New measures to protect children and vulnerable adults in East Devon

Councillor Andrew Moulding

Councillor Andrew Moulding - Credit: Archant

Call for safeguarding policy to be implemented by district authority ‘as a matter of urgency’

New measures to protect children and vulnerable adults will soon be introduced for all East Devon District Councillors.

A call to bring in a formal safeguarding protocol that will require elected members to undergo training and submit to a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check gained unanimous support at a full council meeting last week.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) deputy leader, Councillor Andrew Moulding – along with Councillor Phil Twiss - proposed the motion and said the authority should be setting an example in the community.

The pair – both members of East Devon Conservatives – called for the measures to be put in place ‘as a matter of urgency’.

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Cllr Moulding said: “We already have a policy for safeguarding adults which applies to officers and, where necessary, to councillors.

“But councillors are increasingly being encouraged to engage more closely with the community and this can often involve meetings with individuals on a one-to-one basis – including vulnerable adults and children.

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“The Conservative group of EDDC recognises the importance of putting the correct safeguarding measures in place and, in so doing, setting an example within the community.

“At election times we are also encouraged to engage with young people, often through social media. We need to be aware of the protocol regarding various modes of communication. Guidance needs to be robust and training for councillors is an essential element of protection for all concerned.

“We feel the council should be taking a lead on safeguarding. DBS certificates are now transferable and can be used for a range of situations where contact with young people or vulnerable adults is likely or inevitable. This will send a clear message that elected members of EDDC take our responsibilities seriously. We hope to see measures put in place as a matter of urgency.”

EDDC’s chief executive Mark Williams will be producing a report as the first step towards introducing the new measures as soon as possible.

The new ‘fit-for-purpose’ joint safeguarding policy would update and replace existing rules. It was gained unanimous backing at the authority’s full council meeting on Wednesday, February 22.

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