Helping Communities Grow


Safeguarding Adults Policy

April 2019

Title: Safeguarding Adults Policy

Date for Renewal: April 2020

Policy Statement

At Opshops we believe all adults regardless of age, gender, disability or ethnic origin have a right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Opshops will not tolerate the abuse of vulnerable adults in any form.

It is the responsibility of all representatives of Opshops to raise any concerns you have or those which are reported to you according to this policy. It is not your responsibility to decide whether or not abuse of a vulnerable adult has occurred. It is the responsibility of all Opshops managers to ensure the delivery of this policy and to promote it as relevant in all aspects of their work, to hold themselves and others to account and to help create a safe environment for all.

This policy must be used in conjunction with the Opshops Safeguarding Handbook.

This policy does not form part of an employees’ terms and conditions of employment and may be subject to change at the discretion of management.

Policy Contents

1. Opshops Safeguarding Principles

2. Definitions

3. Roles and Responsibilities

4. Support for survivors and victims

5. Safe Programming at Opshops

6. How to Raise a Complaint or Concern

7. How to Respond to a Complaint or Concern

8. Procedure for Handling Complaints

9. Safe Recruitment

10. Supervision of Vulnerable Adults

11. Use of Personal Data about Vulnerable Adults

12. Training

1. Opshops Safeguarding Principles

Opshops will ensure that:

a) Concerns or allegations of abuse or neglect will always be taken seriously and investigated;

b) Opshops will seek to safeguard adults at risk by valuing, listening to and respecting them;

c) All managers, employees and volunteers and other representatives have access to, and are familiar with, this policy and will know their responsibilities within it;

d) All staff receive training in relation to Safeguarding Adults at a level commensurate with their role;

e) All staff and volunteers will have access to information about how to report concerns or allegations of abuse, including those who may be an adult at risk themselves;

f) The UK Mental Capacity Act (2005) will be used by Opshops in partnership with the relevant statutory services to guide decisions on behalf of those adults at risk who are unable to make certain decisions for themselves (please refer below for definitions relating to ‘Mental Capacity’);

g) Opshops will not knowingly recruit staff, volunteers or other representatives who pose a known risk to the safety or wellbeing of adults at risk without consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser;

h) All managers are responsible for promoting awareness of this policy within their teams.

2. Definitions

2.1 Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

Safeguarding vulnerable adults is the process of protecting adults from abuse or neglect, enabling adults to maintain control over their lives and make informed choices without coercion. It involves empowering vulnerable adults, consulting them before taking action unless someone lacks the capacity to make a decision, or their mental health poses a risk to their own or someone else’s safety, in which case, always acting in his or her best interests.

2.2 Vulnerable Adults

The term “vulnerable adult” refers to a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability, illness, old age, emotional fragility, distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinitely impaired.

2.3 Vulnerable Adult Abuse

Abuse can take many forms and the circumstances of the individual must always be considered. It may consist of a single act or repeated acts. The following is a list of examples of the different types of abuse which may affect a vulnerable adult:

• Physical abuse including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or

inappropriate sanctions.

• Sexual abuse including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has

not consented, or could not consent or was pressurised into consenting

• Psychological abuse including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation

of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.

• Financial or material abuse including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with

wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

• Neglect or acts of omission including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide

access to appropriate health, social care of educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

• Discriminatory abuse including racist, sexist, that is based on a person’s disability, and other

forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

• Domestic abuse that is usually a systematic, repeated and often escalating pattern of behaviour

by which the abuser seeks to control, limit and humiliate, often behind closed doors.

2.4 Mental Capacity

For the purposes of Safeguarding Adults mental capacity is an individual’s ability to:

• Understand the implications of their situation and risk to themselves;

• Take action themselves to prevent abuse;

• Participate to the fullest extent possible in decision making about interventions involving them, be they life changing events or everyday matters.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

Safeguarding adults at risk is everyone’s responsibility and failure to act on concerns relating to a vulnerable adult is not an option.

The Opshop Business Manager, and ultimately Trustees, hold overall accountability for this Policy and its implementation.

