Thames Valley Partnership Trading as Hope After Harm believes that the welfare of vulnerable individuals is of paramount importance, taking all concerns about risk seriously and acting without judgement.   We believe that prevention and protection of the most vulnerable is important and that ignoring or tolerating abuse is not an option.  The Partnership makes a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognises the right of every individual to stay safe.

Thames Valley Partnership Trading as Hope After Harm comes into contact with vulnerable individuals through a variety of activities, such as: running creative workshops, supporting adults leaving prison and resettling back into the community, support for families of offenders, restorative justice conferences, conferences and dissemination events.

The types of contact with a vulnerable individual will primarily be: one-to-one contact with mentees on release from prison, working in a group setting during creative workshops with support staff from partner agencies, support for victims and offenders and their families.

This policy seeks to ensure that Hope After Harm undertakes its responsibilities with regard to the protection of those who are vulnerable and will respond to concerns appropriately. This policy establishes a framework to support all staff and volunteers paid and unpaid staff in their practice and clarifies the organisation’s expectations.


The principal pieces of legislation governing this policy are:

  • Data Protection Act 1998;
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;
  • Care Standards Act 2000;
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998;
  • The Police Act 1997;
  • Mental Health Act 1983;
  • NHS and Community Care Act 1990;
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974;
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010;
  • The Children Act 1989;
  • The Adoption and Children Act 2002;
  • The Children Act 2004;
  • The Care Act 2014;
  • The Children and Social Work Act 2017.


Safeguarding is about embedding practices throughout the organisation to ensure the protection of vulnerable individuals wherever possible.

Designated Safeguarding Officer (CEO) is the person responsible for disclosing any safeguarding concerns to other relevant agencies, at the appropriate point.

Protection is about responding to circumstances that arise.

Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm.  Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture. It can take a number of forms, including the following:

  • Sexual abuse;
  • Emotional abuse;
  • Bullying;
  • Neglect;
  • Financial (or material) abuse.

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may include a person who:

  • Has issues with substance misuse
  • Is experiencing homelessness;
  • Has a learning disability;
  • Is living with a mental health issue;
  • Is elderly and frail;
  • Is living with dementia
  • Has a physical or sensory disability;
  • Has a severe physical illness.

A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child).

Child Protection is part of safeguarding and is defined as the process of protecting individual children identified as either suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm as a result of abuse or neglect.  


Our workforce has a responsibility to be familiar with and to follow the guidance laid out in this policy and related policies, and to pass on any welfare concerns using the required procedures.

We expect all our workforce to promote good practice by being an excellent role model, contribute to discussions about safeguarding and to positively involve people in developing safe practices. We seek to work to a trauma-informed and anti-oppressive approach and ensure that our workforce are trained and supported in these practices.

However, these people have key areas of responsibility:

The Board of Trustees is ultimately responsible for safeguarding governance and practice throughout the organisation.  They delegate their operational responsibility to the CEO and Senior Management Team.  There are 2 members of the Board of Trustees appointed to have lead role in relation to Safeguarding.  They will carry out monitoring, review and audits of safeguarding practice.

The CEO and Senior Management Team have responsibility to ensure:

  • That the safeguarding guidelines are discussed with and clearly understood by Programme Managers/Leads to ensure that the policy is implemented, monitored and reviewed;
  • That sufficient resources are allocated to ensure the policy can be effectively implemented and that any concerns are taken forward in an appropriate manner.

The Designated Programme Manager’s/Lead’s responsibilities are to ensure that the Partnership’s safeguarding guidelines are implemented effectively and that any concerns or issues are responded to and reported to the CEO in an appropriate manner. In some cases where creative group work is being undertaken, the responsibility for safeguarding lies with the partner agency and the issue of safeguarding should be addressed, as a key part of the initial planning process.

