STATEMENT OF COMMITMENT
UNIQ YOU is committed to providing services to children and young people to assist them to develop their personal confidence, life skills and expand their understanding of the industries and future work roles available to them.
Our organisation is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all children and young people and will endeavor to provide a safe and supportive service environment for children and young people.
- is committed to child safety and children’s best interests
- has zero tolerance for child abuse and will take all allegations of reportable conduct and safety concerns very seriously, ensuring such conduct is dealt with in accordance with company policies and procedures
- will uphold the right of all children who come into contact with the company to feel safe and protected
- will actively work to listen to and empower children who come into contact with the organisation
- has legal and moral obligations to contact authorities when there are concerns about a child’s safety, which will be followed rigorously
- is committed to providing training and educating staff and volunteers on child abuse risks
- is committed to promoting cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, cultural safety for children from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and to providing a safe environment for children with a disability
- considers the needs of same sex attracted and intersex children and young people, and recognises gender diversity in providing a safe environment.
UNIQ YOU requires all staff to uphold these commitments. The company has specific policies, procedures and training in place to achieve these commitments.
The following values reflect the culture that we are committed to promoting within our organisation:
- freedom to express own thoughts and feelings
- support to try new things and build confidence
- respect in each other and facilitators
- inclusion for all participants
STATEMENT OF RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Individuals and organisations who engage with UNIQ YOU can expect to:
- Have their rights and responsibilities explained, including mechanisms of complaint and redress.
- Be satisfied that all engagement with UNIQ YOU will occur in a manner that is ethical and transparent.
- Be treated with respect and dignity.
- Understand the evidence base and best practice principles that we work from, and the limits of this evidence base, where they exist.
- Work collaboratively with us.
- Have their privacy and confidentiality respected
- Provide feedback (compliments, suggestions and complaints) about UNIQ YOU and have this feedback dealt with fairly and promptly, without compromising their right to support.
- Contribute to and participate in the development and evaluation of our service
- Withdraw from and re-engage with UNIQ YOU at any time they wish.
Individuals and organisations who engage with us have the following responsibilities:
- Provide UNIQ YOU with the information necessary for the provision of appropriate support and advice. Failure to disclose necessary information may impact our ability to provide an appropriate service.
- Make decisions that affect them, and/or their school/organisation where authorised to do so, and be accountable for the consequences of these decisions
- Ensure that their workplace is a safe and healthy place for our facilitators. This includes ensuring our facilitators receive appropriate site inductions and/or information regarding safety and organisational expectations, and notifying us of any incidents/events involving our staff.
When engaging with individuals and organisations, UNIQ YOU staff expect to:
- Be treated with respect and dignity.
- Work in a safe and healthy environment.
- Withdraw service if their health, wellbeing and/or safety is compromised.
UNIQ YOU values all feedback (compliments, suggestions and complaints) about the services we provide. This feedback is used to continually improve the quality of our service, and ensure that our participants and service providers are receiving appropriate care and engagement. You can provide feedback about your service experience in a number of ways:
- In person or via telephone to a UNIQ YOU staff member.
- On the UNIQ YOU website through the Contact Us page
All feedback will be dealt with fairly and promptly, in accordance with relevant UNIQ YOU policies and procedures. Any feedback you provide will not compromise your engagement with UNIQ YOU.
UNIQ YOU routinely collects and stores information that is provided to us to ensure that we can provide organisations with appropriate support and advice. If any personal information is collected, it is managed according to the Australian Privacy Principles, pursuant to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), and relevant state or territory legislation. We will only use personal information for the purpose for which it was collected unless:
- You have consented to its use for another purpose.
- You would reasonably expect it to be used for a related purpose (or if the information is sensitive information, for a directly related purpose).
- It is permitted or required by law.
We will not disclose this information to any third parties without your consent, unless permitted or required to do so by law. Where appropriate, you will be informed of this process.
CODE OF CONDUCT
UNIQ YOU is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people. Our company recognises the importance of, and a responsibility for, ensuring our company is a safe, supportive and enriching environment which respects and fosters the dignity and self-esteem of children and young people, and enables them to thrive in their learning and development.
