Safeguarding Guidance for local Green Party Chairs

Safeguarding Guidance for local Green Party Chairs*

The following guidance has been developed to help you, as a local Green Party Chair, to help maintain safe boundaries for children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in your local Party, and to report any concerns about their welfare that you are made aware of.

The national Party is here to support you at all times with this. You can call the national safeguarding team (safeguarding@greenparty.org.uk or through 020 3691 9391) to ask for advice. The national safeguarding team will also provide safeguarding training opportunities and guidance for Chairs, including training at Green Party Conferences.

You can read more about Safeguarding, the definitions we use for children, young people and vulnerable adults, and our full Safeguarding Policy here.

*In local Green Party’s without a Chair, this guidance applies to the nominated Green Party contact that each local Party is required to have in place.

Maintaining safe boundaries

As local Party Chair you can help maintain safe boundaries for all children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in your local Party by following the below guidance.

  • A member under the age of 18 should only interact with the local Party after a parental consent form from their parents/guardians has been received. A new form should be completed every 12 months, until the member has reached the age of 18. See form here.
  • Should Party interactions require a member under the age of 18 to spend a night away from home on Green Party business (e.g Party Conference), a special parental/guardian form should be received before this can happen, confirming that the parent/guardian are happy with the proposed accommodation arrangements and outlining the arrangements under which the member aged under 18 is being accommodated, including emergency contacts. See form here.
  • Where possible, try to ensure that any contact between your local Party members (including yourself) and a child (someone under the age of 14) between Green Party events should be though official Green Party email channels or relayed through a parent/guardian. Direct contact from any members with a child through personal email addresses, mobile phone numbers and social media should be discouraged.
  • Ensure that any member leading any unsupervised activities with children, young people or at-risk adults on behalf of the Green Party (such as leading a Green youth group) agrees to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Check.
  • Where possible, try to ensure that written permission from parents is in place before you take any pictures of child members of the Green Party. The permission should show that the parent/guardian understands what the pictures will be used for and where they will be used.
  • Where possible, ensure that a child is not left alone with just one other member during Party business (be that a meeting, a campaign session, or another activity). Try to ensure that child is always in the company of at least two responsible adults, including if possible either the parent/guardian of the child, or a person nominated by the parent/guardian on their consent form.
  • Ensure that any form of physical touching of a child required during Party business should be kept to a minimum, and should involve communication with that child to ensure consent has been given.
  • Ensure that young people (people aged between 14 and 17) have given their full and informed consent to interactions and activities with their local Green Party, and that you and other member are aware of their boundaries.
  • Ensure that vulnerable adults (see definition here) have given their full and informed consent to interactions and activities with their local Green Party, and that you and other members are aware of their boundaries.
  • All consent forms related to safeguarding should be retained securely on file in line with data protection regulations. It should be understand that all consent from parents/carers can be withdrawn without justification and made effective immediately.
  • Keep records of local Party officers, and their access to different software systems, up-to-date. It is important to ensure that the level of access local Party officers have to the personal data of local Party members is known.
  • Work to ensure that all children, young people and at risk adults are given clear and easy to use information on how and to whom they may raise any concerns of their own about the behaviour of members towards them.

Every member of your local Party has been asked to individually agree to the Safeguarding Commitment Green Party members. The Safeguarding Commitment requires members to report safeguarding concerns to you, as well as to the Green Party’s National Safeguarding Officer. This Commitment has been created to help you to maintain safe boundaries for all children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in your local Party – you can find it here.

The national Green Party safeguarding team will notify you of any members of your local Party who have refused to agree to the Safeguarding Commitment.

The national Green Party safeguarding team advise that you print and ask members of your local Party to sign hard copies of the Commitment before they participate in action days and other forms of direct electoral campaigning for the Green Party. This is because there is a higher chance of unstructured contact between adults and children, young people and vulnerable adults in this Green Party context than at an ordinary meeting. You can maintain these additional paper records as Chair.

Reporting safeguarding concerns highlighted to you (this needs to cover members as well as Local Party)

On receipt of a reported safeguarding concern, please take the following steps:

  1. If you are concerned that there is an immediate and present risk to someone’s health, safety or wellbeing, please first phone 101 and follow the instructions of the emergency services personnel.
  2. Contact the National Safeguarding Officer (safeguarding@greenparty.org.uk or through 020 36919 391) to check that they have also received the reported concern. This double reporting system is designed to ensure that both local and national Green Parties have the same information to hand, to inform next steps.
  3. The National Safeguarding Officer will then liaise with you to decide on the appropriate response, which may also involve contacting the Police. The police can also offer advice regarding safety at home and in the community and may refer people who have experienced violence, abuse or crimes to the Victim Support helpline (0845 303 0900), or to further victim support services. The response may also involve contacting local area social services team (safeguarding team), this information can be found on the local council’s website.
  4. Maintain a record of all correspondence and documents that relate to the reported risk

The Green Party Safeguarding Commitment requires any member of the Green Party to inform their local Party Chair and the national Safeguarding Officer of any charges or past convictions against them, or a member they know, concerning the sexual or physical abuse or neglect of any child, young person or adult. Should you receive such a report from an individual, the national Safeguarding Officer will work with you to draw up an appropriate behavioural agreement to govern that individual’s engagement with the Green Party going forward. The content of such an agreement will be determined by a number of factors:

    • Whether the criminal conviction has been spent
    • Whether the rehabilitation team (if such a team is in place) for the individual member is happy for them to be involved with the Party.
    • The likely amount of interaction the member will have with child/vulnerable adult members.

If the individual members refuses to accept this behavioural agreement, they will be expelled from the Party. In some extreme cases, suspension or expulsion from the Party may be needed in place of a behavioural agreement, in order to ensure the safety of children and at risk adults.

Care and support for your members

As Local Party Chair, you will want to foster an environment whereby members feel comfortable in reporting any safeguarding concerns to you.

To assist in creating this environment, you may wish to ask an Executive Committee member of a different gender from you to assist you in your safeguarding duties. This will help ensure that concerned members have a choice of people and genders to report any concerns to.

It is also important to remember that members who are not children, young people or at-risk adults also have a right to feel safe in all their Green Party interactions. You will want to create a safe and supportive local Party environment whereby all members feel enabled to discuss any concerns in confidence with you. Although this does not fall strictly into safeguarding duties, the National Safeguarding Officer will be happy to help and advice on any such issues reported to you.

 

Behaviours of concern

As Local Party Chair, you are asked to report to the national safeguarding team any concerning behaviour towards children/at-risk adults in the Green Party that you witness/is reported to you.

Concerning behaviour could include:

  • Attempts by members to meet/engage in social discussion with children they have met though the Green Party outside of a Green Party context
  • Members making references to sexual matters to children, in any context.
  • Members seeking to spend time alone with children, in any context.
  • Members making physical contact with children and or young people/at-risk adults when this is not strictly required.
  • Members making children and or young people/ at-risk adults feel unconformable.

You can call the national safeguarding team (safeguarding@greenparty.org.uk or through 020 3691 9391) to ask for advice on possible concerning behaviours.