Child Protection

Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE

Child Protection Policy and Procedures

(adopted March 2007)

(reviewed Sept 2016)


Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Statement

COMHALTAS CEOLTÓIRÍ ÉIREANN is an international organisation with many years experience in passing on our cultural traditions to younger generations through music, song, dance and the Irish language.

COMHALTAS fully recognises its responsibilities for Child Protection. Our policy applies to all staff, branch members, volunteers, teachers, etc (hereinafter ALL referred to as “members”) working with the organisation.

As a COMHALTAS member, staff or volunteer it is important to understand that you are in a position of responsibility, authority and trust with respect to the young people you may work with or come in contact with in the course of Comhaltas related activities.

The welfare of children and young people with whom Comhaltas works, their health and well being and their best interests are considered paramount.

Comhaltas members are required to adhere to the Policy, Procedures and Code of Practice in the exercise of their duties.

Our Branch - Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE (RMGR CCE)

Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE (RMCR CCE) has a long and sustained tradition over 30 years of providing instruction in traditional music and song to children, young people and adults.

A strong commitment to each child’s personal and social development and welfare permeates all Branch activities. In all its endeavours, the Branch acknowledges that the welfare of children is paramount.

By assisting children and young people's musical development , working within class groups, developing performance skills and an understanding of their own and others culture and traditions, a powerful and distinct form of communication and self esteem is developed.

Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE aims to establish a caring environment within which the musical, cultural, interpersonal and social potential of each child will be developed. This pastoral dimension permeates all Branch activities.

We recognise and acknowledge our responsibility for the care, welfare and safety of Branch members while in our charge and we will carry out this duty through our Child Protection Policy and Procedures which aim to provide a safe, caring and supportive environment.

Policy Statement

The health, safety and well being of all our children and young people are of paramount importance to all the workers and volunteers who are a part of Comhaltas. Our children have the right to protection, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or disability. They have a right to be safe in all our activities.

In our activities we value our children and young people. A culture of mutual respect between children and those who represent the organisation in all its activities will be encouraged with adults modelling good practice in this context.
Comhaltas recognises that good child protection policies and procedures are of benefit to everyone involved with our work, including staff, branch officers, members and volunteers, as these policies can help protect them from erroneous or malicious allegations.

This policy ensures that all branch members and volunteers are clear about the

actions necessary with regard to child protection issues

We will endeavour to safeguard Children by :-

1.  Establishing a safe environment in which Children can learn, perform and develop

  • Creating an environment where children feel secure, are encouraged to communicate and are listened to.
  • Ensuring children know that there are adults in Comhaltas whom they can approach if they have concerns.
  • Ensuring that adult members of Comhaltas, and other adults working with Comhaltas, possess an understanding of the responsibility placed on the organisation for child protection by stating its obligation in this policy.
  • Adopting child protection guidelines through a code of behaviour for tutors, volunteers, parents and pupils
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children and parents.

2.  Raising awareness of the child protection issues among members and co-workers

·     Ensuring every member in contact with children is aware of this Policy and Procedures/guidelines and are aware of their inherent responsibilities.

·     Provide support and training for tutors and volunteers.

3.  Practising safe recruitment and check the suitability of members

·       Recognising the importance of checking the background of tutors (music, singing, dancing, etc) and others before they are given responsibility to work with children.

·   Following carefully the procedures laid down for recruitment and selection of tutors and volunteers through Access NI.

4.  Implementing Procedures in respect of suspect, alleged or confirmed cases of abuse

·     Recognising that adult members may in some instances have cause for concern. Should the latter occur guidance should be sought from the DLO and liaise with statutory agencies, namely Health and Social Care Trusts, PSNI and NSPCC.

·     Maintaining effective links with the relevant agencies and cooperate with any enquiry regarding child protection matters.

·     Following the correct procedures for those who encounter an issue of child protection.

·     Following child protection procedures where an allegation is made against a member.

·     Reporting concerns to statutory agencies who need to know and involving parents and children appropriately.

