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Policies

POLICY FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE
VOLUNTEER POLICY
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY
SEXUAL AND RACIAL HARASSMENT POLICY
HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY
WRITTEN CODE OF BEHAVIOR
GENERAL COMPLAINTS, DISCIPLINARY AND APPEALS PROCESS
WRITTEN PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING CHILD PROTECTION CONCERNS, DISCLOSURES, ALLEGATIONS

POLICY FOR THE SAFEGUARDING OF CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE

 Catalyst Arts recognises that everyone has a right to be protected from all forms of abuse and discrimination, and to be treated equally, irrespective of age, culture, disability, employment status, ethnic origin, gender, linguistic preference, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, race, religious conviction, sexual identity or socio-economic group.

Everyone involved with Catalyst Arts, in whatever capacity, has a role to play in safeguarding the welfare of children and preventing abuse.

Catalyst Arts role is not to investigate but to report suspected cases of abuse.

 

Definitions

  • Children are defined as anyone under the age of 18 years;

  • Vulnerable persons include adults with learning, mental health or severe physical, disability;

  • All references to children include young people and vulnerable people.


Catalyst Arts Responsibilities

  • To safeguard and promote the interests and well being of all children with whom we are working;

  • To take all reasonable practicable steps to protect children and young people from harm, discrimination or degrading treatment;

  • To respect children’s rights, wishes and feelings;

  • To take seriously, and respond to swiftly and appropriately to, all suspicions and allegations of abuse.

  • These responsibilities rest with Catalyst Arts Board of Directors, who will act at all times fully in accordance with the Children’s (NI) Order 1995, and Our Duty to Care, Child Care NI 1995, and put in place the following directives:

  • All programmes involving children are carried out by vetted staff: Northern Visions uses PECS;

  • All partners involved in Northern Visions projects and programmes involving young people must have a Child Protection Policy and procedures compatible with Northern Visions Child Protection Policy.


Expectation of Partners

  • Offer safeguards to the children with whom we work and to our members of staff, tutors, freelancers and volunteers;

  • Help maintain the professionalism and standards set by Catalyst Arts.


We recognise that any procedure is only as effective as the ability and skill of those who operate it. Catalyst Arts will liase with partners prior to a project, which involves children and young people taking place. Partners should recognise that our staff, tutors, freelancers and volunteers are not experts in the field of child abuse and that it is Catalyst Arts duty is to report suspected cases of abuse, NOT to investigate cases.

Allegations of Abuse Against Members of Staff, Tutors, Freelancers and Volunteers

  • Catalyst Arts Board of Directors shall be informed of all allegations and will take the appropriate action;

  • A record of all allegations shall be maintained;

  • The Project Manager will have responsibility for ensuring proper supervision of people working with children on Catalyst Arts projects;

  • If the Project Manageris the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the Chair of Catalyst Arts Board of Directors. The Chair will then be responsible for taking the appropriate action.


Recruitment and Selecting Staff and Volunteers

  • When undertaking pre-selection checks for volunteers, tutors, freelancers, or paid staff who will work with children, Catalyst Arts will require:

  • All volunteers and permanent staff to complete an application form;

  • Consent to be obtained from applicants for Police and Social Services checks to be made;

  • At least two references to be taken up, one of which should, if possible, refer to previous work with children;

  • All information received to be treated in confidence.


Data Protection
Catalyst Arts will hold all records deemed appropriate strictly in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

VOLUNTEER POLICY

Catalyst Arts recognises that volunteering makes a contribution to society. On a societal level it can enhance active citizenship and social cohesion, as by its very nature volunteering is about bringing people together. On an individual level people see volunteering as a way of developing social contacts and putting something back.
Furthermore, we recognize that volunteering can address social exclusion by improving employability; have a beneficial effect on people’s health and psychological well-being; further education through mentoring and peer education; and, overcome feelings of social isolation by connecting people to their local communities.
Catalyst Arts recognises that volunteering:

  • Is based on personal motivation and choices, freely undertaken;

  • Is a way of furthering active citizenship and community involvement;

  • Enhances human potential and the quality of daily life, building up human solidarity;

  • Provides answers for the great challenges of our time, striving for a better and more peaceful world;

  • Contributes to the vitality of economic life, even creating jobs and new professions.


