Children occupy the central place within Playbox Theatre and the work it is engaged in. We strongly believe that all children, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection.
The term child is used to refer to anyone under the age of eighteen years. While people between the age of sixteen and eighteen are often referred to as ‘young people’ the term itself has no legal status, and those under the age of eighteen involved with Playbox Theatre are regarded as children in line with the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (individuals between the age of sixteen and eighteen and in employment are regarded as adults).
Mary King and Emily Jane Quash are senior directors with primary responsibility for child protection. This ensures that child protection policies and procedures can be coordinated effectively and offers a first point of contact for any staff or freelancers who wishes to discuss an issue concerning child protection. All staff and freelancers are also provided with relevant child protection information when beginning work with Playbox.
All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a child is at risk of abuse or harm at home, in the community or at Playbox Theatre. When concerned about the welfare of a child, staff members should always act in the interests of the child. If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral will be made to Children’s Social Care immediately.
The number of children that can participate in a project varies, however the general policy is that there should be no more than 30 children in any workshop situation. The ratio of adult to child for projects varies depending on the age and nature of the group that are being worked with.
Risk assessments are carried out by Playbox Theatre. This will include assessing the venues. It is then the member of staff or freelancer delivering the project who is responsible for risk assessing specific workshops or rehearsal.
The parents of all children involved with a project at Playbox are expected to provide information concerning any medical conditions as well as emergency contact details. Staff members and freelancers should record any noticeable injuries a child arrives at a session with (for further details see sections Dealing with disclosure of abuse and Accidents and Injuries below).
To ensure Playbox Theatre staff perform to the highest standards and always within the best interests of our members, we expect the following conduct:
Our complaints procedure will be followed where a member or parent raises a concern about poor practice towards a member within an official Playbox Theatre activity. Complaints are managed by the directors and other members of the senior leadership team.
The aims of the Safe Recruitment policy are to help deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children or are otherwise unsuited to work with children and young people. Aims also include;
Playbox Theatre applies for an enhanced disclosure from the DBS and a check of the Children’s Barred List (now known as an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity) in respect of all positions at the company which involve “regulated activity” as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended).
The purpose of carrying out an Enhanced Check for Regulated Activity is to identify whether an applicant is barred from working with children by inclusion on the Children’s Barred List and to obtain other relevant suitability information. It is Playbox Theatre’s policy that the DBS disclosure must be obtained before the commencement of employment of any new employee. It is Playbox Theatre’s policy to re-check employees’ DBS Certificates every three years and in addition any employee that takes leave for more than three months (i.e: maternity leave, career break etc) must be re-checked before they return back to work.
Members of staff at Playbox Theatre are aware of their obligation to inform the Directors of any cautions or convictions that arise between these checks taking place. DBS checks will still be requested for applicants with recent periods of overseas residence and those with little or no previous UK residence.
All staff and volunteers are given details of this policy as part of their induction. All staff and volunteers are required to participate in training courses on child protection issues.
Staff and volunteers also have health and safety procedures detailed to them as part of their induction.
Following training staff and volunteers should be able to recognise signs of abuse and know the appropriate reporting systems for this.
All staff and volunteers are adequately supervised and their progress reviewed on a regular basis.
Adults have a legal responsibility to report any information disclosed by children concerning abuse and it is therefore important to communicate to the child that any information given cannot remain confidential. In the event of a Playbox Theatre employee receiving allegations of abuse from a child involved in the project, Playbox Theatre expects the worker involved to report the allegations to the member of Playbox Theatre staff who is responsible for the project, as follows.
Playbox Theatre encourage peer support and communication between staff, volunteers and membership to ensure that any suspicions of abuse can be monitored and where appropriate reported to external agencies.
The member of staff should keep careful contemporaneous notes in order that an accurate record is kept should the disclosure lead to further investigation by external agencies. Playbox Theatre staff members must record any disclosed information or suspicions of abuse in written form, and details of any further action taken should also be noted.
However while abuse disclosed must be reported, it is important to remember that children are entitled to some confidentiality. Disclosure of abuse must not be widely circulated and written records must be safely secured as with documents related to DBS disclosure.
In addition information concerning children provided to Playbox Theatre by external organisations (such as referral information for targeted sessions) must be handled discretely and only given to staff members if it is deemed imperative to the running of the project.
Playbox Theatre does not condone bullying of any kind within its activities.
Any physical violence by children on their peers during sessions at Playbox Theatre will be stopped immediately. Any sexist, racist or other derogatory remarks will be highlighted as unacceptable.
The aim of the policy is to state what measures Playbox Theatre has in place to prevent all types of bullying amongst members and to encourage good behaviour.
Although bullying is not a criminal offence, harassment, threatening behaviour and/or communications could be.
Playbox Theatre will take the following steps when dealing with all reported incidents of bullying.
The parents of all children involved with Playbox Theatre are expected to provide information concerning any medical conditions as well as emergency contact details.
Playbox Theatre staff members and freelancers should record any noticeable injuries a child arrives with (by raising it with a second member of staff and if appropriate with the parent/carer themselves), to ensure that it is not possible for a parent/carer to ascribe any injury or abuse as having happened within the session in error.
All accidents and injuries are to be recorded in the Playbox Theatre’s accident books. The books are kept in the office.
Review date September 2021
To be reviewed by Mary King & Emily Quash in August 2022