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Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups 

Safeguarding in Higher Education 

Unlike the School, Further Education and Health sectors, Higher Education Providers do not have a statutory duty to safeguard and protect…however, key government guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, makes clear that:

“…safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility…”

The majority of concerns regarding students’ safety, health and wellbeing in Higher Education are welfare concerns and will be dealt with via our student crisis protocols, Consultancy and Advice from the Student Wellbeing Team, Zero Tolerance Report and Support options, or other aspects of the Student Support Framework.

For support with any welfare or wellbeing concern:


Information Icon Child or Adult at Risk tells a member of staff (or a student or a volunteer) about possible abuse:

  • listen carefully and stay calm; advise the student that you may need to inform someone
  • make sure you have understood the matter under discussion, clarifying points if necessary
  • reassure the individual that by telling you, they have done the right thing
  • inform the individual that you must pass on the information now but only to those who need to know; inform them who you are going to tell
  • take a note of the main points of conversation including names, times, dates, etc, together with any injuries observed
  • report the conversation to a local Safeguarding Point of Contact (SPoC) or a Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) (listed in Annexe A) of the Safeguarding Policy.

Information Icon Member of staff (or a student or a volunteer) has concerns or suspicions of abuse without having received a disclosure from an individual.

Record the concerns as factually as possible and report these concerns to a local SPoC who will discuss with one of the DSOs (listed in Annex A) of the Safeguarding Policy.

Information Icon The DSO will review the information and decide whether a referral to an external agency may be needed.

If so, they will escalate the concern to Nominated Safeguarding Officer, who will take a decision making a referral to the appropriate investigating agency, normally the the local authority responsible for the area where the individual lives or, in the case of potential radicalisation, the local PREVENT Officer.

Information Icon If an allegation is received of abuse by a member of staff of a child or Adult at Risk.

Report the incident to one of the DSOs, who will refer to matter to the Nominated Officer. The Nominated Officer will discuss the matter to the Vice Chancellor or nominee, supplying the written record of the conversation when the disclosure was made.

Information Icon If an allegation is received of abuse by a student of a child or Adult at Risk.

Report the incident to one of the DSOs who will refer the matter to the Nominated Officer who will instigate the relevant section of the Safeguarding procedure, if appropriate. Students against whom allegations have been made will be advised to contact the Students’ Union for advice/representation.


Plus Icon Key Definitions 

As an institution we are responsible for:

  • ensuring the welfare of vulnerable groups
  • providing an environment and practices which are safe and protect individuals from harm
  • taking prompt and appropriate action in responding to suspicions or allegations of abuse
  • working collaboratively with other agencies, as appropriate

Vulnerable groups in our context are defined as follows:

  • Children – any person under the age of 18
    • Our University engages on a regular basis with children, e.g. through widening participation and outreach activities, commercial conferencing, research projects, student placements or through the enrolment of individuals who are under 18 as students

  • Adults at Risk’ – any person aged 18 or over, who

    - has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;

    - is experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect; and

     - as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or experience of abuse and neglect.

  • The term ‘Adults’ at Risk’ is used in the context of the responsibility placed by the Care Act 2014 on local authorities to ensure that adults, who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation

  • Regulated Activity: Any of the following activities which are carried out frequently (and/or overnight) with children (except where the University member is always being supervised by another adult who has been DBS checked):
    • caring for, being in charge of, or supervising a child
    • teaching, training, or instructing a child
    • giving advice or guidance to a child about their physical, emotional, or educational well-being
    • transporting children in a vehicle.
  • University Members: All staff and students in the University.

DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service

Plus Icon Guidance for University Members 

Leeds Beckett University requires all staff members who come into contact with children as part of their job to complete safeguarding training at an appropriate level (see People Development website online module). The University also ensures that those who are engaged in regulated (see key definitions section) activity with children will be checked by the DBS (see key definitions section) to make sure that they have not been barred from working with children.

If you are planning or participating in an activity that will involve contact with children, you should familiarise yourself with the University guidelines by clicking the links below.

General guidance

NB: This is a list of general considerations and is by no means exhaustive.

If you are planning or participating in an activity that will involve children:

  • Be aware of the needs of children, and be alert for signs of harm or potential harm
  • Take complaints seriously and take appropriate action as soon as possible
  • Report any incidents or accidents as soon as possible, and keep a written record
  • Report any harm or potential harm to a child following the outlined process (see guidance for University members section)
  • Treat everyone with respect and be sensitive to children’s appearance, race, culture, religious beliefs, sexuality, gender, or disability
  • Plan activities to involve more than one person and locate activities within sight of others
  • Provide a safe, caring environment where children and adults feel comfortable to point out attitudes and behaviours they do not like

Note: Refer to the full policy for an extensive list of recommendations for working with children.

