Online safeguarding for creative practitioners, organisations & professionals during Covid 19.
The Seven P's of Online Safeguarding
It seems like a life time ago since I first blogged about online safeguarding and the use of technology. Back in 2018 I talked about the 7P's of online safeguarding and looking back they have never been more relevant than now in 2020.
Online safeguarding has been on many people's minds over the last few months as we have dealt with lockdown and moving work online to provide creative support to those who need us most.
For many people online safeguarding has been a steep learning curve with new creative and learning activities to risk assess and new procedures and policy to put in place to safeguard people online and make sure that we comply with best safeguarding practice.
Safeguarding for freelance creatives, practitioners and professionals
Delivering training over the last few months I have been very aware of the challenges that freelance practitioners face in terms of safeguarding and what needs to be put in place.
Since April 2020 I have had many people share their concerns that they are unsure of what safeguarding practice they should have in place and what needs to be updated.
Here is a quick list of some of the sector guidance, it is by no means the only guidance and people should read wider guidance given by the document Working Together to Safeguard Children and The Care Act 2014.
Arts Council England grants have terms and conditions. All ACE funded organisations, individuals and projects that work with children and young people or adults at risk of abuse, should have a safeguarding policy in place.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund also requires that people have a safeguarding policy and safeguarding practice in place.
If you are a charity then the Charities Commission details that Trustees should put safeguarding policy and safeguarding practice in place and that trustees should risk assess activities.
Knowing what to consider when you write a safeguarding policy or online safeguarding policy and begin to revise or develop safeguarding practice can feel a little daunting and it can be hard to know where to start.
To help everyone out there I have updated the 7P's of safeguarding with a focus on supporting freelance creatives, practitioners and producers, and don't worry if you are not freelance they will still work in most situations for creative organisations too!
The following safeguarding tips and suggestions are not offered as legal advice and you should always make sure that your are aware of your legal responsibilities and ensure that your online safeguarding approach reflects the work that you deliver and the people that you connect with.
For charities you should also share any safeguarding changes with your board of trustees particularly if you have changes to policy or practice.
The 7P's of safeguarding for creative freelancers, practitioners and professionals
Does your current safeguarding policy cover online work or do you need a specific online safeguarding policy?
Before writing or updating a safeguarding or online safeguarding policy think about who it is aimed at, consider who needs to read and act on your safeguarding policy and how will they be able to access it?
A safeguarding policy is a statement of intent and does not need to be pages long but it should demonstrate your commitment to keeping vulnerable people safe and outline the steps that you will take to do this.
You may also want to consider if you need a safeguarding policy that covers adults at risk of harm and children under the age of 18 or if separate safeguarding policies may work better for you.
Many things have changed over the last few months, what are you doing now that you were not doing before?
Safeguarding procedures are the steps that you follow to make sure that you safeguard people and are able to respond to safeguarding concerns with confidence.
Your safeguarding procedures might include how you manage online meetings or activities, the number of facilitators needed in sessions or how to handle a disclosure. Whatever you include it is important that you consider who you work with, what the activities are, where you do this and when your activities happen. Thinking about these areas will help you identify and mitigate risks.
As professionals we should all support safeguarding practice. Areas to consider around professional practice should include
Codes of conduct and how they can support online safeguarding.
Identifying and sharing key contacts and processes so that professionals can share safeguarding concerns
Training needs to support online safeguarding and online work.
It is also worth thinking about what can be seen of our home environments if we are using them to deliver elements of our work. It can be really challenging finding space to use at home that does not share personal details about us, consider what people can see and ways that you might mask this for instance hanging a curtain over an area or using a folding screen.
Key to the work that we do are the people that we work with. Take time to think about who they are and what might create additional safeguarding risks for them, particularly online and during the pandemic.
Areas like online bullying have been in the press, as have domestic abuse, financial abuse and violence and online grooming and abuse.
Think about what you might notice and how can you signpost and support those who need it.
Safeguarding children and adults at risk of harm have different areas to consider and so it is important to think about the different categories of abuse relating to them and understanding when to share a safeguarding concern to the safeguarding partnership.
The online world is very different to face to face in many ways with some areas of increased risk.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say that all new activity should be risk assessed.
When risk assessing online work it is also important to risk assess safeguarding.
The Charities Commission also say that Trustees should assess and manage risk within the organisation.
A good risk assessment will help you to identify who the risk is to, the hazard, how likely this is to happen, the impact or severity and what can be put in place to reduce this.
It is increasingly more important that we know how to manage our own online persona, behaviours and devices. Many of us are now at home using personal equipment without the security of workplace filters, firewalls and security.
We are also storing and collecting data that we may not have accessed before on personal equipment.
It is important to consider how we manage these areas to support online safeguarding and to keep ourselves and other safe.
When we work online we may need extra permissions from those we work with to share data or initiate contact. Consider if any areas have changed and if you need any further consent from people.
There are also areas to think about age and when people can use apps or websites.
You may also want to ask people for permission to contact emergency contacts or services if there is a safeguarding incident or an accident.
Whilst this list is not exhaustive it is a start and can help you to consider your safeguarding approach. For more tips and approaches check out our new regular blogs or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org