Suffolk Libraries undertook a major review of its safeguarding policy, procedures and training approximately four years ago in partnership with the Safeguarding Adults Board Training and Development Subgroup. A new and robust joint adults and children safeguarding package was developed which is delivered in-house by the organisation’s own trainers. The policy and training prior to this was still based on Suffolk County Council’s approach, which was adequate, but this new package better reflected Suffolk Libraries’ status as an independent and charitable organisation. It also allowed staff to explore the nuances of 21st Century public library delivery in relation to safeguarding. This approach, which was quality assured by the SAB Training and Development Subgroup, was picked up by other county partners such as Trading Standards who developed a similar approach to Suffolk Libraries.
This policy and training package has been successful with all staff having been trained on the new package and new staff booked onto a training course as part of their induction. Feedback from staff has been positive too; staff feel they have a greater depth of understanding and the simplified internal process for disclosing/reporting has given staff peace of mind.
This package, over the four years, has been regularly reviewed by the trainers, the DSM and the HR Team Leader, and changes have been made which reflect changing practice in safeguarding. However, more recently a large-scale review of the entire package was undertaken which resulted in some major changes to both the safeguarding policy and the training package. In just four years, the pressures facing the service through the lens of safeguarding have shifted and library staff need to be more aware of these and be able to spot when something isn’t right. This new training package was rolled out for library staff from September 2018 alongside additional training sheets with updated information for staff who were recently trained on the old package.
Complementing this will be a concerted effort to ensure all of the organisation’s volunteers undertake this training. There will also be a small, bespoke training package created for the Home Library Service Volunteers as their interactions with the public are at a higher threshold of risk and Suffolk Libraries wants these volunteers to feel safe and confident in delivering a much-needed service to adults at risk.
Future ambitions include creating small five-minute videos which delve into examples, and case studies which will sit on the organisation’s new training portal and these will provide extra context for staff.
At Suffolk Libraries safeguarding is everyone’s business.
Further information about Suffolk Libraries can be accessed here: https://www.suffolklibraries.co.uk/