Skip to main content
PErformer in a red T-Shirt with a darkened background looks up and reaches both of her arms straight up

Northern Ballet Safeguarding Policy: Adults at Risk

Updated August 2023 by Leanne Kirkham and Annemarie Donoghue.


Northern Ballet is committed to creating and maintaining the safest and most supportive environment possible for all adults at risk that engage with our work. We believe the welfare and happiness of our participants is paramount, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs and/or sexual identity and we aim to provide safe training, participatory and creative opportunities for everyone we work with.

Safeguarding Adults at Risk is the process of protecting adults who may have support or care needs from abuse or neglect. Safeguarding is defined as:

“Protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.”

Care and support statutory guidance, Chapter 14

The Northern Ballet Safeguarding Committee includes a member of The Board of Directors, a Company Director, Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers and Safeguarding Champions. The committee works together to ensure:

  • All safeguarding procedures are regularly reviewed
  • Staff receive up to date training
  • Safety checks are completed
  • Staff adhere to the Northern Ballet’s Safeguarding Code of Conduct

For the purpose of this document ‘staff’ refers to anybody working on behalf of Northern Ballet whether on permanent, temporary or freelance contracts. The term ‘staff’ is also inclusive of apprentices, volunteers and anyone in paid or unpaid work on behalf of Northern Ballet.

Northern Ballet uses the term ‘adult at risk’ to refer to anyone aged 18 years or over; who may need community care services by reason of mental or  other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of themself, or unable to protect themself against significant harm or exploitation.

For the purpose of this document, ‘carer’ refers to anybody who holds caring responsibility for an adult at risk. This could include, but is not limited to, parents, guardians, social workers.

Northern Ballet works with adults at risk in a variety of ways:

  • As members of staff
  • Through the various programmes of training and vocational classes led by the Academy of Northern Ballet
  • Through the programmes and projects delivered by the Learning Department both at Northern Ballet and in educational and community settings
  • Through student work placements across the organisation
  • Through audiences at Northern Ballet’s studio theatre and at the venues where the Company perform
  • Through various digital activities such as viewing performances online

This Safeguarding Policy outlines our Safeguarding Procedures, how to report allegations, and how to respond to, and document disclosures. It refers to, and should be read alongside, all appendices listed on the contents page.

Failure to adhere to this policy will result in disciplinary action as detailed in the Northern Ballet Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure, available in General/Handbook & Policies or from the HR Manager who can be contacted via

Policy Objectives

We have safeguarding objectives to ensure adults at risk feel safe and confident when in the care of Northern Ballet.

Our objectives are

  • Safe organisational ethos
  • Safe environment
  • Safe processes for working with adults at risk
  • Safe staff
  • Safe collection and use of information, and ways of communicating

Policy Principle

There are 6 key principles for safeguarding adults at risk:

  • Empowerment – People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions using informed consent
  • Prevention – It is better to take action before harm occurs
  • Proportionality – The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
  • Protection – Support and representation for those in greatest need
  • Partnerships – Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse
  • Accountability – Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding

In support of these objectives, we are committed to the following:

To achieve a safe organisational ethos

  • We will expect all staff to work within the Staff Code of Conduct (Appendix B) and address any staffing concerns that occur
  • We will provide effective management for all staff through supervision, support, and training in safeguarding where appropriate
  • We will ensure staff are supported with their use of the Whistleblowing Policy
  • We will treat everyone fairly in being able to access Northern Ballet activities and services which meet their needs, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, or beliefs
  • We will share information about safeguarding and good practice with adults at risk, carers, and staff which includes the names of the Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) and Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSO) who can be contacted regarding any issues
  • We will have a safeguarding committee who meet three times per year
  • We will review our policy and practices annually or when legislation changes

To achieve a safe environment

  • We will ensure the welfare and safety of adults at risk, is paramount in all our activities
  • We will listen to adults at risk and take account of what they tell us in making decisions about them
  • We will take all reasonable steps to protect adults at risk from harm, discrimination and degrading treatment
  • We will practice with respect for adults at risk’s rights, wishes and feelings
  • We will regularly assess and review safety risks which arise from premises, activities, equipment, and travel arrangements
  • We will expect organisations and individuals who wish to hire Northern Ballet spaces to comply with Northern Ballet’s Safeguarding Policy

To achieve safe processes

  • We will take all suspicions and allegations of abuse, from inside or outside the organisation, seriously, and respond to them promptly and appropriately
  • We will be clear about everyone’s roles and responsibilities
  • We will implement safeguarding procedures that are compliant with the expectations of the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board
  • We will follow government guidance as set out in the document ‘Care and support statutory guidance’ and amending company procedures where appropriate
  • We will have in place clear arrangements for how we would respond to concerns about the implementation of safeguarding in practice within the organisation