Recognizing that, unlike paid staff, volunteers are not covered by employment agreements, Catalyst Arts volunteers have the right to:

  • Work in a healthy and safe environment;

  • Be interviewed and taken on in accordance with equal opportunity and fair employment legislation;

  • Be adequately covered by insurance;

  • Receive regular evaluation and recognition of their work;

  • Be given accurate and truthful information about Catalyst Arts;

  • Be reimbursed for genuine out of pocket expenses;

  • Have a volunteer job description and agreed hours of volunteering;

  • Have access to a grievance procedure;

  • Be provided with guidance and orientation to the organization;

  • Be provided with adequate training.


Furthermore, Catalyst Arts volunteers are not taken on:
to fill a position previously held by a paid worker;
to do the work of paid staff during industrial disputes.

All Catalyst Arts volunteers must:

  • Familiarise themselves with and follow Catalyst Arts policies, Health and Safety Policy Statement; Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable People; Sexual and Racial Harassment, Code of Practice; Disability Equality and Awareness Policy;Equal opportunities Policy Statement; Policy on Working with Volunteers (this document) Equipment Policy.

 

  • Ensure their own safety, the safety of other members of the society and the general public;

  • Must not carry out a task about which they are uncertain, or if they are unsure of the correct safety procedure;

  • Inform the Project Manager if they have a medical condition which may affect them in the course of their duties;

 

  • Co-operate in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect with other volunteers and employees of Catalyst Arts (including freelances);

  • Undertake training as required;

  • Maintain confidentiality in their activities where appropriate.

 



EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY

 


 

Catalyst Arts is committed to developing and implementing a Policy of Equal Opportunities.

We recognise that many groups and individuals have been, and continue to be, disadvantaged by society and its institutions, with a key feature of this disadvantage being discrimination. Catalyst Arts is opposed to discrimination on any grounds, including age, disability, employment status, ethnic origin, gender, linguistic preference, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, race, religious conviction, sexual identity or socio-economic group.

 

We will act positively with the intention of contributing to the eradication of discrimination whether it be direct or indirect, individual or group, cultural or institutional, and will comply with any relevant requirements of the Good Friday Agreement and other relevant legislation.

In all its work Catalyst Arts will actively promote and strive to establish a safe and supportive working environment, affording equal respect to all. Catalyst Arts will adopt a positive action strategy in contributing to the elimination of discrimination and creating additional opportunities for disadvantaged groups. This strategy will include, where necessary and appropriate:

 

  • All programmes of work to be actively working towards embracing equality of opportunity;

  • Support and encouragement to Catalyst Arts user groups, participants, and workshop/course tutors in addressing specific forms of discrimination and disadvantage, including, where appropriate and necessary, targeted audiences and issue based agendas: (eg: Irish language, women only);

  • Support and encouragement to Catalyst Arts staff, and those undertaking duties on behalf of Catalyst Arts, to enable them to make a positive contribution to combating discrimination and disadvantage;

  • Monitoring and review of all Catalyst Arts activities to ensure that its policy applies to its own structures.

 

In determining policies and priorities, Catalyst Arts will:

 

  • Respond to the distinctive needs of Northern Ireland in terms of its demographics and cultural profile;

  • Recognise that certain groups and individuals in society are discriminated against, and seek through partnerships and the allocation of its resources to promote programmes of work which militate against such disadvantage;

  • Ensure that its own advisory groups are representative of Northern Ireland and that their decisions are taken within a transparent framework for the ethical conduct of business

  • In the provision of direct services, including information, advice, training, research and resources.

 

Catalyst Arts will:

 

  • Publish information about the services which are available and promote them to the widest possible constituency within available resources;

  • Wherever possible, provide services in forms and media which address the special needs of particular groups or individuals;

  • Publish and promote information which provides details of the criteria under which resources are available, and the process and time scale within which decisions are made;

  • Target resources through available legal provisions to redress disadvantage and under-representation.