Opshops’ Board of Trustees is responsible for reviewing and updating this Policy annually, and in line with legislative and organisational developments and hold overall accountability for Opshops’ Safeguarding of Adults.

All staff, volunteers and other representatives of Opshops are required to adhere to this Policy at all times.

All Opshops’ employees are obliged to report any suspicions of abuse of vulnerable adults. Failure to report to a relevant person suspicion of abuse relating to someone else is a breach of Opshops’ policy, and could lead to disciplinary action being taken. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no obligation placed on any individual to report any incident that has happened to them.

Opshops’ Business Manager and where appropriate, the Diocese of Carlisle’s Safeguarding Adviser can offer further support to help staff and volunteers on implementing this Policy.

4. Support for Survivors and Victims

Support will be offered to survivors and victims, regardless of whether a formal internal response is carried out (such as an internal investigation). Survivors and victims can choose if and when they would like to take up the support options available to them.

5. Safe Programming at Opshops

We recognise there is always a possibility of inflicting unintended harm, particularly in relation to vulnerable populations such as vulnerable adults. For this reason, we have clear guidance in place to minimise this risk when working with direct or indirect vulnerable adult beneficiaries. These are published in the Opshops’ Safeguarding Handbook.

Responsibility for ensuring these programme standards are applied lies with the Business Manager. However, all Opshop staff and partners working with adults at risk must take personal responsibility for upholding these minimum standards.

6. How to raise a Complaint or Concern

Anyone can raise a concern or make a complaint to Opshops about something they have experienced or witnessed. This can be done verbally or in writing to:

• The Business Manager:

Business Manager

Mr Jon Greenwood – 07523 778723

• or the Diocese of Carlisle’s Safeguarding Adviser :

Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser

Mr Charles Proctor – 07458 016884

In the unlikely event that neither of the above can be contacted, urgent concerns about vulnerable adults should be referred to the local District Adult Social Care office (details available on the Cumbria County Council website) or the Emergency Duty Team: 01228 526690 out of normal office hours.

If an allegation is made against you, then you must inform your manager immediately. You must create a signed and dated record of the details as you know them and send a copy to the Business Manager. All those accused will be treated with respect and all allegations are treated confidentially.

7. How to respond to a complaint or concern

Opshops is committed to responding to all complaints and concerns of abuse. Opshops recognises that disclosures and suspicion should always be acted upon swiftly, and if there is an urgent vulnerable adult protection situation, for example if a vulnerable adult at risk is in imminent danger of abuse, then immediate protective action must be taken.

Clear procedures are documented in the Opshops’ Safeguarding Handbook to guide staff and volunteers as to what they should do if they have concerns about a vulnerable adult’s wellbeing. The safety and welfare of the vulnerable adult takes precedence over all other concerns.


Opshops staff cannot keep confidences when they involve concerns about a vulnerable adult. Any information offered in confidence to Opshops staff or volunteers relating to risks or concerns about a vulnerable adult should be received on the basis that it will have to be shared with the relevant person or people in authority. In the first instance this will be the Opshops Business Manager or Diocese of Carlisle Safeguarding Adviser.

It is the responsibility of all who represent Opshops, in whatever capacity, to raise concerns regarding possible or known issues of vulnerable adult abuse or exploitation in the Opshops immediately in line with the procedures outlined in the Opshops Safeguarding Handbook.

8. Procedure for Handling Complaints

When a complaint or concern has been raised, it must be referred within 24 hours to the Opshops’ Business Manager or the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. This can be done on behalf of somebody else, and may only involve a suspicion.

An email should be sent to the complainant acknowledging the complaint as soon as possible.

The process for addressing complaints is outlined in Opshops Safeguarding Handbook.

Confidentiality must be maintained throughout the complaints process by all staff and witnesses. Staff members who breach confidentiality will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. In some cases, such breaches constitute breaking the law.

