Harpenden Choral Society Safeguarding Policy

Commitment to safeguarding

Membership of Harpenden Choral Society is open to adults (i.e. persons aged 18 or over). The Society does not advertise itself as an activity suitable for vulnerable adults but is committed to safeguarding the well-being of all individuals who come into contact with the Society, and recognises its duty of care and responsibility to protect them from harm.

The Society understands the need to be alert to signs of abuse, the difficulty a participant, particularly a vulnerable adult, may have in reporting it, and the importance of responding appropriately. Any reported incident of abuse will be investigated objectively and will involve listening carefully to all those involved.

About this policy

  • This policy recognises vulnerable adults as adults defined as vulnerable by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. This might include adults with a learning or physical disability, a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or reduced physical or mental capacity.
  • This policy applies to all members, staff (whether employees or freelances), volunteers, and anyone working on behalf of the Society or taking part in the Society’s
  • The purpose of this policy is to provide members, staff and volunteers with the principles that guide our approach to the protection of all participants, and vulnerable adults in particular.
  • This policy aims to:
    • Protect vulnerable adults who are members of, receive services from, or volunteer to assist, the Society.
    • Ensure members, staff and volunteers working with vulnerable adults understand and accept responsibility for safeguarding their wellbeing.
    • Ensure that safeguarding of vulnerable adults is a primary consideration when the Society undertakes any activity, event or project.

Types of abusive behaviour

Physical abuse. Examples are:

  • assault
  • bullying – pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching etc.

Sexual abuse. Examples are:

  • sexual comments, suggestions or behaviour
  • unwanted physical contact.

Psychological or emotional abuse. Examples are:

  • verbal abuse – intimidation, coercion, harassment, use of threats, humiliation, swearing
  • addressing a person in a patronising or infantilising way
  • threats of harm or abandonment
  • cyber bullying.

Discriminatory abuse. Examples are:

  • unequal treatment based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation (“protected characteristics”)
  • derogatory remarks or inappropriate use of language related to a protected characteristic
  • harassment or deliberate exclusion on the grounds of a protected characteristic.

The Society’s involvement with vulnerable adults

The Society runs regular rehearsals for members and puts on concerts for the general public. As such, involvement with vulnerable adults might include, but is not limited to:

  • members of the Society who attend rehearsals and concerts
  • relatives and friends of members who attend rehearsals and concerts in a volunteering capacity
  • audience members at public concerts.

The Society’s involvement with children

Membership of the Society does not include children (i.e. persons under 18). Occasionally, concerts may be held with schoolchildren performing with the choir. In such cases, appropriate joint working arrangements will be made to ensure that school groups will always be in the care of their teachers and helpers and/or parents, who will bear responsibility for their welfare at all times.

Roles and responsibilities

The Committee of the Society will:

  • seek to ensure that abusive behaviour is not accepted or condoned.
  • take action to investigate and respond to any alleged incidents of abuse
  • encourage all members of the Society to play an active part in developing and adopting this safeguarding policy.

Each member or participant will:

  • respect the feelings and views of others
  • recognise that everyone is important and should be valued
  • encourage all members of the Society to play an active part in developing and adopting this safeguarding policy
  • be committed to the early identification and reporting of abuse.

Procedures for raising safeguarding concerns and incidents of abuse

  • If any member, staff or volunteer in the Society witnesses, suspects or is informed of a witnessed or suspected case of abuse they should immediately report it to the Chair.
  • If the Chair is not available, or is involved in or connected to, the abuse, it should be reported to another member of the Committee.
  • If an individual wishes to report an incident of abuse against themselves they should report it to a member of the Committee or a choir member they trust.
  • When a vulnerable adult joins the Society they will be advised of the persons to speak to if they have concerns or complaints.
  • Confidentiality should be maintained as far as possible subject to the principle of the welfare of the individual being paramount, which means that information may have to be shared (but only with people who have a legitimate need to know).

Procedures for dealing with concerns and incidents of abuse

The Chair or other member of the Committee will first make a decision based on the immediacy of the concern and take action as follows:

  • If the person at the centre of the allegation is in contact with a (vulnerable) adult at the current time – remove them, in a sensitive manner, from direct contact with the vulnerable adult.
  • If the (vulnerable) adult is in immediate danger or needs emergency medical attention – call the police and/or ambulance service.
  • Obtain and record information from the individual expressing the concern. Assess the information quickly and carefully, and ask for further clarification as appropriate.
  • Speak with members of the Committee (excluding any members involved in the incident) to decide how to handle the reported abuse.
  • For serious or possible criminal offences – raise concerns with the police.
  • For less serious incidents where it is felt that internal mediation will be successful – organise an internal investigation.
  • Where considered appropriate – request an assessment by the local authority social care department about whether a vulnerable adult is in need of protection.