Taken together the following elements underpin the procedures:

  • Recognising Signs and Symptoms of Abuse
  • Role of the Designated Officer
  • Reporting Guidelines
  • Good Recruitment and vetting procedures
  • Staff Training
  • Confidentiality
  • Complaints/Grievance Procedure
  • Code of Conduct
  • Methods of Recording Information


Voluntary sector organisations such as Comhaltas have a statutory duty of care for the children and young people to whom we provide services.

The principle, which should inform best practice in child protection, is that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance.

·     The Protection of Children Act 1999

·     The Court Services Act 2000

·     The Care Standard Act 2000

·     Statutory Instrument No. 439 (NI

·     Protection of Children & Vulnerable Adults (NI) Order 2003 (POCVA)

Definitions of Abuse

 The Children (NI) Order 1995 defines abuse under 4 headings:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect

Indicators of Abuse

Although our members will be trained to recognise and report abuse they are not experts.  Under the Children (NI) Order 1995, the relevant Health and Social Services Trust has a statutory duty to ensure the welfare of a child but we have responsibility to provide a safe environment for children by employing people who are suitable to work with, or to have contact with, children and who, if the situation should arise will follow our procedures to report any suspicions of abuse to the relevant Health and Social Care Trusts, PSNI and NSPCC.


Designated Liaison Officer (DLO):

Our Branch will nominate a Designated Liaison Officer (DLO) who has the responsibility for managing child protection issues within the


The Role and Responsibility of the Designated Liaison Officer is to:

  • To implement and promote the Branches Child Protection Policy and Procedures.
  • To act as the main contact for child protection within the branch.
  • To provide information and advice on child protection for the branch


  • To create awareness of the importance of child protection.
  • To keep abreast of developments and understand the most recent information on related issues – data protection, confidentiality, legal and other, that impact on child protection.
  • To encourage good practice and support of the procedures involved.
  • To maintain confidential records of reported cases and the action taken and to liaise with the statutory agencies and ensure that they have access to all necessary information.
  • To regularly monitor and review the branch Policy and Procedures

Reporting Procedures

Procedure for dealing with an allegation of child abuse against a Branch member.

  1. All Branch members should be made aware that allegations can be made and that there is a procedure to deal with that laid down in the Child Protection Policy.
  2. If a member of Comhaltas receives an allegation, he or she must, in the first instance, report allegation to the branch DLO.
  3. If the DLO is unavailable, the Deputy DLO should be contacted.
  4. It is important that the suspicions or allegations are recorded by the DLO.
  5. In cases where an allegation is made, the DLO must report the matter immediately to the relevant authorities, i.e. Health and Social Care Trusts, PSNI and NSPCC.
  6. It is essential that at all times the matter is treated in a confidential manner.
  7. It is NOT the responsibility of the DLO or any other person to find a resolution or discuss the matter with anyone else except the appropriate agencies.
  8. All advice proffered by the Health and Social Care Trusts, PSNI and NSPCC should be strictly adhered to.
  9. From this point on, only the Statutory Authorities should deal with the matter.

Procedure for Reporting Incidents/Concerns regarding Child Protection

  1. RMGR CCE is committed to co-operating fully with Social Services and other agencies to protect children. It is our duty to refer if there is a concern about any form of abuse
  2. If a Branch member has any concerns or suspicions that a child is being abused, he or she must, in the first instance, report to the branch DLO.

    3.    Inappropriate behaviour should also be reported to a Branch adult and to the DLO

  1. Trust your intuition if a pupil in acting inappropriately take action, i.e. share concerns with the DLO and implement measures to reduce risk.
  2. The DLO will record and report the concern as appropriate.

Procedure of reporting accidents and guidelines relating to First Aid

All accidents must be logged into the RMGR CCE accident report book.


Recruitment and Selection Guidelines

 As RMGR CCE uses both paid tutors and unpaid volunteers who may have access to children the following procedures must be adopted:

  • Each tutor/volunteer must fill in an application form;
  • Each tutor/volunteer must be in possession of valid I.D;
  • Where a tutor/volunteers work involves unavoidable substantial access to children then an ACCESSS NI check must be done;
  • Tutors/Volunteers should be offered training and support.


