Safeguarding: departmental policy and guidance


All members of the department are required to follow the university’s code of practice on safeguarding.

Any member of the department who has responsibility for organising an activity involving children or adults at risk must nominate an individual to act as the designated safeguarding lead for the activity.

All activities (whether in-person or online/remote) should:

  • be designed so that appropriate training and supervision is available to those working with adults at risk or children; 
  • minimise occasions on which members of the department will need to work alone in an unsupervised way with adults at risk or children; and
  • be appropriately risk assessed.

The primary business of the department is teaching and research involving staff and students, aged 18 and over. There are however some departmental activities that involve participants under the age of 18, and in these circumstances safeguarding considerations must be appropriately risk managed and implemented. This is not only in the interests of event participants but to protect staff members and student volunteers from exposure to unacceptable risks.

Every activity which involves children, or adults at risk, should be risk assessed. The assessment should consider how the risks identified can be minimised and should also outline the local processes for reporting concerns, as well as taking account of Health and Safety considerations. Training requirements and records of training undertaken should be recorded in the risk assessment.

The university has published general guidance for those working with children or adults at risk and you should familiarise yourself with this, even if you are not the designated safeguarding lead.

Note that if a safeguarding allegation is made, then it must be reported to the university within a working day. If you suspect that a child is at immediate risk of harm, phone 999 immediately, and then follow up promptly with the relevant university safeguarding officer.

The role of the Safeguarding Lead

The role of the Safeguarding lead for a particular event or activity involving children (or adults at risk) is as follows

a) To manage risk by:

  • undertaking a risk assessment which considers how risks can be minimised (the Departmental Safety Officer will advise on this);
  • identifying whether there is a requirement for pre-employment or pre-activity checks;
  • making completed risk assessments available to all staff or volunteers involved in the activity;
  • ensuring that those working with children and adults at risk are appropriately trained and supervised; and
  • recording training.

b) To ensure that processes are in place to manage safeguarding concerns by:

  • acting as, or designating a colleague as, the key contact within the risk assessment to whom any concerns should be addressed;
  • ensuring that the student, staff or volunteers who are running the activity, and the children or adults at risk who participating in the activity, are advised on how to report concerns as part of their induction to the activity.

c) To report any allegations made against students, staff or volunteers to the relevant University Safeguarding Officer without delay.  Any such allegations may need onward referral to external agencies within one working day.  The Designated Safeguarding Lead must not investigate the matter, and must refer as promptly as possible.

d) To undertake appropriate training themselves.

Summary of departmental members’ responsibilities for particular types of event

For more detailed advice on safeguarding measures for the events listed below, contact the Departmental Safety Officer, Dr Keith Gillow

School groups attending in-person or online outreach activities

These groups must be accompanied by their teacher who is operating under the school’s own safeguarding arrangements. The department will ensure that the activities are arranged so that the teacher can reasonably fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities, and so that departmental members are not placed at undue risk.

Outreach events arranged by the department, attended in-person by children without their school teacher or parent present

A departmental member must be identified as the safeguarding lead for the activity. The safeguarding lead must be appropriately trained. They must:

  • conduct and submit for approval a safeguarding risk assessment for the activity;
  • communicate safeguarding arrangements to the school or parent/guardian as appropriate, in addition to informing participants on the day of sources of support should they have any concerns;
  • ensure that other departmental participants have received appropriate safeguarding training via the university online training course.

The activity may not be confirmed until the risk assessment has been approved by the Departmental Safety Officer.

Outreach events arranged by the department, attended online by children without their school teacher or parent present

For smaller activities or where there is substantial two-way interaction then typically the same process as above for in-person outreach events should be followed. For activities with substantial interaction especially with smaller groups, and no second staff member present, those delivering must have a satisfactory DBS check.

For larger activities where there is typically limited two-way interaction, and/or it is much more a broadcast activity, the activity is more akin to public engagement activities as covered further below and the guidance there then applies.

