1. Introduction

1.1. At Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales we are committed to ensuring a safe environment for all visitors. Every year we welcome thousands of children and young people to our sites. Many of these visit as part of organized groups or with family and friends. While the primary responsibility for the child or young person rests with the supervising adult, we provide an atmosphere of trust and respect, recognising that children and young people have a right to protection.

1.2. We will refer any child protection issues to the appropriate agencies. In particular if we encounter a case that constitutes, or we believe might constitute, a criminal case against a child the police will be informed by the Site Manager/Visitor Services Manager.

1.3. It should be noted that children entering buildings and galleries without direct supervision should be welcomed if they are behaving appropriately. We reserve the right to deny access to children under the age of 14 years old, if unaccompanied by an adult, except at Big Pit National Coal Museum where the minimum unaccompanied age is 16 years old.               

1.4. We also wish to protect 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 and any volunteers supervising or solely in charge of children at all Amgueddfa Cymru museums. It also covers the provision of outreach activities and events at other locations.

1.6. This policy has been drafted with advice from the Child Protection and Placements Team of the Welsh Government, the NSPCC, Children in Wales and Barnardo’s. Reference has also been made to the All Wales Child Protection Procedure, UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) and the work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

1.7. This policy will be reviewed annually in light of any changes in legislation.

2. Legal background

2.1. The Police Act 1997, the Children's Act 2004, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and the All Wales Protection Procedures Review 2008 provide an integrated system of child protection in Wales. Essentially, the legislation provides that individuals can 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. This also applies to voluntary work.

2.2. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from involving work with vulnerable groups, including children.

3. Policy Statement

3.1. As Wales’s largest provider of learning outside the classroom, we support the work of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales and actively promote and support the rights of children under the UNCRC http://www.childcomwales.org.uk.

We believe that:

  • the welfare and interests of children are paramount
  • all visitors without exception have the right to protection from abuse
  • all suspicions and allegations of abuse should be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately
  • all staff, contractors and volunteers should be clear as to what constitutes appropriate behaviour and responses and have a responsibility to report concerns to the appropriate person.

We will ensure that:

  • we promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and vulnerable adults
  • staff and volunteers understand their role and responsibilities in terms of safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
  • staff and volunteers are provided with appropriate learning and development opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, or other concerns regarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
  • policies and procedures regarding safeguarding responsibilities are available to all visitors.

4. Responsibilities

4.1. The Human Resources Department will be responsible for administrative procedures relating to the selection and induction of staff and for advising on any disciplinary action.

4.2. Site/line managers will monitor the 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 Visitor Services Manager at National Museum Cardiff. He or she will liaise with police and social services as necessary.

4.5. The role of the Site Manager 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, Local Health Board 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 Site Manager/Visitor Services Manager 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 will be conditional on a satisfactory check of the applicant’s criminal record. For most posts a standard check via the DBS will be sufficient although an enhanced check will be required for applicants regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of 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 access to children and vulnerable adults.

5.3. Where appropriate, posts will be excluded from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and applicants will be required to declare all past criminal convictions (and any current or pending investigations) 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. Learning and Development

6.1. We 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 the 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 staff working on specific projects with children and young people and those supervising youth forum groups as well as demonstrators and outside contractors where appropriate.

7. Guidance

7.1. This child protection policy is available to all staff on the Intranet as part of the staff handbook.

8. Review date

Current Policy: October 2015
Approved by: Head of Learning, Participation & Interpretation and Head of Human Resources
Date of next review: October 2016