Implementation Stages

The scope of this Safeguarding Policy is broad ranging and in practice it will be implemented via a range of policies and procedures within the organisation. These include:

  • Whistleblowing – ability to inform on other workers/ practices in the charity;
  • Grievance and disciplinary procedures – to address breaches of procedures/ policies;
  • Health and Safety policy, including lone working procedures – mitigating risk to staff and clients;
  • Equal Opportunities policy– ensuring safeguarding procedures are in line with this policy, in particular around discriminatory abuse and ensuring that the safeguarding policy and procedures are not discriminatory;
  • Data protection (how records are stored and access to those records);
  • Confidentiality (or limited confidentiality policy) ensuring that service users are aware of our duty to disclose; • Staff & volunteer induction;
  • Staff & volunteer training.

Safe Recruitment

Hope After Harm ensures safe recruitment through the completion of the Disclosure and Barring Service process and ensuring adequate and relevant references are taken up.

The Charity also undertakes BPSS (The Baseline Personnel Security Standard) Checks, set out by the government as the default employee screening standard used for anyone working within or on behalf of a government department.  BPSS screening includes the following:

  • Identity checks
  • Right to work status check
  • ID confirmation check
  • Criminal Records
  • Basic DBS certificate
  • Employment checks
  • 3 years employment check

Criminal Bureau Records Gap Management

Hope After Harm commits resources to providing DBS checks on workers whose roles involve contact with vulnerable individuals.   In order to avoid DBS gaps, the Partnership maintains and reviews a list of roles across the organisation which may involve contact with vulnerable people.

In addition to checks on recruitment for roles involving contact with vulnerable people for established workers, the following processes are in place:

  • Existing workers who transfer from a role that does not require a DBS check to one which involves contact with children / vulnerable adults will be subject to a DBS check.
  • Subscription to the update service for all paid employees and encouraged for volunteers. Update Service checks are done on a rolling annual basis.  If not subscribed DBS will be checked after three years.  

Service delivery contracting and subcontracting

We confirm:

  • There will be systematic checking of safeguarding arrangements of partner organisations;
  • Safeguarding will be a fixed agenda item on any partnership reporting meetings;
  • Contracts and memorandums of agreement for partnership delivery work will include clear minimum requirements, arrangements for safeguarding and non-compliance procedures.

Communications, Training and Support for Staff Workers

Hope After Harm commits resources for induction, training of workers, effective communications and support mechanisms in relation to Safeguarding.

Induction will include:

  • Discussion of the Safeguarding Policy (and confirmation of understanding);
  • Discussion of other relevant policies;
  • Ensuring familiarity with reporting processes and key roles (and who acts in their absence).

Training and Support

All workers who, through their role may come into contact with vulnerable people, will have access to safeguarding training at an appropriate level through an external provider.  Additionally, we recognise that involvement in situations where there is risk or actual harm can be stressful for workers concerned, and will offer appropriate internal support, and where necessary, seek external advice and support.  All workers should familiarise themselves with the NSPCC documentation Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Abuse, , Spotting the signs of child abuse | NSPCC

Communications & Discussion of Safeguarding Issues

Commitment to the following communication methods will ensure effective communication of safeguarding issues and practice:

  • Discussion at regular Team Meetings;
  • Discussion at Board Meetings;
  • Informal one to one meetings;
  • Provision of clear and effective reporting procedure which encourages reporting of concerns;
  • Encouraging open discussion to identify barriers to reporting so that they can be addressed.

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.

Thames Valley Partnership expects workers to protect the professional integrity of themselves and the organisation. The following professional boundaries must be adhered to:

  • Giving and receiving gifts from clients: Hope After Harm do not allow paid or unpaid workers to give or receive gifts or money from clients. However, gifts may be provided by the organisation as part of a planned activity. Accepting gifts/ rewards or hospitality from organisation as an inducement for either doing/ not doing something in their official capacity will not be tolerated;
  • Contact with user groups: Personal relationships between a worker and a client who is a current service user is prohibited. This includes relationships through social networking sites such as Facebook etc. It is also prohibited to enter into a personal relationship with a person who has been a service user over the past 12 months;
  • Personal conduct – in the course of their role workers must not:
    • use abusive language; or use inappropriate behaviour;
    • pass on service users’ personal contact details or contravene any other aspect of the organisation’s Data Protection Policy;
    • take family members to a client’s home; or sell or buy items from a service user;
    • accept responsibility for any valuables on behalf of a client; o accept money as a gift/ borrow money from or lending money to service users; o enter into a personal relationship with a third party related to or known to service users;
    • provide lifts to service users/clients etc. unless express permission has been provided.

