The Council recognises the key importance of safeguarding vulnerable groups and of raising awareness. We all have a duty to protect children and adults with needs for care and support.
Colchester Borough Council is committed to carrying out its responsibilities by ensuring that the needs and interests of children and 'adults with needs for care and support' are considered by employees in the provision of services and in its decision-making.
What does safeguarding mean?
The term 'safeguarding' can apply to both adults and children and is about protecting them, preventing their abuse or neglect and educating those around them to recognise the signs and dangers. Those at risk may experience difficulty in making their feelings and needs known to others which can make them more vulnerable.
Section 11 of the Children Act (2004) places a duty to make arrangements to "safeguard and promote the welfare of children" upon a range of agencies, including councils.
"Working together to safeguard Children 2010" defines safeguarding children as:
- protecting children from maltreatment;
- preventing impairment of children's health or development;
- ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
- undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
Safeguarding adults with needs for care and support
The Care Act 2014 introduced a new statutory framework for protecting 'adults with needs for care and support' and the Council's Safeguarding Policy has been updated to reflect this key change. Care and support needs may relate to disability, mental health, age-related frailty or illness, or domestic abuse.
- If you are a child you can visit Childline for general advice on abuse and what to do if you or someone you know needs help. You can also call, email, or instant chat with someone about your worries.
- If you are an adult the NSPCC is an example of the many sites available to seek help and advice.
If you have any concerns about a child, or adult with needs for care and support please see the links below for more information. Or you can also call Essex County Council - on 0345 603 7627 in regard to a child or 03452 66 66 63 in regard to an adult.
Voluntary organisations receiving funding from the Council are required to have a Policy and Procedure Statement on Safeguarding. They are free to use and complete the suggested template shown below as a download.
The Council's Safeguarding Policy was approved in March 2013 and replaces its previously separate safeguarding policies for children and for vulnerable adults. This step is both logical and practical - it brings greater clarity and ease of access for officers, councillors and the public. It also provides up-to-date information on key people and processes. It is updated in line with legislation and guidance.
As a Borough Council, our key role is to share information with, and make referrals to, the investigating authority which is Essex County Council. We also have a duty to work in partnership with other key agencies such the as the local Safeguarding Boards, and to participate in audits and key Reviews whose recommendations we adopt to embed best practice.
Annual Update Report
Since 2016, the areas of Equality and Safeguarding have been considered together in one annual update report. There are significant benefits to such an approach:
- The two areas of work are mutually supportive and reinforcing.
- They both involve the principle of proportionality and having "due regard".
- Each area helps to support, and prevent harm occurring to, vulnerable groups.
The report includes appendices detailing key improvements and initiatives over the previous year that deliver practical benefits for customers and staff.
Equality and Safeguarding Annual Update 2017