Safeguarding Procedures

  1. Introduction

    1. Practice Pal is committed to ensuring the highest possible standard of safeguarding. The personal safety and wellbeing of each student and mentor using Practice Pal is paramount.
    2. Our site was developed with the aim of ensuring that online practice sessions take place in a safe environment. This is reflected in a number of key built-in features and a defined set of policies and procedures for the students, parents/responsible adults and mentors who use this service.
    3. The following sections set out the procedures that should be followed if an incident occurs.
    4. The safety and wellbeing of any student or other person using Practice Pal is paramount. These procedures aim to ensure a prompt response to any incident and to minimise any further harm to a student or other person.
    5. There are differing severities of behaviour which could be witnessed during an online practice session. Some behaviour would warrant only a report to Practice Pal; other behaviour may be of a more serious nature where a direct report to the police and the Local Authority Designated Officer may be necessary.
    6. Each section below sets out the recommended procedure which should be followed. It is always the responsibility of the person alerted to the incident to take some action to protect the student or other person. Practice Pal will not be responsible for any non-compliance with the recommended procedure.
    7. The procedures are not an exhaustive list; therefore if an incident occurs that is not covered in this document you should contact Practice Pal, the police and the Local Authority Designated Officer.
  2. Mentor

    1. If a mentor sees/experiences:
      1. Inappropriate language – the mentor will request, in a polite manner, that the student or other persons using inappropriate language refrains from doing so during the online practice session. If the language continues the mentor will explain that they will terminate the session due to the language and will report the matter to Practice Pal who will decide on any further use of the service by the student or other person involved. The mentor will have no further contact with the student unless by mutual agreement with Practice Pal. Any unsolicited contact from the student or other persons following the termination of the session should be reported to Practice Pal.
      2. Inappropriate behaviour – the mentor will request, in a polite manner, that the student or other persons involved in the inappropriate behaviour refrains from the behaviour during the online practice session. If the behaviour continues the mentor will explain that they will terminate the session due to the behaviour and will report the matter to Practice Pal who will decide on any further use of the service by the student or other person involved. The mentor should have no further contact with the student unless by mutual agreement with Practice Pal. Any unsolicited contact from the student or other persons following the termination of the session should be reported to Practice Pal.
      3. Inappropriate images – any display of pornographic, violent or inappropriate images whilst in the presence of a student. Any mentor witnessing the display of inappropriate images by or towards a student should explain that the session will be terminated because of the display of inappropriate images. The session should be terminated immediately and the incident reported to Practice Pal who will refer it to the relevant authority.
    2. Disclosure of abuse by a student – emotional, physical, sexual or verbal abuse of a child is an offence under UK law. If a mentor receives information about such abuse from the student or other person present they should reassure the person that they can get assistance for them. The mentor must inform Practice Pal so that they can liaise with the relevant authorities.
    3. Witnessing abuse towards or in the presence of a student – the mentor should immediately contact the police and the Local Authority Designated Officer and report the incident. The mentor should also inform Practice Pal so that they can liaise with the relevant authorities and ensure any relevant information can be preserved and made available for any investigation. The mentor should have no further contact with the student or other person involved in the incident. Any unsolicited contact from the student or other persons following the termination of the session should be reported to the police and Practice Pal immediately.
    4. Disclosure of inappropriate/sensitive information – during an online practice session sensitive information may be offered by a student or other person present. If the information relates to any kind of abuse the mentor should refer to ‘Disclosure of/witness to abuse towards or in the presence of a student’, above. If the information continues to be shared the mentor will determine the impact of the information and decide whether to continue or terminate the session and report the incident to Practice Pal.
    5. Any information disclosed regarding the safety of a child should always be reported immediately to the UK police and the Local Authority Designated Officer.
  3. Students

    1. If a student sees/experiences:
      1. Inappropriate language – the student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the mentor using inappropriate language and terminate the online practice session. The parent/responsible adult should report the matter to Practice Pal, who will decide on any further use of the service by the mentor. The student and parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the mentor unless by mutual agreement with Practice Pal. Any unsolicited contact from the mentor after termination of the session should be reported to Practice Pal.
        1. If a parent/responsible adult is not present or readily available the student should report the language as soon as possible to a parent/responsible adult who will take the decision to report the incident.
    2. Inappropriate behaviour (as displayed through the message content - it is not possible for the mentor to stream video or send pictures to the student) – the student will inform a parent/responsible adult of the mentor using inappropriate behaviour and terminate the online practice session. The parent/responsible adult should report the matter to Practice Pal and/ or the police at the earliest possible opportunity. The student and parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the mentor unless by mutual agreement with Practice Pal. Any unsolicited contact from the mentor after termination of the session should be reported to Practice Pal.
  4. Parents/Responsible Adults

    1. As per the Safeguarding Policy document, the parent/responsible adult has primary responsibility for the welfare and safety of the student during an online practice session and should be present or available to deal with any concerns or incidents reported by the student.
    2. It is also the duty of the parent/responsible adult to ensure the wellbeing of the child if they have been affected by anything said by the mentor.
    3. If a parent/responsible adult is alerted by the student to any inappropriate behaviour/language or they witness any inappropriate behaviour/language or information by the mentor, they should immediately terminate the session. The incident should then be reported to Practice Pal to take appropriate action.
    4. The parent/responsible adult should have no further contact with the mentor involved in the incident. Any unsolicited communication from the mentor should be reported to the police and/or Practice Pal as soon as possible.
    5. Any mentor reported by a parent/responsible adult will be suspended from the site until the incident has been investigated by the appropriate authority. The parent/responsible adult will be informed of the resolution if appropriate.
  5. Schools, teachers and schools representative

    1. The teacher or school representative shall follow the procedures outlined for ‘Parent/Responsible adult’ in Section 4.
    2. Additionally the teacher or school representative should inform the parent of the student about the incident and, as appropriate, the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.
    3. For the purpose of this policy document a ‘responsible adult’ includes teachers and school representatives.
    4. The School must ensure that any activities in which it is involved or which are carried out at its premises comply with the School’s own safeguarding policies and procedures.
  6. Director/Management Practice Pal

    1. The Safeguarding Policy and procedures of the Practice Pal website and services are the responsibility of the Director and management.
    2. Any report of a contravention of the Safeguarding Policy will be reviewed by Practice Pal, who may engage independent Safeguarding consultants to ensure that an appropriate course of action is taken.
    3. Any incident reported to Practice Pal shall be reviewed as soon as possible to ensure a timely resolution.
    4. If a report concerns a minor breach of the Safeguarding Policy and/or safeguarding procedures , Practice Pal may make a decision as to appropriate action which may include barring the reported person from using the Practice Pal services (also see Safeguarding Policy Section 12).
    5. If a report is received by Practice Pal which concerns the immediate safety of a student or any illegal activity during an online practice session, Practice Pal will contact UK police and the Local Authority Designated Officer and report the incident (also see Safeguarding Policy Section 12).