Child safeguarding policy

Last updated December 2022

Why we have this policy

Safeguarding children and young people from neglect and abuse is everyone’s responsibility. This policy outlines our approach to preventing and reducing the risk of harm to children and young people who are experiencing, or are at risk from abuse, harm or neglect and outlines the steps we’ll take to identify and respond to safeguarding concerns. We’ll always report concerns to the local authorityand/or police.

Children and young people can come into contact with our employees, volunteers, contractors and consultants through living in our homes as part of a household, attending community events, interacting with housing & support services or visiting our offices.

What is child safeguarding?

Child safeguarding is:

  • protecting a child or young person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse or neglect
  • protecting those who may be at risk from abuse or neglect
  • reacting where a child or young person is at risk from harm. A child is defined as anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday as defined under the Children Act 1989, irrespective of circumstances and including unborn children.

Forms of abuse, harm or neglect

A child or young person can experience abuse or neglect where they experience harm or when there is a failure to act to prevent serious risk of harm from happening.

There are many ways in which harm, abuse or neglect can occur. These include:

  • self-neglect, such as poor hygiene or hoarding
  • neglect, such as lack of food
  • physical abuse, such as hitting or slapping someone
  • emotional or psychological abuse, such as bullying
  • domestic abuse, such as hitting, shouting at or coercive control of another member of the household a partner or family member
  • online abuse, such as cyber-bullying, including social media
  • controlling behaviour, to restrict what someone else does
  • coercive behaviour, such as threats to harm or frighten someone
  • organisational abuse, such as neglect or poor practice
  • sexual abuse, such as making someone do things they don’t want to do
  • child sexual exploitation, such as grooming and giving ‘gifts’ in return for sex
  • radicalisation and extremism, such as people influencing others to develop extremist views
  • discriminatory abuse, such as treating somebody differently due to their beliefs
  • financial abuse, such as theft or pressuring someone into giving them or withholding money
  • trafficking where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold
  • forced marriage
  • female genital mutilation

Our approach to safeguarding

When we identify concerns, we will always follow local safeguarding protocols but if there is an immediate concern we will contact the police first.

Because safeguarding is so important to us our Chief Operating Officer, is responsible for leading our approach to safeguarding.

Our safeguarding strategy outlines our approach that-:

  • it’s everyone’s responsibility to be aware of how to identify risk of abuse and how to raise concerns they may have
  • protect and promote the welfare of the children, young people who engage with us
  • effective safeguarding needs to be embedded in our culture and all our ways of working
  • work with the relevant authorities in addressing any safeguarding concerns
  • it is a complex and sensitive issue, so we’ll make sure there are clear ways for staff to raise their concerns with processes for recording, follow-up and support
  • learn from serious incidents so we improve preventative measures

We’re committed to working in line with the ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ initiative which has formed part of the Department of Health’s statutory guidance since 2017. It means our approach, particularly with children or young people should:

  • be person-led
  • outcome focused
  • where it is safe to do so engage the person and enhancing involvement, choice and control
  • improve quality of life, well-being and safety.

The following legislation and guidance has been used to create this policy:

  • The Children Act 1989 (as amended).
  • The Children and Social Work Act 2017.
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018


To prevent abuse, harm or neglect, we’ll:

  • educate our employees on the responsibility and the processes to protect and safeguard children and young people
  • provide training for all of our employees, including specialist training for employees that work in services specifically for young people or children
  • promote the welfare of all children and young people we come into contact with
  • ensure children, young people and their families know about the organisation's safeguarding and child protection policies and what to do if they have a concern
  • maintain an environment that prevents exploitation and abuse and which encourages reporting of breaches of this policy using the appropriate procedures
  • have established, strong safeguarding procedures and practice which are regularly reviewed to ensure they are current and reflect good practice.
  • have an efficient recording and monitoring system in place.
  • ensure external partners, from whom we commission services, adhere to this policy and have appropriate safeguarding procedures of their own in place.


Safe recruitment and vetting processes are followed for all employees, consultants and partner support/care agencies:

  • Where an employee is engaged in ‘regulated activity’ (direct work with vulnerable individuals), a Disclosure & Baring Service (DBS) check is undertaken as part of the recruitment process
  • All employees are required to sign and abide by this safeguarding policy and the Code of Conduct. The code sets out the standards of practice we expect of employees - in terms professional competence, integrity, acting as a representative and in safeguarding

What we’ll do when we suspect a child or young person is at risk

If we suspect or identify possible harm to, abuse of or neglect of child or young person we report it to the local safeguarding team. If there’s an immediate risk to safety or a crime has been committed, we’ll call the police and or an ambulance. We will record and process any Safeguarding concerns following our Safeguarding Procedure.


