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For Community Groups

Helping Community Groups to look after and support children and young people

Community GroupIt’s everyone’s responsibility to keep children safe.

This page provides information and sample documents for you as a community group to use to help you meet the Scottish Government Framework for Standards, the legal requirements of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 and to achieve best practice for those who provide activities, care for, or work with children.

In This Section...

Child Protection NEW Updated Information 2019 

Shetland has a diverse range of community groups that offer activities and services to children, young people and vulnerable adults.  There are many things that groups and adults in charge can do to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults in their care.  These tend to fall into two categories; procedures for the organisation and practical guidelines for staff and volunteers, who lead activities.  If your group is a member of a national or umbrella organisation then they can offer advice in this area.

All groups should have child protection policies and procedures.  It is also good practice for all staff and volunteers to attend child protection training.

Detailed information on Child Protection can be found in the current local inter-agency Child Protection Procedures

The following documents can be used as templates by your community group. 

Child and Adult Protection Policy statement (Nov 2018)

Child and Adult Protection procedure (Oct 2018) 

Code of Conduct for Groups working with Children (Sept 2018) 

Keeping Children and Adults Safe - Guidance about Adult and Child Protection for Community Groups in Shetland (2019)

These documents have been updated to include reference to adult protection, but are fit for purpose for all community groups.

Shetland Islands Council will require community groups applying for financial assistance to ensure that they have these policies and procedures in place to help ensure the safety of children and adults.

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Recruiting Staff Safely,  Codes of Conduct and Equal Opportunities

Ensuring the safety of children in your group starts by taking reasonable steps to avoid unsuitable people working with children by having a recruitment / enrolment process in place for both staff and volunteers.

  • Groups that employ paid staff and volunteers should have a formal staff recruitment process in place
  • Groups that have volunteers or helpers should have an enrolment procedure
  • All groups should ensure that new members of staff or volunteers understand their role and receive support
  • All recruitment and enrolment procedures should embrace the principles of equal opportunities

Staff recruitment process (pdf, 40kb)

Volunteer enrolment procedure (pdf, 37kb)

Volunteer and Helper Flow Chart (pdf, 42kb)

Codes of conduct

All groups should have a code of conduct for staff, volunteers and helpers that identifies clearly what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in relation to children.
Groups with paid staff and volunteers should have a formal procedure for dealing with breaches of this code of conduct.
Groups with volunteers or helpers should have a process in place for dealing with individuals that harm or put children at risk so that the group can comply with the requirements of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

Sample Code of Conduct (79KB, pdf)

Inappropriate conduct procedure for groups employing staff (91KB, pdf)

Equal Opportunities

All organisations and groups that employ paid staff or have volunteer workers should have an equal opportunities policy including Recruitment of Ex-Offenders in place. Under the Equality Act 2010, organisations that employ paid workers have an obligation to protect the rights of individuals and promote equality of opportunity.  A policy should set out your commitment to promote equality of opportunity for staff, volunteers, helpers, members and users.  The fact that a person has a conviction should not necessarily make him or her unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable groups.  Conviction information can only be shared with persons involved in the recruitment decision. You should consider all information available and decide whether the convictions are relevant to the post to which the person may be appointed to.

Equal Opportunities Policy including Recruitment of Ex-Offenders (2018)

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On Line Training 

Its Everyone’s job to keep children, young people and adults safe from harm and abuse. Here is a  link to a basic protection training  course that is recommended for everyone, but especially for colleagues working in the voluntary sector or with sports and activity groups. The course  will help you to recognise abuse, know what to do and where to get help and advice if you need it. You can print out a certificate for doing the course. If your job or voluntary role requires you to complete Level 2 Adult or Child Protection training you need to complete this eLearning first and bring your certificate with you to the half - day training course  https://level1.safershetland.com/

Regulated Work and the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme

In February 2011, the Scottish Government introduced the PVG membership scheme for people who work with vulnerable groups. The Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme), delivers on the provisions outlined in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act 2007.

Your group/organisation will need to decide whether you have anyone involved in "Regulated Work" with children (and/or protected adults).  If your organisation has individuals involved in Regulated Work then those individuals will need to apply to become a member of the PVG Scheme.

There is a Self Assessment tool to help decide whether the work you are doing is Regulated Work. This is a useful starting point for anyone unfamiliar with the PVG scheme.  We have also included a document on "How to assess whether an individual is doing regulated work."  (pdf, 121kb)

A dedicated national website is also available here with links to further information on the PVG scheme.

The Scottish Government and Disclosure Scotland will continue to adminster the PVG membership scheme and they have produced online training materials and resources to provide guidance on the PVG scheme.  For more information visit Disclosure Scotland.

Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) can process PVG checks for a fee and can also provide information about PVG Scheme and who may require a PVG Check. VAS is contactable on 01595 74 3900.


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Shetland Islands Council - Grant Aid Template Documents

Any organisation seeking financial assistance from grant aid schemes administered by the Shetland Islands Council must comply with the requirements of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 if they provide services, activities or projects for children, young people and/or protected adults.  Community groups must have in place the following documents; Child and Adult Protection Policy Statement, Child and Adult Protection Procedures, Code of Conduct for Groups Working with Children and Equal Opportunities Policy (including Recruitment of ex-Offenders Policy).

If you have any queries at all about applications for grant assistance from the Council's Development Services Department, please contact, either:

  • Michael Duncan, External Funding Officer on 01595 743828
  • Elsa Manson, Resources Officer on 01595 743827

Details of grant schemes administered by the Development Services Department are available on the Shetland Islands Council's Grant Aid pages

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Risk Assessments, Travel Checklists and Enrolment

Risk assessments should be undertaken by your group to identify any hazards that may pose a risk to you, the children and any volunteers or helpers in your group.  Action should be taken to remove the risk, or where this is not possible, to minimise that risk.  There may be numerous hazards associated with the types of activities or facilities you use including equipment, fire, heating, lighting etc.   It is good practice to identify these hazards and to identify who is at risk, what existing measures you are taking to minimise these and any additional precautions that can be taken.  It is important that staff, volunteers and helpers are aware of this assessment and that as a group you continue to identify any further risks that may arise.
Your group should have some means of recording the action you have taken in relation to risk assessments, below is a sample template document.
Risk Assessment Record Sheet (pdf, 76kb)

Travel Checklists (In Shetland and Outwith Shetland)

When arranging trips for young people it is important that all safety issues are taken into account, consent forms completed and the adults who are involved in supporting and supervising the children whilst they are away have been PVG checked.
A travel checklist has been developed to assist your group in identifying the issues that you will need to take into account.

Travel Checklist (pdf, 70kb)

Shetland Islands Council Trips Away Guidelines and Policy

The Scottish Government also has a specific guide to Educational Excursions which can be found at the link below:


NSPCC Safer Activities and Events


Child Enrolment to Community Groups

It is good practice to have an enrolment form for the children who join your group. This enables you to identify emergency contact numbers and any information that is relevant to that child.  Sample Enrolment Form. 

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The Framework for Standards

These standards have been developed by the Scottish Government to ensure that organisations establish effective practices in relation to child protection issues. More details on the Framework for Standards are available on the Scottish Government website  

Local sources of advice

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It is everyone’s job to make sure children and young people are alright. If you are concerned about a child’s welfare please tell someone who can help.

These are the phone numbers:

Duty Social Work
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm:
01595 744420

Outside office hours:
01595 695611

Police: 101

Children’s Reporter:
0131 244 3780