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Child Protection Policy

This policy applies to all Scottish Book Trust staff and the Board of Trustees, as well as to contractors, consultants, freelancers, creative practitioners, student placements, interns or anyone else working on behalf of Scottish Book Trust.

The purpose of this policy is to protect children and young people (those under the age of 18) who participate in Scottish Book Trust programmes.

It also provides staff, freelancers and volunteers with the basic principles that guide our approach to child protection.

Scottish Book Trust believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe, and we are committed to carrying out our activities in a way that protects them.

Roles and Responsibilities

Setting Policy

Scottish Book Trust’s Board of Trustees and the Chief Executive are responsible for ensuring an appropriate Child Protection Policy is in place and staff are trained in the use of the policy. The policy is regularly reviewed annually by the Designated Child Protection Officer to ensure it is up to date and compliant with current legislation and best practice.

Lead Officers

Scottish Book Trust has a Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO), and a deputy, to whom staff can refer any concerns or issues regarding child protection or discuss and seek guidance on child protection more generally. The contact details are as follows:

Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO): Caitrin Armstrong, Head of Writing Communities caitrin.armstrong@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 0131 524 0177

Deputy DCPO: Helena Barrett-Duncan, Young Writer’s Programme Manager helena.barrett-duncan@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 0131 541 2403

Policy Statement

We recognise that:

We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:

Policy Context

It is recognised that children and young people are more at risk than adults due to their immaturity, developmental stage and relative powerlessness compared to adults. It is necessary therefore to ensure they are protected and this is everyone’s responsibility.

Thinking of the context of our work at Scottish Book Trust, children and young people who are engaging with the creative processes of reading and writing can often find emotions are triggered or emotional states created where they will open up and may share information with their peers, our staff or our adults working with the young people (e.g. mentors or writers). Whilst such sharing or triggering might not be anything to worry about or cause concern, it could be the young person requires our support to keep themselves safe or deal with a child protection issue, whether current or historic. If a child shares something which seems to involve potential child abuse, it is not the role of a staff member, or of a professional working with us who receives the information, to decide if child abuse has occurred. Their role is to listen, report and record.

Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)

Scottish Book Trust supports the basic principles and values of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)(this will open in a new window) so that every child can grow up feeling loved, safe and respected, and realise their full potential. The GIRFEC framework provides opportunities to work with other agencies to report any issues or concerns we might have to the child’s named person. We will use the SHANARRI Wellbeing Indicators(this will open in a new window) to structure any records of specific concerns.

Noting and sharing a concern

In the course of our work, it is important to maintain an open and supportive culture around child protection with Scottish Book Trust staff, our partners and the communities we work with. Therefore, we should communicate any concerns about a child or young person’s safety as soon as we become aware of it.

The majority of Scottish Book Trust work with children and young people happens in community settings such as schools and libraries, where children are in groups and accompanied by teachers/librarians and/or carers, as well as our staff. Staff members are therefore not alone with children or in sole charge; other responsible adults are usually leading the groups or children.

In these circumstances, if a staff member has a concern about a child’s safety or welfare, they should speak to the “named person” or responsible adult in the school, library or other community venue they are working in. This adult may well be aware of the situation and be able to reassure the staff member that the issue is being dealt with or agree that they will make a note of the concern and refer it through the usual “named person” channels of reporting. The issue should still be confidentially noted by the staff member for reporting on their return to the office, to their line manager and the DCPO, depending on the nature of the concern and its seriousness. Staff should contact their line manager, the DCPO or deputy if they wish to discuss any urgent action or seek advice around child protection whilst they are away from the office.

You can request a form for recording a concern by emailing us at info@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window).

However, if the situation is urgent and the child’s safety is in immediate danger, the staff member should call the local authority Social Services duty officer, the police or the emergency services, whichever is appropriate to the nature of the risk.

Young Writers Programme

Our young writers programme is different from our other programmes in that we have a small number of teenagers who are working 1-1 alone with adult mentors and other programme staff. There are specific measures in place to deal with these higher risk situations e.g. monitoring correspondence between participants and mentors, specific staffing ratios at events, PVG membership for mentors. However, the general principles of this policy apply in that staff or freelance mentors should never keep child protection worries or issues to themselves: it is important to discuss the matter with the DCPO or their line manager to gauge the best course of action. If a serious disclosure is made to staff concerning child abuse, they should immediately notify their line manager, the DCPO or Deputy DCPO.

Dealing with Disclosure

Given the nature of our work, it is unlikely that staff will encounter an abuse situation or disclosure. However, should this happen, it is important to take it seriously and act as soon as possible.

Recording Incidents

Any child protection concerns or disclosures should be recorded by the staff member as soon as possible following the awareness or disclosure. In the first instance, this can be in the form of a confidential written note which can then be used to write up a fuller formal report where necessary.

The following key information should be noted:

Please email us at info@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) to request appropriate forms to record a disclosure.

