SAFE cic’s advice to volunteer groups helping vulnerable people during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The impact of these challenging times upon the welfare of the most vulnerable in society cannot be underestimated.
With people self-isolating, families facing immense financial pressures, schools closed and all of us uncertain about what the future may hold, we have put together our top 10 safeguarding tips for the many generous and dedicated volunteers setting up schemes, groups and organisations to help vulnerable people at home.
This is not a guide to understanding or dealing with the spread of, and subsequent illness caused by, the virus. These top 10 tips are a practical tool to help safeguard everyone requiring help and those providing it.
1. Each group should nominate someone to act as Lead for Safeguarding to escalate any identified safeguarding concerns including:
- mental health issues
- domestic abuse incidents
- child abuse
- any financial irregularity such as taking money for shopping which is never delivered
Ideally this person should undertake safeguarding training. To help during this crisis, SAFEcic is offering a genuine 15% off our online Safeguarding training courses.
3. A recording and tracking system should be implemented
4. All volunteers should live locally or be known to others in the group. All will be eligible for basic DBS checks and a few will be eligible for enhanced DBS checks including those driving people to hospital appointments. Refer to the DBS eligibility tool for guidance.
Info on how to apply for Basic DBS checks is here, and enhanced DBS checks are available from SAFEcic here.
5. No close face-to-face contact should be made when delivering shopping or medicines. Volunteers should not enter the home of anyone who is self- isolating.
6. All food delivered must be appropriate for any food allergies and dietary requirements and items requiring refrigeration or freezing should be delivered promptly.
7. The person being helped should be aware of any financial payments due and how payment is made securely and safely.
Some supermarkets are now introducing volunteer shopping cards. Most work by purchasing a voucher on line to be given to a volunteer to use in store as payment. This avoids giving other people access to cash or credit and debit cards.
The Post Office is also making access to cash faster for self isolating customers via 'Payout Now’ and ‘Fast PACE’
8. Ideally, prescription medicines should always be picked up someone known to the patient and arrangements made with the dispensary.
9. Everyone receiving help should understand how to report any concerns regarding the service they receive or volunteers within the group