MedAccess Trust Safeguarding Policy
1.1 MedAccess Trust (the “Trust”) is a charity with charitable purposes relating to the advancement of health by enabling access to affordable healthcare products and services, and the advancement of education and research into health outcomes and inequalities, in each case with a particular focus on underserved communities.
1.2 The Trust furthers its purposes by providing grant funding to organisations working to provide affordable healthcare products and services to underserved communities in lower- and middle-income countries. In particular, it may grant fund MedAccess Guarantee Ltd to enable the provision of targeted financial support to third party healthcare providers.
1.3 The Trust does not work directly with beneficiaries and, at present, has one part-time member of staff and no volunteers (other than its trustees). The Trust does not expect that Trust representatives will come into contact with children, at-risk adults or beneficiaries of assistance, except as a result of communications activities.
1.4 The purpose of this policy is to protect people, particularly children, at-risk adults and beneficiaries of assistance from any harm that may be caused during the course of the Trust’s work, in particular relating to:
- (A) the conduct of staff or personnel associated with the Trust or recipients of Trust funding.
- (B) engagement with the Trust’s communications activities or activities which are funded by the Trust or otherwise closely connected to the Trust.
1.5 The Trust believes that everyone we come into contact with (including any staff and volunteers), regardless of age, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
1.6 Considering the nature of work of the Trust, this policy sets out its commitments for safeguarding and informs Trust representatives and partners of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding. This policy sets out the steps the Trust will take to ensure its compliance with the Charity Commission’s guidance on safeguarding and people protection.
1.7 This policy does not cover policies relating to dignity at work and anti-harassment.
2. What is Safeguarding?
2.1 Safeguarding is about embedding practices to protect people, including children and at-risk adults, from harm that arises from contact with our staff or contractors.
2.2 The Trust commits to addressing safeguarding throughout its work, through the three pillars of prevention, reporting and response.
2.3 The Trust will aim to ensure its funding is applied to programmes and activities in a way that protects people from any risk of harm that may arise from such funded programmes. This includes the way in which information about individuals in our programmes is gathered.
3. Scope of this Policy
3.1 This policy is relevant to:
- (A) all trustees of the Trust;
- (B) associated personnel whilst engaged with work or visits related to the Trust, including but not limited to the following: employees, consultants; contractors; visitors including journalists and politicians
- (together, the “Trust Representatives”)
3.2 This Policy must be followed by all Trust Representatives and must be promoted by all of the Trust’s Trustees and senior staff.
- (A) “Direct Partner” means any organisation which receives funding directly from the Trust, which collaborates with directly with the Trust to deliver any of its programmes or activities, or which is otherwise associated with the Trust’s name and brand. It includes MedAccess Guarantee Ltd.
- (B) “Indirect Partner” means third party organisations which receive financial support from Direct Partners (including MedAccess Guarantee Ltd) using funds which were initially granted to the Direct Partner by the Trust.
- (C) “Partners” means Direct Partners and Indirect Partners.
3.4 This policy is intended to work alongside the equivalent policies of the Trust’s Partners, where appropriate. The Trust expects that the principles and approaches already shared with Partners mean that they will fully support the values and commitments set out in this policy.
3.5 Compliance with the values and commitments set out in this policy will be a condition of a written agreement between the Trust and its Direct Partners. Such agreements will also include an obligation on Direct Partners to flow down the same obligation in their own agreements with Indirect Partners.
3.6 The Trust will ensure that each Direct Partner has appointed a member of staff who will be responsible for promptly reporting to the Trust’s Safeguarding Officer (or, if they are unavailable, another appropriate person) any safeguarding concerns that arise in, or relevant the context of the partnership. Direct Partners will be required to impose an equivalent obligation in their own agreements with Indirect Partners.
4. Consequences of breaches of this policy
4.1 Failure to follow this policy is a very serious matter. Breaches by employees of the Trust may result in disciplinary action or termination of employment. Breaches by trustees may result in their removal from office. Breaches by Partners may result in the termination of the relationship in accordance with the relevant partnership agreement.
5. Roles and Responsibilities
5.1 The Trustees have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the Trust protects from harm all those who come into with it. The Trustees have oversight of the Trust’s safeguarding and linked policies and oversee the Trust’s handling of safeguarding reports. The trustees also have responsibility for deciding whether any serious incident reports need to be made to the Charity Commission in relation to safeguarding incidents.