RMGR CCE will ask for references from two referees who are not related to the candidate. The referees must be informed that this post involves working with children and ask about the candidate’s suitability in this context.

Training for Branch members

RMGR CCE needs to ensure that all Branch members are well informed, trained, supervised and supported so that they are less likely to become involved in actions which can be open to misinterpretation or cause harm.

This process should cover the following:

·       Induction – Awareness of Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCEs Child Protection Policy and Code of Behaviour.

·       Clear guidance and instructions.

·       Ongoing support and refresher training



All personal and sensitive details which have been confided to RMGR CCE (re: family situations, personal details etc) will not be talked about or passed on to others without prior consent. 

Information of a confidential nature will only be communicated on a ‘need to know’ basis.


Complaints and Grievance procedure

Anyone interested in joining RMGR CCE will be provided with information about our Branch both verbally and in writing (Appendix 9).  A registration form with all relevant details about the child/young person plus contact numbers, including emergency contact numbers should be completed before the child/young person joins RMGR CCE  (Appendix 10).

In the event of a parent/guardian making a complaint or voicing a concern to a member of the supervisory staff, the complaint/reporting procedure laid down in the child protection policy must be followed. Parents/guardians must be supplied with the relevant contact numbers for RMGR CCE, website and postal address if they wish to contact RMGR CCE in writing.

If a parent/guardian/members is unhappy or concerned about anything involving the organisation the first stage would be to try to resolve the issue informally through dialogue with RMGR CCE – the first point of contact is the Chairperson.

If the issue cannot be dealt with at this stage then the grievance may be put in writing and sent or copied to the County Board.

In extreme cases the Board may request a meeting to discuss the grievance.  After the meeting the Board must relay their response and inform of the right of appeal if the issue is not successfully resolved.

Code of Practice

The following guidance includes a variety of contexts in which Branch members carry out their activities:

The Code Of Practice is to safeguard the welfare of the young children in our charge and to ensure that safe and sensible steps will continue to be taken to ensure the safe practice and environment for young people, staff, branch members and volunteers alike. The welfare of the child is paramount.


Code of Conduct for Tutors/Branch Members

All tutors/branch members will attend a Child Protection awareness organized by RMGR CCE and receive clear guidance and instructions.

Physical Contact with Pupils

·        As a general principle tutors should not make unnecessary physical conduct with pupils. However we recognize that during instrumental instructions some physical contact between tutor and learner is occasionally required

·        Adults should never touch a child who has clearly indicated that he/she is or would be uncomfortable with such contact unless it is necessary to protect the child or others pr property from harm.

·        Tutors should use verbal affirmation or praise rather than physical touch

·        Tutors/Branch adults should never use physical forms of discipline.

·        First aid should preferably be administered by a qualified First Aider. However, Tutors/Branch Adults who have to administer first aid should ensure, wherever possible, that this is done in the presence of another adult. This does not apply when emergency first aid is needed.

·        Tutors/Branch adults should report pupils behaving inappropriately or inappropriate language to another Branch Adult.

·        Following any incident where a tutor/branch adult feels that his/her actions have been or may be misconstrued, a written report of the incident should be submitted to the Chairperson

·        It is prudent for all tutors to reappraise their interactions, manner, approach and teaching styles from time to time.

Private Meetings

·        There may be occasions when one to one teaching must take place. Where possible this should take place in a room with visual access or with the door open.

·        Another adult should know that the lesson is taking place.

Good Practice

Classes/Practice Environment

The Branch has a duty to provide a caring and safe learning environment –

·        RMCR CCE will ensure that two designated adults arrive at the school/practice venue prior to commencement of classes or practices.

·        Tutors and parents will be made fully aware of class/practice  timetabling.

·        RMGR CCE will ensure that seating is arranged appropriately i.e. seating which is comfortable for the tutor and child

·        RMGR CCE will ensure that there is adequate supervision of pupils at all times.