To achieve safe staff

  • We will recruit staff with regard to their suitability for work with adults at risk, including use of Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks, should their role require
  • We will provide staff with guidance and training in their safeguarding role, and ensure they have access to our policies and procedures
  • We will make sure everyone has access to advice on safeguarding in the course of their work
  • We will be clear with everyone what their individual role and responsibility is in safeguarding
  • We will support staff to carry out their role with appropriate supervision

To achieve safe information

  • We will be clear with adults at risk and staff how the things they tell us will be used
  • We will communicate promptly and clearly within Northern Ballet and with external agencies, following the requirements of information and sharing protocols with the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board
  • We will keep good records of our work with adults at risk and of our management of staff’s work
  • We will hold adults at risk’s information in alignment with GDPR guidelines

Policy Monitoring

Designated Safeguarding Leads are responsible for the writing, monitoring and evaluation of Northern Ballet’s safeguarding policies and procedures by:

  • Keeping records of cases brought and their outcomes
  • Regularly monitoring the implementation of safeguarding policies and procedures
  • Learning from practical case experience to inform policy review and changes to safeguarding procedures
  • Accepting comments from participants and staff around the use of safeguarding policies and procedures
  • Consulting participants, staff, and organisations to improve the policy and procedures
  • Updating policies and procedures annually or when legislation changes

Our Safeguarding Team

All staff who work directly with adults at risk at Northern Ballet are trained to respond to safeguarding issues. We also have a dedicated team, The Safeguarding Committee, which includes a Board Level Member, the Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers and the below named Safeguarding Champions.

Designated Safeguarding Leads and Officers receive specialist training to ensure they are equipped and confident in their role to safeguard adults at risk– this includes ongoing training for staff. An up-to-date list of members of the Safeguarding Committee can be requested from Northern Ballet Reception, or you can call Northern Ballet Reception and ask to speak to a member of the Safeguarding Committee.

The Safeguarding Committee

Board Level Member

Elizabeth Jackson

Director Level Member / Designated Safeguarding Lead

Leanne Kirkham
Director of Learning

Designated Safeguarding Lead

Annemarie Donoghue
Academy Graduate & Associate Manager

Designated Safeguarding Officers

Emma Rodriguez-Saona
Open Programme Manager and Student Support Coordinator

Sam Moore
Senior Learning Project Manager

On tour

For any concerns on tour with the company, please refer to the Company Manager

Safeguarding Champions

Will Dawson
Head Receptionist

Martin Smith
Studio Technical Manager

Learning team

Academy team

Pastoral team

Mental Health first aiders

Fiona Heseltine
Executive Assistant

Craig Schofield
Company Physiotherapist

What is Abuse?

Abuse can take many different forms and generally involves elements of a power imbalance. Abuse can be a single incident or a series of ongoing events that cause harm or distress or fail to protect someone from harm.

Recognising abuse is not easy, however Northern Ballet does not consider it the staffs’ responsibility to decide whether abuse has taken place. If staff have any anxieties or concerns with regards to a suspected case of abuse, it is essential that they report this using Northern Ballet’s Procedures (see Appendix A), and then let the appropriate bodies investigate. This applies regardless of whether the concern relates to the behaviour of another staff member, or the possibility that the abuse might be taking place at home or elsewhere.

There are 10 forms of abuse.


Including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint, inappropriate physical sanctions.

In our work, this could involve:

  • inappropriate touching
  • over training or dangerous training
  • failure to assess physical limits, or pre-existing injuries, or medical conditions
  • failure to notice an injury incurred during class and administer appropriate first aid care
  • administering, condoning or failure to intervene in drug use.


Including emotional abuse, threats of harm and abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation and unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services and supportive networks.

In our work, this could involve:

  • exposing an adult at risk to humiliating, taunting or aggressive behaviour or tone
  • demeaning an adult at risk’s efforts by continuous negative feedback
  • failure to intervene where an adult at risk’s self-confidence and worth are challenged or undermined
  • failure to provide specific social media guidance and our expectations for staff communication over social media


Including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, sexual assault, and sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

In our work, this could involve:

  • inappropriate touching
  • provocative choreography
  • creating opportunities to access adults at risk’s bodies.

Neglect and acts of omission

Including ignoring medical, emotional, or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care, support, or educational services, withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, heating, adequate nutrition.