5.2 The Trustees may appoint one of their number to act as “Safeguarding Trustee”, but the appointment of a Safeguarding Trustee will not detract from the fact that all the trustees share collective responsibility for safeguarding within the Trust.
5.3 The Trust will also appoint or designate a “Safeguarding Officer” who will:
- (A) respond to all child and at-risk adult safeguarding concerns and enquiries, as set out below;
- (B) make any necessary reports to statutory agencies and will keep records of any action taken in response to safeguarding concerns;
- (C) ensure the Trust’s policy reflects changes to legislation and is kept up to date in relation to best practice when the policy is reviewed; and
- (D) monitor the overall trend of any safeguarding concerns and report annually (or more frequently, as appropriate) to the trustees. While all the trustees have a collective responsibility for safeguarding, the Safeguarding Trustee will usually be the first point of contact on the board for the Safeguarding Officer.
5.4 Every Trust Representative who becomes aware of any suspicions or allegations regarding harm to children or vulnerable adults is required to report this immediately to the Safeguarding Officer.
6.1 A “child” is anyone under the age of 18.
6.2 An “at-risk adult” is any person who is aged 18 years or over who, because of their needs for care and support is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of abuse or neglect. Whether an individual is a vulnerable adult or not is something which can change with their circumstances and is not fixed. An at-risk adult may have a mental illness, a learning disability, a physical disability, be frail or be otherwise in need of additional assistance to protect themselves from harm or exploitation, for example, due to social factors such as poverty, displacement or lack of services or support.
7. Statement of Commitments
7.1 The Trust commits to taking all reasonable measures to ensure all individuals (including children and at-risk adults) impacted by projects and programmes supported by the Trust are protected as far as possible from harm, including exploitation, neglect, and abuse of all kinds.
7.2 The Trust commits to:
- (A) developing a zero tolerance ‘safety culture’ within the Trust that creates and maintains protective environments;
- (B) placing safeguarding at the heart of recruitment by complying with the safer recruitment practices set out below;
- (C) ensuring Trust Representatives are fully cognisant of safeguarding issues and receive training on this policy and are aware of their responsibilities to report safeguarding concerns and of who to go to to report such concerns;
- (D) taking appropriate and proportionate action if the policy is not complied with;
- (E) maintaining adequate insurance in relation to the Trust’s activities and the people involved, to the extent that it is reasonably available;
- (F) carrying out appropriate due diligence on any Partners, which may include ensuring they have appropriate controls and safeguarding measures in place, meet any applicable international standards in carrying out their activities, and integrating safeguarding and onward reporting requirements in the Trust’s partnership agreements, taking account of the Charity Commission’s relevant guidance;
- (G) ensuring that safeguarding concerns are addressed promptly and through the appropriate channels;
- (H) reporting safeguarding incidents, allegations or concerns to external authorities and regulators, as appropriate, and in accordance with best practice. The Trust will fully risk assess such reporting to ensure that making a report is not likely to cause further harm to the individual(s) to whom harm has (actually, allegedly or potentially) already been caused;
8. Safer Recruitment
8.1 No one at the Trust will have contact with children or at-risk adults through their role.
8.2 When the Trust engages staff or volunteers it will:
- (A) assess whether a role is eligible for a standard, enhanced or enhanced (with a check of the barred list) DBS check (or equivalent criminal records check overseas) and, if so, carrying out the highest level of those checks for which the role is eligible;
- (B) where a role is not eligible for a standard, enhanced or enhanced (with a check of the barred list) DBS check, the Trust will carry out a risk assessment to identify relevant risk factors, including, (1) whether the post-holder may have any contact with children or at-risk adults and (2) the nature, length and frequency of the contact and whether the contact would be supervised or unsupervised, in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to require a basic DBS check for the role; and
- (C) request at least one written reference, consider gaps in work history, and check qualifications and certifications, and, where appropriate confirm a person’s right to work in the UK.
9. Safeguarding and Communications
9.1 The Trust will ensure that anyone involved in communications activities related to the Trust’s work will not be put in danger before, during or after activities, including when the Trust publishes the content.
9.2 Consent is almost always needed in order to photograph an individual, and this consent can be provided as follows:
- (A) if child is under 13, their parent or guardian must provide consent;
- (B) if a person is aged between 13 – 18, the young person can provide consent for themselves, but information about the photography should be made to them and their parents in a way that is clear and understandable to the young person;
- (C) if 18+, the person can provide consent for themselves.
