Liberal Democrats

A Guide and Code of Conduct for Working with under 18s and Vulnerable Adults




Document control:

This document may not be up to date if printed

Used in conjunction with the following policies/guides:

A Guide and Code Of Conduct For Working With Young People And Vulnerable Adults, Data Protection, Recruitment and Selection, Bullying and Harassment, Grievance, Federal and Party Disciplinary procedures,

Name and job title of originator/author:

Alice Thomas – Federal Board member of Disciplinary Sub-group

Date issued:

April 2020

Review date:

April 2022

Target audience:

Managers, volunteers, anyone who works with or alongside Under18s, young people and vulnerable adults.

Key words:

Safeguarding, young people,  vulnerable adults,   under18’s,


State Party Chairs April 2020, Federal Board May 2020

Equality Impact Assessments completed:

Insert date

Number of Pages:
























This is a living document and changes may be made to it prior to the review date to keep it up to date.


This document will be reviewed on a 2 yearly basis or sooner, to ensure it is updated in line with new legislation.   Use this in conjunction with the Safeguarding and Working with Under18’s and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

Definition of young people:  is a person generally from 14 to 17 years of age.  For the purposes of this document, this group is referred to as under18s.

Definition of vulnerable adult:  The legal definition of a vulnerable adult: ‘an adult is defined as vulnerable when they are in receipt of a ‘regulated activity’ in relation to vulnerable adults’ (section 66 and 66 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012).

For simplicity a vulnerable adult can be defined as someone over the age of 18 who is, or may be, in need of community services due to age, illness or a mental or physical disability and who is, or may be, unable to take care of himself/herself, or unable to protect himself/herself against significant harm or exploitation (definition from the Department of Health 2002).

However for the purpose of this document the legal definition is the one used.  

Vulnerable adults may fall in one or more of these groups:

  • Older people
  • People with mental health problems
  • Disabled people
  • People with learning difficulties
  • People with acquired brain damage
  • People who misuse substances


This document is for use by those working with or managing under18s and vulnerable adults.  The following points apply when working with under18s and vulnerable adults to safeguard not only the welfare of this group, but also the staff that work and/or volunteer with them.

Disclosure and Barring Service: Anyone who works closely and regularly[1] with under18’s must obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate, previously called CRB check.    Anyone with convictions for sex and violent offences cannot work in any capacity with under 18s.

Code of conduct

  • Party members are expected to actively contribute to an organisational culture where inappropriate behaviour is not tolerated.
  • Work should be undertaken in an open environment avoiding private or unobserved situations.  Avoid spending excessive[2] amounts of time alone with young people or vulnerable adults away from others.
  • Encourage open communication, wherever possible.
  • Treat all under18s and vulnerable adults, regardless of race, disability, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, equally and with respect and dignity.
  • Always put the welfare of under 18s or vulnerable adult first.
  • It is not appropriate for staff to have a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with a either a vulnerable adult or under18s. Particular attention is drawn to the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which creates a new criminal offence of abuse of “a position of trust”.
  • Ensure that if any form of physical touching is required, it should be provided openly and kept to a minimum.
  • Positively support a “whistle-blowing‟ culture where any concerns about inappropriate behaviour are reported and dealt with in a timely manner.
  • It is not advisable to give under 18s or vulnerable adults, your personal details such as home or mobile phone number, home address or internet (IP) address or to communicate on a personal basis via social networking sites, for example, Facebook, Twitter etc.  If there is a need for contact details to be shared consider using the official channels.
  • Parental consent must be obtained for activities involving under18s.
  • Use of Photographic/Video Equipment. Written consent to take and use images of children should be obtained prior to the taking of photographs and/or video footage. Parents/carers should be made aware of when, where and how the images may be used to give their informed consent.
  • Always act in a professional manner at all times. 

Managers or those responsible for working with under18s or Vulnerable adults should ensure the following:

  • Supervision of under18s and vulnerable adults by a designated adult.
  • That the designated adult should have Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (replaces the CRB checks).
  • Completion of a risk assessment of a venue or activity involving under18s/vulnerable adults and plans for eventualities.
  • Organisation of separate accommodation for female and male under18s, if there is a need for overnight accommodation.
  • Supervision by a designated adult, if a delivery route or canvassing is being completed by under18s or vulnerable adults.  Two way contact details should be provided, and clearly marked route maps should be provided.  Route maps designated with unsafe areas should not be allocated to under18s or vulnerable adults.

If you suspect abuse has occurred please contact the following

Police: If you think a crime has been committed call 999, otherwise call your local police station (your telephone directory will have relevant numbers). The police can also offer advice regarding safety at home and in the community and may refer people who have experienced violence, abuse or crimes to the Victim Support helpline - 0845 303 0900.

The local area social services team (safeguarding team), this information can be found on the local council’s website, 

The Local Party Chair[3],

The People Team at HQ [email protected] 

If the Local Party Chair is involved, contact the People Team Directly. 

The nominated member of staff shall telephone and report the matter to the appropriate local social services department duty social worker.  A written record of the date and time of the report shall be made and the report must include the name and position of the person to whom the matter is reported. The telephone report must be confirmed in writing to the relevant local authority Social Services department within 24 hours.

Useful organisations and people:

The local (county) council will have links to their safeguarding team. 

Key people to contact within the team include: Director of children services and Head of safeguarding and Director of social services. 

Additional information can be found here:

  1. Working together to safeguard children:
  2. Helping employers make safer recruiting decisions:
  3. A guide to eligibility for criminal record checks:
  4. Filtering guide:
  5. Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, section 65 and 66:
  6. Regulated activity (adults): The definition of ‘regulated activity’ (adults) as defined by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 from 10th September 2012:
  7. Statement Of Government Policy On Adult Safeguarding, Department of Health:

[1] Recurring at uniform intervals, or occurring at predictable times or intervals

[2] This is defined as more than is necessary or normal              

[3] In reference to Liberal Youth this person is the designated officer.  The expectation is that Young Liberals contact the designated People Team in the first instance.

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