University of Dundee safeguarding protocol
Updated on 29 February 2020
The University has a duty of care to provide a safe and supportive environment for all members of its community, and this protocol has been created with that in mind
This protocol has been created to ensure that all Serious Issues are dealt with in a fair and reasonable manner with the best interests of the University community at the heart of decision making.
Purpose of the protocol
The purpose of this protocol is to help the University to:
- promote an environment in which members of the University community can feel safe, respected and protected from harm and abuse regardless of race, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, age or social background; and
- respond to any Serious Issues raised about a member of the University community.
Safeguarding Advisory Group ("The SAG")
What is the SAG?
The remit of the SAG is to:
- administer this protocol and to carry out its stated purpose
- consider and respond to External Speaker Requests1
- to make decisions in respect of the University’s legal and statutory obligations in terms of its duty of care
How is the SAG authorised by the University?
The University Secretary has delegated authority to the SAG to:
- consider and respond to Serious Issues raised about a student, member of staff or other member of the University community, in terms of this protocol
- consider and respond to External Speaker Requests (refer to the External Speakers and Events Protocol)
- to make decisions under the Student Discipline Procedure
Who are the members of the SAG?
The SAG includes the following members:
- Chair, Director of Legal or their nominee
- Director of Student Services
- Assistant Director of Student Services
- Residences Officer
- Director of UoDIT
- Deputy Director of Human Resources
- Deputy Director of External Relations
- Director of Registry
- Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
- Head of Campus Security
- President of DUSA (as an observer only and not as an authorised officer in terms of the Student Disclosure Procedure)
How often will the SAG meet?
The SAG as a whole are expected to meet at least four times per year to discuss and ensure compliance with the University’s statutory duties.
A sub-group of the SAG will meet at least twice per month if there are any Serious Issues to be reviewed or assessed. Students may be invited to attend one of these meetings to discuss the Serious Issue and allow the SAG to find out more about the student so that they can carry out a risk assessment.
In addition, the sub-group of SAG may have extra meetings when a Serious Issue is referred to them that that requires more immediate attention and cannot wait until the next planned meeting.
What is the Quorum of the SAG?
A minimum of five members of the SAG shall meet to discuss and ensure compliance with the University’s statutory duties. This must always include the Chair.
A minimum of three members of the SAG shall meet as the sub-group to consider and respond to a Serious Issue. This must always include the Chair who will be present to provide support and legal advice.
When a Serious Issue relates to a student, at least one member from Student Services must be included in the quorum.
When a Serious Issue relates to a member of staff, the Deputy Director of HR (or their nominee from HR) must be included in the quorum.
Who will normally consider and respond to a Serious Issue?
Normally Serious Issues will be considered by the following members of the SAG:
- Director of Student Services
- Assistant Director of Student Services
- Chair (the Director of Legal or their nominee).
If one of the members from Student Services listed above is not available to attend a meeting, then another member of the SAG will be required to attend in their place.
Raising a concern
Who can raise a concern?
Anyone can raise a concern about a student, member of staff or another member of the University community.
How can a concern be raised?
The recommended way to raise a concern, to ensure that it is dealt with quickly, is by filling in a Raising a Concern Form and submitting it to Student Services or by e-mailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org . However, it is acknowledged that not everyone will want to do that. Raising Concern Forms can be obtained from the Enquiry Centre and staff there are available to support anyone who would like to raise a concern. A copy of the form can also be found at Annex 3.
If an individual would like to raise a concern but would prefer not to fill in a form then they can send details of that concern in an email to email@example.com or simply speak to anyone at the Enquiry Centre or another member of staff that they trust who can pass the concern on to Student Services.
If an individual has been the victim of a crime or thinks they have witnessed one, they are encouraged to report the matter to the police.
In an emergency, or if the matter is urgent, a concern should be reported to the police (if it is a criminal matter) or any member of staff who is trusted by the person raising the concern.
What information should a person raising a concern provide?
A person raising a concern should provide a full and accurate description of the incident(s) to enable the University to consider the allegations thoroughly. Anonymous concerns can limit the University’s ability to take action as it will be more difficult to investigate and gather evidence. The University always encourages any concerns to be made known. The University will treat such matters seriously and sensitively.
Information and support
Anyone who wishes to raise a concern but is not sure what to do or would like to discuss it first, should contact Student Services via the Enquiry Centre for further information and support.
Information from Police Scotland
Sometimes the University receives information from Police Scotland to the effect that a student or member of staff is subject to an investigation or has been charged with a criminal offence. When information like this is received it should be passed on to the SAG for consideration without delay.
