Tollesbury Volunteers has been established to respond at a local level to the Covid-19 pandemic. As well as providing practical assistance such as shopping, it offers help and support to people at risk of harm to their physical and/or mental well-being, as a result of Covid-19, through both day-to-day contact and through the CHECK-IN service. This policy is based on the safeguarding principles set out in the 2014 Care Act as they relate to the work of the Tollesbury Volunteers.
To ensure that the services provided by the Tollesbury Volunteers are carried out in accordance with: the principles of safeguarding set out in the 2014 Care Act; the Data Protection Act 2018; and any other appropriate legislation.
- We are guided at all times by the wishes and preferences of the people using the services. This applies both to what is provided and how it is provided.
- All residents, their families and friends, know what they can expect from us and have access to this policy.
Recruitment and Vetting
In the circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Tollesbury Volunteers database of Volunteers has been compiled rapidly. No formal vetting process has been applied, but the following factors mitigate risks:
- Only people who are residents of Tollesbury are accepted as Volunteers;
- Each Volunteer is actively assessed for the tasks assigned to them;
- Each Volunteer has provided their name, address, email address, phone numbers and an outline of relevant skills, experience and restrictions;
- Many Volunteers are known within the village, and all Co-ordinators, Helpline Responders and CHECK-IN Volunteers are known by two or more people on the Steering Group;
- This Policy and the Tollesbury Volunteers Guidelines are provided to each Volunteer so that all are aware of the requirement not to enter anyone’s home; not how we handle payments; and to observe confidentiality;
- Any instances of doubt are investigated immediately as described in this Policy; any wilful breach of the guidelines by a Volunteer results in their removal from the database and from functioning as a Tollesbury Volunteer.
- All people working for Tollesbury Volunteers are aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and agree to abide by the safeguarding guidelines provided to them.
- Volunteers do not act alone. They work in co-ordinated teams and have free access to advice and support, including professional advice.
- Volunteers are specifically encouraged to seek advice if they have any concerns about the safety or wellbeing of any resident:
- For routine matters Volunteers request guidance from their Co-ordinator, and Co-ordinators request guidance from any Steering Group member.
- All safeguarding and suspected safeguarding matters are referred directly and solely to the Steering Group’s Safeguarding Lead, who is Roy Clare, on 07779 947483 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Safeguarding Lead has access to professional safeguarding advisors, who are selected by the Steering Group.
- Volunteers are aware that safeguarding procedures are for their own protection as well as that of the people they work with.
- Volunteers are aware of the circumstances in which it may be permissible to act without the express permission of the person involved.
- Volunteers are aware of the actions they must take and those they must avoid if they become aware on any form of abuse or criminal activity.
- Our services are provided on a temporary basis during the Covid-19 pandemic. Longer term provision is subject to review.
- Priority is given to those most at risk of harm.
- Services are provided only in response to the wishes and preferences of those who receive them. Volunteers may suggest and, if appropriate, discuss any other services or contacts that might be useful, but no further action may be taken without the clear understanding and explicit permission of the person involved, other than in exceptional circumstances (please see 4. Confidentiality below).
- Tollesbury Volunteers is sponsored by Tollesbury Parish Council and it links with external agencies (e.g. Maldon Community Voluntary Service) that can inform and support its work.
- Tollesbury Volunteers works in partnership with other organisations in the village and in the wider local community, such as voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations involved in the Covid-19 community support process.
- Contact details for the Steering Group are provided to all Volunteers and Co-ordinators.
- Our policies – and guidelines to residents – are freely accessible on the Tollesbury Volunteers website.
- Our guidelines to Volunteers and Co-ordinators are provided directly to them.
- We encourage Volunteers to seek permission from residents to inform relevant friends and family members of our involvement.
- We encourage Volunteers to inform residents of our approach to confidentiality.
- Any Volunteer who breaches the safeguarding guidelines may be advised, transferred to other activities or asked to leave Tollesbury Volunteers, as appropriate.
- No Volunteer can promise total confidentiality. Information may be shared between Volunteers on a strict “need to know” basis, normally with permission, but without permission if sharing is justified by circumstances.
- No information may be shared outside Tollesbury Volunteers without the explicit permission of the person involved, other than in exceptional circumstances as follows:
- Information may be shared without permission if there is strong evidence of risk of serious harm.
- Information must be shared where emergency action is needed and the person involved cannot give permission.
- If any form of abuse is suspected, the Volunteer must make a factual record of evidence (signed and dated) but take no direct action. The Volunteer must share the information as soon as possible, but only with the Steering Group’s Safeguarding Lead (see 2 above). The Safeguarding Lead must share this information with outside agencies only as appropriate, such as for advice and, if necessary, onward referral.
- If information is shared without explicit permission, the resident will be informed, unless this action has the potential to increase the level of risk to the person involved or any other person.