9.3 Consent can be provided by an individual either by completing a Trust consent form or by making a statement recorded by a Trust or Partner Representative (or, if applicable, the grantee of the Trust). In either case, the individual’s consent should be recorded. In order to be valid, any consent must be (i) freely given (i.e. individuals must have a genuine option not to provide their consent); (ii) specific and informed (individuals must be provided with detailed information about the Trust, why their photograph is being taken, and what it will be used for); and (iii) unambiguous (individuals should have to take a clear affirmative action to indicate their consent, e.g. ticking a checkbox or making their consent clear to us in a statement). When obtaining individuals’ consent, it must also be made clear to them that they can withdraw it at any time.
9.4 Consent may not be needed in some circumstances, e.g. when a photo is being taken of a large group or a panel, or other cases where groups of people would reasonably expect to be photographed, but we must ensure that our Privacy Notices or Policies make clear that we will take photographs in these circumstances, and that such Privacy Notice/Policy is provided to the relevant individual(s) prior to the event or other occasion where they may be photographed. Judgement and common sense should be exercised and when asking groups to pose for a photo, it should be made clear that it will be used on our external communications channels, giving people the opportunity to opt out if they wish. Again, this information should also be included in our Privacy Notice or Policy, which should be provided to individuals prior to the event/occasion. As noted, individuals can always opt-out of being photographed, and where they do so, we must always ensure that we respect their choice.
Note: Children should not be photographed, even in large groups, without their parents’ or guardians’ consent as there can be safeguarding reasons why a child’s photo must not be made public.
9.5 If filming or photographing any activities, be aware of the surroundings, as just filming or photographing could be a risk. For example, consider the impact of using a professional film crew in a poor urban area and the potential for members of the community to expect the subject of the filming has been paid for their involvement.
9.6 If using third parties to carry out the filming/photography etc., the Trust will aim to use those who are DBS checked (following appropriate risk assessments carried out in accordance with the safer recruitment practices set out above). However, if filming abroad, it is not always practical nor necessary to fly someone over from the UK. When in another country and employing a contractor, staff should discuss the Trust’s safeguarding policy with them and be clear on our expectations when it comes to safeguarding.
9.7 When possible, the Trust should share the images/text it is planning to use with the person involved and ensure they are comfortable with the portrayal. If you are unable to contact the individuals, contact the partners in-country who have supported the activity. Always ensure that all content is used in the way that the individual was told it would be (and not for any other purposes) and that it is faithful to the realities of the story the Trust plans to tell.
9.8 As noted above, where individuals provide their consent, they have the right to withdraw it at any time. In cases where consent is withdrawn, all published material must be removed from the Trust website, social media channels and any other publications as soon as possible (as well as from our records). It is accepted that we do not have control over retweets and use by others after the content has entered the public domain but, where possible, reasonable efforts should be made to have it removed.
10. How to Report a Safeguarding Concern
Recognising signs of abuse
10.1 Abuse can take a variety of forms, for example, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, radicalisation or financial abuse.
10.2 The following is a list of signs of abuse. It is not an exhaustive list.
- Bruises, cuts, burns, bite marks, broken bones
- Unexplained injuries
- Frequent injuries
- Struggling to control emotions
- Low self esteem
- Acting in a way inappropriate for age
- Avoiding being alone with or frightened of someone they know
- Language or sexual behaviour you would not expect them to know
- Change in mood or behaviour
- Bleeding, pain, soreness in genital or anal area, or difficulty sitting
- Poor appearance or hygiene
- Regular illness
- Weight or growth issues
Reporting and responding to concerns:
10.3 Where any safeguarding concern arises, whether because of an occurrence during an activity or arising from a complaint or otherwise, the concern will be treated seriously and dealt with in accordance with this policy.
10.4 When dealing with a complaint, accusation, or whistleblowing, whether it is from a child, at-risk adult or a concerned adult, the approach is the same:
- (A) stay calm and listen carefully to what is said;
- (B) reassure the person that to tell is the right thing to do;
- (C) find an appropriate and early opportunity to explain that it is very likely that the information will be shared with others. Do not promise to keep secrets even if the person threatens “only to tell” if it is a secret;
- (D) allow the person to dictate the pace;
- (E) ask questions only to seek clarification and make sure they are not leading questions;
- (F) explain what will happen next, who will be told;
- (G) as soon as possible record in writing what was said using the person’s own words whenever possible. Include any dates, times, names, name of person making record and make sure it is dated and signed.