Stage 1 – Initial assessment
What will Student Services do when a concern is raised?
When a concern is raised, Student Services will carry out an initial assessment to decide upon what actions, if any, require to be taken. Part of that initial assessment will be to decide whether the concern constitutes a Serious Issue.
Student Services will make one of the following decisions:
- to take no further action
- to take informal action
- to take action under the Student Discipline Procedure (Express Process)
- to determine that the concern raised is a Serious Issue
If Student Services determine that the concern raised is a Serious Issue then the matter should be referred to Stage 2 – SAG assessment.
If Student Services feels unable to reach an outcome for whatever reason, they can escalate the matter to the SAG.
Stage 2 – SAG assessment
Review of information
When a Serious Issue is reported to the SAG they will carry out a review of the information referred to them to determine what actions, if any, require to be taken. A review can be made at a face-to-face meeting, by informal electronic means (such as email or Skype) or by telephone conference.
Details of what evidence SAG need to properly consider a Serious Issue can be found at Annex 2.
A review will include consideration of the following factors:
- the nature of the Serious Issue
- the time that has passed since the Serious Issue occurred
- any relevant evidence
- any on-going criminal process
- the level of risk of harm to others
Outcomes at this stage
Once the above factors have been considered, the SAG may do one or/more of the following:
- take no further action
- obtain all such information or opinions as it may consider desirable
- recommend that another process is followed such as the University’s Student Discipline Procedure or Fitness to Practise
- carry out a risk assessment
The SAG may decide that a risk assessment requires to be carried out to assist them to determine:
- whether there is enough evidence in support of the Serious Issue for a decision to be made
- the level of risk the student presents to themselves and the University community
- whether any appropriate action requires to be taken to safeguard the University community
Part of this will usually involve inviting the student to a meeting to discuss the nature of the Serious Issue and the other factors listed in Annex 2.
Once the meeting has taken place, the SAG will consider all of the information it has before it and complete a risk assessment by considering the factors listed in Annex 2.
Outcomes following a risk assessment
Once a risk assessment has been completed, the SAG will decide upon one or more of the following outcomes:
- to take no further action
- to obtain additional information or opinions as it may consider desirable
- to recommend and/or arrange for supportive measures to be put in place for the student
- to decide that the matter requires on-going review
- to take precautionary action
- to signpost the matter to another University process (Stage 3)
- to recommend to the Director of ACG that disciplinary action should be taken in terms of the Student Discipline Procedure (Stage 3)
If the SAG feels unable to reach an outcome for whatever reason, they can escalate the matter to the Director of ACG (Stage 3).
The SAG may take precautionary action if deemed necessary to:
- ensure that a full and proper investigation can be carried out (either by the police or the University)
- protect the complainer or others whilst the allegation is being dealt with as part of a criminal or disciplinary process
- protect any other relevant or interested party
Further details for the SAG to consider when taking precautionary action can be found at Annex 2.
Stage 3 – Other University process or procedure
Student Discipline Procedure
If SAG decide that disciplinary action should be taken then they can recommend to the Director of ACG that the matter should be progressed by them (or their nominee) under the Student Discipline Procedure.
The Director of ACG (or their nominee) will consider the recommendation from the SAG and, if they agree with the SAG’s recommendation, they should initiate the Student Discipline Procedure. If the Director of ACG (or their nominee) does not agree with the recommendation they should provide feedback to the SAG explaining the reasons why and what action, if any, they have decided to take.
Signposting to another University process
In some instances the SAG may feel it is appropriate to signpost the matter to another University process. If that is the case then the SAG will make a recommendation to the relevant School or Directorate so that they can take the matter forward.
Escalation to Director of ACG
The SAG may escalate matters to the Director of ACG if they are unable to reach a decision on what the outcome of stage 2 should be or are unclear which of the University’s other processes should be followed.
Referrals to the police
The University will usually allow the person reporting a Serious Issue to decide whether or not to report the matter to the police. If that person is a member of the University community then the University will support them to do that. If they decide not to report the matter to the police then the University will respect that decision and will only act contrary to their wishes in exceptional circumstances.
Support for students going through the safeguarding protocol
Advice and support for students will be available from the following University support services:
- Enquiry Centre
- Health Service
- Disability Services
- Occupational Health Services
- Counselling Services
- School Office
Students can also seek independent legal advice at their own expense.
All records and correspondence relating to a Serious Issue or any other concern considered in terms of this Protocol will be securely stored in accordance with the University’s Data Protection Policy.
This protocol has been approved by the University Secretary and is effective from 1 February 2020.