Risk assessment guidance/procedure/ example

Risk Assessment Guidance

Download original document here: Safeguarding Risk Assessment Guidance and Risk analysis (pdf)

Safeguarding Risk Assessment Under-18s - Guidance

Any activity that involves staff or students (whether acting in a paid or unpaid capacity) working with members of a vulnerable group (e.g. children and young people or vulnerable adults), should have a safeguarding risk assessment completed before activity begins. For the purpose of this document, we are focused on children (defined as those under the age of 18). 

The safeguarding risk assessment for an activity should be completed by the staff or student who is responsible for the activity. It should include clear identification of risks that need to be removed or mitigated, and the operating practice that mitigates or removes those risks. As an example, situations where there is only one member of staff or one student present with a lone child or adult in a vulnerable situation should be avoided. This may require you to consider alternative working practices. 

When conducting a safeguarding risk assessment, we need to take into account many factors to help keep our audience, staff and students safe. This guidance will help you determine the different things you should consider when planning an event for under-18s, and this will inform you in drafting your safeguarding risk assessment. 

This document contains questions and scenarios that should be considered when planning activities that involve under-18s, as well as a table that explores the risks and impacts in more detail. It can be used in conjunction with the safeguarding risk assessment template for drafting your specific safeguarding risk assessments. The Outreach team are available to help if you have questions or want to seek advice via email at outreach@imperial.ac.uk.

Planning your event
1. When, Where, What and Who

Identify the nature, length, frequency, intensity and time of any contact when working with under-18s to help inform your risk assessment.

Questions you might want to ask yourself are:

  • Is your activity face to face or online?
  • Is your activity aimed at adults, but with a likely or possible presence of under-18s?
  • How old are your participants? Are they accompanied by an adult?
  • What activity are you going to do with them? Are there health and safety risks you need to control? (Note – if yes, you should liaise with your safety officer to ensure this is fully risk assessed as well)
  • How often are you going to work with this group?
  • Are you having the same volunteers / staff working regularly?
  • How will you determine whether those volunteers / staff are safe to work with under-18s?
  • If the activity is face to face, is the physical space you are planning to use safe for under-18s? Is it secure or publicly accessible? Are you on campus, in school or in another space?
  • If your activity is online, what platform are you going to use? Have you assessed the platform suitability for under-18s? Is it secure and safe?
  • Is the activity after-school or at weekends? During the school day?
  • Is there a likelihood that staff will find themselves working one to one with someone under the age of 18?

2. Supervision ratios
You will need to determine what the appropriate staffing ratio is for your activity. It is recommended that at least two adults be present for any activity involving under-18s regardless of group size. Guidance from the NSPCC suggests the following minimum ratios:

  • 0 - 2 years - one adult to three children
  • 2 - 3 years - one adult to four children
  • 4 - 8 years - one adult to six children
  • 9 - 12 years - one adult to eight children
  • 13 - 18 years - one adult to ten children

You need to determine whether these ratios are sufficient based on the activity you are doing (content and duration), where the activity is taking place, the age of the participants, whether participants are accompanied or unaccompanied by a parent / teacher, the skill-set of your staff/volunteers and whether there are any special requirements (e.g. medical needs) you need to support.

3. Staffing
You should consider the following:

  • Are your staff/volunteers used to and/or suitable to work with under-18s?
  • Do your staff/volunteers need any specific training before working with the participants on this activity?
  • What information do they need in advance to ensure they understand their part in keeping the participants safe during your activity?
  • Do you, or other staff/volunteers supporting this activity, require a DBS check? (Note that guidance on DBS checks can be found on the Imperial College website)
  • Do staff and/or volunteers know how to report concerns about a participant’s welfare or behaviour, or that of another staff member, including who the report should go to?
  • How are you going to make staff and / or volunteers working on this activity aware of Imperial College’s safeguarding policy and procedures?

4. Managing concerns, behaviour issues
You should ensure you have a process in place for staff/volunteers and under-18s to report problems, concerns or difficulties and how you will respond to and / or manage these issues. Imperial’s safeguarding contacts can be found on the Safeguarding website.

5. Managing lost or missing young people
You should think about what you can put in place to prevent under-18s getting lost finding their way to your activity or during your activity. You should also consider what your procedure will be if you do have participants go missing before or during your activity. You may wish to consider a designated meeting point for lost individuals (e.g. where this will be, how you will make sure participants know about it and how it will be supervised), how you will contact parents or carers to inform them that their child is lost or has been found, who will co-ordinate the initial search for a missing participant. If on campus, you should consider speaking to the Security team about your event.

6. Consent, including photography and filming
You should consider what consent you require from participants and / or their parents/guardians for their involvement in your activity. If you are working with a school, you should determine whether the school is gaining consent for participation. How are you going to collect emergency contact information for under-18s or their medical information in advance of the activity? Are you going to film or take photos at the event? How do you communicate that to your participants and their parents / guardians and what consent do you need? More information about gathering consent for photography and filming can be found here.

7. Emergency procedures
This will also form part of your health and safety risk assessment. In order to keep under-18s safe on your activities, you should ensure you have a trained first aider present or identified and local / on-site during your activity and that you and your staff/volunteers understand the fire evacuation procedure. Consider also how you will inform parents / guardians if there is an emergency / accident during your activity, and what your procedures are if you need to contact the emergency services.

Risk Assessment Example Table for further information and support when submitting Risk Assessments.

Developed: December 2020

Updated: March 2021, September 2023

Risk Assessment procedure

Safeguarding Risk Assessment procedure (pdf)

Safeguarding Risk Assessment 2023-2024

  1. Individual accesses template document and guidance via website
  2. If additional support or advice is required, contact outreach@imperial.ac.uk
  3. Draft and submit risk assessment according to timeline outlined below. Risk assessment to be sent to outreach@imperial.ac.uk
  4. Feedback on risk assessment to be received within three weeks of submission deadline. Risk assessment is either:
    1. Approved, in which case no further action is required
    2. Received back with comments or suggested edits, along with a contact email address for who to resubmit final risk assessment to for final approval
  5. If activity or format substantially changes, a new risk assessment will need to be submitted for any further events. Substantial changes include location change (on-campus to off-site, or on campus to online for instance), change of staffing ratio, increase of participant number, change of event management procedure or change of participant / audience (e.g. age group).

Submission Deadlines

Submission date – 29 September 2023 
Feedback / approval – on or before 20 October 2023

Submission date – 24 November 2023 
Feedback / approval - on or before 15 December 2023

Submission date – 26 January 2024
Feedback / approval – on or before 16 February 2024

Submission date – 1 March 2024 
Feedback / approval – on or before 22 March 2024

Submission date – 3 May 2024 
Feedback / approval – on or before 24 May 2024

Submission date – 14 June 2024
Feedback / approval – on or before 28 June 2024

Any risk assessments received outside of these timelines will be reviewed in the next cycle. Any risk assessments received the last review period of the year will only be reviewed if staff are available.

Template and Supporting Materials

Outreach have provided a template for safeguarding risk assessments, as well as a safeguarding risk matrix to help those developing risk assessments for their activities to consider the various aspects they need to consider when safeguarding young people on University events.

If individuals developing risk assessments need additional advice on their risk assessment prior to submission, they can contact outreach@imperial.ac.uk and the Outreach administrator will either act as a first advisor or will pass queries onto a member of the safeguarding team for advice.

Outreach are not able to review and / or approve health and safety risks for activities and these should be reviewed with the Safety teams locally or centrally.

Risk Assessment Review panel

Melanie Bottrill                         Head of Outreach Programmes                              

Jenny Cooke                               Mentoring and Tutoring Programmes Manager    

Danielle Russo                           Outreach STEM Programmes Manager             

Kate Mulcahy                              Makerspace Programmes Manager                        

Rebecca Holloway                      Schools Partnerships Coordinator

Rebecca Sweeney                       Makerspace Programmes Coordinator                

Marta Sousa de Sotto Mayor     Community Programmes and Design Coordinator


Risk Assessment Template

‌Download original document here: Safeguarding risk assessment template‌‌