Risk assessment

For activities involving children there may be added health and safety risks. A Health and Safety risk template, available from the Safety, Health and Wellbeing website, may be used to capture these risks. Such risk assessments should not be used to assess individual cases of alleged or suspected harm. Such disclosures should be referred through the appropriate channels, as outlined in these webpages.

Plus Icon Reporting Safeguarding Concerns
  1. If you have a concern about a student which you think may fall within the scope of statutory safeguarding as defined above, you should contact your local school or service Safeguarding Point of Contact (SPoC), or discuss the situation with your line manager in the first instance.

  2. If they feel that the concern may fall within the scope of safeguarding, they should approach any of the Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) to discuss further.

  3. If the DSO feels that the matter is a safeguarding concern and further action and / or a referral to the Children’s or Adult Safeguarding Partnership may be required, they will contact the Nominated Safeguarding Officer or, in the event of their unavailability, the Director or Associate Director of Student Services to make a decision on whether an external referral is appropriate. The DSO will usually report the safeguarding concern via the online reporting form. 

A list of the Designated Safeguarding Officers can be found at Annex A in our Safeguarding Policy.

DSO's can click here for the online form to report a safeguarding concern. 

For guidance and further information about how this policy affects you, select the relevant section:

It should be noted that our University’s reporting obligations will override any data protection obligations; thus, if our University has concerns regarding any child or vulnerable adult we reserve the right to make a report to the relevant agency that includes any necessary information regarding any student or staff member involved.


Plus Icon DBS Checking


If you will be engaging in regulated (see key definitions section) activity with children as part of your role, Leeds Beckett University will ensure that you complete a DBS (see key definitions section) check before starting your employment. The University will also provide you with safeguarding training.


Students who undertake programmes of study which involve regulated (see key definitions section) activity with children are required to complete a DBS (see key definitions section) check. It is the role of the relevant University departments (such as Sport, Education, and Health and Social Sciences) to coordinate these checks. Other departments may also need their students to complete a DBS (see key definitions section) check if they will embark upon a placement, undertake voluntary or research work involving contact with children.

You should contact Governance and Legal Affairs if you have any doubts concerning the need for DBS checks.

Plus Icon Information Specific to Students

This policy is applicable to all members of the University, including students.

Some courses require applicants to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS formerly the Criminal Records Bureau or CRB) check as part of the entry requirements. If a DBS check is required this will be specified in the entry requirements on the Course Finder.

Although the majority of students will not encounter children whilst in a position of responsibility, some will come into contact with children as part of their course (for example, Education) or when acting as volunteers or staff (for example during a summer school placement or at an open day). Heads of Subject / placement coordinators will advise students whether or not a DBS check is required.

If you find yourself working with children in a position of trust, you should familiarise yourself with the contents of these webpages

Further information for applicants can be found be found on the Admissions webpage.

Plus Icon Key Contacts

Key Contacts - NSO and DSO

Ultimate responsibility for matters regarding the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults at Leeds Beckett University lies with the Nominated Safeguarding Officer (NSO). The NSO is responsible for promoting and monitoring the Safeguarding policy and for making sure that University members are provided with relevant information, advice, and training.

The NSO establishes and maintains contact with the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP), Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership, the Police and DBS, (link to key definitions page) keeping confidential records of reported child abuse/harm cases, as necessary, in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998).

The Nominated Safeguarding Officer is the University, Caroline Thomas.

For guidelines on how to report a safeguarding concern, please see the 'guidance for University members' section above. 

If you are concerned that there is an immediate risk of serious harm to a child or an ‘adult at risk’, please contact the emergency services without delay on 999 or 101.

Plus Icon Training

Safeguarding - online training module

All staff are encouraged to complete our online training module for staff.  The training provides a basic understanding of safeguarding and Prevent, outlining our legal responsibilities and highlighting what a member of staff must do if they have concerns about the safety or wellbeing of a child or vulnerable adult.

Accessing the training

The module is available to staff through People Development Online and should take approximately 40 minutes to complete. In order for the system to register that you have undertaken the course, you must work through the entire module including the end of module quiz.

Staff can access the module ‘An Introduction Safeguarding and Prevent’ from the People Development Online homepage using their Leeds Beckett University username and password. People Development be found at and the module is located within the "training library" section of the homepage.

All Designated Safeguarding Officers receive regular refresher training.

If you are interested in receiving further training please talk to your line manager, in the first instance.

Related information:


If you are concerned that there is an immediate risk of serious harm to a child or an ‘at risk’ adult, (check our policy) please contact the emergency services without delay on 999 or 101.

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Service Contacts
Jan Daley
Associate Director, Student Services

Caroline Thomas
University Secretary

Policy on Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups  PDF

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