Specialist Safeguarding Services add value by providing a number of specially-developed, highly proactive programmes designed to assist in managing and mitigating the safeguarding risks they face. They work by ensuring that clients are properly equipped to safeguard the children and vulnerable adults in their care – especially, but not exclusively, when a faith element is involved.
They include Safeguarding Audits, Crisis Management and Debriefs, Policy Development and Reviews and Bespoke Training Programmes. CCPAS is also able to offer advice to court proceedings and other formal hearings, or acting as expert witnesses or subject matter experts when necessary.
The benefit of using CCPAS in such cases is that it fully understands the faith sector, which many other organisations do not.
Specialist Safeguarding Services include the following:
Bespoke Policy Development and Review
Even the largest organisations find creating and implementing a comprehensive yet manageable set of safeguarding policies a time-consuming and expensive exercise. It is even harder for those who have insufficient expertise and resources to bring to the task. Even once the effort has been made, however, senior managers must then keep fully up to date with the latest changes in legislation and good practice to ensure those policies and procedures remain fit for purpose.
Policy Developments & Reviews (PDRs) are designed with this situation in mind. They benefit a wide variety of bodies, from smaller charities offering a range of targeted local services to larger organisations operating nationally, or even internationally. Working closely with the client throughout, CCPAS both reviews existing policies and develops new ones. Because they are conducted completely independently, PDRs are an especially useful tool for organisations needing to demonstrate the effectiveness of their safeguarding arrangements to senior management, insurers and regulatory or governing bodies.
Safeguarding Audit and Review
CCPAS conducts Audits to assist churches and other organisations to proactively demonstrate their commitment to safeguarding. This is achieved through the effective use of policies, procedures, training and the promotion of a positive culture.
Reviews are undertaken so churches and other organisations may gain an independent view of the effectiveness of the post-implementation phase of a new safeguarding framework - or of any arrangements that have been in place for longer and require refreshing. These might encompass independent assessments of procedures and practice following a safeguarding incident. Reviews would normally highlight strengths, weaknesses and areas which need improvement.
CCPAS designs and delivers professional, expert Audits and Reviews which include an impartial final report. Such work generally involves a combination of desk-based documentation reviews and fieldwork within the client organisation, including interviews with staff and others, in order to understand the context within which the client operates.
Past Case Review
Similar to the audit and review activity above, past case reviews will typically look at single cases or collections of cases that have an agreed theme or commonality (e.g. cases involving a particular type of offence/allegation or cases within a set timeframe). These pieces of work will take a rigorous approach to identifying lessons from the management of past cases that have been dealt with by a church or organisation. This is not to find ways of apportioning any blame or previously unidentified responsibility, but to gain clear lessons from the manner in which matters were previously dealt with to inform improvements in current and future practice.
Identifying, assessing and managing risk are crucial elements in protecting the vulnerable and creating safer environments. On occasions, information will be received about individuals with whom we work or have contact that indicates they may pose a risk to others or that they may be unsuitable to work in certain environments. This is a complex and highly specialist area of work that requires in-depth knowledge of both offending behaviour and the criminal justice frameworks surrounding certain areas of criminality. Risk Assessments would typically provide an independent view of the level and natures of risk posed by an individual in the environment concerned as well as provide recommendations based upon this assessment regarding the potential to manage such risks.
If things do go wrong, our Crisis Management service manages the situation in the short term as it develops in the media, offering the best possible protection to the organisation’s reputation. In the aftermath of a crisis, Management Investigations and Debriefings help prevent any repetition, so minimising the longer term damage.
Crisis Management seeks to deal with major events that threaten to harm the organisation, its stakeholders, or the general public. Such threats usually involve the element of surprise, a short decision time - and immediate, persistent media interest.
CCPAS’s communications team has over thirty years combined experience dealing with every form of media. They include national, trade and local press, TV and radio and – increasingly – the burgeoning social media networks. These skills are available as a stand alone service, which provides a full press office function and handles all press enquiries on the client’s behalf. Alternatively, CCPAS can work closely with in-house media teams or external PR consultants. This process refines the optimum messages about the crisis and disseminates them to the media as effectively as possible in order to minimise reputational damage.
