In May 2011 the Government issued a statement setting out their policy on adult safeguarding. This includes a set of six guiding principles for agencies to use. These principles are also relevant when working with children and young people.
Empowerment - Presumption of person led decisions and informed consent.
Staff should ensure that individuals maintain their rights and have their capacity to make choices and decisions respected and acted on. Where at all possible consent should be given by individuals to share information (information can be shared without prior consent where public interest / safety is an overriding factor). Empowerment does not mean leaving people to just manage safeguarding issues and situations for themselves. Children can be empowered by being listened to and believed. Adults may wish for no action to be taken in their particular circumstances; however providing information about alternative support can empower adults in safeguarding situations. Clear justifications (for example: lack of capacity or a public safety issue) must be provided if one takes actions designed to protect people that goes against their specified wishes.
Prevention - It is better to take action before harm occurs.
Broadly defined, this means increasing awareness of issues, including an understanding of how to support people. Prevention does not mean being over-protective or risk averse. Training staff to understand what safeguarding is can be viewed as a preventative measure. Providing clear accessible information to people about where to go for support and advice is a preventative measure.
Proportionality – Proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
Our response to safeguarding issues should always reflect the nature and seriousness of the concern. We should always consider people’s rights, wishes, needs, age, culture and beliefs before considering responses. Proportionality can often refer to sharing information with others. You should base information-sharing decisions on what information is essential for others to know and ensuring information is shared only with those who need to know. It is important we speak to people about what information we can share. Consent could be provided on the understanding that a limited number of people will have access to a limited amount of information. If more information (that is not deemed to be in the public interest/safety) is then disclosed to more people, a breach of confidence may occur.
Protection - Support and representation for those in greatest need.
DMU has a duty of care responsibility to staff and students. We also need to ensure we take additional measures where appropriate to provide additional support to those in need.
Partnership - Local solutions through services working with their communities.
DMU works in partnership to support the wellbeing of vulnerable adults and children, both internally with Safeguarding Coordinators, the Student’s Union, Security and others, and externally with Leicester City Council and the NHS.
Accountability - Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.
DMU and services provided are accountable to staff, students and others using our services. It is important DMU provides a robust safeguarding policy and procedures and ensure staff understand their responsibilities and where to go for help.