Pilot Theatre Safeguarding Policy Statement and Procedures

1. Policy Statement

Pilot Theatre works with children and young people in many aspects of its work, including creative learning projects, holiday projects, work experience placements, production work and as members of our audience. We take seriously our responsibility for them and recognise the importance of protecting both the children and young people who receive Pilot’s services, and of providing staff and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding.

This policy statement applies to anyone working on behalf of Pilot Theatre including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, and placements.

We believe that:

  • children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind
  • we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
  • working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

  • valuing, listening to and respecting them
  • appointing a nominated child protection/safeguarding lead, a deputy child protection/safeguarding lead and a lead trustee/board member for safeguarding
  • developing child protection and safeguarding policies and procedures which reflect best practice
  • using our safeguarding procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
  • creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
  • developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
  • recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
  • providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures
  • implementing a code of conduct for staff and volunteers
  • using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
  • ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance
  • recording and storing information professionally and securely.

Related policies and procedures

This policy statement should be read alongside our organisational policies and procedures, including:

  • Procedures for responding to concerns about a child or young person’s wellbeing
  • Dealing with allegations of abuse against a child or young person
  • Role of the designated safeguarding officer
  • Managing allegations against staff and volunteers
  • Safer recruitment policy and procedures
  • Adult to child supervision ratios
  • Code of conduct for staff and volunteers
  • Anti-bullying policy and procedures
  • Online safety policy and procedures for responding to concerns about online abuse
  • Photography and image sharing guidance
  • Child protection records retention and storage policy

Contact details

Nominated child protection lead

Name: Amanda Smith, Executive Producer & Joint CEO Phone/email: 01904 635755

Deputy child protection lead

Name: Sarah Rorke, Company Administrator Phone/email: 01904 635755

NSPCC Helpline
0808 800 5000

2. Definitions

2.1 What is a ‘child’?

A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th Birthday.

2.2 What is a ‘vulnerable adult?

In law there is no standard definition of ‘vulnerable adult’. Arts Council England uses the following definition:

“Vulnerable adults are people who are or may be in need of community care services because of mental disability or other disability, age or illness, and who are, or who may be, unable to take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.”

2.3  What is abuse?

2.31 Neglect

Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include the neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

2.32 Physical abuse

Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning (including with drugs or alcohol,) burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.

2.33 Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non- penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

2.34 Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill-treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. It may involve causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of ill- treatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

It should be noted that any of these four categories of abuse may overlap.

3. Procedures

Proceures are based on the statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (last update 2022)

3.1 Staff induction

All staff to receive a copy of this policy. If relevant to their role and responsibilities within the organisation further training will be arranged for staff  onworkng safely with children/child protection issues. Staff must sign an induction form to indicate that they have read and understood Pilot’s Safeguarding Policy.

3.2 Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

It is a legal requirement for any member of staff who has unsupervised access to children and vulnerable adults to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau. The Executive Producer oversees this process, which is managed by the Company Administrator. A list of staff currently DBS checked is kept by the Executive Producer.

All those appointed to work directly with children must have an enhanced DBS check (this includes volunteers,). DBS checks should be received and confirmed as satisfactory prior to the person taking up the position.

Workers whose role does not generally involve direct contact with children but where through the course of their duties they may be alone, unsupervised, with children (i.e. administrative staff etc) must have a Standard DBS check.

Where the person has worked or lived overseas in the past 5 years there is a need to complete an overseas conviction assessment. This is obtained via the DBS website and then through contact with the respective body in the relevant country. They will also need a DBS check for the United Kingdom.

In cases where the DBS disclosure contains prosecutions, cautions or similar information it is the responsibility of the organisation to carry out a risk assessment to determine whether the person is suitable to work with children.

The Executive Producer oversees the DBS process, which is managed by the Company Administrator. DBS applications are currently processed via York City Council. A list of staff currently DBS checked is kept by the Executive Producer.

3.3 Proof of Identity

Identity checks should have been undertaken at the time of the interview. Sufficient rigour must be undertaken to establish, as far as possible, that the person is who they claim to be. Ideally this should be through formal photographic identity, such as passport or driving licence and confirmation of current address.

References should always be taken up and should be obtained directly from the referee. They should be obtained from the current or most recent role (not relatives) and should cover at least the last 5 years.

3.31 Staff charged or convicted of offences against children

All employees should be aware that prior convictions for any offences against children must be declared before an offer of employment is accepted, although notification of such an offence may not mean that the offer of employment is rescinded, dependant on the particular job. However, all employees should be aware that failure to declare a past conviction might result in dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct. Likewise, if an employee should be, at any time, charged with an offence against children, failure to so declare may result in dismissal on grounds of gross misconduct.

3.40 Accidents and injuries

A key responsibility for any organisation working with children is to ensure they are physically safe when in our care. Care should be taken to ensure that children are not in any physical danger in a workshop, on stage, backstage or anywhere else Pilot are running a project.

