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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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Safeguarding on the Parliamentary Estate

Safeguarding is everyone's business. This page sets out Parliament's policy for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, including the responsibilities and arrangements for putting it into effect.

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Background

In July 2015 the House of Commons Service and House of Lords Administration contracted Barnardo’s to carry out a review of its safeguarding practices and procedures. This was with a view to coordinating and strengthening our existing arrangements for dealing with children and vulnerable adults who visit Parliament or engage with our outreach activities.

Barnardo’s produced a report of findings with recommendations, which have been taken forward by the House of Commons Executive Committee and the House of Lords Management Board.

This led to the appointment of a Safeguarding Board for Parliament to oversee the implementation of the recommendations in the report and to ensure that appropriate safeguarding practices and procedures are in place.

Policy statement

The commitment of the two Houses to safeguarding is set out in the following policy statement:

Within the Houses of Parliament, we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults, both during visits to the Parliamentary Estate, and when our staff engage with them in the community. We are committed to providing a safe environment and ensuring that we can confidently and competently fulfil our safeguarding responsibilities.
Our management and governance arrangements are necessarily complex, but our line management structures are plain, robust and well understood, and good practice in relation to safeguarding cuts through any complexity, by making safeguarding a line management responsibility.

Definitions

'Safeguarding' means:

  • The actions taken to promote the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and protect them from harm.

'Children' refers to:

  • Children up to the age of 18 years.

‘Vulnerable adults’ refers to:

  • A person aged 18 years or over, who is in receipt of or may be in need of, support or care services by reason of learning or physical disability, age or illness and who may be unable to take care of him or herself, against exploitation or harm.

Policy commitment

It is the policy of the responsible authorities as set out below to:

  • Ensure that all adults who work for or on behalf of the Houses of Parliament including those adults who use the facilities provided on site, are clear about their responsibility to safeguard and promote the well-being of all children and vulnerable adults who visit the Parliamentary Estate, whenever and wherever they are in a position to do so.
  • Ensure that all adults who work for or on behalf of the Houses of Parliament and undertake work within the wider community outside the Parliamentary Estate are also clear about their responsibility to safeguard and promote the well-being of all children and vulnerable adults, whenever and wherever they are in a position to do so.
  • Act in accordance with the relevant legislation and statutory guidance for the protection of children and vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure that all working practices are regularly reviewed from a safeguarding perspective to ensure that the welfare and safety of children and vulnerable adults is not compromised.

How we will fulfill our safeguarding responsibilities

  • Establishing a Safeguarding Board
  • Identifying named Safeguarding Leads
  • Ensuring the Safeguarding Board has access, as required, to independent advice and guidance
  • Implementing clear procedures
  • Ensuring that adults are clear about expected codes of conduct where contact with children or vulnerable adults is concerned
  • Implementing an effective system for recording and management of information
  • Providing effective management, support or supervision, and training of staff in relation to safeguarding

The safeguarding policy is supported by other organisational policies and procedures aimed at promoting safe and healthy working practices.

People and their responsibilities

The policy places specific responsibilities on the following:

  • The Clerk of the Parliaments and the Clerk of the House
  • The House of Lords Management Board and the House of Commons Executive Committee
  • Directors (in the Commons and the Digital Service) and Heads of Office (in the Lords)
  • Director of Parliamentary Procurement and Commercial Services
  • Managers
  • Safeguarding Lead(s)
  • All staff (especially those who have contact with children and/or vulnerable adults)

The policy does not apply to Members of either House or their staff.

Safeguarding arrangements

The effective management of identified or emerging risks to children or vulnerable adults requires a systematic approach and a strong supportive culture. The policy is underpinned by links to appropriate authorities with guidance & legislative frameworks to support its implementation.

Checking and reviewing the effectiveness of this policy

The Clerk of the Parliaments and the Clerk of the House together with the Safeguarding Board need to be assured that this Safeguarding Policy remains fit for purpose, has been implemented, and is achieving the right level of response to identify, respond to and manage risks in practice.

Health and wellbeing service

This central advisory and support service is part of the Corporate Services Team (Commons) and their involvement with the Safeguarding Board will help ensure the implementation of the policy.

Feedback

We welcome constructive feedback on our policy and the work we're carrying out. If you would like to share feedback, please email the the Safeguarding team on safeguarding@parliament.uk

Concerns about child, young person or adult at risk

If you are worried that a child, young person or adult at risk is in immediate danger, call the emergency services on 999.

For any other concerns or requests for information, one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads will reply to your email as soon as possible.

Accessibility

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We welcome all visitors to UK Parliament and continue to work towards greater accessibility.

Security information

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To ensure that UK Parliament remains a safe and accessible place for those who work at or visit the Parliamentary Estate, we have implemented a number of security measures.

Security information to note before and during your visit