Safeguarding Policy

Spread a Smile – Safeguarding Policy

Prepared by: Laura Walter (Director of Services), September 2023

1.0 Introduction

The aim of this policy is to ensure all Spread a Smile representatives have a clear understanding of their safeguarding responsibilities and the actions they are required to take to prevent and respond to harm to self and others.

If there are any parts of this policy that you are unclear on you must ensure you take appropriate action to seek further information and clarity. Please speak to the designated safeguarding team. (See section 3.0).

Introduction to the organisation:

Spread a Smile is a charity that provides entertainment and special events for children and young people with serious illness and their families, both virtually and in-person.

The charity delivers bespoke entertainment experiences that are individually tailored to each child’s age and developmental level, as well as regular treat drops and art initiatives such as painting clinical spaces in hospital and radiotherapy masks.

Our services provide fun, distraction and recreation within the hospital environment, and help to decrease anxiety and increase coping, support healthy development, build resilience, encourage normality, facilitate communication and positive relationships, and build confidence and self-esteem.

Entertainment includes:

  • Art
  • Singing and music
  • Magic
  • Storytelling and puppetry
  • Games
  • Silliness and comedy
  • Poetry
  • Dance, movement, yoga and mindfulness

The purpose of this document is:

To demonstrate Spread a Smile’s commitment in regards to safeguarding and child protection.


To state the responsibilities of Spread a Smile in relation to safeguarding children, and adults with care and support needs, in response to current legislation and guidance.

To ensure that:

  • All staff, volunteers and Spread a Smiles representatives have a clear understanding of our commitment to the ‘do not harm principle’ through our activities.  This links to our ‘Safer Recruitment’, supervision and management practices as well as ongoing training.
  • All staff, volunteers and Spread a Smile’s representatives have a clear understanding of our commitment to ensure we continually risk assess and take appropriate and timely action to any information that indicates that someone may be at risk or suffering harm
  • All staff, volunteers and Spread a Smile’s representatives have a clear understanding of what their role is in regards to preventing and responding to harm in a timely and professional manner through clear internal and external reporting channels
  • Children, young people, their families, professionals and the wider community also know how to raise a concern with the Spread a Smile representatives and the Spread a Smile safeguarding team

2.0       Creating a ‘Safe Space’ for all

We create a ‘Safe Space’ for all by ensuring we have a clear understanding of what a safe space is and what is meant by the term ‘Safeguarding’ and the appropriate action that is required of all Spread a Smile representatives.

Safeguarding is about preventing and protecting children, young people and adults at risk from harm.

It is defined in ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2018) as;

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as

  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

At Spread a Smile the voice of the child is paramount.  We model the principles of The Care Act (1989 & 2004) and The UN Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights

By ensuring that all children who come into contact with our organisation understand the following principles;

  • All children have the right not to be harmed
  • All children have the right to be listened to
  • All children have the right to get help

The Equalities Act 2010 sets our clearly that everyone has the right to be protected from harm.

Safeguarding means protecting the rights of children, young people, and adults from abuse, neglect, and maltreatment, and enabling them to live in safety. To safeguard is to ensure that children and young people grow up with the provision of safe and effective care, and to advocate and take action to enable them to have the best outcomes.


Our Safeguarding commitment isn’t just to the children with whom we may come in to contact but also their families, professionals that we work with, the wider community and all individuals that represent Spread a Smile.


Whether in person or via ‘digital delivery’ we endeavour to create a ‘Safe Space’.  A Safe Space is an environment where all individuals feel safe from physical and emotional harm and if that feeling of safety is changed there is a mechanism for them to raise any concerns that will be listened to and appropriate action taken.


We ensure that we adopted the 6 principles outlined in the Care Act 2014:

  • Empowerment
  • Prevention
  • Promotion
  • Protection
  • Partnership
  • Accountability

Spread a Smile aims to foster an effective safeguarding culture and we do this with a 70/30 focus on prevention and protection.

By being alert, responsive and with an open mindset of ‘it could happen here’ we model behaviours that aim to promote safeguarding best practice.

Effective safeguarding is based upon the behaviours we adopt as an organisation. Our behaviours are driven by our organisational values.

Creating a Safe Space ‘In Real Life’ (IRL)

All Spread a Smile representatives, children, their family members, partners and community members should have a clear understanding of our safeguarding responsibilities and what action we will take to fulfil them.

We have a legal duty of care to prevent and protect individuals from harm.  It is important that all groups outlined above know how to raise a concern with the organisation.

Creating a Safe Space ‘in a Digital Setting’ (IDS)

All digital sessions are facilitated via Zoom by a trained member of staff.  A Spread a Smile Visit Manager will take responsibility for ensuring the zoom settings are appropriate for the nature of the session.

Information will be sent out prior to the session to ensure all children and their families are aware of the steps Spread a Smile will take to create a safe space online.

We have a clear operating procedure and Visit Managers receive digital safeguarding training to ensure they are equipped to deal with any concerns that may arise during the session.  All participants, their families, professionals and Spread a Smile representatives are made aware of what will happen in the event of a concern and how to raise any concerns that they may have.

3.0 Safeguarding roles and responsibilities

In this section we will clarify the core roles and responsibilities of all Spread a Smile representatives.  This includes, volunteers, staff and trustees.