Internal investigations

  • When an internal investigation takes place the Committee will:
    • Inform all parties involved of the reported abuse as soon as possible.
    • Inform the family/guardians of the individual reported as having been abused of the incident.
    • Arrange separate meetings with both parties within 10 days of the reported incident.
    • A joint meeting may be arranged if appropriate.
  • Both parties should be given the chance to bring a friend or representative to the meeting.
  • Meetings will be attended by the Chair (or member of the Committee dealing with the case) and at least one other member of the Committee.
  • All parties will also be invited to submit a written statement in advance of the meeting.
  • Once meetings have taken place the Committee will decide on next steps and communicate them to all parties in writing within 5 days.
  • They will be one of the following:
  • Escalate the incident to the relevant authority.
  • Further investigation – with established procedures and timelines to work towards a resolution.
  • A decision or resolution.

Resolution and disciplinary action

  • If abuse is found to have taken place any final resolution or decision will be taken in the best interest of the individual who has suffered the abuse and the best interests of the Society.
  • Any decision involving termination of membership will be taken in line with the Society’s
  • The Committee will respond to an individual who has suffered abuse in an appropriate way – for example, with an explanation, an apology or information on any action taken.


Regular policy review

As a general rule a review will be held every 2 years and no more than 27 calendar months after the last review. The next review will take place in March 2021. It will also be reviewed in response to changes in relevant legislation, good practice, or in response to an identified failing in its effectiveness.

15 January 2019

Harpenden Choral Society Complaints Procedure

Commitment to resolving complaints

Harpenden Choral Society is committed to ensuring that complaints by members are dealt with effectively to the best of the Society’s ability and within its resources. The Society recognises that constructive complaints can be used actively to improve performance.

This Complaints Procedure is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, promptly, consistently and, wherever possible, resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

Roles and responsibilities

Harpenden Choral Society will:

  • acknowledge the complaint in writing
    · deal reasonably and sensitively and where appropriate confidentially with the complaint
    · take appropriate action as required.

The member (complainant) should:

  • in the first instance, attempt to resolve their complaint directly with the person concerned
    · follow the complaints procedure detailed below if the member’s concerns cannot be resolved satisfactorily informally, or the member is unwilling to try to do so
    · explain their complaint as clearly and as fully as possible, including any action taken to date
    · allow a reasonable amount of time for the complaint to be dealt with
    · recognise that some circumstances may be beyond the Society’s control.

Principles common to all procedures

  • Complaints should be addressed to the Chair unless the complaint is against the Chair, when the Secretary and Treasurer will deal with the complaint. All complaints will be reviewed by the Committee.
  • Except in exceptional circumstances, every attempt will be made to ensure that both the complainant and members of the Committee maintain confidentiality. However, the circumstances giving rise to the complaint may be such that maintaining confidentiality is not possible. Should this be the case, the situation will be explained to the complainant.
  • If at any time during the investigation of a complaint matters arise which require investigation by external authorities, the complaints procedure will be suspended until those investigations have been concluded. Similarly, the complaints procedure will be suspended if a complainant is actively seeking legal redress.
  • Where the Committee deem a complaint to be deliberately repetitive or vexatious, a decision may be given without a formal investigation.
  • Where a complaint is unsubstantiated or poorly substantiated, the complainant will be asked to provide further substantiation.
  • Where a complaint has been investigated previously and satisfactorily resolved, the complainant will be given details of the previous resolution.

Procedure for minor concerns/grievances

In the first instance a minor grievance should be raised on an informal basis directly with the person(s) involved. Having failed to resolve the issue satisfactorily themselves or being unwilling to try to do so, the complainant should approach their section representative, with a view to the situation being resolved quickly. If the member feels that the matter should be handled confidentially then they should follow one of the procedures below as appropriate.

Procedure for concerns relating to vocal ability


  1. In the event of a concern about a member or members being made, whether by another member or by the Musical Director or the accompanist, as to the vocal ability and/or performance of a member, such concern shall be raised with the Chair.
  2. The member concerned will be invited to meet with the Musical Director and two committee members, including the Chair, in order to discuss the concern with a view to reaching a solution if possible.
  3. In the event that no solution is possible, the Musical Director and the Chair, should they conclude that such action is unavoidable in the interest of maintaining the Society’s standards and/or the enjoyment of members, jointly:
    (a) require the member not to sing in a forthcoming concert performance, and/or
    (b) recommend to the Committee that the member’s membership of the choir be terminated in accordance with the Society’s constitution and rules.
  4. It is the responsibility of each member of the Society to ensure as far as possible prior to concerts that they are proficient enough in singing the concert music not to jeopardise the overall standard of the Society. To this end, a member is expected to withdraw from the performance should they consider that they have not reached the necessary proficiency. A member may also in such circumstances be required not to sing in that performance in accordance with the procedure specified in clauses 1 to 3 above.

Procedure for general complaints

In the event that a member wishes to raise a general complaint about behaviour in rehearsals or a concern about the Society, or to appeal against the recommended termination of their membership, such general complaint, concern or appeal shall be raised with the Chair. The member will then be invited to make representations to the whole Committee, who will then review the complaint.

Resolution and disciplinary action

  • Any final resolution of a complaint will be taken in the best interests of the Society.
  • The Committee will respond to a complaint in an appropriate way – for example, with an explanation, an apology or information on any action taken.
  • Any decision involving termination of membership will be taken in line with the Society’s constitution and rules.


Regular policy review

As a general rule a review will be held every 2 years and no more than 27 calendar months after the last review. The next review will take place in March 2021.

11 January 2019