Safeguarding Policy

Child and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all staff, including; senior managers, volunteers (including trustees) and students, or anyone working on behalf of Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society Limited. Its purpose is to protect children and vulnerable adults at risk from harm and to provide all employees, workers and volunteers with information about the safeguarding policy adopted by the Organisation. 

The designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) is Sara Blair-Manning (CEO).


Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Society Limited is an independent educational charity responsible not only for the Gardens and Glasshouses, but also with an aim to provide education on matters botanical, horticultural and zoological.

Whilst we provide education and a venue, we do not act ‘in loco parentis’.   However, we are aware that we have contact with many children and vulnerable adults who visit our premises, either as a visitor with a family group or as part of an education group. 

It is our policy not to admit unaccompanied children below the age of 16.  However, we are committed to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and consider that their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance.   As such, we expect everyone in our organisation who work or have contact with children or vulnerable adults as part of their role to:

  • Be aware of and attentive to the needs of children and vulnerable adults, doing whatever is needed to maintain their safety and wellbeing
  • Treat children and vulnerable adults with respect and dignity, defending their innocence and upholding their trust
  • Treat everyone in a way which demonstrates their high value as individuals, regardless of gender, background, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs
  • Be aware of potential risks to children and vulnerable adults, and do what we can to minimise these risks
  • Listen to children and vulnerable adults, taking their concerns seriously
  • Attend appropriate training to understand and be updated on safeguarding practice
  • Follow the procedures set down below to safeguard the welfare of children and vulnerable adults whilst on our premises.

Whilst we accept that it is possible that any of the range of issues may occur at some time at the Gardens, we believe that the most likely instances would be:

  • disclosures about alleged abuse being made to our trustees, staff, volunteers or students
  • allegations made about abuse or inappropriate behaviour by a member of our trustees, staff, volunteers or students
  • allegations made about inappropriate behaviour by a visitor to the gardens
  • the provision of assistance to lost children
  • witnessing harsh treatment of children or vulnerable adults by those who are responsible for their care during the visit.

Therefore, we believe it appropriate to issue this document to enable trustees, staff, volunteers and students to know what course of action is appropriate for them to take in the event of any of these circumstances arising.

Our Role In Safeguarding

Child and vulnerable adult protection are a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect specific children or vulnerable adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm. As staff, volunteers and students working at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, everyone has a responsibility to support the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults and promote their welfare.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults depends upon effective joint working between a number of agencies and professionals with different roles and expertise. Individual children and vulnerable adults, and especially those at greatest risk of social exclusion, will need co-ordinated help from such agencies.  We have an obligation as an organisation to support these agencies and contribute to their processes as necessary to assist them in reaching a positive outcome for those involved.


The Organisation is committed to having effective recruitment and Human Resources procedures, including checking staff, workers, volunteers and trustees, in designated roles to make sure they suitable to work in our environment.

All staff, workers, volunteers and trustees who are involved in our educational activities, or other specific roles, are subject to satisfactory DBS clearance.


Staff training is not only crucial in protecting children and vulnerable adults, but also makes them aware of how they can protect themselves against allegations. Appropriate training will be arranged as required for those with lead or named responsibility for child and vulnerable adult protection as appropriate to their roles/responsibilities.

Training and familiarisation with our policy will form part of the initial induction procedures and all new employees, workers, volunteers and trustees will be required to read and understand this policy.

Photography and video footage

Photography and video footage includes the taking of still photographs, filmed and moving images and video recordings by whatever means. We will ensure that photography and video footage is only taken and used where it is necessary and legitimate to do so and with the appropriate consent.

Members of staff must never:

• Take, display or distribute photographs or video footage of children or vulnerable adults without the knowledge and agreement of the person with responsibility for those persons whilst on our premises.

• Share photographs or video footage of the children or vulnerable adults their role brings them into contact with on private social or professional media accounts, for example, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn.

  • Ensure that no other visitors to the gardens take photographs or video footage which either knowingly or unintentionally includes children or vulnerable adults not in their care at the time.


