The Importance of Safeguarding

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, gives an overview on the importance of Safeguarding and its increased relevance to the modern workplace.

You will almost certainly have heard the term ‘safeguarding’, but are you aware of what it means? It is likely that you have often heard it applied to the care of children, but it applies equally to adults. Safeguarding policies and procedures, in line with legislation, are an integral part of any organisation. Safeguarding is important as it protects the most vulnerable groups in society. These groups are entitled to live a safe and happy life, free from discrimination or exploitation. This promotes mutual respect and tolerance, in accordance with British Values.

The Care Act 2014 provides a legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Most of the principles and procedures that apply are the same as those for safeguarding children and young people.

Everyone’s responsibility

One of the most important aspects of safeguarding is an understanding that it is everyone’s responsibility. Within an organisation, certain people may have specifically designated roles related to safeguarding but everyone is responsible for taking action if they believe or are told that someone has been put at risk.

There are six overarching principles that underpin safeguarding of children, young people and adults, which any organisation that has a responsibility for safeguarding must adhere to and promote. These are: ​

Empowerment: This principle means that people are offered the correct support, which enables them to make their own decisions and give fully informed consent.​

Prevention: This principle maintains the notion that it is better to take action before harm occurs. This enables interventions to be put into place to protect individuals before they are put at risk which may have otherwise been avoided.​

Proportionality: This principle applies to the degree of response that is applied when a risk has been identified. The response must be the least intrusive one that is possible to apply, whilst still ensuring the safety of the individual.​

Protection: This principle maintains that support and advocacy for those in greatest need must be provided at any time when there is a risk of harm.​

Partnership: This principle relates to the working together of services within communities in order to ensure that abuse and neglect are prevented, detected and reported.​

Accountability: This principle means that anyone who is involved in safeguarding practice must be accountable for their actions and that all safeguarding practices must be transparent.

Highest quality of life

Safeguarding prevents the impairment of the health and development of individuals. This is because it promotes a way of living that ensures the highest quality of life for people who may otherwise be at risk of experiencing harm, neglect, isolation and the associated difficulties with mental health and wellbeing that can occur as a result of any of these factors.​

Finally, safeguarding is crucial because it promotes the best outcomes for individuals by the use of preventative measures and appropriate actions that are taken in a timely way to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring or to prevent it from continuing both in the short and long term.

An open culture

Group Horizon takes seriously its duty of pastoral care and is proactive in seeking to prevent young persons and adults at risk becoming the victims of abuse or neglect. It does this in a number of ways, such as:

  • Through the creation of an open culture which respects all individuals’ rights and discourages bullying and discrimination of all kinds including cyber-bullying.
  • By identifying a member of the SMT who will lead and have overall responsibility for safeguarding young people.
  • By informing young people of their rights to be free from harm and encouraging them to talk to Group Horizon Ltd staff if they have any concerns.