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UWC GB Safeguarding Policy

The United World Colleges National Committee for Great Britain is committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, young people and adults. All reasonable steps will be taken to promote safe practices and to protect children and adults from harm, abuse and exploitation.


‘UWC needs to be a leader in safeguarding’

The purpose of UNITED WORLD COLLEGES GREAT BRITAIN (UWCGB) is to administer a process to select students to attend the 18 UWC Colleges around the world This process includes as part of an established cycle inviting applications, shortlisting, selections (face to face), orientation and ongoing contact and support.

The Committee consists of volunteers.

Applicants are generally aged 15-17 (very occasionally older) Those who participate in the process should be emotionally and physically safe and free from abuse.

UWCGB is committed to safeguarding the wellbeing of children and adults at risk.

The purpose of this policy is to set out how meeting the commitment to keeping children and adults safe is to be achieved.

This policy is aligned with the UWC Common Standards for Safeguarding which were approved by the UWC International Board (28/10/2018) and which apply to National Committees.

UWCGB is required to have in post a named Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) as part of the governance arrangements of the NC.

DSL and Deputy to be DBS checked.

The role includes:

- ensuring that policies and procedures are in place

- ensuring that the Safeguarding content of the UWCGB website is updated

- to keep all paperwork/work relating to safeguarding up to date and under review

- to undertake required training

- to provide training or to ensure that training is provided to NC members and volunteers

- to be point of contact for those who are subject to or who fear abuse or are concerned that abuse may be occurring to others

-to be involved with safe recruitment practices including volunteers

It is recommended that there is also in post a Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead  so that the role is fulfilled in the absence of the DSL and the Deputy would also be involved if any concerns related to the DSL.

The DSL will act as the lead in the event of any allegation

The DSL would gather information in order to identify the seriousness of the issue raised, to take any required immediate action and also to identify any learning for the NC

The DSL may refer the issue to the relevant College to be dealt with within their safeguarding processes

In the UK in the event of an allegation of a serious nature investigatory powers under statute lie with Police and the relevant Local Authority the DSL would refer if required

The DSL may liaise with the Safeguarding Lead at the UWC International Office (IO) if there is assessed to be possible reputational impact The IO have a safeguarding reporting structure and risk register to recognise significant incidents and also to review safeguarding mechanisms

The DSL may liaise with the Charities Commission where there is concern regarding Trustee involvement

Policies and procedures are required to be in place, to be applied in practice and to be understood and followed by all UWCGB members and volunteers

Recruitment processes for members and volunteers

Could include:

-background checks for new joiners

-College references for recent graduates and student volunteers

-parental/guardian consent for under 18s

UWCGB members and volunteers should ensure unless necessary that they do not meet up with a student or a volunteer by themselves. Should a one to one meeting be necessary, a member of the selections team, welfare team or National Committee should be informed and provided with the details.

All email communications with students and applicants should be copied to a member of the Selections team, Health and Well Being or the National Committee.

UWCGB is committed to appropriate standards of professional behaviours and personal practice in order to minimise the risk of harm.

Volunteers and NC members should sign in advance a pro forma code of conduct prior to the commencement of activities and the code of expected behaviour is sensitive but clear

Volunteers  are less likely to put themselves in a difficult position if they follow the code of conduct.

All volunteers must also read the safeguarding policy (and sign they have read it as well as signing for the code of conduct).

NC members and volunteers must at all times avoid being alone with students and applicants to the extent that this is reasonable.

Role descriptions should be clear.

All need to understand what to do and who to approach (the DSL) if they feel uncomfortable or have concerns about possible abuse or abuse (This includes NC members/applicants/parents/carers).

Procedures on how to respond to a disclosure.

If a safeguarding issue is disclosed:

-Show that you take the allegations seriously

-Encourage the discloser to talk but do not ask leading questions

-Explain what actions you must take

-Explain clearly that you cannot keep the matter confidential

-Write down exactly what you have been told

-Be factual don’t give opinion

-Make a note of the date, time and place and who was present

-Report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead/or Deputy immediately. 