It is important that all employees and those connected to the organisation take appropriate steps to minimise the risk of allegations being made and following the guidance set out below:

  • Ensure all steps are taken so that staff, volunteers and students are not left alone with children/vulnerable adults.  If you do find yourself alone with a child/vulnerable adult, make sure colleagues are aware of this and that you can be easily observed, for example by keeping a door open or moving to another area where others are present.
  • Do not touch a child/vulnerable adult unless absolutely necessary (e.g. to prevent accident/injury or provide first aid assistance). Even a friendly gesture such as a pat on the back can be misinterpreted.

If you do have a concern about a child/vulnerable adult because of something you have seen or heard, or a child/vulnerable adult chooses to disclose something to you, this must be taken seriously and responded to in line with this Safeguarding Policy and training.

If you witness anything of concern or a child or vulnerable adult makes a disclosure to you, you should contact the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) without delay.

If the child or vulnerable adult is part of an education or other organised group, you should raise this issue with the group leader immediately. Having done this, whatever the nature of your concerns, you should discuss them with the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) who will take the appropriate advice and guidance.

If a child/vulnerable adult discloses information to you, you should:

  • Give your full attention to the person disclosing and keep your body language open and encouraging
  • Limit any questioning to the minimum necessary to seek clarification only
  • Provide reassurance that the person disclosing is being taken seriously and that they are not to blame
  • Refer details of the disclosure immediately to the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).

You must never:

  • Promise confidentiality
  • Seek details beyond those the person willingly discloses
  • Ask leading questions
  • Give the impression that the person disclosing is to blame
  • Approach the alleged perpetrator of abuse or person whose behaviour and/or actions there are concerns about.

Good record keeping is essential safeguarding practice. It is vital that you make a written record as soon as possible after the person has disclosed, their immediate needs have been met and the appropriate referrals have been made. As a minimum this should include:

  • A factual account of what you have observed or have been told
  • The date and time of what you have witnessed or been told
  • Details of those involved: (i) person(s) whose safety and welfare there are concerns about, (ii) alleged perpetrator of abuse or person(s) whose behaviour or actions there are concerns about, (iii) witnesses and (iv) any third party who has raised concerns
  • Action taken and your rationale for taking these actions
  • Date and time of referring the information and to whom the information was referred
  • Your details as the referrer.

Lost Child/Vulnerable Adult Procedure

From time to time, children/vulnerable adults may become separated from their group or family whilst visiting the Gardens. This may be distressing for them and the other group or family members. In order to minimise this distress and make best use of our staff resources, the following procedure should be observed.

If a lost child/vulnerable adult approaches a member of staff, volunteer or student they should follow the procedure set out below:

  • notify colleagues immediately
  • radio/telephone Reception, giving the name of the child/vulnerable adult and who they are accompanied by
  • more than one staff member should accompany the child/vulnerable adult to Reception
  • Reception staff should make a tannoy announcement, requesting that the group leader or parent/carer should attend Reception
  • the child/vulnerable adult should be watched, in public view, at Reception until their parent/carer or group leader arrives
  • once the child/vulnerable adult has been reunited with their parent/carer or group leader, a ‘stand down’ radio message should be made by Reception, to all notified colleagues.

If a child/vulnerable adult is reported lost by a parent/carer or group leader, the member of staff, volunteer or student should follow the procedure set out below:

  • radio/telephone Reception, requesting a ‘please attend’ tannoy announcement
  • Reception to broadcast a ‘please attend’ tannoy announcement, calling the child/vulnerable adult to Reception
  • Reception to radio/telephone a description of the child/vulnerable adult to all staff
  • staff to remain vigilant of children/vulnerable adults in their area of working who may answer the description
  • once the child/vulnerable adult has been reunited with their parent/carer or group leader, a ‘stand down’ radio message should be made by Reception, to all notified colleagues.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed annually and updated, as necessary.

Version 7, amended (P Colden February 2022)