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University of Bath Safeguarding Policy

This Policy addresses all aspects of safeguarding. For the purposes of this Policy the term “the University” is deemed to include the Students’ Union.


Chief Compliance Officer
Approval date
31 Oct 2023
Approved by
University Executive Board
Date of last review
26 Oct 2023
Date of next review
20 Oct 2026

We are committed to safeguarding the welfare of everyone participating in our organized activities and providing a safe environment for anyone using our facilities. In discharging our responsibilities, we are mindful of our specific duty of care and legal obligations for children (under the age of 18) and adults at risk of harm, as set out in the Children Act 1989 and 2004, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and the Care Act 2014. We are also conscious of our role in our local community and we work with the Bath and North East Somerset Community Safety and Safeguarding Partnership.

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of Policy

1.1.1 The purpose of this policy is to outline the principles and procedures that we have adopted to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and adults at risk of harm, including our staff, students and apprentices, users of our facilities, and those who engage in activities that we have organised.

1.1.2 Our aim is to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of the children, young people and adults at risk of harm with whom our work brings us into contact. With this aim in mind, we will:

  • publish guidance and procedures for identifying risk, reporting concerns and taking action;
  • take all safeguarding concerns seriously and report them promptly to the relevant authority, where appropriate, including suspicions and allegations of exploitation, harm or abuse;
  • ensure we have processes in place to check the suitability of staff and students whose roles and responsibilities involve regular contact with, or supervision of, children and adults at risk of harm; and,
  • provide training for staff and students who are in routine and direct contact with children and adults at risk of harm (Section 3).

1.1.3 This Policy forms part of a suite of policies and procedures developed to support the safety and wellbeing of the University’s community and those with whom the University’s work brings it into contact:

1.2 Scope

1.2.1 This policy applies to all University staff, students and apprentices, whether or not they have regular contact with children or adults at risk of harm.

1.2.2 This policy applies in relation to University activities carried out on campus or elsewhere. The two exceptions are where:

  • the University is collaborating with another organisation (e.g. schools outreach, research or professional placements) and has explicitly undertaken to work within that organisation’s safeguarding policy; and,
  • where a third party has contracted to use University premises (e.g. summer language schools) and the contractual relationship with the third party explicitly defines safeguarding responsibilities.

1.3 Definitions

1.3.1 For the purposes of this policy, safeguarding is defined as the action that is taken to promote the safety and welfare of children, young people and adults at risk of harm.

1.3.2 For the purposes of this policy, a child refers to a person under the age of 18 years (as defined in the Children Act, 1989, & 2006)

1.3.3 For the purposes of this policy, an adult at risk of harm is a person aged 18 or over who has care and support needs (whether or not the Local Authority is meeting those needs), and is experiencing, or at risk of abuse and neglect and as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from abuse and neglect or the risk of it. We also consider adults who are at risk of exploitation, including radicalization, as falling within scope of our definition.

1.3.4 For the purpose of this policy, child protection is defined as the action that is taken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm, or about whom there are those concerns.

1.3.5 Types of maltreatment that would trigger a child protection response are included in Appendix 1.

1.4 Roles and Responsibilities

1.4.1 Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC)

ARAC is responsible to Council for ensuring that the University has appropriate policies and procedures in place to ensure that the University is compliant with its ongoing conditions of registration with the Office for Students and with its other statutory and legal obligations.

1.4.2 University Executive Board

University Executive Board is responsible for approving the Safeguarding Policy and for ensuring that it is reviewed in accordance with the schedule of policy reviews.

1.4.3 Safeguarding Standing Group

The Safeguarding Standing Group is responsible to the University Executive Board for the development of the Safeguarding Policy and for oversight of the associated training programme. The Safeguarding Standing Group is also responsible for oversight of the University’s engagement with the Disclosure and Barring Service, including the co-ordination of its response to periodic audits and for identifying and responding to lessons learned. The Safeguarding Standing Group is responsible to ensuring that equality issues are taken into account during the development or review of this policy and all protected characteristics have been considered as part of the Equality Analysis undertaken.