Outreach events arranged by associates of the department (e.g. central university, Clay Mathematical Institute or AMSP activities), attended in-person or online by children without their school teacher or parent present

The safeguarding lead responsibility lies with the organising party (e.g. CMI, AMSP, other university departments). However, for elements of the activity that occur within the department and/or draw on support from departmental members, the departmental point of contact for the activity (e.g. the academic or professional services member of staff leading from a department perspective) will seek information from the safeguarding lead to assure themselves that appropriate arrangements are in place.

Risk assessments, and other information as appropriate, must be passed to the Departmental Safety Officer for consistent departmental oversight. Those leading the activity on site must be suitably briefed and trained.

Public engagement and open day activities (in-person or online)

While the department is hosting events that are open to members of the public, some of whom may be children, these activities are more similar in nature to the attendees attending activities in other public spaces (e.g. museums, cinemas, shops etc). Close contact between members of the department and attendees will be limited and in settings with many other people, e.g. lecture theatres, performance spaces, display spaces, online broadcasts. Normally, no particular safeguarding measures will be necessary for the department; parents/guardians are responsible for accompanying children or giving approval for them to attend unaccompanied by an adult. However, if event organisers have any concerns they should discuss them well in advance with the Departmental Safety Officer.

Work Experience Students

The department will only take work experience students on limited occasions where there is a strong case to do so, and after a detailed risk assessment has been completed and approved. No placements will be accepted for students under the age of 16. Colleagues should seek guidance at an early stage from the Departmental Safety Officer and should not make any undertakings to take a work experience student without departmental approval.

External events organisers that book space in the building for their activity

Safeguarding remains the responsibility of the event organisers. The department requires all event bookers to take appropriate consideration of health, safety and safeguarding to the satisfaction of the department before a booking can be confirmed. Compliance with this policy is overseen by the External Relations Manager. For the rare occasions where an event is specifically organised for children, the safeguarding risk assessment must be submitted to the Departmental Safety Officer for approval before the booking can be confirmed.

Students under 18 enrolled on Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses

1st year undergraduate teaching in the department involves large lectures, each attended by over 100 people. The students primarily interact with the lecturer from the audience (or can attend online but then only view not interact) but may approach the lecturer with brief questions at the end. Lectures are scheduled back to back such that the rooms must be vacated promptly and on the very rare occasion a lecturer is left talking with an individual that short conversation will naturally move out of the room to the shared circulation space which has numerous other people in it. 2nd year teaching is very similar but with some options later in the year where some less popular options only being attended by groups of ~20 students. In the 3rd and 4th years there are more options where some lecture and class group sizes may be smaller again, and there is the opportunity for students to undertake project work which is then supervised by an academic. 

Within the very small numbers of such students enrolled for such courses, the vast majority are aged 17 when they start their undergraduate course, and turn 18 within the first or second term of their studies. Where a younger student is enrolled such that they will still be under 18 when they reach their 3rd year then additional steps will be taken for their personal circumstances, including liaison/coordination with their college. Additional steps for their personal circumstances are also taken in the exceptionally rare case of someone starting a graduate course whilst still being under the age of 18. In such cases relevant correspondence will be direct with the student in conjunction with the university guidance on  confidentiality in student welfare. Where a student is unwell or injured for which correspondence other than with the individual is appropriate then such correspondence will be coordinated by the Head of Academic Administration. 

The Schools Liaison and Admissions Coordinator provides the Head of Academic Administration each August with a report from the university admissions records of those students joining undergraduate courses who will still be under 18 at the start of their first term.  The Head of Academic Administration, together with  Academic Administration colleagues, review this to ensure that sufficient measures are in place to cover the proposed programme of study/activity for any students under 18. The Departmental Safety Officer will review any queries with the Head of Academic Administration as required.

Relevant academics receive an annual reminder from the Academic Administration team which references safeguarding guidance in relation to their interactions with students, reporting obligations and responsibilities, as well as referencing the university policy concerning relationships between students and staff and guidance on confidentiality in student welfare

The above list covers the main categories of activity that might involve children, but it is not comprehensive. If in doubt, you should seek advice from the Departmental Safety Officer (@email) well in advance of organising an event.

Please contact us with feedback and comments about this page. Last updated on 25 Mar 2024 14:27.