LGBTQ Youth Cornwall- Lone Worker Policy
LGBTQ Youth Cornwall recognise that it is not ideal for any worker to be routinely working alone. However, we do appreciate that there will be times when workers will come into contact with individual young people or may support a group of young people without a designated second worker or trustee. This document is designed to offer guidance in those situations and to provide a structure for workers and trustees to follow.
One-One Support for young people
It will sometimes be necessary for workers to support a young person in a one-one setting. Currently this would usually occur within a main session. Workers should
- Ensure that they have made another worker (or supervising trustee) aware of the need for a one-one session in as much details as possible where appropriate. This other worker should ensure that other young people are discouraged from becoming part of another’s one-one session.
- Talk to the young person involved in a quiet place in the same room, if the subject matter is not confidential.
- Remain an appropriate distance from the young person and avoid excessive physical contact between workers and young people during one-one sessions.
- If the subject matter is confidential, workers should try and find a separate space in which to talk to a young person. It may be the case that this means that a young person is asked to stay after a main session. If this is the case, one worker should carry out the one-one session but another supervising trustee/ member of staff should remain in the room although they can be working in a different area.
- Doors should be left open if at all possible during a one-one session. If this is not possible the worker should attempt to remain within sight of the door at all times.
- If a worker feels unsafe or threatened during any one-one session, the session should be ended immediately. The worker should immediately report this to their line manager and should make the second worker/supervising trustee aware of the incident.
Lone working with a group
It is sometimes necessary for one member of staff to work with a group. This is especially the case when a second worker is unavailable and a supervising trustee is present. In order to maintain continuity of workers and knowledge of young people, we encourage supervising trustees to remain present at all times during the sessions and within earshot of the group but to not directly engage in work with the young people unless there is a clear need for young people to receive one-one support, or support beyond that which can be reasonably provided by one person. In this case workers should
- Make supervising trustees/second workers aware of the content of the session before young people arrive and any support needs they may have in delivering that session.
Inappropriate relationships with young people (in correlation with Safeguarding policy)
We recognise that vulnerable young people sometimes attempt to form inappropriate attachments to workers. Workers should be aware of this possibility and alert for signs that young people are forming inappropriate attachments. For us, an example of an inappropriate relationship would be a worker meeting up with a young person socially outside of a session or a worker contacting a young person via their personal Facebook account. Such issues can be avoided by
1. Carefully establishing the roles of workers and young people within sessions and actively asserting their role as workers within sessions.
2. Not making excessive physical contact with young people during sessions.
4. Never giving personal phone numbers or details to young people.
5. Not giving young people excessive details about their personal lives outside of work.
6. Reporting promptly to their line manager any young people who are known to them through other settings of circumstances, such as other youth worker or through friends and family.
If a worker feels that a young person is forming an inappropriate attachment to them they should immediately make their second worker/supervising trustee aware of this. It should then be recorded as a concern on the session report. Such incidents should then be discussed at that worker’s next supervision/line management session.
Young people should not be transported in cars by workers or trustees. In an emergency (for instance if a young person had to be taken to hospital), young people should ideally not be transported alone. Ideally two adults should attend, if not two young people. The worker should ask the supervising trustee/second worker left with the rest of the group to notify their line manager of this action so that appropriate measures can be taken to ensure correct staffing of both the group and emergency situation.
Health of Workers
Workers have a duty to make relevant colleagues and line managers aware of any health conditions which may affect their suitability for lone working. Trustees will then take necessary steps to ensure that workers are safe when working with young people. Should a worker feel unwell whilst lone working they should notify their second worker/supervising trustee immediately. If this is not possible, they should contact their line manager.
Working in the building alone
We recognise that there are times when workers/trustees will wish to be in the building alone to complete paperwork and other associated tasks. Workers/trustees should text another trustee/worker when they arrive at the building to let them know they are there and an approximate time of leaving. They should text again when they are leaving. If a worker has not sent a second text the worker/trustee should get hold of that person to make sure they are ok.
Unplanned meetings or contact
We recognise that Cornwall is a small place and that young people are likely to meet workers and trustees when they are not at work. When this happens, workers/trustees should be friendly and say hello if young people approach them first. Workers should remember that some young people are not out, and that the people they are with may not be aware that they attend the group. Workers/trustees should ensure that young people are not encouraged to begin a one-one session outside of the group. If a young person begins to talk in this way, they should refer the young person to other support services and to the next group session.
In an emergency (for example if a young person approached a worker/trustee having been mugged in the street) we would expect that worker/trustee to be compassionate to that young person and help them. In most cases we would expect that worker to remain with that young person until they could be handed over to a more appropriate professional or person e.g. the police or a family friend. The incident should then be reported in full to their line manager, or another senior trustee, immediately.