All representatives must follow the 3 safeguarding R’s:

Recognise:  To be alert to how harm may occur.  Recognising the many different forms of harm that could occur and that it may not always be intentional.  We must have a culture of vigilance and a ‘it could happen’ here approach recognising that Spread a Smile representatives maybe causing harm.

Respond: Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility,  Everyone must take action, responding in an appropriate manner and in a timely way. This, and associate policies outline the behavioural expectations of all representatives in addition to the mandatory, annual safeguarding refresher training.

Refer:  Any concerns must be responded to appropriately and the information referred to the appropriate source.

We are a values driven organisation.  Our values drive our behaviours.

Core Behaviours         Behaviour Descriptors

We bring a positive energy We create a positive, welcoming, and safe environment for children, young people and families
We always go above and beyond We actively listen and learn about the children, young people and families we support
We show ambition We are always coming up with new and innovative ideas to support our service users. As an organisation, we continually strive to evolve and improve.
We are adaptable We ensure our services are adapted to suit the individual needs of each child, young person and family we support. We are able to think on our feet and adapt accordingly, being sensitive in challenging situations
We always behave professionally Recognising and responding appropriately to concerns in a timely manner

At Spread a Smile our safeguarding behaviours aim to:

  • create a positive environment where children, young people and families feel welcome, safe, and supported whilst accessing all services
  • create open lines of communication, encouraging feedback and always listening and taking concerns seriously at all levels of the organisation
  • ensure all concerns are dealt with in a timely manner
  • continually reviewing safeguarding practices, policies and procedures
  • striving for excellence and ensuring robust systems and processes are in place

We employ a safer recruitment process to ensure we have the right people, modelling the right behaviours working in the organisation at every level.

  • We do this by incorporating values-based interviewing into our recruitment process and ensuring our recruitment panel are appropriately trained, supervised and supported.
  • We rigorously check all information provided to us in the recruitment process.
  • All representatives are subject to a probationary period and undergo in-depth training to ensure they are fully equipped to understand and fulfil the role in which they are appointed.
  • There is an appropriate scheme of supervision at every level to ensure individuals are competent and capable within their roles. Supervision is undertaken both formally and informally, in a structured and ongoing manner that is frequent and appropriate to the role.
  • We create and endeavour to maintain a culture that strives to prevent harm from occurring by questioning the unquestionable.  By being alert and asking ourselves what we could be doing to cause harm, we seek to prevent harm from occurring as a result of our activities.

By being effective in our processes, we actively seek to deter those individuals wishing to cause harm to others from joining our organisation.

We offer supervision and support to our team, please see Supervision Policy for further details.

Below our values and behaviours are linked to the recognising, responding and referring process.

We will recognise harm by: 

  • Always being alert, recognising any feelings of ‘things not appearing right’
  • Providing regular training and continual awareness raising sessions to all members of the organisation
  • Creating a ‘speak-out’ culture within the organisation, whereby all concerns are recognised and appropriately responded to
  • We will never discredit our gut feelings

We will respond to harm by:

  • Behaving in a way that models organisational values
  • Responding in a timely manner
  • Treating every concern without judgment or bias, and take all concerns seriously
  • All concerns will be treated with care, compassion, and professionalism
  • Ensuring systems and processes are continually reviewed and are fit for purpose

If you have a concern about a child, young person or vulnerable adult, member of staff or volunteer, you must contact the DSL or DSO immediately.

Laura Walter

Director of Services

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)


Lucy Jackson


Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL)


Jasmin Minjoot Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)


Natalie Donaldson Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)


Vanessa Crocker

Co-founder and Trustee

Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)


Josephine Segal

Co-founder and Trustee

Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)


Depending upon the nature of the concern raised, we will internally take action, or signpost to appropriate services. If it does require further action, we will liaise with the relevant authorities, such as NHS professionals, relevant local authorities, or the police.

All concerns are safely recorded in line with the organisational structure on a secure document that is password protected and changed regularly. This document is stored securely and in line with GDPR policies.

Safeguarding concerns are discussed at quarterly trustees meetings, and minutes are recorded, ensuring data is anonymised.

Safeguarding policies and procedures are monitored and reviewed by undertaking an annual safeguarding audit in April every year. This audit consists of an anonymised questionnaire sent to all staff, entertainers and trustees to provide a snapshot of everyone’s understanding and confidence of safeguarding, as well as processes and procedures.

All systems and processes are monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Roles and responsibilities:

Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility

All staff and representatives

Have a responsibility to prevent and respond to harm accordingly. All staff and representatives of Spread a Smile have a responsibility to ensure they attend regular training, pay attention to updates and are vigilant and alert at all times, and inform the organisation of any safeguarding concerns in a timely and effective manner.

Designated safeguarding officers / lead

Model and lead an effective safeguarding culture within the organisation. They ensure that all staff and representative are aware of how to prevent and respond to safeguarding concerns and provide regular updates. They will work in partnership with external agencies to effectively manage referrals and share operational information with trustees.


Trustees have primary responsibility for safeguarding in the organisation. They have a duty of care to their charity and trustees need to take steps to safeguard and take responsibility for the children with whom the charity works. This means:

  • acting in their best interests
  • taking all reasonable steps to prevent any harm to them
  • assessing and managing risk
  • putting safeguarding policies and procedures in place
  • undertaking ongoing monitoring and reviewing to ensure that safeguards are being implemented and are effective
  • responding appropriately to allegations of abuse

Laura Walter (Director of Services)

September 2023

To be reviewed in September 2024