·        If a tutor is required to leave a classroom for any reason another Branch adult will be called on to supervise the class.

·        Parents will be made aware of their responsibility to deliver their children safely and to collect them promptly from classes/practices.

·        Two Branch adults will remain at the venue to ensure that all pupils are collected and to lock up the venue.

·        Unauthorised adults in restricted areas will be challenged.


·        In case of emergency, RMGR CCE will endeavour to contact parents to transport their child home. However,

·        If children require to be transported to and from a venue, it is important to ensure that two adults are present in the vehicle at all times. At no time should a child be left in the company of one adult.

              ·        When transporting young persons seat them in the back seat,

              ·         Only carry the appropriate number vis a vis seat belts.

              ·        Journey duration should be reported to another adult.

·        A signed parental consent form will be required for all Branch trips.

·        Parents will be provided with a detailed itinerary for all Branch trips.

Public Events

·        Parents will be responsible for their own child/children at all Feisanna, performance and fundraising events.

·        Parents will be given sufficient notice of all events at which their children are required to attend

·        All Branch adults volunteering for duty will be fully briefed prior to an event


·        Our Branch is responsible for the appointment of teachers /tutors.

·        The committee will hold up to date contact information of all              members and tutors

·        Contact information should be regularly reviewed.

·        Each Branch adult and tutor can be identified by an official name       badge while on duty

               ·        Class registers will be kept of all pupils attending class/practice                      events

·        An incident book will be available at all times to officially record any problems or concerns. (Record details of any incident occurring – date, time, place and summary of the incident pertaining to children's’ welfare)


·        Bullying is a distressing and damaging form of abuse and will be responded to sensitively by the Branch. Tutors/branch adults will be vigilant and will aim to prevent bullying by raising awareness with Branch members and parents about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and its consequences.

·        The Branch will ensure that children are aware of who they can talk to if they are sad, worried, being bullied or have any other concerns.

Parental Responsibility

·        RMGR CCE believe that fostering of good relationships with parents is of the outmost importance

·        Good communication is essential. Parents will be kept informed of all events, class timetabling etc in writing

·        It is essential that parents advise the Branch of any special needs/requirements regarding aspects a child’s care or health that is crucial to the Branch meeting his/her needs.

·        Parents are ultimately responsible for the welfare and safety of their children

·        Safe leaving and collection arrangements are the responsibility of parents

·        If parents have any concerns about any aspect of the Branch, the tuition or this policy they are welcome to speak to the Chairman, any Branch Committee Member or an individual tutor.


Child protection issues and sensitivity towards identity theft have presented  challenges to all those involved with recording images of people for promotional purposes. In the same way that video and audio recordings require authorisation and permissions at competitions, it is also important to follow the proper procedures in photographing young persons.


·        The Branch may wish from time to time photograph children from the Branch for record keeping and publicity.

·        The subjects of any photographs must be informed that their picture has been taken and may be used for promotional purposes by Comhaltas.

·        Signed Parental consent forms are required in advance for all photographs

·        All published photographs whether in the newspaper or on the internet will not include names unless permission has been granted.

·        Where possible a public area should be set aside for photography.


Comhaltas Insurance Policy provides cover for all Branch Activities.

While Comhaltas has an Insurance Policy the following rules must be

adhered to:

·   Ensure adults are first to arrive at the venue.

·   Ensure classes are supervised if or when the tutor has to leave the room.

·  Ensure that all pupils have been collected prior to the adults             leaving the venue

·  Pupils must be supervised at all times.

·  Ensure the venues are safe from all / any potential hazards.

Review of Policy

· The Rinn Mhic Giolla Rua CCE Child Protection Policy will be reviewed triennially or sooner if there are changes in government directives or requirements.

·  Information about our Child Protection Policy and Code of Behaviour will be provided to children, parents, branch members, volunteers, and tutors.

· Events will be evaluated to inform future policy

· Policy review is supported by:-

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann

Cultúrlann na hÉireann

Cearnóg Belgarve

Baile na Manach

Co. Átha Claith