3.41 Reporting Accidents

If a child, young person or vulnerable adult is injured – while involved in a project organised by Pilot Theatre – a record shall be made of the injury in the accident book. This record will be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for the individual (eg parent/carer, teacher, chaperone.) If the parent/carer or teacher is not present they must be informed – immediately if the child needs collecting or if an ambulance has been called – or at the end of the session.

Any time a child or vulnerable adult is involved in any accident, a written record of the incident must also be posted to the parent/carer within 24 hours, even when the parent/carer has been informed verbally, and a copy retained on file by Pilot Theatre. If a child is involved in an accident and normally travels home independently, the parent must be telephoned by a member of staff to ascertain whether the child is fit to travel home alone.

If a child, young person or vulnerable adult arrives at a project organised by PT with an obvious physical injury a record of this shall be made in the accident book. This record shall be counter-signed by the person with responsibility for the individual (parent/carer, teacher) on arrival. This record can be useful if a formal allegation is made later. It will also be a record that the individual did not sustain the injury whilst on a Pilot Theatre project.

4. Reporting of suspicions or disclosures of abuse

Designated Child Protection Officer at Pilot Theatre is Amanda Smith, Executive Producer. Any suspicions or disclosures of abuse must be reported directly to them and not discussed openly.

4. 1 Suspicions

4.11 Working with Young People at Pilot Theatre.

If you see or suspect abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult you will make a note for your own records of what you witnessed, including the date and time, as well as your response in case there is follow-up in which you are involved, and you will need to contact one of the designated Child Protection Officers to make them aware of the situation. The same procedure should then be followed as for disclosure (see below.)

4.12 Working on Projects Outside the Building, within other organisations

If you see or suspect abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult you should make the person with legal responsibility for the child, young person or vulnerable person (e.g. teacher, youth or care worker) aware of the problem.

If you suspect that the person with legal responsibility is actually the source of the problem, you should make your concerns known to another member of staff employed at the site.

Be aware of Rights and Confidentiality (see 4.3)

4.2 Disclosure – of alleged abuse

In the context of child protection the term describes an event in which a child, young person or vulnerable adult confides information about abuse or neglect.

It is possible that a child, young person or vulnerable adult who is or has suffered abuse will confide in you. This is something you should be prepared for and must handle carefully. The following action should be taken if there are concerns of abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult:

  • remain calm and in control but don’t delay acting
  • listen carefully to what is said. Allow the person to tell you at their own pace and ask questions only for clarification. Don’t ask questions that suggest a particular answer
  • don’t promise to ‘keep it a secret’. Use the first opportunity you have to say that you will need to share the information with others. Make it clear that you will only tell the people who need to know and who should be able to help
  • reassure the child, young person or vulnerable adult that ‘they did the right thing’ in telling someone
  • tell the child, young person or vulnerable person what you are going to do next
  • speak, as soon as possible, to the designated Child Protection Officer in the place you are working or at Pilot Theatre (Amanda Smith, Joint Chief Executive) If the information relates to the behaviour of the Chief Executive, shall speak immediately to the other joint CEO, Esther Richardson.)
  • for Pilot Theatre staff working in other settings ( setting, youth or care setting) this is likely to be the head teacher for a school or the director of the youth or care setting. It is the designated person’s responsibility to liaise with relevant authorities, usually social services.

As soon as possible after the disclosing conversation, make a note of what was said, using the child’s/young person’s/vulnerable adult’s own words. Note the date, time, any names that were involved or mentioned, who you gave the information to. Make sure you sign and date your record: it may used at a later stage of an investigation.

In confidence, make your line manager or other appropriate colleague (for instance the project organiser) aware of the situation.

Social services will, if appropriate, inform the police. It is the responsibility of the authorities to determine whether abuse has occurred.

4.3 Rights and confidentiality

If a complaint or allegation is made against a member of staff, he or she should be made aware of his or her rights under both employment law and internal disciplinary procedures. This is the responsibility of the Chief Executive.

No matter how you feel about the accusation, both the alleged abuser and the person who is thought to have been abused have the right to confidentiality under the Data

Protection Act 1998. Remember also that any possible criminal investigation could be compromised through inappropriate information being released.

In criminal law the Crown or other prosecuting authority has to prove guilt and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

5. Staff Ratios


Projects must be staffed by two responsible adults (DBS cleared Pilot Theatre staff member plus one other) Volunteers or other non DBS cleared staff members should not be left in sole charge of Young People until their DBS check is successfully completed, and then only in exceptional circumstances. We would expect there to be 1 adult to every 20 children aged 11-18.

5.2 Workshops

Workshops with schools or other organisations need to be staffed by one member of Pilot Theatre Staff (DBS checked) and the correct ratio of staff from the school or youth group.

5.3 Schools

Pilot Theatre staff are not allowed to be left in sole charge of groups of young people in other settings (for example schools or youth clubs.) This must be made clear to schools and youth clubs as a condition of booking a workshop: Pilot Theatre staff are not insured to be in sole charge of young people in the premises of other organisations.