This Code of Conduct aims to protect children and reduce any opportunities for child abuse or harm to occur. It also assists in understanding how to avoid or better manage risky behaviours and situations. It is intended to complement child protection legislation, Department policy and professional standards, codes of ethics as these apply to staff and other personnel.
The CEO and facilitators of UNIQ YOU will support implementation and monitoring of the Code of Conduct, and will plan, implement and monitor arrangements to provide inclusive, safe and orderly online career guidance sessions and other learning environments.
The CEO and facilitators of UNIQ YOU will also provide information and support to enable the Code of Conduct to operate effectively. All staff, contractors, volunteers and any other member of the company involved in child related work are required to comply with the Code of Conduct by observing expectations for appropriate behaviour below.
The Code of Conduct applies in all UNIQ YOU situations, including the use of digital technology and social media.
The following Code Of Conduct includes an Individual’s Commitment to the Code of Conduct, as well as comprehensive information regarding risk management processes for the following categories:
- Supervision of Children in an Online Environment
- Behaviour Management
- Photography Policy
- Use of Technology and Social Media
- Dress, Attire and Sun Safety
- Bullying, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
- Confidentiality of Information
Individual’s Commitment to the Code of Conduct
All paid and unpaid staff, including volunteers, interns or trainees of UNIQ YOU are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who engage with UNIQ YOU. All paid and unpaid staff are expected to act in accordance with this Code of Conduct in their physical and online interactions with children and young people under the age of 18 years.
- Act in accordance with UNIQ YOU’s child safety and wellbeing policies and procedures at all times.
- Behave respectfully, courteously and ethically towards children and their families, educators and towards other staff.
- Listen and respond to the views and concerns of children, particularly if they communicate (verbally or nonverbally) that they do not feel safe or well.
- Promote the human rights, safety and wellbeing of all children in UNIQ YOU.
- Demonstrate appropriate personal and professional boundaries.
- Consider and respect the diverse backgrounds and needs of children.
- Create an environment that promotes and enables children’s participation and is welcoming, culturally safe and inclusive for all children and their educator.
- Wear attire that is professional in nature when engaging a call.
- Engage in online calls with a professionally suitable background/image.
- Contribute, where appropriate, to UNIQ YOU’s policies, discussions, learning and reviews about child safety and wellbeing.
- Identify and mitigate risks to children’s safety and wellbeing as required by UNIQ YOU’s risk assessment and management policy or process.
- Respond to any concerns or complaints of child harm or abuse promptly and in line with UNIQ YOU’s policy and procedure for receiving and responding to complaints.
- Report all suspected or disclosed child harm or abuse as required by the Child Protection Act 1999 and by UNIQ YOU’s policy and procedure on internal and external reporting.
- Comply with UNIQ YOU’s protocols on communicating with children.
- Comply with the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) and UNIQ YOU’s policies and procedures on record keeping and information sharing.
I Will not:
- Engage in any unlawful activity with or in relation to a child.
- Engage in any activity that is likely to physically, sexually or emotionally harm a child.
- Initiate unnecessary physical contact with children or exhibit behaviours with children which may be construed as inappropriate.
- Conduct a sexual relationship with a child or young person or indulge in any form of sexual contact with a child or young person.
- Engage in open discussions of a mature nature in the presence of children
- Discriminate against any child or their family members, including because of age, gender, race, culture, vulnerability, sexuality, ethnicity or disability.
- Be alone with a child unnecessarily.
- Put children at risk of abuse (for example, by allowing unnecessary one-adult/one-child encounters to occur).
- Develop inappropriate relationships with children or young people.
- Display violent behaviour towards a child.
- Arrange personal contact, including online contact, with children I am working with for a purpose unrelated to UNIQ YOU’s activities.
- use any computer, mobile phone, or video and digital camera to exploit or harass children or expose children to offensive or sexualised content.
- Disclose personal or sensitive information about a child, including images of a child, unless the child and their parent or legal guardian consent or unless I am required to do so by UNIQ YOU’s policy and procedure on reporting.
