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Corporate Safeguarding Policy

Important Contact Details

Torbay Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

01803 208100

Outside of office hours Children’s Social Care

0300 4564 876

Torbay Safeguarding Adults Single Point of Contact Team

01803 219700

Outside of office hours Adult Social Care

0300 4564876

Devon and Cornwall Police 

101 (or in an emergency 999)

Local Authority Designated Officer (Allegations against a professional or someone working with children and young people)

01803 208541

NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)

0808 800 5000

Purpose and Scope

Torbay Council makes a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognises the right of every individual to stay safe.  The responsibility for Safeguarding applies to every employee, volunteer, contractor, partner, agency worker and elected Member of the Council. It extends to our wholly owned companies and should be evidenced through all business decisions.

This policy provides guidance for all Torbay Council staff, Elected Members, volunteers and individuals, consultants and agencies contracted (and sub-contracted) by Torbay Council who may come across concerns regarding the safeguarding and protection of children, young people and adults within the context of their work.

It supports Torbay Council’s Community and Corporate Plan in ensuring that Torbay is a place where everyone can live their best life.

The policy is relevant to all of Torbay Council’s work it delivers, commissions and funds.

This procedure applies to all staff, whether working directly with Children / Adults who are vulnerable, as well as to volunteers, students, contractors and agency staff. It also applies to Elected Members who are not employees of the Council. For ease of reference, all those who fall under these groups will uniformly be referred to as “staff” in this document.

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Requirements to Safegaurd

It is a duty of Torbay Council to ensure that children/young people and adults are safeguarded from harm. The Director of Children’s Services has professional responsibility for children’s services, including operational matters, including statutory work under Section 17 and Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.  The Director of Adult’s Services is responsible for adult’s services although Adult Social Care is commissioned by the Council to be delivered by the NHS.

Everyone has a responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children, young people, and adults at risk, whatever the role of the individual, or Directorate they work in.

Each Directorate needs to be aware of how their staff interact with children/young people and with adults at risk, providing appropriate training on safe working practices and on creating safe environments. Staff should be alert to any indications that a child, young person or adult at risk may need to be safeguarded from harm and know who to contact if they have concerns.

Organisations that Torbay Council contracts with will be required through either legislation and/or the terms of their contract to have appropriate safeguarding policies in place for their staff.

For this policy to be effective it is essential that each Directorate as well as agencies and people working within them have an applied understanding of what safeguarding means, knows that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, knows the signs and symptoms of potential harm, how to access safeguarding procedures, advice, and guidance, and is committed to making an informed contribution to safeguard children, young people, and adults at risk.

The Council will ensure their staff are appropriately trained for the roles they undertake.

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Adults at risk

For adults, local authorities have a number of statutory powers and duties to safeguard adults in cases of abuse and neglect. Some of these powers are contained in the Care Act 2014 which sets out a clear legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. It includes a duty for Torbay Council to make enquiries, or request others to make them, when we think an adult with care and support needs may be at risk of abuse or neglect and they need to find out what action may be needed.

Outside of the Care Act, local authorities have various statutory powers to take more assertive action in safeguarding cases under a range of mental health and public health powers, inherent jurisdiction and the criminal law. In Torbay, some of these functions are delegated by the Council to the NHS who deliver Adult Social Care on our behalf.

Adult safeguarding is working with adults with care and support needs to keep them safe from abuse or neglect. It is an important part of what many public services do, and a key responsibility for the Council.

Adult safeguarding is aimed at people with care and support needs who are experiencing, or may, be at risk of abuse or neglect. We work in partnership with local services, partners, agencies and other appropriate stakeholders to take steps to protect those at risk.

An adult at risk is a person who is or may be in need of care and support by reason of mental or other disability, age, or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.

An adult at risk may therefore be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability, or cognitive impairment
  • has a learning disability
  • has a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment
  • has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • has a long-term illness/condition
  • misuses substances or alcohol
  • is a carer, such as a family member/friend, who provides personal assistance and care to adults and is subject to abuse
  • is unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

(This list is not exhaustive)

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Children at risk

For children, local authorities have a range of statutory powers and duties to safeguarding the welfare of children under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004, which places a duty on the local authority to safeguard children and to make arrangements through key agencies to co-operate to improve the well-being of children and young people in their area.

Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

The definition of a child and/or young person for the purpose of this document is anyone under the age of 18 years.  It should be noted that a child that has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate for children and young people, does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under the Children Act 1989.

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Signs of abuse

It is important that all Staff are sufficiently trained to be able to recognise abuse. Children, young people and adults at risk can be influenced by those who would seek to radicalise them. Torbay Council has a legal duty to work to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. This “prevent duty” is jointly led by Community Safety Partnership and Devon Partnership but safeguarding children/young people and adults from the risk of radicalisation extends to all staff. As such all staff should recognise the risk of radicalisation as a safeguarding issue and respond to signs of this as they would to other abuse.

Any allegations or concerns that children/young people and adults may be suffering harm should be raised with either Adults or Children’s Services.

There is no such thing as information being given “in confidence” – there is a duty of care and legal responsibility for the Council to respond to safeguarding concerns or incidents. If a child or adult is in immediate danger, you should always call the police.

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Abuse of Adults

Under the Care Act 2014 the main forms of abuse are divided into the following categories:

  • Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
  • Domestic violence – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.
  • Sexual abuse – including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
  • Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Modern slavery – slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. People are bought and sold for sexual exploitation, forced labour, street crime, cannabis cultivation, grooming and pimping, domestic servitude, forced marriage or even the sale of organs and human sacrifice.
  • Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.
  • Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
  • Self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. It involves no other perpetrator.
  • Sexual Exploitation – this covers exploitative situations where a person receives 'something' as a result of them performing or having performed on them, sexual activities.

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Abuse of Children

Children may be vulnerable to neglect and abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of different forms, including:

  • Bullying and Cyberbullying - intentional behaviour that hurts someone else. It includes name calling, hitting, pushing, spreading rumours, threatening or undermining someone. It can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It's usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online. Unlike bullying offline, online bullying can follow the child wherever they go, via social networks, gaming and mobile phone. A person can be bullied online and offline at the same time.
  • Child sexual exploitation - a type of sexual abuse. When a child or young person is exploited they're given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they're in a loving and consensual relationship.
  • Children missing in Education - persistently absent children and children missing from education could be an indicator that a child is at risk of harm or that there are safeguarding issues within the family or local community around a child.
  • County Lines - a violent and exploitative form of drug distribution. A common feature of county lines is the exploitation of children and young people who are instructed to deliver and / or store drugs and associated money or weapons, to dealers or drug users, locally or in other counties.
  • Child trafficking - where children and young people tricked, forced or persuaded to leave their homes and are moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. Children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, benefit fraud, forced marriage, domestic slavery like cleaning, cooking and childcare, forced labour in factories or agriculture, committing crimes, like begging, theft, working on cannabis farms or moving drugs.
  • Criminal exploitation - child abuse where children and young people are manipulated and coerced into committing crimes.
  • Domestic Abuse - any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people who are or have been in a relationship. It can also happen between adults related to one another. It can seriously harm children and young people, and experiencing domestic abuse is child abuse.
  • Emotional Abuse - any type of abuse that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. It's sometimes called psychological abuse. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore a child.
  • Female Genital Mutilation - when a female's genitals are deliberately altered or removed for non-medical reasons. It's also known as 'female circumcision' or 'cutting', but has many other names.
  • Grooming - when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
  • Neglect - the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs and the most common form of child abuse. A child might be left hungry or dirty, or without proper clothing, shelter, supervision or health care. This can put children and young people in danger and it can also have long term effects on their physical and mental wellbeing.
  • Non-recent abuse - sometimes called historical abuse, is when an adult was abused as a child or young person under the age of 18. Sometimes adults who were abused in childhood blame themselves or are made to feel it’s their fault. But this is never the case as there is no excuse for abuse.
  • Online Abuse - any type of abuse that happens on the internet. It can happen across any device that's connected to the web, like computers, tablets and mobile phones. And it can happen anywhere online.
  • Physical abuse - when someone hurts or harms a child or young person on purpose. It includes hitting with hands or objects, slapping and punching, kicking, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning and scalding, biting and scratching, breaking bones and drowning. Physical abuse is any way of intentionally causing physical harm to a child or young person. It also includes making up the symptoms of an illness or causing a child to become unwell.
  • Sexual Abuse - When a child or young person is sexually abused, they're forced or tricked into sexual activities. They might not understand that what's happening is abuse or that it's wrong. And they might be afraid to tell someone. Sexual abuse can happen anywhere – and it can happen in person or online. It's never a child's fault they were sexually abused – it's important to make sure children know this.
  • Contextual Abuse –risks faced by children and young people in their specific local environment. As young people grow and develop, they are influenced by a whole range of environments and people outside of their family. For example in school or college, in the local community, in their peer groups or online. Children and young people may encounter risk or abuse in any of these environments.