5.4 Adult to child ratios in audiences

This will be in line with the venues’ where we are playing, own policies.

5.5 Taking our own young people on visits

We conform as far as possible to the City of York Council Educational Visits policy (available from CYC.) Staff ratios for taking young people on trips out of the Theatre must be 1 adult to every 5 children under 8, 1 adult to every 10 children aged 8 to 11 and 1 adult to every 15 children aged 11 – 18. Written parental permission must be obtained to take young people on trips.

6. Avoiding situations which could lead to misplaced allegations

6.1 Toilets

Where toilet facilities are shared children/young people and adults, a system should be agreed with site staff during the project planning to ensure that artists/arts facilitators working in these settings do not inadvertently find themselves in the toilets alone with children, young people, or vulnerable adults.

Changing/ dressing

When children/ young people/vulnerable adults in productions or youth theatre are getting changed, staff must avoid being alone on a one-to-one basis. Young people under 18 on work experience must not work as dressers for actors.

6.2 Personal Space

Staff should aim to always respect personal space. There is a difference between working closely with a young person in a work context and getting too close in an inappropriate way. For example, if someone stumbles your instinct, rightly, is to put out a hand or arm to steady them. It is not appropriate to put an arm round someone’s waist or a hand on their shoulder while simply walking with them. Physical contact with a young person must have a work-related purpose. Avoid being on your own with a young person or vulnerable adult unless it is necessary. If you are likely to be working on a one-to-one basis in an isolated part of the building, ensure there is another adult or young person present or nearby where possible and ensure that another member of staff knows where you and the young person are going and what time you expect to return.

6.3 Travel

Ensure there is a known destination and check-in times with a third party in situations where a young person is travelling alone with an adult during the placement. If a member of staff is not DBS checked, they must not travel alone with a young person. While young people are on a work placement they can travel in the company van, but they must not travel in a member of staff’s car because they are then not insured.

6.4 Socialising

It is not appropriate to socialise with placements, Youth Theatre members or young people in shows. You must not initiate or respond to social invitations. Actors are particularly vulnerable to attention from young people and friendliness can easily be misinterpreted as flirting and snowball into a problem. Staff need to be aware that they can become the object of attention from a young person or vulnerable adult and can be open to misplaced accusations. If you think this situation is arising please seek advice from your line manager as soon as possible.

6.5 Language

When children and young people are in earshot, it is important to refrain from swearing. To hear a stranger swear is inappropriate and can seem threatening. Staff should avoid swearing directly to a young person, and avoid using aggressive swearing, especially sexual swearing, in front of a young person. Staff must avoid using sexual innuendo to, about or in front of a young person. Staff must not display images of a sexual nature in workspaces.

7. Photography and video recording

Photographic images or video footage of children under 18 cannot be recorded or displayed for any purpose by Pilot Theatre, without written permission of their parent or legal guardian. If you are concerned about the manner in which parents or teachers/carers are photographing or filming young people please consult your line manager.

8. Risk assessments

Risk assessments must be carried out for all activities being organised by Pilot Theatre with special attention paid to child protection issues. Areas of the space where there is particular risk of physical danger must pay close attention to the risks involved in hosting work experience placements.

9. Data protection

We are bound by the Data Protection Act, therefore any member of staff who has access to personal information (name/age/address) of children and young people must be DBS checked. Such information must stored securely, both in paper form and electronically. If you find any such information lying around it must be handed immediately to the Child Protection Officer.

10. Internet use

Young people on placement must not have unsupervised access to the internet and should be made aware of the Company’s safe internet usage policy.

11. Online Safety

For participatory activity which takes place online, Pilot staff and freelancers should have appropriate training and familiarisation to understand the potential risks of software and platforms being used. Staff should review the functionality of platforms regularly, especially when software updates are released.  All the same principles for in-person activities with young people should be followed for online activity.

Consent from parents / guardians must be obtained for their child to use online platforms, and they should be advised as to the Privacy Policy of the platform.

11.1    Zoom and video meetings

  • When using video meeting platforms such as Zoom, the following guidance should be adhered to:
  • meeting hyperlinks must not be published or shared publicly
  • organisational accounts rather than personal accounts should be used for meetings
  • the waiting room function must always be operated to ensure all attendees are those who have confirmed attendance in advance
  • ‘breakout rooms’ should not be used, unless two Responsible Adults are present in each meeting space
  • private messaging between participants should be disabled
  • screensharing function by participants should be avoided, and other image and video sharing by participants (such as personalised screen images and background images) should be disabled

11.2     Social Media

In relation to 6.4 Socialisation, Pilot staff and freelancers should not accept or encourage social media ‘friend requests’ or ‘followers’ from young people (including audiences, as well as participants) from their personal social media accounts. Private messaging between young people and Pilot staff and freelancers from personal social media accounts should not take place.

September 2023