In its work with partners, Catalyst Arts will:

 

  • Ensure that the views of affected constituencies are taken into account in developing policies and programmes of action;

  • Seek to raise awareness of the needs of groups and individuals who may be subject to direct or indirect discrimination within current provision;

  • Promote equal opportunities practice in both strategy development and service delivery.

 

As an employer, Catalyst Arts will:

 

  • Operate employment, selection, and contracting procedures and practices, which promote equality of opportunity;

  • Provide clear and unambiguous specifications for the responsibilities and services against which it invites applications;

  • Produce guidelines for the advertising of such opportunities;

  • Substantiate the appointments made under such procedures and provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates;

  • Take positive action to redress under-representation in the workforce making use of available statutory and legal provisions as appropriate.

 

In all areas of its work, Catalyst Arts will:

 

  • Produce plans to support development, and set targets for achievement, as appropriate;

  • Develop codes of conduct and provide training to ensure that its staff are fully equipped to implement this policy;

  • Monitor and review its policies, programmes and procedures against stated targets for achievement;

  • Advocate good practice in equal opportunities policy development and implementation.


SEXUAL AND RACIAL HARASSMENT POLICY


 

 

Catalyst Arts will not tolerate any incidences of sexual or racial harassment from whatsoever source and will not condone any breaches of this Code of Practice:

Sexual and racial harassment may emanate from any source and anyone can be its victim. It is therefore not acceptable to:

1 Associate someones ability to perform their duties with their gender or gender characteristics;

2 Associate someones ability to perform their duties with their racial or ethnic identity, or racial or ethnic characteristics;

3 Refer to someone’s gender using pejorative terminology

4 Refer to someone’s racial or ethnic identity using pejorative terminology;

5 Address someone in an offensive manner based upon their gender, or racial or ethnic identity;

6 Expect someone to perform menial tasks based upon their gender, or racial or ethnic identity.

Any breaches of this Code of Practice will be dealt with in accordance with current legislation.



HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY

 


 

Catalyst Arts is committed to providing and maintaining a healthy and safe working environment for all its employees, freelance staff, course and workshop participants, user groups, audiences and any other people who may be involved in its activities. The ultimate responsibility for health and safety at Catalyst Arts rests with its Board of Directors.

This statement applies to all premises and activities within the control of Catalyst Arts.

 

Key Health and Safety Policy Objectives

To comply, as a minimum standard, with all requirements of relevant legislation;

 

  • To identify hazards (the potential for harm), assess risks (the likelihood of that harm being realised) and manage those risks;

  • To provide and maintain equipment and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health;

  • To ensure that employees, freelance staff, course and workshop participants, user groups and others are adequately informed of the identified risks and, where appropriate, that they receive instruction, training and supervision;

  • To consult with employees’ representatives on health and safety matters;

  • To monitor and review the effectiveness of Northern Visions arrangements and, where appropriate, to implement improvements;

  • To ensure that the demands of activities do not exceed the capabilities of staff to carry out the work without risk to themselves or others.


Whilst Catalyst Arts accepts responsibility for the implementation of this policy, it believes that individuals have an important role to play in ensuring a healthy and safe working environment. Individuals are therefore required to abide by rules and requirements made by Catalyst Arts Board of Directors in relation to this policy.

Catalyst Arts will ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable:

The practical application of this policy within Catalyst Arts;

 

  • That areas of responsibility for health and safety are delegated and defined as appropriate;

  • That a set of codes of practice, instruction manuals, lists of procedures, standards and advice, is collated, insofar as they apply to this policy;

  • The provision of adequate technical, financial and human resources to enable effective implementation of this policy;

  • The health and safety of all persons other than employees that may be present on the premises, or affected anywhere by the activities of Catalyst Arts;

  • That the policy statement is brought to the attention of all Catalyst Arts employees;

  • That employees are aware of their responsibilities to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their activities or failure to act

 

WRITTEN CODE OF BEHAVIOR


 

Catalyst Arts expects everyone who works with us (staff, associates, partners, volunteers) to follow the guidelines that follow in all aspects of their activities connected with the work of the Company.

