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Safeguarding young workers


Safeguarding is the process of protecting vulnerable people whether from crime or other forms of abuse and those with a responsibility for young workers, have a duty of care to look after them.  If your organisation employs young workers under the age of 18, such as apprentices or interns, it is vitally important to implement and maintain effective safeguarding procedures in the workplace. Managers should understand safeguarding matters and have an awareness of their organisation’s role in protecting vulnerable workers, as well as have an understanding of the wider implications of not having adequate procedures in place. Third-party contractors should be compliant too. 

Depending upon the nature of an organisation, there are now a number of statutory safeguarding provisions relating to pre-trading registration, employment screening and notification requirements concerning individuals who are unsuitable to work with children, young people and vulnerable adults. Compliance with these provisions will help reduce risk; however, a key element to minimise the ‘abuse’ risk is the ongoing adherence by organisations and their personnel to good risk management procedures. Looking after health, safety and welfare of young workers is not just a legal requirement, it makes commercial sense. Failing to manage safeguarding correctly can be far more costly than getting it right in the first place.

Organisations employing young workers in the UK should comply with all appropriate legislation and guidelines applicable to their activities relating to the safeguarding of children, young people or vulnerable adults including, where appropriate, relevant Regulations of the Children Act 1989 and 2004, Regulations and National Minimum Standards of the Care Standards Act 2000, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, the aims and aspirations of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Prevent strategy, the use of the Disclosure and Barring Service or similar UK legislation pertaining  to Regulated Activity in your location.

Below are some areas covered by Corporate Safeguarding's PEMS® framework:

bonding 1985863 1920Safeguarding Health Check: An audit and risk assessment is the first step we take in order to understand the risks business activities might pose to a vulnerable worker's well-being through interaction with the company, its employees or its representatives.

Gap Analysis: This will map the relevant policies and processes already in place and enable a business to understand the extent to which appropriate safeguarding measures have been integrated into its risk management approach. 

Policy Review & Development: A good policy should address all risks of harmful behaviour.  Corporate policies and practises should meet national legal frameworks in every country in which the company operates. It is important to review safeguarding policies regularly to ensure they comply with updated legislation or changing requirements. 

Talking to young workers when drafting or reviewing policies helps us to establish what they expect from their employer and we can use this to inform policy and procedures. 

Safer Recruitment: Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks must be carried out for all employees who have day-to-day responsibility for young workers under the age of 18 years old, or staff who are likely to work with them unsupervised. Statutory guidance for Regulated Activity should always be followed. Regulated Activity is work that a barred person must not do. The scope of Regulated Activity in England, Wales, and in Northern Ireland in relation to children, is defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (SVG) Act 2006 and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 and Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.  

Safeguarding Training : In addition to the supervision of young workers, those responsible for their care should receive suitable regular training to help them effectively identify and manage concerns, while adhering to best practice and legislation.  Corporate Safeguarding's flexible PEMS® training programmes provide for all requirements irrespective of the size of the organisation.

Prevent:  HM Government's Prevent Strategy is not only about discussing extremism but also values such as tolerance and mutual respect that are valuable in any workplace including:

  • Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity

  • Challenging prejudices and racist comments

  • Developing critical thinking skills and a strong, positive self-identity

  • Promoting the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of young people as well as British values such as democracy

Support when you need it:

Corporate Safeguarding will review any current or historic incidents, allegations or concerns sensitively and confidentially, and ensure learning and development is taken.

Our experts at CoS will act as a mentor or virtual safeguarding lead and provide advice when you need it on legislative requirements, decision making and record keeping or to discuss any questions that are raised.