Pact is committed to providing high quality services which are delivered in as safe a way as is reasonably practicable for staff, volunteers, service users and the public. We recognise that it is impossible to eradicate risk, and we therefore share a responsibility to one another to minimise the risk of harm.

This policy sets out the commitments, organisation and arrangements put in place by Pact for assessing and managing the potential risks of lone working   and should be read in conjunction with Pact’s Health and Safety Policy and Personal Safety Guidance.

Through the implementation of this policy, Pact seeks to ensure that any risks that may be associated with lone working can be identified, evaluated and controlled insofar as is reasonably practicable.

 

PACT GROUP

Unless otherwise stated, Pact Group policies apply equally across Pact and Pact Futures CIC. For ease, where “Pact” is used this represents both Pact and Pact Futures.

 

WHO THIS POLICY APPLIES TO

The policy sets out the framework to manage lone working and applies to all employees, casual workers and volunteers in Pact, referred to throughout as “Pact People”. Some elements of this policy are directed to employees and workers only and where appropriate will explicitly say so.

 

1. Lone Working - Definition

For the purposes of this policy Pact defines lone working as:

‘Any situation or location in which someone works without a colleague nearby; or when someone is working out of sight or earshot of another colleague’.

The term tends to be associated with ‘community’ or ‘outreach workers’ who, because of their job roles, are mobile, work by themselves without close and direct supervision, and often outside regular working hours. However, staff and volunteers who work within prison, or prison visitors centres or other premises can still be classified as Lone Workers even where there may be individuals from other partner agencies working within relative close proximity.

The risks associated with lone working include an increased vulnerability to physical assault (or the threat of physical assault) and verbal abuse because staff do not have access to the immediate support of their colleagues when they are faced with difficult or hostile situations. There is also the potential risk of service users attempting to manipulate or condition staff/volunteers who are working alone with them. However, it is important that these risks are not over-exaggerated, as this can have a detrimental effect, by engendering an unnecessary perception of fear amongst staff that is disproportionate to reality.

By the very nature of their work, Lone Workers need to be provided with additional support, management and training to deal with increased risks, as well as being enabled and empowered to take a greater degree of responsibility for their own safety and security. Pact recognises the need for safety procedures and practices to be relevant and workable in each service and team and it is the responsibility of every manager where their staff undertake lone working to ensure that the procedures which are in place, are applied and adhered to and regularly reviewed.

Staff may find themselves undertaking lone working in a variety of settings, which may include:

  • Work ‘alone’ in any given situation without direct access to other colleagues or immediate on-site support
  • Travel alone or with service users, using own vehicle, public transport and/or on foot to and from any location.
  • Work alone at Pact sites ‘after hours’

  1. Roles and Responsibilities

The Chief Executive of Pact Group and the Managing Director of Pact Futures have delegated over-arching responsibility for strategic health and safety management from the Board of Trustees for Pact and Board of Directors for Pact Futures.

Recognising the majority of staff impacted are services staff, the Director of Services of Pact Group holds the overarching responsibility for operational activities and overseeing the implementation of this policy and that its effectiveness is monitored. The policy is implemented through distributed responsibility to all senior managers, managers, employees and others through the normal line management processes.

  • More widely Pact’s Senior Leadership Team will ensure mechanisms are in place:
  • To ensure any risk to a person’s safety is adequately controlled, and reduced to the lowest level which is reasonably practicable
  • To ensure, where necessary, that appropriate risk assessments and risk reduction methods are in place
  • To inform all Pact People of the lone working policy
  • To ensure that this policy is adhered to by Pact People and that resources are available to ensure effective implementation
  • Head of Service, Service Manager and other line managers will ensure that:

 

  • Appropriate resources are allocated to adequately control risks associated with personal safety and lone working that are identified in the risk assessment process, including the provision of suitable information, instruction, training and supervision for staff.
  • The procedures and guidelines identified in this policy are adhered to and that arrangements are monitored following incidents relating to personal safety and lone working.
  • Appropriate arrangements are in place to:
    • Manage the risk of lone working
    • Establish systems for communication, local initiatives and tracking of staff whereabouts. This could include clear escalation routes by site to raise concerns, access to rotas where shift patterns are worked to ensure staff and volunteers know who is available and what agreed support arrangements with other agencies to manage lone working.
    • Manage and control the risks through preventative measures
    • Respond to any changes in risk levels due to specific incidents within a workplace or individual risk assessments for service users i.e. cessation of wing working for an appropriate period, allocation of a male mentor or dual working for a mentoring relationship.
  • Actively support and promote health and safety related training, including risk assessment.
  • Ensure staff attend all appropriate training, including refresher and update courses.
  • All accidents and incidents (including near misses) are reported and Accident and Incident Report forms completed in accordance with Pact’s guidance and procedures.
  • Ongoing monitoring to ensure that progress is being made and that good practice is shared.
  • Information is shared within Pact and with external services as appropriate in line with our risk assessments of identifiable potential risk to staff and volunteers to ensure they are aware that withholding information about an identified risk, or knowingly place any person at risk by their acts or omissions, is unacceptable.All employees must further ensure that they will:
  • Staff and Volunteer Responsibilities have a general duty to take reasonable care of their own safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions.
  • Co-operate with Pact to enable it to meet its obligations in respect of the arrangements to remove or minimise associated risks related to lone working.
  • Be vigilant and ensure that any known or identified risks are immediately reported to their line manager as a minimum requirement. To be aware that withholding information about an identified risk, or knowingly place any person at risk by their acts or omissions, is unacceptable.
  • Take all reasonable precautions to ensure their own safety. This includes taking decisions to remove themselves from situations where they perceive a threat or unacceptable risk, even if this means leaving Pact equipment behind.
  • Carry out their work in accordance with the provisions of the risk assessments and make full and proper use of the control measures identified.
  • Follow the safe systems of work identified in local areas and inform their line managers of any changes necessary, including identified training needs.
  • Act in such a way as to prevent the escalation of any risk associated with lone working.
  • To be aware of the Out of Hours arrangements and the details of the on-call rota for Designated Officers so that immediate contact can be made in the event of an emergency.
  • Report any accident or incident in accordance with the provisions of the Accident and Incident reporting procedures.
  • Attend health and safety related training, including risk assessment and any other appropriate courses or coaching which may be offered such as conflict resolution and de-escalation training, including refresher and update courses as identified.

 

  1. Monitoring, Audit and Review

The effectiveness of this policy will be assessed by trend analysis of local incident reporting and follow-up action of incidents involving lone working. Accident and incident reports will be analysed by the Director of Services and Director of HR on a monthly basis, and quarterly reports presented to Pact’s Health and Safety Committee. Reports and analysis will be provided to Pact’s CEO , DCEO and trustees, and reporting by variation will be undertaken including lessons learnt/evaluation as appropriate.

The key to preventative action is a profound understanding of how and why incidents occur and to learn from that understanding. Action plans will be developed and lessons learnt will be identified to minimise the risk of reoccurrence.

Pact’s Health and Safety Committee will monitor the performance and implementation of the policy annually. The policy will be reviewed on a 3 yearly rolling cycle unless legislative or operational needs dictate otherwise. This will provide a measurement of performance and ensure adequate processes and structures are in place, as well as continuing compliance with national guidelines and current practice.