- Use inappropriate, offensive, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning, culturally inappropriate or discriminatory language when speaking with, or in the presence of, a child or young person
- Work with children while under the influence of alcohol or prohibited drugs.
- Ignore or disregard any suspected or disclosed child harm or abuse.
If I think this Code of Conduct has been breached by another person in UNIQ YOU I will:
- Act to prioritise the best interests of children.
- Take actions promptly to ensure that children are safe.
- Promptly report any concerns to my manager, the Chief Executive Officer or another manager or leader in UNIQ YOU
- Follow UNIQ YOU’ policies and procedures for receiving and responding to complaints and concerns.
- Comply with all legislative requirements on reporting, if relevant, and with UNIQ YOU’ policy and procedure on internal and external reporting
Supervision of Children in an Online Environment
The following information pertains specifically to UNIQ YOU staff and Educators at participating schools.
At its most basic level, supervision helps to protect children from harm and hazards that may arise in their daily experiences. Adequate supervision means that an adult can respond immediately, including when a child is distressed or is in a hazardous situation.
Supervision is constantly observing and relating to individual children and groups of children to contribute to their safety, health and wellbeing. It involves more than preventing or responding to potential or actual harm and hazards. It requires UNIQ YOU staff to be actively involved with children and have knowledge of what each child is doing at any given time of the day.
Consistent with their duty of care to students, Educators are required to adequately supervise students when using digital technology in the classroom. Educators should have measures in place to ensure students are appropriately supervised when engaged in online learning. Such measures might include:
- moving around the room to regularly monitor screens
- installing remote access software that enables teacher access to individual students’ 1 to 1 learning device used in class
- actively reinforcing learning and behavioural expectations during the activity
This will support our service to achieve and deliver a high quality program that engages with children to get the best possible outcomes for them.
Educators and Industry Advisors must have a sound understanding of their duty of care and responsibilities in ensuring children are within a safe environment.
Behaviour Management (Ethical Standards of Behaviour)
UNIQ YOU has high expectations of staff, volunteers and participants. The following clearly outlines the behaviour management policies of UNIQ YOU and how staff and volunteers are expected to manage challenging behaviours in accordance with the code of conduct
Keep in mind the children and youth UNIQ YOU have as participants are young and sensitive. Behaviour, language in particular, can be misinterpreted as children have different comprehensive skills due to their development or age. It is the responsibility of UNIQ YOU staff and volunteers to ensure clarity and a supportive tone is used at all times.
Appropriate (GSF staff and volunteers must)
Inappropriate (GSF staff and volunteers must not)
We promote a safe, happy and inclusive environment at our events at all times. We do not tolerate any exclusive or hurtful behaviour, and staff and volunteers are to be respectful to participants, their parents or legal guardians and other staff or volunteers.
Any concerns about unacceptable behaviour that has been conducted by UNIQ YOU staff for volunteers must be reported to UNIQ YOU Company director who will follow this up with appropriate disciplinary action and have the incident recorded on their file.
Dealing with participant bad behaviour
It is not UNIQ YOU policy to apply disciplinary action in the event of bad behaviour being conducted by a participant in an online career guidance call.
If a participant is seen to be exhibiting bad behaviour, for example they are acting aggressively or dangerously, are disrespectful of rules or UNIQ YOU staff or volunteers or inappropriate in any way, the Educator will immediately halt the call, isolate the child in question and contact their parents, in addition to the CEO and Chair, to ensure they are aware of the situation.
The CEO will make a record of the incident and follow up any further discussion or actions.
UNIQ YOU has the following expectations for staff and volunteers outlining when and how to take appropriate photographs of participants taking part in online calls, for the purposes of appropriately documenting or publicising the events, in circumstances where it would be appropriate to take photographs or videos of a child or young person while participating in activities.
Advisor Volunteers or Educators must not take photographs, screenshots or recordings of children participating in the UNIQ YOU service at any time.
UNIQ YOU staff are only allowed to distribute or publish any photos or videos after obtaining written approval from the CEO or an officially appointed officer. At no point in time can any identifying information about a child be disclosed or included in any publishing of any photograph, including tagging or mentions on social media.