1.4.4 University Designated Safeguarding Lead

The University has appointed a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) who is responsible for:

  • Developing and promoting this Policy;
  • Ensuring that the Policy is monitored and reviewed in accordance with changes in legislation and guidance on the protection of children and adults at risk of harm;
  • Acting as the main contact within the University for safeguarding children and adults at risk of harm;
  • Ensuring that members of the University are provided with information, advice and training on the protection of children and adults at risk of harm, consistent with their roles and responsibilities
  • Engaging with the Bath and North East Somerset Safeguarding team and LADO;
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of records of relevant cases and action taken and handling all data in a manner that is consistent with the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

1.4.5 Where a departmental policy exists, a Departmental Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) will be nominated to maintain overall responsibility for implementation (listed in Appendix 2 to this policy) within the department. In this instance a member of staff, student or the public should refer to the specific policy in the first instance when dealing with any concerns or procedures. DSOs facilitate referrals to statutory authorities, ensuring that appropriate records are maintained and the University Designated Safeguarding Lead is kept informed in all cases. Departmental policies should be reviewed by the department and kept up to date in line with the main University Policy. Amendments to departmental policies are approved by the Safeguarding Standing Group.

1.4.6 The University recognises that Degree Apprentices may be vulnerable to safeguarding concerns and, in accordance with the requirements of OFSTED in relation to Degree Apprenticeships, each academic department is responsible for assessing any Safeguarding Risks to their Degree Apprentices and putting in place appropriate measures to ensure they are properly safeguarded and aware of the wellbeing support available to them as apprentices (students) of the University. In our setting, because of our focus on Level 7 provision, none of our Degree Apprentices are children but may be adults at risk of harm.

1.4.7 In accordance with the University’s policies and procedures for the recruitment and selection of staff, students and apprentices, the University will ensure that appropriate Disclosure and Barring Service checks are carried out in respect of staff, students and apprentices involved in regulated activity with children and/or working in a regulated activity with vulnerable people and that unsuitable persons will be prevented from attaining such positions.

2. Policy and Procedures

2.1 Approach

2.1.1 The University wishes to maintain the highest possible standards to meet its social, moral and legal responsibilities to safeguard the welfare of those under the age of 18 and adults at risk of harm with whom the University’s work brings it into contact. Aspects of the University’s work where such contact is most likely to occur include:

  • Westwood Nursery;
  • Activities and events at the Sports Training Village, including Teambath Tribe and local/regional/national competitions;
  • Admission, teaching, supervision and support of students and apprentices who are under 18 years of age or who are adults at risk of harm;
  • School visits, and other events such as unpaid work experience for school students
  • Outreach or widening participation activities taking place on or off campus;
  • Campus Services, including student residences and hosting summer language schools;
  • Placements in professional, e.g. Education, Pharmacy and Social Work, and clinical, e.g. Clinical Psychology, settings, field trips;
  • Research involving those who are under age 18 or adults who may be at risk of harm;
  • The activities of student societies and SU-organised volunteering and mentoring activities;
  • Recruitment, management and support for employees/apprentices who are under age 18 or adults who may be at risk of harm.