Source NSPCC,

Whatever the form of abuse or neglect, practitioners should put the needs of children first when determining what action to take.

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What this means for our work

In their day-to-day work, officers employed by Torbay Council will endeavour to safeguard children, young people and adults by:

  • reporting, without delay, any concerns, allegations or suspicions that a child or young person, or an adult is being or is at risk of being abused.
  • always giving a high priority to actions to protect a child/young person or an adult from abuse
  • ascertaining the wishes and feelings of children/young people and adults, valuing them, listening to, and respecting them
  • sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children/young people, parents, adults at risk, carers, staff, and volunteers
  • sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children/young people or adults at risk and carers appropriately
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers though supervision, support, and training.
  • providing senior management commitment and accountability to safeguard and promote the welfare of children/young people and of adults
  • being clear about the authority’s responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children/young people and adults
  • ensuring that adults, carers, children and young people and families are involved in planning and developing services
  • ensuring services for children/young people and adults are safe and accessible
  • attending staff training and continuing professional development
  • following safe recruitment, vetting procedures, and responding to allegations against staff
  • providing effective inter‐agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children/young people and adults at risk
  • reviewing our policy and good practice annually.

The Council will support safeguarding work by ensuring all its staff, Members, individuals, consultants and agencies contracted by them:

  • understand their legal and moral responsibility to protect children, young people, and adults from harm, abuse, and exploitation
  • have an appropriate understanding of child protection and adult safeguarding as part of their training and induction if they work directly with children and young people or with adults
  • understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child or young person or adult, or a member of staff’s conduct towards a child/young person or adult at risk
  • know that emotional support is available from the organisation, should they be impacted by any need to raise safeguarding concerns.

The Council will ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of staff are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner.

Safeguarding is delivered and achieved through good interagency and multi-disciplinary working within the Council and with other organisations. Standards of practice in work with children, young people, adults and their families or carers are regularly reviewed in line with relevant national guidance.  Working effectively with partners and other agencies means:

  • supporting Torbay Safeguarding Children’s Partnership and the Torbay Safeguarding Adults Board to carry out their duties in partnership with other local organisations
  • commissioned organisations, including the voluntary sector, providing services to children, young people, adults at risk, their families, or carers and to schools are able to demonstrate standards of safeguarding compliant with the policies and procedures of the Council.
  • information is shared efficiently and effectively in respect of issues that may affect the safety and welfare of children, young people, or adults at risk.
  • concerns are shared early in order to prevent any problems escalating.
  • ensuring that Directorate designated safeguarding leads are trained and accessible safeguarding advocates who support staff to make alerts.

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Safe Recruitment

The Council is committed to safe recruitment practices and recognises that this fits into an overall corporate approach to safeguarding across a range of functions that need to operate together in order to be effective. This applies to employees, volunteers, work placements, elected members, licensing, school transport arrangements and any other regulated positions.

The Council’s safe recruitment process includes pre-employment vetting which involves establishing full employment histories; proof of identity; satisfactory references; health assessment; checks of qualifications; asylum and immigration checks; and criminal record checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

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Safeguarding Training

All new members of staff will:

  • receive induction training (when relevant to their role) which should include how to identify and report safeguarding concerns within the appropriate levels of confidentiality.
  • be expected to undertake awareness raising/training on safeguarding children and adults with care and support needs at a level appropriate to their role
  • undertake safeguarding refresher training when required

All managers who participate in recruitment and selection will have undertaken the  appropriate training. For those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults this should also include the safer recruitment element.

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Corporate Responsibilities

Corporate safeguarding is everybody’s business in every directorate within the Council. However, certain employees have particular roles, outlined below.

  • Lead Member for Children’s Services

holds political accountability for all local authority children's services, including education and social care.

