This section is intended to outline the key issues and requirements that should be considered by any groups wishing to involve young people in their work. The earlier points (1-4) are particularly important if you plan to run activities for young people without their parents/guardians being present; even if parents/guardians are present the guidance within points 5, 6 and 7 should be followed. What will hopefully become apparent that the issues that you need to be aware of are not as prohibitive as many people currently believe.
The [Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC)](http://www.yac-uk.org/) offers a wide range of advice to their volunteers in their [YAC Leaders’ Handbook](http://www.yac-uk.org/leaders.html#Handbook) and much of this is relevant to any group wishing to work with young people; particularly relevant pages are signposted below.
1. **Definition of a young person/child**
The terms ‘young person’ and ‘child’ can be used interchangeably. In the UK, from a legal perspective, a young person or child is anyone under the age of 18. You should also be aware that any activity involving children under the age of eight which will last for two hours or more, and at which parents/guardians will not be present, **must be run by registered childminders**.
2. **Policies and Practices for Working with Young People**
Working with young people in a responsible and safe way is based very much on common sense. If you are planning to work regularly with young people, it is strongly recommended that you create and implement a young person and child protection policy.
[YAC’s child protection policy](http://www.yac-uk.org/leaders.html#Handbook) shows the issues that you need to consider when forming a child protection policy – Part 4, page 33, with the full policy available as an [downloadable PDF exemplar](http://www.yac-uk.org/leaderdocs/Child_Protection_Policy_June07.pdf)
Further guidance, including an on-line safeguarding self assessment tool, is also available via the [SAFE Network](http://www.safenetwork.org.uk/Pages/default.aspx).
As a guide for responsible and safe working with young people, YAC’s code of conduct for its volunteer Leaders states:
* Treat all young people with respect
* Provide an example of good conduct and acceptable behaviour
* Be competent at all times
* Respect everyone’s right to personal privacy
* Be available for young people to confide in and, if necessary, refer their concerns to the appropriate person
* Ensure your actions cannot be misunderstood or cause offence and are acceptable within a relationship of trust
* Show understanding when dealing with sensitive issues
* Ensure more than one adult is present or is in sight and hearing during activities
* Encourage young people to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like
* Challenge unacceptable behaviour whether from a young person or an adult
* Refer any suspicions or allegations of abuse (see YAC Leaders’ Handbook pages 39–41)
* Keep young people’s details securely
**You must not**:
* Engage in inappropriate physical or verbal contact
* Make derogatory remarks or gestures, even in jest
* Show favouritism
* Spend periods of time alone with an individual or take them to your home
* Permit abusive behaviour, e.g. bullying, ridiculing or taunting
* Jump to conclusions or make assumptions about others
* Encourage inappropriate, attention-seeking behaviour such as tantrums or crushes
* Deliberately place yourself or others in compromising situations
* Believe ‘it could never happen to me’ or rely on your good name or the good name of the Club/Organisation to protect you
* Transport individual young people in your private car unless absolutely necessary
* Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative games
* Provide young people with name badges when working in public places
* Use members’ details for anything other than informing them of your organisation’s activities
* Name any individual members shown in images or use images when consent has not been given
Further detail around this code of conduct can be found in the [YAC Handbook](http://www.yac-uk.org/leaders.html#Handbook) (Part 4, pages 37-38). In addition, the NSPCC, through the company Educare, has developed a short training programme entitled ‘[NSPCC Child Protection Awareness](http://www.educare.co.uk/products/catalogue/nspcc-child-protection-aware...)’ which covers the key information regarding child protection.
3. **Safe recruitment procedures**
It is essential to ensure that anyone working or volunteering with young people is suitable to do so. The NSPCC, through the company Educare, has developed a training programme entitled ‘Safer Recruitment and Selection’ which covers everything you need to know in this area, see: www.educare.co.uk/products/catalogue/nspcc-safer-recruitment-selection-p...
In general, it is standard practice to ask anyone working with young people to complete an application form that asks them to supply two references and, where appropriate, seek a Disclosure check from the relevant Disclosure body (see step 4 below). As an example, the Scout Association have a [six step approach to volunteer recruitment](http://www.scoutbase.org.uk/support/recruit/intro.htm).
4. **Disclosure processes**
A Disclosure is a certificate showing details of an individual’s criminal records history and can be used to decide whether an individual is suitable to work with young people. Some organisations, such as schools, are required by law to conduct Disclosure checks. There are different systems in place for Disclosure depending on where in the UK you are. Each system has its own guidelines as to who should be the subject of a check (see below), but many people regularly working or volunteering with young people will need to have a Disclosure check; checks for volunteers are free across the UK. However, Disclosure applications can only be submitted by an organisation directly registered with the relevant Disclosure body. If you are not a registered organisation, are self-employed, or are an individual, then you can use the services of an ‘umbrella’ body to submit your application; details of how to find an umbrella body are shown below.
