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Artswork Professional Development Trainer Lesley Wood takes us through recent updates to our suite of Safeguarding courses

Date Created: 14th Oct 2020

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Since I first started working in the creative, heritage and cultural sectors (about 25 years ago), I have been amazed at the determination, flexibility and dedication shown by the people that I have worked with. This can-do attitude has never been as evident or necessary than in the last few months, and within days of lockdown organisations rose to the challenge, looking for ways to connect with their audiences digitally, reaching out to young people offering them a much-needed lifeline and distraction. Working on a freelance basis with Artswork for the last 14 years, we have faced many changes and challenges together and this shared experience and knowledge of the sectors and the people that we work with, has proved invaluable this year. Subsequently, even as the first hints of lockdown began, we were laying plans for how we could continue to support those around us.

Within the first few weeks we had developed new courses and reformatted our regular offer. In moving our programme of professional development online, we learned to use the technology available to facilitate and communicate. We began considering how we could support others to use the same technology to transfer what they deliver to online activity safely too.

It is clear to most of us now that online activity is different to face to face when it comes to safeguarding. We have new risks to consider and potentially new audiences to protect. We were however conscious of screen-time fatigue and knew our regular full-day courses would not be manageable for everyone. Thus we began to develop a suite of shorter online courses that connect to each other but can be accessed independently allowing people to choose the areas most relevant to them, taking a more focussed, bespoke approach that could address individual priorities and reduce time spent online.

The first of these short courses Online safeguarding for the arts and cultural sector is our one hour briefing to support people in building their awareness of online risks. To date we have had literally hundreds of people access the training and use it to identify the challenges they face and plan their next steps and response to the new context they are working in.

Many of those attending the Online Safeguarding for the Arts and Cultural Sector training found that they needed to sense check their current policies for online activities or create new policies, in response to this we developed three further courses:

Creating a safeguarding risk assessment is a 90 minute course which supports organisations and individuals to identify new and current risks and understand how those risks can be mitigated, recorded and reviewed in order to develop policy and practice. The course provides the resources to create a risk assessment and document the steps taken to reduce the identified risks.

For those wanting to do both courses we have developed a combined course Online safeguarding and Risk Assessment which only lasts 2.5 hours and covers online risks and how to mitigate and assess them.

For those people wanting support to develop policies we have created Safeguarding Policy and Procedures which looks at how to develop and structure your policy content. We have had some great comments on how this has supported people to develop new online policies and sense check their established policies in only two and a half hours.

Over lockdown we received a lot of requests from trustees on how they could support their charities to meet new safeguarding needs. Our Safeguarding for Trustees course was developed and is proving popular. It looks at the function that trustees play in safeguarding and the processes that support this such as reporting structures and legal requirements. We were really mindful of the time constraints that trustees might face and so have made sure that we offer lots of signposting over the 2.5 hour course.

And now a quick question for you. Who do you work with? 


Early Years?

Young people?


Adults at risk?

All of the above?

We asked this question of those attending our courses using the anonymous poll feature in Zoom and found that understanding of these terms is not always as straight forward as it seems.

Many of us work with young people under the age of 25, this might include children, young people, early years, adults, and adults at risk making it challenging to understand how we approach safeguarding when there are different legal frameworks and guidance that cover adults and children. To help people to identify who they are protecting and which areas of guidance to consider we have created a further two new courses. Introduction to safeguarding children and Introduction to safeguarding adults at risk the courses look at the underlying principles and the different categories of abuse for adults and for children.

Keeping people safe has always been one of our prime concerns and over the years we have had so many people attend our full day safeguarding courses that we wanted to make sure that they reflected the current situation. With that in mind we have updated Safeguarding Adults at Risk in the Arts and Cultural Sector and Child Protection and Safeguarding in the Arts and Cultural Sector. These two courses provide not only an introduction to the areas, but a deeper investigation of best practice and safeguarding approaches.

The final course that we have updated in our safeguarding portfolio is the very popular Embedding Safeguarding Practice (Artswork Leadership Training) Course which is ideal for those working at a strategic level who are looking to have safeguarding at the heart of their work and understand how to share this organisationally.

Looking back at all of this I am starting to realise just how busy we have been and we haven’t even talked about our new updated consultation, evaluation, facilitation, and behaviour management courses all of which now include work in online environments!

Until next time stay safe


Professional Development Safeguarding Training

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