Dealing with allegations of misconduct or gross misconduct within staff teams is a very sensitive and often highly complex task. Achieving the right outcome is essential and depends on being able to undertake an impartial and independent investigation of all the facts and evidence. Where safeguarding issues or concerns become apparent, it is equally important to ensure that experienced and knowledgeable professionals manage the entire process. They have to act appropriately at all times, both in their dealings with other people within the organisation and – when necessary – with external statutory agencies.
CCPAS’s team of highly experienced professionals undertakes such investigations sensitively and discreetly. In particular, their skills and experience ensure a fair, evidence-based outcome that will remain independent of any future decision by senior management regarding an employee’s suitability to remain in post or the ‘fitness for purpose’ of any safeguarding policies.
International Child Protection
There is an increasing need to be able to offer support to organisations and churches working out of the UK with children and young people in other countries. There are many different forms of work undertaken by a wide range of organisations, including orphanages, schools, child sponsorship and humanitarian aid of different types. Providing specialist advice regarding the complexities of working in other countries under different jurisdictions, but at the same time upholding the principles enshrined in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child is essential. For some, assistance may be required once difficulties have emerged or following disclosures and/or allegations of improper conduct involving children. These are complex areas that require specialist assistance. For others, assistance in developing policies, procedures and good practice guidance is required in order to create safer environments for workers and children.
Following an investigation, the organisation’s staff and volunteers often wish to explore the issues that arose and learn key lessons for the future. Supporting those people, in particular helping them make sense of what happened prior to, during and after an investigation (particularly when colleagues have been involved) is a crucial element in demonstrating an organisation’s commitment to their welfare.
CCPAS has therefore developed a sensitive and expert service to staff members when investigations that include significant safeguarding concerns are carried out. The service works by offering clients an experienced team member. He or she acts as the key point of contact to support both the organisation and its staff through what may well be lengthy and very challenging situations.
Expert Witnesses, Subject Matter Expertise and Specialist Advice
CCPAS’s team also has a wide range of experience, at very senior levels, within a variety of public, private and voluntary sector bodies. These include local authority children’s services, the police, academic research and multi-agency safeguarding.
Uniquely, the team is able to combine its many years experience of safeguarding within the faith sector with extensive knowledge of church leadership, both past and current. This expertise enables it to draw direct, hands-on knowledge of the challenges and issues faced by organisations working in these environments. CCPAS is therefore able to provide expert witnesses and advice for those involved in court proceedings, tribunals and ongoing investigations where faith (a complex area requiring specialist understanding) is a significant factor in the case.
These skills also enable the team to contribute subject matter expertise and specialist advice in other contexts and to a range of statutory and multi-agency forums, including Safeguarding Children/Adults Boards, Serious Case Reviews, MAPPA Panels and Police Public Protection Units. Such bodies are often faced with situations that involve a faith element, so they need to understand the frameworks and structures within which (often very different) faith groups operate. CCPAS provides expert advice, guidance and support, which enable these bodies’ decisions to be made with the benefit of as much specialist knowledge and understanding as possible.
Bespoke Training Development and Delivery
CCPAS has led the development and delivery of safeguarding training to the faith sector for many years and continues to train hundreds of individuals every week. This experience benefits clients because it enables the team to understand their specific needs for safeguarding training in the workplace. This knowledge is then used to develop and deliver bespoke training programmes which meet those needs precisely.
Blemished Disclosures and Risk Assessments
Sometimes a ‘blemished’ DBS disclosure certificate, relating to an individual applying to work or volunteer with children, young people or vulnerable adults, will be returned to the registered body or employing organisation. ‘Blemished’ disclosures provide details of offences or information that may be of concern to an employer when making a recruitment decision. CCPAS provides expert advice in these situations. We work with employers to help them understand the risks and implications of the information contained on the disclosure for either their paid employees or their volunteers. Often this may require undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment of such individuals and the context within which they have applied to work.