you must be aware as an employer that safeguarding is regulated by various laws and legal frameworks that you must know about. Training is essential to educate your team and ensure that your business processes are in line with safeguarding requirements.
Where can I find out more?
There are various government and NGO bodies and charities that provide information about safeguarding.
Your local authority should also be an initial point of contact for advice as they will offer training and support for businesses to ensure that they are meeting their safeguarding obligations and operating in a compliant, good-practice way. Local colleges also provide training for staff, and business groups can provide support, guidance and advice.