-Do not confront any alleged abuser

 ‘Safe steps’ to follow as above will also be included in the Code of Conduct to be signed by volunteers

Safeguarding is everyone’s business

Training for volunteers at events must include:

-what is abuse

-how to respond

-who to contact (the DSL)

-explanation of the context of abuse and the importance of UWC being a ‘safe space’

Prompt action must be taken to address any risk:

- the first principle is ensuring safety

- the action taken may mean the suspension of/removal of a person about whom concerns have been expressed

- after investigation the person concerned may be removed from their position

All activities should be risk assessed using the UWC IO risk assessment pro forma all activities and decisions taken should be documented and failure to follow is a serious matter.

It is Important to identify risks to participants in all areas of NC work and to mitigate those risks.

For example:

- Low risk -important to note facilitator gender mix

- Medium risk- (includes overnight stays) training and conduct code signed

- High risk-small groups -explicit authorisation by DSL/references/training

All to acknowledge the Safeguarding Policy.

No photography/film/posting without explicit consent.

No care is provided.

Trustees are also accountable to The Charity Commission - 'Safeguarding is a key governance priority’

The Role of the Trustee

Trustees should take reasonable steps ‘to ensure that their beneficiaries or others who come into contact with the charity ‘do not as a result come to harm’.

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations

The safeguarding approach should fit the risk inherent in the activities of each volunteering opportunity.

NCVO model

- Review/proportionate/appropriate

- Review -Safeguarding should not be a one-off exercise it should be continuously reviewed

- Proportionate-keep a sense of perspective and proportion between benefits and risks

- Appropriate-to the volunteering role -no one size fits all

- Value/ listen/ respect

Types of abuse

Child (UK legal definition under 18)

- Physical

- Emotional

- Neglect

- Sexual

Any sexual act or sexualised physical contact between an NC member and volunteer and a student/applicant is considered to be abusive as there is apposition of trust and an unequal power balance.

It is important to understand that under the UWC Common Standards on Safeguarding ‘abuse’ is defined as any activity (verbal, physical, through images, text or gestures) of an intimate or sexual nature without full and valid consent of the counterpart. Selection volunteers and short course organisers or facilitators -just like any staff at a UWC school or college-cannot obtain such valid consent from a candidate or participant due to their position of authority and the resulting power differential. Therefore, any activity of the above nature with them constitutes ‘abuse’ and cannot be tolerated.

UWC Common Standards for Safeguarding (2018)

Adults at risk (UK legal definition 18 or over)

Types of abuse:

- Discriminatory

- Domestic abuse or violence

- Financial or material

- Modern slavery or trafficking

- Neglect and acts of omission

- Organisational

- Physical

- Psychological/emotional

- Sexual

- Self -neglect

Also reportable are:

- Prevent /radical extremism

- Forced marriage

- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

- Sexual exploitation

Legal framework

- Children Act (1989) (2004)

- United Nations Convention Rights of the Child (1991)

- Data Protection add

- Human Rights Act 1998

- Sexual Offences Act (2003)

- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)

- Protection of Freedoms Act (2012)

- Children and Families Act (2014)

Equality statement

UWCGB should ensure that children and adults at risk have the same protection from all types of harm or abuse, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity.

UWCGB is committed to anti-discriminatory practice and explicitly recognises the additional needs of children and adults at risk from minority ethnic groups and disabilities/additional needs and the barriers they may face especially around communication.


Charity Commission for England and Wales.

‘Strategy for dealing with Safeguarding issues in charities’ (2017).

 ‘Trustee Safeguarding duties explained’ (2017).

National council for voluntary organisations (NCVO).

‘Safeguarding for volunteer involving organisations’ (2017).

National society for the prevention of cruelty to children (NSPCC).

‘Writing a safeguarding policy how to set out an organisational approach to Safeguarding children’ (2016).

Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB).

‘Guidance on writing Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures for community and voluntary organisations (2016).

UWC GB ‘Code of Conduct for Volunteers for United World Colleges Great Britain’ (2018).

UWC International Board ‘Common standards for Safeguarding’ (2018).

Guidance reviewed

Special educational needs and disability (SEND) code of practice: 0 to 25 years-Statutory guidance for organisations which work with and support children and young people who have special educational needs or disabilities; HM Government (2014).

Information sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers: HM Government (2015).

Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; HM Government (2015).

Reviewed June 2019 (Due for review June 2022).

Please contact the Health & Wellbeing team at if further details are required.

Alternatively, you can view the UWC Common Standards for Safeguarding here.