Safeguarding Policy

1. Introduction

Zero Gravity Tech Ltd, company number 12091675 (“Zero Gravity”) takes seriously its responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children by following best practice guidance on safeguarding to create this safeguarding policy (the “Policy”) and embedding safeguarding features into its mentoring platform (the ”Platform”).

For the purpose of this Policy the term “Zero Gravity Staff” will be used to describe employees of Zero Gravity, those people contracted as consultants by Zero Gravity, Zero Gravity board directors and/or anyone who is a volunteer mentor on the Zero Gravity Platform and/or engages with, at the direction of Zero Gravity, children as part of the Zero Gravity programme.

The terms ‘child’ or ‘children’ include any person under the age of eighteen (as defined in The Children Act 1989).

2. Scope

This Policy aims to ensure that all persons, in particular children, using Zero Gravity services can do so safely, free from abuse and discrimination on any grounds whether it be a protected characteristic or not. All Zero Gravity Staff will be required to confirm that they have read, understood and will abide by this Policy at all times.

3. Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure:

  • compliance with the following legislation and statutory guidance:
    • DfE ‘Working together to safeguard Children’ Guidance 2010
    • The Children Act 1989
    • Children Act 2004
    • Children and Young Person’s Act 2008;
  • awareness is raised among Zero Gravity Staff of child protection and safeguarding issues; and
  • procedures for identifying and reporting cases or suspected cases of abuse are in place and followed by Zero Gravity Staff.

4. Key Responsibilities - Zero Gravity

Zero Gravity will ensure that:

  • the Platform preserves the anonymity of the mentee to the mentor, and the mentor to the mentee;
  • the delivery of Zero Gravity services (including but not limited to mentoring services) do not require one to one physical meetings nor any communication between mentee and mentor outside of the Platform;
  • mentors and mentees will not be made aware of the email addresses or social media contacts of any other mentees or mentors on the Platform;
  • the Platform facilitates the video and audio recording of mentoring sessions for safeguarding purposes only. These recordings may be requested from both the mentor and the mentee at any time, and may be:
    • reviewed as part of an investigation into any safeguarding report made to the SPO or other Zero Gravity Staff by a person using Zero Gravity services; and/or
    • provided to the relevant authorities if legally obligated to do so.
  • where Zero Gravity Staff are required to hold a DBS enhanced certificate pursuant to this Policy, such certificates will be made available to parents/guardians of mentees or partner organisations (including but not limited to universities, supporting companies and third sector partners) on request at the discretion of the SPO (as defined below);
  • any mentee or mentor who does not comply with the Platform terms of use which shall incorporate this Policy will be suspended from using the Platform pending an investigation by the SPO and BSC (as defined below) and relevant authorities will be contacted if required by law including but not limited to the Police and/or the relevant Local Authority Children’s Social Care team.

5. Key Responsibilities - Zero Gravity board directors only

The Zero Gravity board of directors (the “Board”) shall:

  • review this Policy and the safeguarding features on the Platform on an annual basis and will, if required, oversee updates to both.
  • appoint one board member to be the Board Safeguarding Champion (the “BSC”) who shall have the responsibility of overseeing the conduct of the SPO (defined below) and reviewing the SPO annual review findings and her/his recommendations in readiness for consideration at the first meeting of the Board in each calendar year. As at the date of this version of the Policy, William Westwater has agreed to be appointed as BSC;
  • appoint one Zero Gravity Staff member to be designated the Zero Gravity safeguarding protection officer (“SPO”) who shall be responsible for coordinating, processing, reporting to relevant authorities and keeping records of all safeguarding reports and incidents. As at the date of this version of the Policy, Kitty Goodwin has agreed to be appointed as SPO.
  • include safeguarding as a standing agenda item for each Board meeting to ensure the Board are alerted to developments between annual formal SPO led reviews of the Policy; and
  • ensure that each member of the Board holds a current enhanced DBS certificate when his/her services necessitate such clearance.