The Disclosure body in England and Wales is the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB): www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/default.aspx . The Disclosure process in England and Wales is currently under review, with changes currently anticipated from March 2012. Currently the CRB have guidance online as to [who is eligible for a CRB check](http://www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/faqs/applicants_-_top_10.aspx#eligible). If you need to use an umbrella body to submit a Disclosure application, you can find details here: http://www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/faqs/umbrella_bodies.aspx
The Disclosure body in Northern Ireland is Access Northern Ireland: www.accessni.gov.uk. People working or volunteering with young people would fall under the guidance issued for ‘Enhanced Disclosures’ and there is a section online entitled ‘[Who is eligible?](http://www.accessni.gov.uk/home/services/disclosures/enhanced-disclosure...)'. If you need to use an umbrella body to submit a Disclosure application you can find details here: http://www.accessni.gov.uk/home/who-uses-ani/umbrella-bodies.htm
Scotland has a new Disclosure system called the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG Scheme). The body operating the PVG Scheme is Disclosure Scotland: www.disclosurescotland.co.uk but voluntary organisations can register with an umbrella body called the Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) www.crbs.org.uk as they process PVG Scheme applications on behalf of volunteers. The PVG Scheme works on the basis of deciding whether an activity/role is considered to be ‘regulated’ work. If it is, anyone doing this work (including in a voluntary capacity) must be a member of the PVG Scheme. It is a criminal offence for organisations to offer ‘regulated’ work/volunteering opportunities to people who are not PVG Scheme members. Therefore it is very important for organisations to assess whether what they do is ‘regulated’ work. This can be done using an [online self assessment tool](http://www.disclosurescotland.co.uk/pvg_training/self-assessment).
In Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man CRB checks can be carried out using the English and Welsh Criminal Records Bureau systems (see above). However, we recommend that you contact the relevant Government authority ([States of Jersey](http://www.gov.je), [States of Guernsey](http://www.gov.gg), [Isle of Man Public Services](http://www.gov.im)) for further advice if this is relevant to your group’s location and planned activities.
Having a criminal record does not necessarily disqualify someone from working with young people. Your organisation or group should therefore develop a policy regarding the recruitment of ex-offenders. For an exemplar policy, see: www.britarch.ac.uk/sites/www.britarch.ac.uk/files/node-files/cba_exoffen....
5. Ways of working with different age ranges and abilities You might want to think about using different activities and approaches when working with young people, as they can have a wide age range and differing abilities. The YAC Leaders’ Handbook www.yac-uk.org/leaders.html#Handbook offers relevant advice to their volunteers in Part 2, pages 9-14. In addition, the Community Archaeology Forum (www.britarch.ac.uk/caf) has toolkits for organising different activities with different groups, see www.britarch.ac.uk/caf/wikka.php?wakka=CommunityInvolvementCategory.
6. **Health and Safety**
_Risk assessments_: As with all types of activity, you need to be aware of health and safety requirements, including the need to carry out risk assessments for all activities and the venue/site you will use. Don’t forget, young people may not have the same understanding as you of what constitutes a risk so you will need to think through your activity carefully and decide what information they will need to be briefed with. YAC guidance on Managing Risks through Risk Assessments can be found in the YAC Leaders Handbook (www.yac-uk.org/leaders.html#Handbook) – Part 4, pages 43-44. The YAC risk assessment template can be found on pages 67-69 and includes a section where you can record briefings about the activity suitable for use with young people. The IfA also have risk assessment templates and exemplars available at: www.archaeologists.net/codes/ifa. Part of your venue risk assessment when working with young people should include what access the general public has to the venue during your session and what provision there is for toilet facilities.
_Supervision_: It is important to ensure as part of your risk assessment that you have enough adults available to run sessions safely. Different activities and different audiences will require different levels of supervision but, to give an idea, YAC sessions are generally run with an adult/child ratio of one adult to every eight young people.
_Permission and Medical Forms_: You should ensure that you have written permission from young people’s parents/guardians to undertake the activities that they will engage in. For an exemplar form, see:
You will also need written permission to take photographs of young people and you should give people the ability to opt in and out of how photographs are subsequently used, especially in relation to the internet; for an exemplar form see:
www.yac-uk.org/leaderdocs/YAC_photographic_permission.pdf. If you do have permission to use images of young people on the internet, you should not give their full name or address details alongside the image.
You should also ensure that you have emergency contact numbers for parents/guardians and an outline of any medical conditions or special needs participants have, for an exemplar form see:
If you plan to contact young people by email, it is best to ask for a parent/guardian’s address to use. If you do have a young person’s email address, you should consider getting written permission from parents/guardians to use it, and you should always use the ‘bcc’ function when sending email messages, to avoid others having access to the contact details.
Check that any insurance you have specifically covers under-18s.
## Important References
* [YAC Handbook and resources](http://www.yac-uk/leaders.html#Handbook)
* [NSPCC website and helpline](http://www.nspcc.org.uk/default.html)
* [NSPCC/Educare courses](http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/trainingandconsultancy/educare/educare_wd...)
* Disclosure details: Please refer to Point 4 above, as the requirements and information vary for different parts of the UK and Crown Dependencies.