Best Practice – Working with Protected Adults
A question came up at the AGM last year about working practices when considering ‘protected adults’ (please refer to PVG page in the Legislation section of the SCDA website for link to definition of a protected adult) as everything still feels very focussed on child protection.
I agreed to go away and do some research and unfortunately have come up with very little.
There are guidelines on supervising protected adults who want to volunteer for work or for staff working in organisations whose sole purpose is to support vulnerable or protected adults but I couldn’t locate anything that might provide some advice about how to mitigate risks and keep everyone as safe as possible that might be useful. So… I asked myself “how we can all enjoy the benefits of being involved in drama but keep ourselves safe without being intrusive”
We are all people with different needs and if I were allergic to peanuts or diabetic I would have some responsibility to tell someone in case an emergency situation occurred and I wasn’t able to communicate at that point. On the other hand it may just be part of my every day life and I wouldn’t think to mention it. If you have a protected adult in your group they and/or their parent/guardian or carer may not necessarily automatically think to tell you either because it is part of their every day life.
What should you do?
My suggestion is that you ask everyone the same questions about allergies or medical needs and make sure details are available at every rehearsal. If people choose not to tell you that is their choice, but it does provide that extra bit of security having it properly logged in case of emergency.
Any of us can have an accident in the rehearsal room, it isn’t just young people who might slip or fall – do you have up to date emergency contact details for everyone and an agreed process for logging any accidents? Why not put this in place now – you need to do this if you are working with children so why not do it for everyone?
Unless your club runs activities aimed at ‘protected adults’ it is almost certain that anything you do will be ‘incidental’ rather than ‘regulated’ work due to being open to everyone therefore not meeting the criteria for the PVG scheme. However if you do have any doubts on this please contact Volunteer Scotland to get their advice.
Talk to your members – make it as easy as possible for them to let you know if you have any specific needs and share the information with everyone who needs to know (in agreement with the individual). I think if we are sensitive and responsive that is the best practice and we don’t need someone else to tell us how to do that.
Take a look at the Legislation section of the website and you will find useful resources and templates on the PVG page. These can easily be adapted for your club and will save you a lot of time.
I am always happy to get your comments and feedback so feel free to respond to this blog or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
See you down the road