  • have a person-led and outcomes-focused approach to prevention and empowerment
  • treat all reports seriously and respond quickly, listen to the wishes and feelings of a child but where we have concerns about their welfare or think they may be at risk of serious harm, we will act in the best interest of the child
  • support them and work with the appropriate services so they stay safe
  • give equal priority to keeping all children and young people safe regardless of their age, background, ability, culture, disability, gender, language, religious beliefs and sexual identity in order to deliver a tailored equally accessible service response

When we report concerns to a statutory body

When we do this, we’ll:

  • provide clear information about our concerns, as well as highlighting the risks we have identified. We’ll note the expressed views of the child/young person and pass these on (e.g. concerns or preferred outcomes)
  • work with other agencies, family members and support networks to improve safety
  • use our legal tools to protect children, young persons, residents and their families
  • use our legal powers to act against our residents who are involved in child safeguarding issues.
  • Consider what resources we can offer to meet the young person’s needs – e.g. re-housing parent and child away from risk or location of trauma

Storing and sharing information

We’ll treat any information given to us confidentially and in line with the current Data Protection legislation. We will only pass it on to others if:

  • the person who gave us the information has said we can share it
  • if the information is about a concern for a child
  • we have an information sharing protocol, contract or confidentiality agreement in place. But we don’t need permission to share information about our customers if it:
    • places a child or adult at risk of serious harm
    • could prevent serious harm occurring
    • will prevent or help detect or prosecute a crime
    • is required by the law
    • leads to delay in making enquiries about an allegation of abuse. 

When we store or share information we will consider the JAPAN test:

Justified - Is what we’re doing justifiable in the circumstances i.e. can we justify the need to collect/store/share/destroy the personal information we are handling?

Authorised - Are we authorised to do this? Or is someone else designated as responsible for managing the recording or disclosure of this personal information?

Proportional - Is what we are doing proportional to the purpose? Could we achieve it by recording or sharing less or no personal information?

Auditable - Have we recorded what we’ve shared, with whom and why, so there is evidence of our actions?

Necessary - Is what we are doing necessary or can the end result be achieved in some other way without this disclosure?

Other important aspects of our policy


If a customer feels we haven’t kept to our safeguarding policy, they can ask us to review our management of their case. A manager will carry out this review and conclude an outcome which we will share with our customer. This will consider any learning outcomes or changes to actions.

Challenging a local authority decision

Occasionally we won’t be happy with the response from a local authority or the police, as we might think the person is still at risk.

When this happens we’ll ask a senior manager within the statutory agency to look into the concern explaining the risk and why we are worried, as well as what we’d like to see happen. If we’re still concerned with the response, we’ll use our Escalation procedure. This ultimately leads to our Chief Customer Officer, responsible for safeguarding, asking the equivalent officer in the local authority or chair of the safeguarding board to consider the case.

Supporting our people

We’ll train our people to spot signs of harm, abuse and neglect and make sure they know how to report concerns.

Where our employees have been affected by safeguarding issues, we’ll make sure they have the help and advice they need. Anyone who needs support can contact their line manager, mental health first aiders or the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). Where there has been a serious incident we will refer impacted people to the EAP or provide group or individual critical incident support internally or via a commissioned provider.

Allegations against our people

If we receive any allegation that one of our people has abused or neglected a customer we’ll report this to HR, the local police and safeguarding team as appropriate. We’ll work with the police and local authority safeguarding team to investigate. (Employees who want to raise a concern can find more information about our whistleblowing policy on the intranet). 

Where a staff member has been found to have perpetrated abuse we will report this to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) as appropriate. For allegations where there is an alleged child victim this may also be reported via LADO (local authority designated officer) process.

Our commitment to customers and employees

At Sovereign, our commitment is to make sure that no individual or group experiences unfair, discriminatory, or prejudicial treatment in recruitment, pay or promotions, housing, or any other service we provide, such as lettings, tenancy advice, repairs or rent collection. Sovereign strives to be an open, inclusive, and diverse organisation where everyone has a right to be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect. As an organisation we value the diversity and talents of all individuals and the richness that brings to our culture.

We understand the varying needs of our customers and communities and promote equality of opportunity in employment and service provision. We deliver appropriate, accessible, and flexible services, being tolerant, understanding and not judging others or their lifestyle choices. We stand up to and challenge prejudice, discrimination, and harassment in all its forms.