The following guidelines are to be adhered to in relation to the use of photographs or videos (including on social media), for example:
- Checking when it is appropriate to publish a photograph of a child or young person.
- ensuring children are appropriately clothed and the photos are appropriate for the accompanying article or advertisement.
- limiting, where possible, the ability for photographs to be copied or redistributed by removing Share or tagging functions.
All UNIQ YOU content that is generated as posts on social media or advertisements on websites must be approved prior to publishing by the CEO who will ensure it’s appropriateness.
Issues which arise from inappropriate usage of electronic devices or inappropriate conduct on social media can take any of the following forms:
- developing inappropriate relationships with children or young people
- arranging personal contact, including online contact, with children you are working with for a purpose unrelated to UNIQ YOU’ activities.
- the use of any computer, mobile phone, or video and digital camera to exploit or harass children or expose children to offensive or sexualised content
- disclosure of personal or sensitive information about a child, including images of a child, unless the child and their parent or legal guardian consent or unless required to do so by law or UNIQ YOU’s policy and procedure on reporting.
- the use of inappropriate, offensive, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning, culturally inappropriate or discriminatory language toward a child or young person on social media platforms or web forums.
Any inappropriate usage of electronic devices or conduct on social media by participants, staff or volunteers is to be reported to the CEO who will address it directly with the participant, staff member or volunteer.
Dress and Attire
UNIQ YOU staff and volunteers are expected to dress professionally and appropriately for the purpose of conducting an online video call with children participants and their Educators.
All UNIQ YOU staff and volunteers must wear clothing and footwear appropriate to their role and activity in accordance with Workplace Health and Safety requirements.
While interpretation of dress standards is a personal issue, it is recommended that staff do not wear revealing clothing (eg. low cut tops, short skirts or shorts) or ripped clothing, clothing depicting contentious words and/or graphics, or excessive body piercing. Shoe-string or strapless tops and clothes where the midriff is clearly in view are not considered appropriate clothing. Shirts with buttons and/or collar are preferred.
Industry Advisor Volunteers and Educators must be conscious of what appears in the background of a video call.
It is recommended that video calls take place in a quiet area with a plain background. Background images, whether physical or virtual, should be professional and appropriate for the purpose of conducting an online video call with children participants.
Bullying, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
UNIQ YOU has a zero tolerance policy on bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment of participants, UNIQ YOU staff or volunteers.
Bullying behaviour may include but are not limited to, for example, any of the following types of behaviour:
- aggressive or intimidating conduct
- belittling or humiliating comments
- spreading malicious rumours
- teasing, practical jokes or ‘initiation ceremonies’
- exclusion from activities or events
- unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a participant or staff member’s skill level
- displaying offensive material
- pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner
- withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
- setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
- denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the participant or staff member
Any instances of the bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment of participants, UNIQ YOU staff or volunteers needs to be reported to the CEO who will undertake any appropriate interviews to clarify the situation and document the incident (whether actual or perceived) as a report to be stored on the UNIQ YOU google drive.
Confidentiality of information
All employed UNIQ YOU staff members are required to sign an NDA upon commencement of their employment or event. All volunteers engage with the company under the proviso that they understand that any personal information shared with them is confidential.
UNIQ YOU handles sensitive information such as contact details and information regarding children under the age of 18. It is therefore an expectation that this content is under no circumstances shared or made public and that all passwords and security or logon information is kept confidential at all times.
Under the suspicion that there has been a breach of confidentiality for any children or participants of UNIQ YOU events the CEO is to be contacted immediately.
Use of relevant forms for documentation
For any notification or breach of the Code of Conduct that requires reporting UNIQ YOU staff and volunteers are to follow the correct protocols for doing so and use the forms made available to them on the UNIQ YOU Google drive, website or email.
