YFM highly values you as a volunteer and your involvement in the organisation’s work and hopes to encourage you in your support, contribution and assistance. Many of our services and activities would be at risk if it weren’t for yours or other volunteers’ help, and many of our children, young people and their families benefit greatly from it.
It is our duty to ensure that whilst you are engaged in voluntary activities for YFM that we care for you and ensure your safety. We also, of course, have a duty to ensure that our children’s and young people’s safety and welfare is paramount; that is, they are cared for appropriately, and they are safeguarded from any harm.
This information is to inform you of what measures we need to apply to ensure that our children and young people and all volunteers working with them are safe and cared for.
Welfare and Safety of Volunteers and Children & Young People
We undertake to ensure that any activities which you are involved with are planned properly and safely, also that you are appropriately consulted on and informed of these plans. This helps us to make sure that you are happy with the arrangements, also that you have the opportunity to make us aware of any anticipated difficulties, reservations or problems that arise. We further undertake to ensure that, at all times, you will have access to an appropriate YFM team member should any emergencies arise or you need to talk to someone urgently regarding any difficulties.
Code of Safe Conduct
It is essential that we acknowledge that the vast majority of volunteers behave appropriately whilst working with our children and young people. However, expected conduct of adults working in or for a child care organisation is sometimes different from that which may apply whilst caring for our own children. Certain laws, codes of practice and government guidance (e.g. regarding smacking children) also govern volunteer conduct. Furthermore, volunteers sometimes express uncertainty as to what is and isn’t acceptable, and ask for guidance regarding those behaviours which, whilst most probably innocent, may be considered illegal, improper or could be misconstrued by another person.
The following, therefore, gives a guide to appropriate conduct whilst working in or on behalf of YFM (for example, whilst Independent Visiting, helping at an after-school club, assisting with trips and outings). Adherence to this code will ensure that our children, young people and adults are safe, including from the possibility of allegations being made against them.
As a volunteer, you MUST:
- Adhere to YFM’s Child Protection Policy.
- Adhere to any other YFM policies and procedures that are specifically identified as relevant to your voluntary role, e.g. Lone working.
- Behave in a mature, respectful, safe, fair and considered manner.
- Provide a good example and a ‘positive role model’ to children and young people.
- Treat all children equally, never build ‘special’ relationships with individual children or confer favour on particular children, unless your role specifically requires you to build an appropriate one to one relationship with a child/young person.
- Observe people’s rights to confidentiality (unless you need to report a child protection/safeguarding concern or where you need to appropriately report on progress of your work as directed by your line manager).
- Report to your line or project manager:
- Routinely on the progress of the work, as directed.
- Any accidents/incidents whilst transporting children.
- Any behaviour or situation that may give rise to complaint, misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
- Any difficulties you experience e.g. coping with an unruly child, situations you anticipate you may not be sufficiently qualified, trained or skilled to deal with or handle well.
- Any behaviours of another person working for YFM, which give you cause for concern. (You will be protected by our ‘Whistle blowing policy’ in these circumstances).
- Not behave in a way that could lead a reasonable observer to question your conduct, intentions or suitability to care for other people’s children.
- Not leave a dependent child in a position which may compromise their safety e.g. if parent or carer has not collected them.
- Not touch children in a manner which is gratuitous or would be considered sexual, threatening or intimidating.
- Not discriminate favourably or unfavourably towards a child.
- Not make arrangements to contact, communicate or meet children outside of your voluntary work
- Not develop ‘personal’ or sexual relationships with children.
- Not push, hit, kick, punch, slap, throw missiles at, or smack a child, or threaten to do so.
- Not be sarcastic, make remarks or ‘jokes’ to children of a personal, sexual, racist, discriminatory, intimidating or otherwise offensive nature.
- Not embarrass or humiliate children.
- Not give or receive (other than ‘token’) gifts unless arranged through YFM.
- Not allow, encourage or condone children to act in an illegal, improper or unsafe manner e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol.
- Not behave in an illegal or unsafe manner whilst transporting children e.g. Exceed the speed limit, drive recklessly, be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive a vehicle which is unroadworthy, otherwise unsafe or not properly insured, use a mobile phone whilst the vehicle is in transit or fail to use seat belts and car seats as appropriate.
- Never undertake any work with children when not in a fit and proper state to do so e.g. under the influence of medication which induces drowsiness, have a medical condition which dictates that you should not be caring for children.
Many thanks for your support of YFM and its arrangements for the safety and care of children, young people, their families, and adults within YFM as an organisation.