Retaliation Against Complainants, Victims and Witnesses

Opshops will take action against any staff, volunteers or other representatives, whether they are the subject of a complaint or not, who seek or carry out retaliatory action against complainants, victims or other witnesses. Staff who are found to do this will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Outcomes of Misconduct

Employees who are found to contravene this policy will be subject to disciplinary action that may result in dismissal. Where possible, Opshops will refer suspected cases of abuse of a vulnerable adult to local statutory authorities and the process and outcome will be handled by said authority. Volunteers, contractors and other representatives will have their relationship with Opshops terminated.

False Allegations

It is extremely rare that staff or other stakeholders are found to have raised allegations which they knew to be false. If a member of staff from Opshops is found to have made an allegation that they knew to be false they will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Complaints about Opshops’ Partners

If Opshops receives a complaint about a partner organisation, Opshops will expect the partner to respond quickly and appropriately. Opshops should assist the partner to ascertain its legal obligations to refer the matter to the police or other statutory authorities for criminal investigation.

Where appropriate, Opshops should work with the partner to address the issue through an appropriate independent investigation. If the outcome is that abuse of a vulnerable adult has occurred, ongoing work with the partner cannot involve the individual(s) concerned.

If there is reason to believe that an allegation of abuse of a vulnerable adult has been dealt with inappropriately by a partner then they risk withdrawal of funding or ending the relationship (including networks and consortia).

Receiving External Complaints and Concerns

Complaints raised from outside the organisation should be referred to the Opshops Business Manager or the Diocese of Carlisle’s Safeguarding Adviser.

9. Safe Recruitment

Opshops is committed to recruiting staff, volunteers and other representatives safely. Recruitment for all staff and volunteers must follow the Church of England’s Safer Recruitment Practice as detailed in the Opshops Safeguarding Handbook.

Engaging Vulnerable Adults

Where a vulnerable adult is being recruited as a volunteer, recruitment must be conducted in accordance with the Church of England’s Safer Recruitment Practice.

All relevant health and safety checks must be completed before taking on a volunteer who is a vulnerable adult.

10. Supervision of Vulnerable Adults

Effective supervision is critical in order to safeguard vulnerable adult at risk volunteers in our care.

• Volunteers who are vulnerable adults must not be left alone in a property at any time.

• Two adults should be present when an adult at risk is helping, of which one must

be designated as the vulnerable adult’s supervisor for the duration of their shift. One adult is sufficient where a vulnerable adult is working a volunteer and has been safely recruited.

• If an activity is identified as higher risk in the Health & Safety assessment, then this should

have constant supervision from the nominated supervisor.

• During their inductions, vulnerable adults must be told who is responsible for their safety and

how to raise concerns. Managers must ensure appropriate supervision arrangements are

clearly set out and agreed in advance with each person who will supervise adult at risk


11. Use of Personal Data about Vulnerable Adults

In order to protect the personal data of adults at risk, Opshop staff must adhere to Opshop’s Data Protection and Privacy Policy which is guided by the General Data Protection Regulation in the European Union (2018). All information stored by Opshops about vulnerable adults must be processed in accordance with this Act and Opshop’s policy.

Any disputes about the use of images of vulnerable adults in Opshop’s work must be addressed in the first instance to the Business Manager who will refer to the Diocese of Carlisle’s Safeguarding Adviser.

12. Training

All Opshop staff and volunteers must receive training on Safeguarding Adults commensurate with their role and in line with the Church of England’s ‘Training and Development Framework’ which outlines the core safeguarding training that is available from the Diocese of Carlisle.

The courses applicable to staff and volunteers in the Opshops are:

CO – Basic Awareness (provides a basic level of awareness of safeguarding)

This is mandatory for all staff and volunteers.

C1 – Foundation (for those who have safeguarding responsibilities/contact with children and/or vulnerable adults)

This is mandatory for all shop managers.

C2 – Leadership (for those who have safeguarding leadership responsibilities and lead activities involving children and/or vulnerable adults)

This is mandatory for the Business Manager.

C5 – Refresher

For anyone who has completed C1 or C2 after 3 years.

Overall responsibility for ensuring that staff receive regular training and messages about Safeguarding lies with the Business Manager.

Vulnerable Adults require training to ensure that their capabilities and competencies are at a level where they can operate without putting themselves and others at risk.

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