- (H) also record the name of the person or persons with whom the information will be shared;
- (I) report to the Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible.
10.5 It is not the responsibility of anyone in the Trust to decide whether a child or at-risk adult has been abused. It is however everyone’s responsibility to report concerns and comply with this policy.
10.6 The concern must be reported to the Safeguarding Officer who will consider the circumstances and decide whether further investigation is needed or what other action to take. The Safeguarding Officer will ensure that all concerns are properly recorded, and records kept securely and confidentially. The Safeguarding Officer will liaise with statutory safeguarding bodies as required.
10.7 If there is a serious or immediate safeguarding concern which places a child or vulnerable person at risk anyone can make a referral to social services or to the police to prevent harm.
Next steps to be taken by the Safeguarding Officer:
10.8 On notification of a safeguarding concern, the Safeguarding Officer shall consider the circumstances and decide whether further information gathering is required or what other action to take. The Safeguarding Officer will ensure that all concerns are properly recorded, and records kept securely and confidentially in accordance with applicable data protection laws, regulations and policies. The Safeguarding Officer shall liaise with statutory safeguarding bodies as required.
10.9 The Safeguarding Officer shall take steps to ensure that the individual who made the disclosure has access to appropriate ongoing support. They should also offer support to the Trust Representative who heard the initial disclosure.
Reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission and other external bodies:
10.10 The Trust is committed to reporting all relevant incidents to the Charity Commission for England and Wales via a serious incident report in accordance with its Reporting of Serious Incidents Policy.
10.11 The Trust will also report incidents to other regulatory bodies and government departments or funding bodies, where appropriate. Where there is evidence that criminal activity may have taken place, or concerns have been raised in relation to a child or vulnerable adult, the Trust will report to the relevant police and/or safeguarding authorities as appropriate (for example to the relevant Local Authority Adult Safeguarding Board), taking appropriate account of the Charity Commission’s guidance in this respect.
10.12 Decisions to report to external authorities (including reports to local law enforcement agencies outside of the UK) will be fully risk assessed and anonymisation / pseudonymisation considered when necessary.
10.13 Reporting will not be avoided on the basis that it may harm the Trust’s reputation or give rise to litigation and any concerns in relation to data protection will not act as a barrier to reporting, although they will be carefully considered to ensure that the disclosure is made within the legal framework for so doing.
10.14 If a Partner reports a safeguarding incident to the Trust, the matter will be referred to the Safeguarding Officer. If necessary, further information will be sought about the incident, for example the Partner may be asked to clarify various details. The Safeguarding Officer will monitor the situation, keeping in touch with the Partner and will keep a record of the action taken by both the Trust and the Partner to resolve the situation. Depending on the nature of the incident, it may be reported to the trustees and/or Charity Commission. The next steps will depend upon the nature of the incident and the Partner’s response to it, but they may include suspending the partnership agreement immediately until more information is provided.
10.15 The Trust Representatives who have a complaint or concern relating to safeguarding should report it immediately to the Safeguarding Officer. If the Trust Representative does not feel comfortable reporting to the Safeguarding Officer (for example if they feel that the report will not be taken seriously, or if that person is implicated in the concern) they may report to the Safeguarding Trustee (if any) or any Trustee.
10.16 The Trust will also accept reports of concerns or complaints from external sources such as members of the public, partners and official bodies. Where these relate to safeguarding, they should be made to the Safeguarding Officer or to the Safeguarding Trustee (if any) or any Trustee.
11. Data protection
11.1 It is essential that confidentiality is maintained at all stages of the process when dealing with safeguarding concerns. Information relating to the concern and subsequent case management should be shared on a need to know basis only and should be kept secure at all times.
11.2 The Trust complies with the principles of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 in the way it collects, holds, and disposes of personal information.
12.1 The Safeguarding Officer is:
Name: Ed Collier
Direct: +44 (0)20 3998 9350
Email: [email protected]
12.2 If the Safeguarding Officer is unavailable for any reason, or the concern relates to the Safeguarding Officer, it must be reported to the Safeguarding Trustee.
12.3 The Safeguarding Trustee is:
Name: Nigel Keen
Email: [email protected]
13. Publishing this policy
13.1 MedAccess will ensure that this policy is always publicly accessible on its website.
13.2 MedAccess is committed to reviewing this policy and good practice regularly. This policy will be reviewed by the trustees at least annually or when an incident occurs that highlights a need for change – whichever occurs first.