The DCPO/Deputy or line manager will review this, confirm any further action required and make a note of it. If the situation merits, this information can also be passed on to the named person or any other agency which becomes involved.

The information should be stored securely, in accordance with our Data Protection Policy, and signed off by the staff member as an accurate record.

If merited, the incident will also be reported to the Board under the Significant Incident Reporting system.


Notwithstanding the need to report concerns as soon as possible to the relevant named/responsible adult and/or the staff member’s line manager/DCPO, it is important that in the course of reporting such concerns, confidentiality is managed internally and we should not involve other staff unnecessarily. Any decision to share information related to these concerns beyond the responsible adult/named person should be taken in consultation with the line manager or DCPO, unless the situation is urgent, is an emergency or a young person is at risk of serious harm, in which case other agencies should be alerted as appropriate.

Concerns about staff or freelancers

If staff have concerns about the behaviour of/need to pass on allegations about another member of staff or a freelancer working on our behalf, they should speak to the DCPO/Deputy.

If staff have concerns about the behaviour of the DCPO or Deputy, they should speak to a member of the Senior Management Team.

Disclosures of Abuse

Recognising Abuse and Neglect

We will use NSPCC guidelines(this will open in a new window) to look out for areas of abuse that children may be subject to.

  1. Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.
  2. Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs and is the most common form of child abuse. A child may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care.
  3. Sexual abuse is when a child is forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact and it can happen online.
  4. Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse. It can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them.

Responding to disclosures of abuse

It can be very hard for children and young people to speak out about abuse. Often they fear there may be negative consequences if they tell anyone what's happening or has happened to them. It is vital therefore that whoever they tell takes them seriously and acts on what they've been told.

Even if a child doesn’t tell someone verbally about what’s happened to them, there may be other indicators that something is wrong.


Disclosure is the process by which children and young people start to share their experiences of abuse with others. Children may disclose directly or indirectly. Not all disclosures will lead to an 'official allegation' of abuse or a case being taken to court, but all disclosures should be taken seriously.

Responding to abuse disclosures

In a situation where a child discloses potential abuse, there are a number of steps that should be taken.

What to report and record

Staff should use the appropriate form(s) to record their concerns or the incident. Please email us at info@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) to request appropriate forms.

Further Support

Through Childline, children and young people can access a range of support including:

Signposting children for further support

Signposting concerned adults for further support

Risk Assessment and General Good Practice

When planning and carrying out our work involving children, the following general rules should help to provide a supportive and safe environment for staff and children:

Event Planning

Staff should use one of the available templates, as appropriate to the programme/event being planned.

Please email us at info@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) to request appropriate forms.

When working with partners, establish who is the lead, who has what responsibilities, share and agree the importance of monitoring child protection to our standards.

For further information, see the NSPCC code of conduct(this will open in a new window) for adults working with children and young people.

Recruitment and Disclosure Scotland

An important element of Scottish Book Trust’s Child Protection Policy is to recruit appropriately trained and experienced staff into post. All staff who, through their work with Scottish Book Trust, have access to children or young people in any form (e.g. face to face, telephone, online, through our programme submissions) must have basic clearance from Disclosure Scotland.

PVG scheme membership is required for staff or freelancers delivering our programmes who will have or could have 1-1 unsupervised contact with children or young people.

This clearance is obtained as part of the recruitment and appointment process and is renewed every 3 years for continuing staff. In addition, the appraisal process checks annually whether there is any change to the nature of a staff member’s role which requires a new disclosure or a higher level of disclosure i.e. membership of the PVG scheme.

The HR and Operations Team is responsible for ensuring the appropriate disclosure checks/memberships are made prior to appointment and reviewed at the 3 year anniversary.

Line Managers are responsible for checking annually during the appraisal process that the Disclosure level is appropriate and in place before signing off the appraisal.


Line managers and Heads of Team must ensure that all staff who work with children as part of their role at Scottish Book Trust have attended the in-house Child Protection training or have completed the NSPCC (Scotland) online training course. The completion certificate should be handed to the HR administrator for storing.

Scottish Book Trust nominates a Designated Child Protection Officer (DCPO) who is required to complete the NSPCC (Scotland) DCPO training or refresher course prior to appointment to this role. Refresher training should be undertaken where changes to legislation occur but at least every 3 years. The Deputy must complete the NSPCC (Scotland) online training course, as a minimum.

The DCPO/deputy DCPO will hold workshops or 1-1 sessions as required to ensure new staff, or staff new to a post, where working with children is a significant part of their role are confident they understand the Child Protection Policy and know how to implement it.

The DCPO and Deputy DCPO will monitor through newsletters and other networking channels any changes to legislation and best practice and ensure the Child Protection Policy is kept up-to-date. Changes to the Child Protection Policy will be flagged to staff and relevant training given if the changes are significant.

Legal framework

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in Scotland: