Ulster Society of
Organists and Choirmasters

Est. 1918.

Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults

Ulster Society for Organists and Choirmasters

Version 4.0: March 2016


  1. The Ulster Society of Organists & Choirmasters (USOC) is a voluntary, unincorporated Society, which has no paid persons and no owned premises.
  2. USOC is governed by a Committee elected annually at an AGM: the Committee is chaired by the President of the day, and other office bearers are two Vice-Presidents, Honorary Secretary and an Honorary Treasurer.
  3. The aims of the Society are to –
  • promote high standards in the selection and performance of organ and choral music .
  • uphold the status of the profession and safeguard its interest.
  • promote a wider public interest in organ and choral music.
  1. The following policy recognises the Society’s legal duty of care towards children/young people and vulnerable adults who attend and participate in our events and seeks to protect both them and leaders and volunteers within our Society.
  2. USOC organises between 8 and 10 events per annum for its members. Most of these take place on Saturday afternoons and are held in churches or halls loaned to USOC for the duration of the event. Less frequent events involve a one-day tour or a weekend spent outside Northern Ireland. For all such events, the Society carries public liability insurance.
    NB Children/young people will not be permitted to attend events/trips involving overnight stays without a parent being present.
  3. USOC membership is predominately adult, but we have a small number of members under the age of 18 who attend with their parents’ permission.
  4. USOC operates an open-door policy at most of its events. Members of the public, including young people, are welcome to attend. The Society is keen to encourage young people with an interest in organ and choral music, and therefore individuals or groups of young people may from time to time attend or take part in workshops and other events.
  5. As USOC has a duty of care towards young people and vulnerable adults who attend or participate in our events, a safeguarding policy is required. The following policy takes account of the nature of USOC activities, in particular the fact that contact with young people (mostly older teenagers) and vulnerable adults at USOC events is limited in duration.
  6. USOC does not organise events specifically targeted at children or vulnerable adults. However it occasionally works with other organisations or bodies to run events that may reach out to young people, (eg Royal College of Organists). Where USOC participates in organising events involving children in a supporting role, USOC will confirm that an appropriate safeguarding policy from the other organisation is in place.
  7. To safeguard children and vulnerable adults, USOC will –
  • Put in place a policy for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults including: a policy statement; procedures for dealing with cases of suspected or disclosed abuse; good standards of practice guide.
  • Appoint a designated person and deputy to co-ordinate issues relating to any safeguarding matters involving children or vulnerable adults.
  • Commit to a review of the policy at least every 2 years.
  • Ensure that all USOC committee members and office bearers declare that they have read and understood the USOC policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. This to be recorded in USOC Committee Minutes.
  • Ensure President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Designated Officer & Deputy Designated Officer undergo appropriate Access NI checks and training.
  1. The policy has been written with reference to:
  • The Children (NI) Order 1995
  • A Guide to the Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults (NI) Order 2003 (POCVA), Revised March 2009
  • The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (NI) Order 2007 (POCVA)
  • Safeguarding Children (OFDFM) 2009
  1. USOC will be an ‘Umbrella Group’ under the Taking Care Office of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI), which will provide appropriate vetting and training.
  2. This policy will be forwarded to parents/guardians of young people under 18 years, published on this website and made available to anyone on request.

Rev Dr Ian Mills (President)
November 2019

Policy Statement for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

This policy applies to all members of the Ulster Society of Organists and Choirmasters (USOC) and those who attend or participate at USOC events.

Clarification of Terms

  • A child is a person under 18 years old. Where either children or young people are mentioned in the guidelines, both are intended.
  • A vulnerable adult is anyone aged 18 or over who cannot take care of themselves. This may be because they have a mental health problem, a disability, visual or hearing problems, are old and frail, or are ill.

The purpose of this policy is:

  • To safeguard young people and vulnerable adults who attend events organised by USOC.
  • To provide all members and participants with the overarching principles that guide the USOC approach to safeguarding vulnerable groups.


  • All young people and vulnerable adults have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual.
  • Members of USOC are committed to practice which promotes the welfare of young people and vulnerable adults and protects them from harm.