In our work, this could involve:

  • exposing an adult at risk to unnecessary cold or heat
  • exposing an adult at risk to unhygienic conditions, lack of food, water, or medical care
  • non-intervention in bullying or taunting
  • consistently and continually failing to acknowledge, address and teach an adult at risk inside and outside the classroom.

Financial or material

Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements and the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions, or benefits.

In our work, this could involve:

  • failure to be mindful of mental capacity and relevant legislation including roles of Lasting Power of Attorney’s (LPAs) in financial affairs in dealings with supporters
  • failure to be inclusive of individuals whose mental capacity is impacted but who are communicating effectively and to understand changes to this and the legal support in place for the individuals concerned
  • changing of bank details for salary payments to third parties
  • pressure on individuals to pay for goods and services for others


Including harassment and slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and religion.

In our work, this could involve:

  • failure to intervene when an adult as risk is spoken to in an inappropriate manner.


Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or particular care setting, or poor professional practice due to policies, practices, and processes within an organisation.

In our work, this could involve:

  • poor care of and/or communication with an adult at risk because of failure to adhere to the Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy
  • poor care and/or communication with an adult at risk because of lack of staff training and awareness
  • outdated practices and policies
  • not providing fully accessible and inclusive environments for events

Modern Slavery

Including slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.

In our work, this could involve:

  • failure to comply with robust recruitment and people management processes designed to safeguard staff
  • failure to intervene where modern slavery is suspected
  • failure to provide adequate support or signposting


Including not caring for own health, hygiene, or surroundings, hoarding, and not seeking medical support when needed.

Domestic Violence

Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional and honour-based violence.

Reporting a Concern

Abuse may become apparent in a number of ways:

  • through observation
  • a disclosure
  • a third party may have reported an incident, or may have a strong suspicion
  • you may have a suspicion.

If you have a concern regarding an adult at risk or someone reports a concern to you regarding an adult at risk, you should either:

  • Complete an online Cause for Concern Form – Appendix A
  • Phone 0113 220 8000 and ask to speak to a DSL (Designated Safeguarding Leader) or DSO (Designated Safeguarding Officer)
  • Speak directly with a DSL or DSO
  • If the concern relates to the DSL on duty, report to the Executive Director
  • If you believe an adult at risk is in immediate danger and at risk of harm, call the police on 999, and then report to a DSL or DSO

Information will then be passed to a DSL who will safely store the information and decide the next steps. You can ask for an update on your concern but may not know the final outcomes.


Please refer to the Northern Ballet Whistleblowing Policy which can be found in General/Handbook & Policies or from the HR Manager who can be contacted on

Responding to a Disclosure

If a child discloses information to you:

  • listen and reassure
  • record
  • involve the DSL or DSO

Listen and reassure


  • Stay calm – do not rush into inappropriate action
  • Reassure the person that they are not to blame and confirm that you know how difficult it must be to confide
  • Listen to what the person says and show that you take them seriously
  • Keep questions to a minimum – use open ended questions, i.e. those where more than a yes/no response is required. If necessary, repeat their statement back to them in question form to instigate more conversation
  • Ensure that you clearly understand what the person has said so that you can record the conversation accurately
  • Ensure the person understands what will happen next and they are emotionally and physically able to return to the studio/class
  • Maintain confidentiality

Do Not

  • Panic
  • Make promises you can’t keep by explaining that you are not able to keep secrets and may have to tell other people in order to stop what is happening whilst maintaining maximum possible confidentiality
  • Make the person repeat the story unnecessarily
  • Delay


Complete a Cause for Concern incident report form without delay with as much accurate detail as possible. (Appendix A)

Involve the Appropriate People

Disclosures must be reported to a DSL or DSO immediately so a decision can be made as to the most appropriate course of action. On tour, all disclosures must be reported to the Company Manager who will work with the venue’s DSL in response to the disclosure.

The DSL will assess the disclosure and if they suspect that an adult at risk is being, or is at risk of being significantly harmed, they must report this immediately to the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board or Police.

Safe Recruitment

It is vital that we employ the best staff at Northern Ballet. All staff who encounter adults at risk as part of their role need to have characteristics and values that make them safe and suitable to work with adults at risk.

We do this by:

  • Ensuring prospective staff who work with adults at risk as part of their role are subject to criminal record checks (Disclosure Barring Service) and self-declaration
  • Conducting face to face interviews with all short-listed applicants
  • Verifying applicants’ qualifications and experience
  • Gaining references from previous employers
  • Providing staff with an induction to their role (including safeguarding policies and procedures) and accredited safeguarding training where necessary
  • Ensuring all staff complete a probationary period.

For more information, please see Appendix D and Appendix E.