City’s arts organisations launch safe-guarding charter

ARTS and cultural organisations from across Liverpool have joined forces at the Everyman Theatre to launch a ground-breaking charter, pledge, set of standards, resources and training for those working with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The new charter is the culmination of many months work aimed at supporting organisations from the arts and culture sector who work with some of the most vulnerable in society and is led by an Inclusion Task Team from the Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership.

Organisations involved include: Liverpool Children’s Services; School Improvement Liverpool; Culture Liverpool; Liverpool Arts Regeneration Consortium (LARC); Creative Organisations of Liverpool (COoL); National Museums Liverpool; Resonate Music Hub; University of Liverpool; Curious Minds (Arts Council’s Bridge organisation for the North West) and Arts Council England North West.

In reaching out to engage more children, young people and vulnerable adults with the arts, the partnership highlighted the need to ensure safeguarding was a priority for organisations. The work focused on practices already taking place in the schools sector, to create a bespoke approach to safeguarding for arts and cultural organisations, alongside Phil Cooper from Schools Improvement Liverpool.

This approach includes a new set of standards, handbook, an adaptable training resource for each organisation, termly forums, annual surgeries and advice for organisations at the end of a telephone.

The standards for arts and cultural organisations working with young people cover safeguarding policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities, training requirements and quality assurance. Organisations can work to the standards to validate their best practice alongside a signed charter and pledge. These are designed to bring practice in-line with social and education sectors to increase the number and range of young people signposted and supported into arts and cultural activity.

Rebecca Ross-Williams, engagement director at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres, is the representative for LARC on the Liverpool Cultural Education Partnership steering group and the Inclusion Task Team lead. She said:“So many of us in Liverpool arts and cultural organisations across the city are working with children, young people and vulnerable adults as arts activity can be really effective in  engaging some our most vulnerable young people. At a time when safe-guarding is such a hot topic, it’s important we can validate our practice and assure we are working together with other agencies in the very best way possible.

“The new resources, training and relationship with Schools Improvement Liverpool is a great opportunity for us and should support our endeavours to engage with more of our city’s young people, and specifically those harder to reach.”

Nicola Noon from School Improvement Liverpool said: “School Improvement Liverpool is very proud to be part of such an exciting and innovative initiative with arts and cultural organisations from across Liverpool. We are looking forward to sharing and developing best practice in relation to supporting and protecting some of our most vulnerable individuals and are excited to see where this will lead.”