February 2005

1 Introduction

1.1 Every year many thousands of children and young people visit the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (NMGW). Many of these children and young people visit as part of organised groups or with family and friends. While the primary responsibility for children's welfare rests with the supervising adult, NMGW wishes to ensure that all children are safe and protected from harm whilst on its premises.

1.2 NMGW will refer any child protection issues on to the appropriate agencies. In particular if NMGW encounter a case that constitutes, or may constitute, a criminal case against a child the police will be informed by the Security Co-ordinator.

1.3 It should be noted that children entering buildings and galleries, without direct supervision, should be welcomed if they are behaving appropriately. NMGW reserves the right to deny access to children under the age of 14, if unaccompanied by an adult.

1.4 NMGW also wishes to protect its staff from unfair allegations: the guidelines in this policy will ensure that there is no doubt over obligations and standards.

1.5 This policy will apply to all permanent and temporary staff. Where appropriate the selection provisions may be waived for consultant contractors or volunteers in situations where the risk is identified as being low.

1.6 This policy has been drafted with advice from the Child Protection and Placements Team of the Wales Assembly Government, NSPCC and Children in Wales ? reference has also been made to the "All-Wales Child Protection Procedures"

2 Legal background

2.1 The Police Act 1997, the Protection of Children Act 1999 and the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 provide an integrated system of child protection. Essentially, the legislation provides that individuals may be disqualified from working with children by inclusion on one or more of a number of official lists. It is a criminal offence for an employer to, knowingly, recruit a disqualified individual into a post working with children (NB this also applies to voluntary work).

2.2 The National Information Service (NIS) equates to the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and both act as a "one-stop shop" for employers to check whether a prospective employee is a disqualified person. Only standard checks are available from the NIS. Enhanced checks are available from the CRB.

3 Policy Statement

3.1 As one of Wales' premier cultural and educational institutions we believe that :

  • The welfare of the child or young person is vitally important
  • All children have the right to protection from abuse
  • All suspicions and allegations of abuse should be properly investigated and dealt with swiftly and appropriately
  • All staff, contractors and volunteers should be clear on appropriate behaviour and responses. Failure to maintain appropriate standards may be dealt with using the disciplinary procedure.

NMGW will therefore ensure that

  • Staff are carefully selected, trained in issues of child protection and regularly monitored.
  • All staff are aware of the Child Protection Policy and Procedures
  • Group leaders, service providers and any other interested parties are given information on NMGW procedures regarding the safety of children while at the Museum
  • Teachers, group leaders and any other interested parties are provided with information about the NMGW's expectations regarding Child Protection responsibilities whilst visiting the museum.
  • NMGW's complaints procedure is accessible to all visitors.

4 Responsibilities

4.1 The HR department will be responsible for administrative procedures relating to selection and induction and for advising on any disciplinary action.

4.2 Site/line managers will monitor implementation of the policy and take appropriate action on any breaches within their areas of responsibility.

4.3 All staff have a responsibility to maintain appropriate standards of behaviour and to report lapses in these standards by others. Any concerns or reasonable suspicions of abuse should be reported to line management.

4.4 Any allegations of inappropriate behaviour should also be reported to the Security Co-ordinator who will liase with police and social services as necessary.

4.5 The role of the Security Co-ordinator will be to:

  • Assess information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information about the matter as appropriate.
  • Consult initially with a statutory child protection agency, such as the local social services department or Local Health Group, or the NSPCC helpline to test out any doubts or uncertainty about the concerns
  • make a formal referral to a statutory child protection agency or the police.

4.6 It is not the role of the Security Co-ordinator to decide whether a child has been abused or not ? this is the task of the social services department which has this legal responsibility, or of the police. The NSPCC also has powers to investigate child protection concerns.

5 Selection

5.1 All appointments to NMGW posts will be conditional on a satisfactory check of the applicants criminal record. For most posts a standard disclosure via the NIS will be sufficient although an enhanced disclosure via the CRB will be required for posts with regular and/or unsupervised access to children.

5.2 A risk assessment should be carried out for each post prior to appointment by the appropriate line manager to determine the level of disclosure needed. The assistance of HR may be sought.

5.3 All applicants will be required to declare all past criminal convictions (and any current or pending investigation) prior to interview.

5.4 All appointments will be subject to satisfactory employer/personal references and a satisfactory probationary period.

5.5 At interview applicants will be required to account for any gaps in employment history.

6 Training

6.1 NMGW will provide and explain the content of this policy to all new staff in the course of the induction process.

6.2 Basic child protection awareness training will be given to all appropriate members of staff.

6.3 Any individual need for more detailed guidance and training for both new and existing staff should be identified by managers and will be provided/facilitated by the HR department.

6.4 Enhanced child protection awareness training will be given to any members of staff with regular contact with children. This will include demonstrators and outside contractors where appropriate and practicable.

7 Guidance

7.1 Guidance on child protection to front-of-house staff is given in the Visitor Care Handbook. An expanded version is given as appendix II.

Appendix 1 - Our Promise to Children
Appendix 2 - Standards of Behaviour Expected of NMGW Staff
Appendix 3 - Procedure to be followed by Museum Staff in Case of Suspected or Alleged Child Abuse
Appendix 4 - Procedures to be Followed by Museum Staff in Cases of Lost/Found Children
Appendix 5 - Leaders/Teachers Responsibilities While Visiting the Museum
Appendix 6 - Group conduct while in the Museum
Appendix 7 - Guidance for staff when dealing with work experience students
Appendix 8 - Use of Photography