Safeguarding review of the Parliamentary Estate published

A visiting family at the Houses of Parliament
16 December 2015

A safeguarding review of the Parliamentary Estate has just been published by Barnardo's.

In July 2015 the House of Commons Service and House of Lords Administration contracted Barnardo’s to carry out a review of its safeguarding practices and procedures, with a view to coordinating and strengthening our existing arrangements for dealing with children and vulnerable adults who visit Parliament or engage with our outreach activities. 

Barnardo’s have concluded the review and produced a report of findings with recommendations, which will now be taken forward by the House of Commons Executive Committee and the House of Lords Management Board.

Report findings

Barnardo’s found that:

  • The culture and practice within Parliament is good and there is a strong commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
  • Staff provide excellent activities and aspire to provide the very best customer care.
  • Attitudes were reflective of a strong commitment to provide the highest quality in customer service through all activities.
  • The culture in the new Education Centre is open and receptive to learning, aspiring to continuously improve as the centre expands its service provision.

Barnardo’s also made recommendations about how safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults in Parliament can be further improved, which include:

  • Parliament needs to develop a more structured approach and establish a clear safeguarding framework, including a policy that is consistently applied to support the safeguarding agenda and universally applied to all.
  • Staff should be supported through guidance and training as well as through the development and dissemination of safeguarding policies and procedures. 

Next steps

A safeguarding policy is in development and a safeguarding board will be set up to develop a more structured approach towards safeguarding procedures, training and reporting systems to ensure greater risk management and accountability. The policy and safeguarding board are expected to be in place by Easter 2016 and more work will follow.

An interim safeguarding officer has been appointed and further training will be arranged for staff. We will also work with our contractors including the Metropolitan Police (MPS) to ensure that the MPS and parliamentary protocols dovetail effectively.

Joint quote from the Clerks

“The safety and welfare of everyone who works and visits the Parliamentary Estate is of paramount importance to the Parliamentary Authorities. We welcome this report and will now take forward Barnardo’s recommendations on how we can further strengthen our safeguarding processes and procedures. We would like to thank the staff and contractors who engaged and assisted with Barnardo’s review, and would like to extend thanks to Barnardo’s for the delivery of this work.”

Barnardo’s quote

“Barnardo’s was asked to look at Parliament's safeguarding practices and policies. Staff welcomed this review and showed a high level of cooperation with the process.
 
"Our consultants found a high level of commitment to make sure safeguards are in place, but with a clear need to ensure one overarching policy is consistently applied to all areas of work.
 
"We've used our expertise to help them to develop that policy; and recommended making sure Parliament’s staff and contractors are trained in protecting children and adults from harm, in accordance with their duties.”

Read the report

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