  • Chief Executive

holds the council’s overarching responsibility for ensuring that there are effective safeguarding arrangements for children, young people and adults; that policies and procedures are in place and that they are robust, up to date and fit for purpose; that there are effective corporate governance arrangements and that all statutory requirements are met.

  • Director of Children's Services

is the designated person with overall responsibility for safeguarding of children and young people. In addition, the Director of Children’s Services will act as Corporate Safeguarding Lead (as per the requirements set out under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and described in Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2023 statutory guidance and Keeping Children Safe in Education guidance September 2022). The Director of Children’s Services will work closely with members of the Leadership Team within Torbay Children’s Services in view of the commissioned arrangements in respect of children’s social care functions as outlined above.

  • Director of Adult Social Services

is the designated person with overall responsibility for safeguarding adults.

Human Resources

are responsible for ensuring that robust safe staffing procedures are in place for undertaking the relevant checks which form part of the safer recruitment and selection process e.g. criminal records/DBS, right to work checks etc. As well as overseeing employee disciplinary investigations if any concerns, disclosures or allegations of abuse by an employee are made.

  • Torbay Children’s Safeguarding Board

The Department for Education (DfE) published the revised Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance in July 2018, which sets out what organisations and agencies who have functions relating to children must do to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children and young people under the age of 18 in England.

To achieve the best possible outcomes children and families should receive targeted services that meet their needs in a coordinated and a shared responsibility between organisations and agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in a local area. This responsibility to safeguard children in Torbay is shared between the local Authority, ICB and Devon and Cornwall Police.

  • Torbay Adults Safeguarding Board

4th Floor, Union House, Union Street, Torquay, TQ1 3YA

  • All employees of the Council and Elected Members
    • understand and apply this policy and procedure in their activities
    • identify opportunities and undertake appropriate training to support them in their role
    • act appropriately at all times and be able to challenge inappropriate behaviour in others
    • be able to recognise harm
    • know how to report any concerns in a timely and appropriate way.

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Oversight and accountability

Chief Officers, senior managers, and designated safeguarding leads of both Adults and Children’s Services should ensure they have sufficient oversight of Torbay’s safeguarding responsibilities particular to their areas. They should ensure they:

  • have a working knowledge of relevant legislation and guidance with respect to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children/young people and adults at risk and how this applies to their Service and or Directorate
  • are responsible for communicating to all staff the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults and that it is everybody’s responsibility to do so
  • have effective working relationships with other parts of the council and with other agencies in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults at risk.
  • report identified training needs of staff to managers with responsibility for staff training and offer opportunities to undertake appropriate safeguarding training
  • that the policy and procedure is adhered to; and
  • ensure that all staff know how to access the whistle blowing procedures.
  • where an individual’s role requires it, comply with the requirements of the Council’s DBS policy and procedures
  • Chief Officers will provide safeguarding assurance.

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Code of Conduct and Professional Boundaries

Professional boundaries are what define the limits of a relationship between a support worker and a client. They are a set of standards we agree to uphold that allows this necessary and often close relationship to exist while ensuring the correct detachment is kept in place.

Torbay Council expects staff to protect the professional integrity of themselves and the organisation when at work but also in their private lives. The Council’s Code of Conduct refers to standards of acceptable behaviour that should be adhered to at all times in order to protect the public and themselves as individuals.

If the professional boundaries and/or policies are breached this could result in disciplinary procedures or enactment of the allegation management procedures.

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Responding to concerns and allegations in respect of people in positions of trust

Where an allegation is made in relation to a person working in a position of trust with children or young people you must contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). You can make a referral by calling 01803 208541 or via email:

Where an allegation is made in relation to a person working in a position of trust with adults with care and support needs, you must contact the Torbay Safeguarding Adults Single Point of Contact Team by calling 01803 219700 (public line) or via email:  

Any suspected immediate risk to any child or children, or adult at risk should be responded to immediately using the contact details given above.

Where a staff member faces an allegation, this will be dealt with via the Council’s Managing Allegations policy and where necessary under Disciplinary Procedures.

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Data Protection and Information sharing

Information will be gathered, recorded and stored in accordance with the Council’s Data Protection and confidentiality principles, guidelines and policies.  These are in line with the Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

All staff must be aware that where they have a professional duty to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults, they only do so where this is necessary and there is a legal duty to do so. 

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Policy Feedback

Should you have any comments regarding this policy, please address them to the HR Policy Feedback mailbox –