2.1.2 The University puts its commitments into practice through the following actions:

  • The University through DSOs will ensure that members of the University are fully briefed and/or trained (as appropriate) on the implications of this Policy. Members of the University will be expected to observe the guidelines set out in this Policy.
  • The University will train and supervise members of the University, as appropriate to their roles and responsibilities, to adopt best practice to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk of harm. Line Managers and Heads of Departments also have a duty to ensure adequate training and information is provided and undertaken
  • All incidents of alleged misconduct concerning children or adults at risk of harm, any failure to safeguard and promote their welfare or any act of omission or commission that exposes children and vulnerable adults to the risk of significant harm will be taken seriously by the University.
  • Where appropriate, breaches of this Policy and/or allegations of misconduct concerning children and adults at risk of harm will result in the University invoking its Disciplinary Procedure in respect of staff or students.
  • It is a serious offence to make a malicious referral with an intention to mislead. A person found guilty of this may be subject to defamation and damages claims, and may be subject to University disciplinary procedures. Criminal sanctions, which include offences relating to wasting police time, perverting or attempting to pervert the course of justice, conspiracy and perjury, could also apply.
  • The University will refer concerns that a child or vulnerable adult might be at risk of significant harm to our local Social Care Services and/or the Police. The University will refer concerns that any individual is at risk of radicalization to the local Prevent Board, following discussion with the Regional Prevent Co-ordinator for the South-West.

2.1.3 All personal data will be processed by the University in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018.

2.2 Identifying Safeguarding Concerns

2.2.1 Examples of Safeguarding concerns include, but are not limited to:

  • A child or adult raises an allegation of abuse, harm or other inappropriate behaviour.
  • A student or staff member discloses information involving themselves or others which gives rise to possible concerns that a potential perpetrator may be harming or abusing vulnerable individuals or children involved in University activities.
  • There are suspicions or indicators that a child or adult is being abused or harmed or is at risk of exploitation, harm or abuse (including radicalisation). The indicators of abuse or harm or risk of abuse or harm or radicalisation can be very difficult to recognise and it is not a staff member’s responsibility to decide whether a child or adult has been abused or harmed or subjected to abuse or harm, but only to raise concerns that they may have.
  • There are observable changes in a child or adult’s appearance or behaviour that may be related to exploitation, harm or abuse (including radicalisation).
  • A concern is raised that an individual presents a risk of abuse or harm towards a child or adult in relation to, for example, his/her criminal convictions, or downloading, possession or distribution of inappropriate images or extremist material.

2.3 Responding to a Suspicion or Allegation of Exploitation, Harm or Abuse of a Child

2.3.1 Where the individual under the age of 18 is a student or apprentice of the University, Student Support should be contacted using the student in crisis contact number, Extn 4321.

2.3.2 Where the individual under the age of 18 is a visitor to campus, the University Designated Safeguarding Lead should be contacted (contact details in Appendix 2) unless there is a Departmental Safeguarding Policy in place, in which case the referral should follow the departmental guidance.

2.4 Responding to a Suspicion or Allegation of Exploitation, Harm or Abuse of an adult at risk

2.4.1 Where a member of the University has a suspicion that a colleague or a student is being harmed or may be harmed, they should report the matter to the Director of HR or Director of Student Support and Safeguarding as appropriate. For urgent referrals of student cases, the student in crisis number Extn 4321 should be used.

2.4.2 Where a member of staff has a concern about the behaviour of a colleague in relation to a child or adult at risk of harm they should report this to the Deputy Director of Human Resources in the first instance.

2.5 Recruitment and Employment of Staff/DBS Checks of Staff and Students

2.5.1 The University has a documented Safer Recruitment Procedure. For positions that involve regular contact with children and/or adults at risk of harm and where members of the University have unsupervised access to children and/or adults at risk of harm, the following procedures will be completed:

  • All applicants will complete an application form, and if appropriate, a DBS application and consent form.
  • References will be sought from all applicants.
  • If the applicant or an existing University Member who has not previously been required to work with children in their position has no experience of working with children the line manager / supervisor will agree specific training requirements with them on appointment.

2.5.2 The University will ensure that any individuals who have substantial contact with children or adults at risk of harm will be checked for relevant criminal convictions whenever appropriate and possible within the constraints of legislation. An enhanced disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service will normally be required where DBS enhanced checking criteria are met. A satisfactory check will need to be received by the University before an individual starts work in a post which requires such a check or before a student is involved in activity requiring (in the opinion of either the University or relevant third parties) such a check. For those who are non-UK nationals or who have lived overseas a check may also be required from that country. Only exceptionally where a DBS check has been requested, but not yet received, might an individual be allowed to start when a satisfactory risk assessment has been conducted by the department to enable them to commence work under supervision.