Other documents relating to the Code of Conduct
- Managing Breaches Plan
- Procedure for handling disclosure or Suspicions of Harm
RECRUITMENT, SELECTING, TRAINING & MANAGING STAFF
The quality and safety of UNIQ YOU (UNIQ YOU) rests on the quality of our employees and volunteers. It is therefore imperative that we have robust recruitment, training and management practices for the employees and volunteers who serve in the organisation.
All aspects of this policy surrounding the recruitment, selecting, training & managing staff are governed by the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act).
Recruitment Process for Permanent/Contracting Staff
Our recruitment processes require applications, interviews and reference checking. Paid roles are advertised on Seek.com while volunteer roles are promoted through our existing communication channels and word of mouth. Position descriptions include the skill recruitments for the role, along with any mandatory training expectations. They also outline the Mission, Vision and Values of UNIQ YOU.
Candidates are selected based on their suitability to the role advertised, in addition to meeting the following criteria:
- Current cardholders of the Queensland Blue Card, and are not considered a Disqualified Person
- They have disclosed their criminal record information
Recruitment Process for Volunteers
Through the creation of Sponsor Partnerships, Industry Coordinators nominate their employees/contractors to become a Volunteer Industry Advisor.
Once nominated, an online screening interview will take place between the Volunteer Coordinator and the Volunteer, to assess suitability.
Induction & Training
Employees and volunteers complete an induction process on commencement that includes mandatory training regarding our child protection policies and practices. This training includes the signs of abuse/harm and how to respond to disclosures. Volunteer performance is reviewed at the completion of every call and issues of concern or development needs are noted and addressed as needed. Induction records of employees and volunteers are kept on file. All Annual Review records for every permanent employee are kept on file.
UNIQ YOU recognizes the importance of responding to disclosures and suspicions of harm in a deliberate, transparent and timely manner.
Probation periods for ongoing, permanent paid roles are for the standard 6 months. Contract or seasonal roles, including volunteer roles, have a probation period of 3 months.
Policies & Performance
The UNIQ YOU Code of Conduct and UNIQ YOU Child Protection Policy is published on the UNIQ YOU website.
Advisor Volunteer Performance is reviewed at the completion of every online call, with any issues of concern or development needs being noted and addressed as required.
Employee Performance is reviewed annually.
At the end of employment
Upon resignation or termination of an employee an Exit Interview is conducted and an Exit Interview Form completed. This is to make notes and capture critical feedback to potentially incorporate into the organisation’s management or policies.
The following steps are addressed when recruiting employees.
- Creation of a position description
- Development of selection criteria
- Advertising the position
- Selection of appropriate candidate via interview
- Referee Checks
- Probationary Period of Employment
- Induction Program
- Monitoring training requirements
- Goal Setting
- Exit Interviews / Questionnaires
Volunteer Industry Advisor recruitment is addressed by the completion of the following steps.
- Industry Coordinator nominates potential Volunteer Advisors.
- Volunteer Advisors participate in an online interview with the UNIQ YOU Advisor Coordinator.
- Volunteers are advised of their successful/unsuccessful completion
- Onboarding completed
- Review of participation
COMING SOON: PROCEDURES FOR HANDLING DISCLOSURES OR SUSPICIONS OF HARM
MANAGING BREACHES OF RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY PLAN
UNIQ YOU is committed to managing breaches of our Risk Management Strategy with integrity and thoroughness.
We recognise that a breach can occur through the action or inaction of an employee or volunteer in the organisation.
It is further recognised that a breach may arise due to a person not being aware of their obligations and/or being confused on what course of action they should have taken.
We also recognise that our prompt response to a breach is critical to ensure the on-going safety of everyone involved in the organisation.
For this reason our employees and volunteers complete training in regards to our child protection practices at commencement of their service. This training encourages them to report any breaches and possible breaches of our strategy.
Breaches are reviewed on a case by case basis by the relevant supervisor and escalated as warranted. We liaise with the relevant governing bodies as needed. Where criminal activity is suspected we immediately involve the authorities.
Our response to a breach varies depending on the situation and can include additional training, supervision, and suspension of service or termination of engagement.
We record all breaches in the personal file of the employee or volunteer involved.
COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE BLUE CARD SYSTEM
UNIQ YOU has a number of Blue Card procedures in place that set the guidelines for who requires a Working with Children clearance (Blue Card), and the management of Blue Card applications, renewals, cancellations and change of details.
A detailed Blue Card register is maintained via the Blue Card Services Organisation Portal. The portal register tracks the Blue Card history and current compliance of all volunteers and employees. Audits of compliance are completed and the results recorded in the Blue Card Register.
Volunteer compliance with the Blue Card requirements is reviewed prior to every company excursion or camp.
The UNIQ YOU Child Protection Policy and UNIQ YOU Standards of Behaviour Policy are published on the UNIQ YOU website.
- UNIQ YOU Child Protection Policy
- UNIQ YOU Blue Card Procedures
- Position Descriptions
- Blue Card Register
STRATEGIES FOR COMMUNICATION AND SUPPORT
A child and youth risk management strategy is most effective when it has been successfully communicated to all people involved with an organisation. At UNIQ YOU we encourage parents/carers, employees, volunteers, children and young people to be actively involved in developing our organisation’s policies and procedures. This will then build a culture which recognises and values the importance of upholding safeguards for Children.
An effective strategy for communication and support will:
- ensure that all people in our organisation are aware of their responsibilities and understand what is acceptable behaviour for interacting with children
- enable people to feel comfortable addressing issues of concern
- highlight the importance of our organisation’s commitment to protecting the safety and wellbeing of children, and
- reduce the likelihood of breaches of our risk management strategy.
Strategies for communication and support include:
- written information for parents, employees and volunteers that includes details of our organisation’s risk management strategy or where the strategy can be accessed; and
- training materials for employees and volunteers which
- help identify risks of harm and how to handle disclosures or suspicions of harm; and
- outline our organisation’s risk management strategy.
UNIQ YOU aims to communicate our child and youth protection strategy to all people involved in the organisation. Our organisation is committed to:
- Provide compulsory induction covering the risk management policies and procedures for all paid employees and volunteers.
- Deliver regular information sessions for people involved with UNIQ YOU in relation to our risk management strategy.
- Implement specific strategies to encourage the participation of children and young people to make sure they understand how to keep themselves safe and what to do if they feel unsafe.
- Provide information about the various policies and procedures on our website, in our newsletter or other publications, and seek input and feedback.
- Utilise bulletin boards and posters (e.g. with our code of conduct) to visually promote our organisation’s commitment to safe and supportive environments for children and young people.
- Provide a copy of our risk management strategy (or information about where it can be accessed) as part of any resources we provide to people (e.g. staff handbook/induction materials, parent/carer handbook, handbook for children and young people).
- Schedule regular and mandatory training for staff in relation to the various policies and procedures which make up our strategy, with a particular focus on managing disclosures or suspicions of harm.
- Consider if there are any aspects of our strategy which can be incorporated within professional development and performance plans.
- Subscribe to relevant industry journals and training materials for staff.
- Provide relevant individuals with information to understand their obligations as a blue card holder.
UNIQ YOU encourages all feedback generated as complaints, compliments or suggestions. Feedback received from parents/carers, employees, volunteers, children and young people is used to raise awareness of strength and areas for improvement, and identify actions to be taken to improve the performance.
We use an email firstname.lastname@example.org to capture feedback from participants, their parents and others who have been involved with UNIQ YOU events. Once feedback has been received it is recorded and incorporated into our internal policies and strategies, as required.
Support for staff and volunteers
UNIQ YOU staff and volunteers may at times require support to deal with issues such as behaviour management, stress, conflict, bullying including cyberbullying, child protection concerns, breaches of the risk management strategy and dealing with disclosures or suspicions of harm.
If staff concerns are not addressed effectively, our organisation’s ability to provide a safe and supportive environment for children and young people may be affected. Therefore, it is extremely important to actively communicate the types of support services offered by UNIQ YOU.
The support channels offered by our organisation are:
- Appointment of workplace health and safety officer.
- Partnering with external support and counselling services, such as Headspace Taringa.
- Mediation or other alternative conflict resolution techniques.
- Providing additional training.