6. Key Responsibilities - Zero Gravity Staff excluding mentors (“Zero Gravity Core Staff”) only

Zero Gravity Core Staff shall:

  • have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • sign a copy of this Policy confirming they have read, understood and will comply with its content;
  • hold a current enhanced DBS certificate when his/her services necessitate such clearance;
  • never agree to meet with a mentee who is a child on a ‘one to one’ basis in person and only meet adult mentees in person if authorised by the SPO in writing;
  • comply with the terms set out in the Zero Gravity privacy and cookies policy and only use mentee personal data for the explicit purpose consented to by the mentee and/or to safeguard and promote the welfare of mentees;

7. Key Responsibilities - Zero Gravity mentors only

All Zero Gravity mentors:

  • have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • must on registration as mentor confirm through ticking the appropriate electronic box that they have read, understood and will comply with this Policy;
  • must ensure all contact with mentees only occurs on the Platform;
  • shall restrict their guidance to the following areas: maximising academic attainment, advice on: applying to university/for a position of employment, university academic life and/or interviewing skills;
  • shall not share any contact details or other information which may undermine the anonymity of the mentor to the mentee;
  • shall not solicit any contact details or other information which may undermine the anonymity of the mentee to the mentor;
  • should never agree to meet with a mentee who is a child in person prior to, whilst, or following their engagement with Zero Gravity and where the mentee is an adult, unless authorised by the SPO in writing;
  • where the mentee becomes an adult and wishes to meet their mentor when first starting at the same university, this must first be approved by the SPO in writing (approval will be granted if the SPO has received no substantiated reports of safeguarding concerns);
  • shall ensure all video mentoring sessions on the Platform take place in an appropriate environment which does not display any inappropriate images or activity;
  • shall not engage in, incite or condone inappropriate behaviour or illegal activity on the Platform or otherwise;
  • must record every video mentoring session initiated through the Platform using the inbuilt recording functionality. They will provide these recordings to Zero Gravity on request; and store recordings for a minimum time period of 28 days;
  • shall ensure that all language used and comments made (verbally or in text format) when carrying out Zero Gravity mentor duties will not offend, be in anyway discriminatory nor bring Zero Gravity into disrepute.

8. Reporting Responsibilities – All Zero Gravity Staff

If a member of Zero Gravity Staff has identified any signs or indicators that a mentee is being abused and/or engaged in or the subject of criminal activity then they must ensure:

  • they record the known facts and any other information that might be relevant and pass this written information onto the SPO immediately using the contact details below or via the safeguarding alert button on the Platform; the SPO will assess the risk and involve any relevant agencies or services including the police and social services;
  • they will immediately request access to all available video session recordings between the mentoring pair from both the mentor and mentee and store these for investigation; and
  • if the mentee is in immediate danger or a crime has been committed, dial 999.

If a child discloses information to staff or others relating to welfare issues which do not constitute criminal activity or abuse but impact on a child mentee’s welfare or a Zero Gravity Staff member is made aware of a breach of this Policy, Zero Gravity Staff must:

  • advise the mentee that you will offer them support, but that you will have to pass the information onto the SPO; and
  • record the facts in writing, using the words the mentee used as well as including any other information that might be relevant and including the date on which the mentee has disclosed the information and send this to the SPO.

All safeguarding reports must be sent from an email address associated with a user account on the Zero Gravity platform. Reports which are made from email addresses which are not associated with a Zero Gravity user account will only be acted upon once verifiable Zero Gravity membership details have been provided.

If any of the above activities relate to the SPO, such report should be to the BSC in the alternative.

If the SPO and/or the BSC are the subject matter of such a report, the Zero Gravity Staff member should make the report to the Police and/or the relevant Local Authority Children’s Social Care team.

9. Contact Details

Safeguarding Protection Officer

Name: Kitty Goodwin


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