2.5.3 Referrals to DBS - The University has a duty to refer concerns to the DBS if it has reason to believe that an individual poses a risk to children or adults so that the DBS can evaluate these concerns and determine when an individual should be added to those lists. The Designated Safeguarding Officers are responsible for determining when such a referral is necessary. The duty arises where an individual is working in a ‘Regulated Activity’ and concerns arise. If concerns are raised about an individual which leads to them being suspended from work or excluded from their placement, these should be reported to the University’s Designated Safeguarding Lead so that they can consider if a notification is appropriate. Notification by the Designated Safeguarding Lead is generally appropriate at the end of the disciplinary process if, after the investigation has been carried out the allegations are upheld. On an exceptional basis, having taken advice from the University’s Legal team, the Designated Safeguarding Lead may notify before the end of the disciplinary process if this is reasonable in light of the circumstances.

2.6 Guidelines for University Members Working with Children

2.6.1 University members should actively seek to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their care or for whom they have a responsibility.

2.6.2 To assist in carrying out this duty, University members should:

  • Demonstrate respect for children’s’ dignity, privacy and right to be protected from harm;
  • Maintain age and culturally appropriate relationships with children;
  • Work with children in a fair, open and honest way;
  • Respond positively to concerns raised by children without rushing to judgement and always taking advice from those identified in this policy, as appropriate;
  • Always working in an open environment with children;
  • Avoiding unaccompanied journeys with a child.

2.6.3 University members are reminded that it is a criminal offence for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 when that adult is in a position of trust in relation to that person.

2.7 In appropriate cases and in accordance with the law, the University reserves the right to report to the appropriate authorities (including the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and DBS) any concerns it has that a member of the University, or former member of the University, ought to be included in any list of people who should be restricted from working with children.

2.8 A list of key contact names and telephone numbers is included in Appendix 2.

3. Training

3.1 All staff will be made aware of this Policy and its related procedures and guidance.

3.2 All designated staff should undertake the University’s online Safeguarding training which can be accessed via the link. Departments requiring their own Safeguarding Policy, should have this as an item on their agenda at departmental meetings at least once a year, or hold a specific awareness raising session on an annual basis.

3.3 The Designated Safeguarding Lead and Departmental Safeguarding Officers are required to hold a Level 3 DSL Safeguarding certificate of training completed within the last two years.

4. Monitoring and review

4.1 Monitoring

The Designated Safeguarding Officers will record incidents relating to safeguarding concerns and will report them to the University DSL, who will be responsible for updating the Safeguarding Standing Group and the University Executive Board (in an anonymised form) on an annual basis. This report will be confidential and if any concerns or patterns of abuse emerge these will be dealt with appropriately.

4.2 Review

The effectiveness of this Policy will be reviewed annually by the Safeguarding Standing Group. The Policy itself will be reviewed in response to any change in safeguarding legislation and in the absence of any legislative changes it will be reviewed at least at every three years.

4.3 In accordance with The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 University members can raise issues of public concern without threat of reprisal as outlined in the University’s “Public Interest Disclosure” Policy which is available on the University website.

5. Departmental Safeguarding Procedures

Further information, including specific departmental safeguarding policies, are available here.

6. Appendices

Appendix 1 - Types of Maltreatment that would trigger a Child Protection Response

Appendix 2 - Safeguarding Officers

Appendix 3 – Responding to a suspicion or allegation of exploitation, harm or abuse of a child (not a student or apprentice registered at the University)

Appendix 4 - Safeguarding Report Form

Appendix 5 - Making Referrals

Appendix 6 – Work experience: information for departments

7. Document control information

Owner: Chief Compliance Officer
Version number: 3.0
Approval date: 31 October 2023
Approved by: University Executive Board
Date of next review: October 2026


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