 

·      Treat everyone with respect

·      Provide an example you wish others to follow

·      Respect people’s right to personal privacy

·      Provide access for people to talk about any concerns they may have

·      Support children, young people and vulnerable adults to create a safe environment where they feel comfortable to talk about attitudes or behaviours they do not like

·      Avoid situations that compromise your relationship with children, young people and vulnerable adults, which are unacceptable within a relationship of trust.

·      Remember that someone else might misinterpret your actions, no matter how well intentioned.

·      Recognise that caution is required even in sensitive moments of listening such as when dealing with bullying, bereavement or abuse.

·      Do not have any inappropriate physical or verbal contact with others.

·      Do not jump to conclusions about others without checking the facts.

·      Do not show favouritism to any individual

·      Do not make suggestive remarks or gestures, even in fun.

·      Do not let suspicion, disclosure or allegation of abuse, go unrecorded or unreported.

 

GENERAL COMPLAINTS, DISCIPLINARY AND APPEALS PROCESS 

Catalyst Arts strives for high standards in all aspects of its business, and using the policies and procedures in place, aims to be fair at all times and provide satisfaction to anyone using the services it provides. The staff and associates who represent the organisation are committed to high standards of conduct and service at all times. This policy will be made available to members of the public on request.

Should complaints arise it is Catalyst’s policy to deal with these complaints quickly and efficiently.

A complaint is defined as a criticism relating to Catalyst’s companies and their services, which expects a reply and would like things to be changed. A complaints procedure helps to put things right, sometimes it may be the case that we can only explain ourselves and apologise, depending on the nature of the complaint. What the public tells us will help us look at how we do things and improve our services.

Complaints may be made verbally or in writing, and the procedures are as follows:-


Verbal Complaint

The complaint can be dealt with initially by staff, who may be able to provide an immediate response. If the complainant remains unhappy they will be advised to ask to speak to the most senior member of staff available. That member of staff will take details of the complaint, identifying both the nature of the complaint and, if appropriate, the individual against whom the complaint is being made. Any complaint against an individual will be dealt with in a confidential manner.


Written Complaint

The complainant should write to Designated Officer(s) of Safeguarding giving full details of their complaint and, if appropriate, who their complaint relates to. Either by email to catalystarts@gmail.com or post to 5 College Court, Belfast, BT1 6BS

Procedure

All complaints, written or verbal, are logged and the Director will formally acknowledge receipt of the complaint, and provide a written response to the complainant within 5 working days, detailing where necessary the further course of action to be taken. Where it is not possible to provide a full response within this time frame, a letter will be sent to the complainant outlining progress and indicating when a response is likely to be forthcoming.

If the complainant is satisfied with the response, the matter will be considered to have been closed. If the complainant remains dissatisfied with the explanation, or course of action, he/she can appeal to the Chair of Sole Purpose Production’s Board of Directors.

The Chair will review the complaint and either decide that the action proposed is adequate or that a different course of action should be adopted. The outcome of this review will normally be communicated in writing to the complainant within 15 working days of the appeal being lodged.

If the matter remains unresolved, he/she has the right to contact the:

Local Government Ombudsman

NI Commissioner for Complaints,

33 Wellington Place

Belfast

BT1 6HN.

Tel: 028 9023 3821

The complaints procedure is reviewed annually by the Board of Directors or at shorter interval should legislation of good practice require it.

Grievance Procedure

Catalyst’s Grievance Procedure is in place to ensure all staff and associates are given a fair hearing concerning any grievance that they may wish to raise.

All staff and associates have the opportunity to state their case and to have the right to appeal against any decision or action.

Catalyst Arts will aim to find an equitable solution to any grievance and will work with all parties concerned to ensure the correct action is taken.

 

·   If a member of staff ie: employee, volunteer or associate has a particular concern or grievance on any matter relating to the company or its staff, they are advised to take it in the first instance to their Line Manager

·   The formal grievance procedure remains to be engaged in accordance with the staff handbook, the matter may be raised formally with the director in writing.

·   The employee, volunteer or associate will be invited to a meeting to discuss the issue, usually, where circumstances allow, within three working days of notification.