The following policies also contain guidance on workers conduct:

  • Confidentiality policy
  • Data protection Policy
  • DBS policy
  • Domestic abuse policy
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion policy
  • IT security policy
  • Grievance and disciplinary procedures
  • Privacy Policy
  • Training, Learning and Development Policy
  • Social media policy
  • Safeguarding procedures and policy
  • Whistleblowing Policy

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


For guidance on what constitutes ‘abuse’ in terms of safeguarding concerns please refer to the NSPCC documentation Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Abuse, Spotting the signs of child abuse | NSPCC

The process outlined below details the stages involved in raising and reporting safeguarding concerns at Hope after Harm:

  • Support staff/volunteers communicate concerns to your immediate Programme Manager or Programme Lead;
  • Programme Managers/Leads communicate concerns to the Partnership CEO;
  • CEO communicates concerns to Board of Trustees safeguarding leads;
  • Any safeguarding concerns should be raised /shared with other services by our Designated Safeguarding Officer, (Chief Exec) who can be contacted on the Partnership number mainline 01844 202 001.

If required, external advice will be sought beyond this point.  This is set out in more detail in Hope After Harm’s safeguarding process documentation which is available separately.

Allegations Management

Hope After Harm recognises its duty to report concerns or allegations against its workers within the organisation or by a professional from another organisation. The step process for raising and dealing with allegations is as follows:

Step 1 – Any worker working on behalf of Hope After Harm is required to report any concerns in the first instance to their Programme Manager/Lead.  A written record of the concern will be completed by the Programme Manager/Lead;

Step 2 – A copy of the written record will be passed to the CEO to discuss with the Board of Trustees safeguarding lead or their deputy;

Step 3 – Hope After Harm will contact the Safeguarding Children Services Local Authority Designated Officer for advice and will act on this accordingly.  As the Partnership is based in Buckinghamshire, the Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children’s Board and Adults board process maps for referring children or adults with safeguarding concerns are attached to this policy and these are on display on desks and notice boards in the Partnership offices.


The organisation will monitor the following Safeguarding aspects:

  • Safe recruitment practices;
  • DBS checks undertaken;
  • References applied for new staff and volunteers;
  • Records made and kept of supervision sessions;
  • Training;
  • Monitoring whether concerns are being reported and actioned;
  • Checking that policies are up-to-date and relevant;
  • Reviewing the current reporting procedure in place;
  • Ensuring the presence and action of designated Programme Leads, Director and Board of Trustees responsible for Safeguarding is in post.
  • Every incident of concern whether it be a risk of harm to a service user (from a third party or themselves) or to a worker, should be captured on the safeguarding reporting form and escalated to a manager. If that risk is serious or immediate then this can be escalated to the CEO.
  • The board and particularly the safeguarding trustees will be notified of all serious issues or issues of concern.

Managing Information

Information will be gathered, recorded and stored in accordance with the Partnership’s Hope after Harm’s Data Protection Policy.

All workers must be aware that they have a professional duty to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard vulnerable individuals. The public interest in safeguarding this group may override confidentiality interests. However, information will be shared on a ‘need to know basis only’, as judged by the Director.

All workers must be aware that they cannot promise service users or their families/ carers that they will keep secrets. 

Conflict Resolution and Complaints

Hope After Harm has a clear Disciplinary and Grievance procedure to resolve professional disagreements at work.

Communicating the Policy

Hope After Harm will make staff aware of the Safeguarding Policy during their initial induction or training session.

Review of Policy

This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis by the CEO & Programme Manager to ensure it remains up-to-date and reflects the needs and practices of the organisation.

Date of Review:   4/6/2024