USOC wil endeavour to safeguard children and vulnerable adults by:

  • Adopting safeguarding practices through Reporting Procedures and Good Standards of Practice Guidance
  • Ensure President, Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Designated Officer & Deputy Designated Officer undergo appropriate Access NI checks and training (through Taking Care office of PCI) and that Committee Members have read and understood the USOC policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults.
  • Encouraging parents/guardians to take an active role in safeguarding their children who participate in USOC events and activities.
    NB Multipurpose Consent Form (Appendix 1) to be completed.
  • Ensuring general safety procedures are adhered to.
  • Reporting concerns to statutory agencies that need to know and involving parents, children and vulnerable adults appropriately.
  • Review our policy and good practice at least every two years.

Anyone concerned or worried about the welfare of a young person or vulnerable adult should contact the designated named person below.

Designated Person/s for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults:

  • Mr Ivan Millen (Designated Officer)
  • Dr Barbara Callender (Deputy Designated Officer)

Good standards of practice guide

This Good Standards of Practice Guide outlines the conduct expected of USOC members and participants at USOC events who engage with children and vulnerable adults through its activities.

Its purpose is to help to protect young people (ie anyone under the age of 18) and vulnerable adults from abuse and inappropriate behaviour towards them. It will also help members of the Society to maintain the standard of behaviour expected of them and will reduce the possibility of unfounded allegations of abuse being made against them.

Breaches should be reported to the Designated Officer/s, (recorded in a Report of Concern Form), and may result in a referral to a statutory agency such as the PSNI or Social Services.

When working with children and vulnerable adults, always:

  • Follow the USOC’s safeguarding policy statement and procedures at all times.
  • Treat young people and vulnerable adults fairly and without prejudice or discrimination.
  • Ensure any contact with young people and vulnerable adults is appropriate in relation to the
    activity organised.
  • Always ensure language is appropriate and not offensive or discriminatory.
  • Ensure that whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities
    with young people or vulnerable adults, or if this isn’t possible, that you are within sight or
    hearing of other adults.
  • Obtain parental permission before using any pictures of a young person for publicity or on a
  • Respect a young person or vulnerable adult’s right to personal privacy.
  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse.

Do not:

  • Allow allegations to go unreported.
  • Allow or engage in inappropriate touching in any form.
  • Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures
    to or in front of young people or vulnerable adults.
  • Allow young people to use inappropriate language unchallenged.
  • Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive.
  • Take unnecessary risks when common sense, policy or practice suggests a more
    prudent approach.
  • Rely on your reputation or that of USOC to protect you.


  • Spending an excessive amount of time with young people away from others.
  • Transporting young people in your own car without express parental permission and another adult present.
  • Emailing, texting or telephoning young people on a one-to-one basis.

‘Communication – not conversation’ is preferable.

Procedure for dealing with cases of suspected or disclosed abuse

A concern about a young person or vulnerable adult may refer to an incident when that person has shown signs of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect or bullying), or there has been a disclosure of abuse by the young person / vulnerable adult or another person. A concern may also refer to inappropriate or difficult behaviour that an adult has shown towards a young person.

All concerns, disclosures and allegations should be recorded and passed to the Designated Officer/s as soon as possible, no matter how insignificant they may seem. If the Designated Officer/s cannot be contacted, members should contact a USOC Office Bearer or Committee Member asap.

In an emergency – if a child is in danger or a suspected criminal offence may have taken place, then the PSNI or Social Services must be informed immediately.

Dealing with disclosure

  • Stay calm – do not panic!
  • Listen to what the child is saying. Do not rush them or ask leading questions.
  • Reassure the child that they have done the right thing in telling.
  • Do not promise to keep secrets – as the child’s welfare is paramount and information must be passed to the Designated Officer.
  • Write down what was said / observed as soon as possible.
  • Try to write the exact words that the child used.
  • Inform the Designated Officer/s without delay or in emergency contact the PSNI.
  • Do not investigate or attempt to deal with the problem alone.

The reporting process

USOC Policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults

Multipurpose Parental Consent Form (Appendix 1)

Download Policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults (PDF File).

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Ulster Society for
Organists and Choirmasters

Est. 1918.