Safeguarding policy

It is important that all Oyster Worldwide’s participants are treated fairly and respectfully during their time at the projects. Our policy ensures that staff act accordingly and also recognise the additional needs of participants under the age of 18.

Our Safeguarding Policy aims to ensure that participants are treated appropriately by leaders and others with authority while they are at one of Oyster’s projects. Specifically,

We expect our leaders at the projects to adhere to written protocols in the way they deal with all participants (regardless of their age and sex), in order to establish boundaries and protect the interests of both participants and staff.

Some of our projects accept participants between the ages of 16-18 and we recognise the need to give them extra support and protection, as outlined below.

Safeguarding issues regarding the children cared for at the projects are covered by our separate Child Protection Policy.

Behaviour protocols for staff

Oyster expects all those supervising participants at a project to follow the protocols below, in order to safeguard participants and avoid being the target of false allegations.

  • Aim to work in an open environment and avoid private or unobserved situations.
  • Treat all participants with respect and dignity. Avoid having favourites.
  • Maintain an appropriate relationship with participants.
  • Be sensitive when taking pictures or videos and always ask permission.
  • Do not take drugs or engage in excessive alcohol consumption with participants.Keeping written records of an injury or incident that occurs.
  • Listen to any issues that are raised by participants and take any allegations about safeguarding seriously.
  • Where a participant is under 18, take extra steps to ensure they are not working alone or put in situations where they might be vulnerable.

The following practices are forbidden

  • Engaging in a romantic or sexual relationship with participants
  • Sharing a bedroom with participants
  • Inappropriate touching (this includes applying sun cream)
  • Making sexual suggestions or jokes to any participants
  • Inviting a participant under 18 to your home on their own

Additional safeguarding measures for under-18s

  • Only projects that are deemed appropriate will be available to participants aged under 18.
  • Written risk assessments for projects will consider safeguarding risks and ways to mitigate them.
  • All participants will be interviewed prior to booking, to ensure they have the necessary competence for the programme. Where the participant is under 18, the destination manager will seek evidence of their maturity and independence.
  • Parents/guardians will be asked to provide written consent if the participant is under 18 at the time of booking.
  • Parents/guardians are viewed as stakeholders and must be included in correspondence initiated by Oyster.
  • Advice on vaccinations, prophylaxis and dealing with medication will be provided to both the participant and the parent/guardian.
  • A code of conduct must be read and signed by the participant and their parent/guardian.
    There will be clear lines of communications between Oyster and the programme representatives abroad and the parent/guardian.
  • Staff in the UK and representatives abroad agree to follow behaviour protocols to safeguard participants.
  • All UK staff having direct contact with under-18 year olds will provide references and a police check/DBS.
  • If an under-18 visits the office for interview, staff should always keep the door open when an interview is conducted and invite parents to accompany them if they wish.
  • All staff will be made aware of child protection and safeguarding issues, and will agree in writing to adhere to Oyster Worldwide’s protocols (listed below)
  • We expect projects to check references for leaders staff before appointing them.
  • We expect leaders to be experienced in supervising groups and to have received in-house training.