·   The employee, volunteer or associate and the Director may explore the issues raised by the employee at the meeting by speaking to other employees or external contacts

·      Following the meeting, the Director will respond to the grievance in writing within three working days. If it is not possible to respond within this time, the employee, volunteer or associate must be given an explanation for the delay and told when a response can be expected

·       If the person raising the grievance is unhappy with the outcome of the investigation or if the grievance is against the Director, the employee can appeal by raising the grievance in writing to a more senior manager. This would be the Chair of the Board of Directors.

·   The employee, volunteer or associate will be invited to a meeting to discuss the issue, usually, where circumstances allow, within five working days of notification

·      The Chair may explore the issues raised by speaking to other employees or external contacts

·   Following the meeting the Chair will respond to the grievance in writing within three working days. If it is not possible to respond within this time, the employee must be given an explanation for the delay and told when a response can be expected

·      Where the employee, volunteer or associate raising the grievance is still unhappy with the outcome they can appeal by raising their grievance in writing with an external organisation, such as a legal institution or employment specialist.

 

WRITTEN PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING CHILD PROTECTION CONCERNS, DISCLOSURES, ALLEGATIONS


Reporting
Catalyst Arts is aware of the importance of responding to, reporting and recording concerns, allegations and incidents and following the correct reporting processes to support any investigation.  Catalyst Arts also recognises that without exception its staff, artists and volunteers will adhere to host schools/organisationsʼ own reporting systems. Catalyst Arts recognises that any allegation is a criminal allegation and not to be investigated by the company but to be handed over to the relevant authorities.
The company’s systems for reporting and recording any incidents will reflect any legal requirements as well as the policies and practices of host schools/organisations assuming these are in place.  They will address the immediate needs of the child and employee and work to ensure that no breach of protocol or confidentiality occurs.
During preparation for every project, Catalyst Arts will identify the person with responsibility for child protection within the host school/organisation.  Catalyst Arts will then adopt a standard reporting system based on the clear procedure described below.

Child Protection Procedures
In the event of alleged or actual abuse, or concerns about the general well being of a child or vulnerable adult, the following procedures must be followed.
In the case of a child or vulnerable adult disclosing an abuse or making an allegation of abuse:
· Listen to them rather than question directly.
· Offer him/her reassurance, and take what is said seriously.
· Do not make promises to keep what they say secret.
· Allow them to recall events freely and do not interrupt or over-react.
· Explain Catalyst Art’s procedures and that you will have to tell a designated person.
· Record the discussion accurately as soon as possible after the event and within 24 hours.

Include what was said or what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
· Go directly to the host organisationʼs Child Protection Officer who will initiate the host/school/organisation’s own processes for dealing with such cases.
· At the earliest opportunity notify the board at Catalyst Arts.
· Confidential records of allegations or of actual abuse will be kept in a secure place by the designated Officer.  Records will be supplied for any further investigation to relevant authorities.
· Employees and volunteers will be supported in any subsequent investigation even after their contract of employment or involvement with the organisation has ended.

In the case of an allegation made against a Catalyst Arts director, artist or volunteer:
· Whether the allegation comes from a child, a vulnerable adult or a member of staff of a host school/organisation, the designated Child Protection Officer of the host school/organisation will be responsible for notifying the authorities and initiating the appropriate procedures.  They will also be responsible for notifying Catalyst Art’s Child Protection Officer at the earliest opportunity.
· Where an allegation is made from within Catalyst Art’s or to a Catalyst Art’s employee or volunteer about a colleague, the allegation should be notified to Catalyst Artʼs Child Protection Officer who will be responsible for notifying the authorities.
· Any employee against whom an allegation is made will be suspended without prejudice by Catalyst Art’s until such time as the investigation is complete.
In all cases:
· If no system is in place within the host school/organisation or if Catalyst Arts feels it is either inappropriate or ineffective to notify them, Catalyst Arts will notify the appropriate authorities, i.e. the police or social services.
· Catalyst Art’s Board of Directors will be notified when an incident has taken place.
· A confidential note will be placed on file regarding any incident or allegation.
· At all times, the safeguarding and protection of children and vulnerable adults will take priority over the right to confidentiality of an individual director, artist or volunteer.

 

 

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