13 Aug 2019

Meet the Founder: Safeguard-Me

By Will Spurr

Safeguard-Me is upgrading the system for pre-employment vetting.

 

With child safety, there is no margin for error. All adults who work with children need to undergo a comprehensive vetting process to demonstrate that they carry all the correct checks and qualifications to assume a position of care. High-profile case histories, such as the recent ‘football scandal‘,  only serve to underline the importance of stringent checks and tight legislation. Yet with over a million people employed in schools throughout the UK, the antiquated paper-based system for checking, communicating, and coordinating pre-employment checks is a bureaucratic labyrinth that is quickly becoming unmanageable. Consequently, there are too many poorly-checked or unvetted individuals working with children in all types of organisations nationwide

What is a ‘Safeguard-Me passport’? A digital document demonstrating that the bearer is checked, safe, and ready to work with children.

As a founder of a recruitment agency for sports teachers, Jon Pettit knows first-hand the burden of inefficiency in safeguarding for positions of care in schools. Duplications, misfilings, lost documents and ineffective cross-references all add up to a system that falls far short of best practice. To shatter this systemic inefficacy, Jon developed Safeguard-Me – a digital platform designed to streamline all pre-employment checks for individuals working with children. Safeguard-Me allows employers and employees to easily navigate the complex legislation behind safeguarding, and fulfil the requirements for a ‘Safeguard-Me passport’, a digital document demonstrating that the bearer is safe to work with children. Institutions pay for a subscription to Safeguard-Me, which supports safe recruitment whilst also saving time, administrative burden, resources, and even seemingly trivial pain-points, such as filing space, postage, and paper. 

‘The potential scope for scaling impact stops neither with schools nor the UK’

To ensure that Safeguard-Me remains up-to-date with any legislative developments, Jon works closely with BGV’s partner, The Children’s Society, and additional organisations like the NSPCC, Ofsted, and the department for education. So far, Safeguard-Me has undertaken a successful pilot in 50 schools in Liverpool and is in conversation with several academies and service providers – especially those that rely on a temporary workforce, for whom refreshing and recording safety checks is a constant pressure. But the potential scope for scaling impact stops neither with schools nor the UK; the care and charity sector can greatly benefit from Safeguard-Me passports to not only tackle the increased volume of safeguarding incidents, but to prevent malpractice from happening in the first place. Moreover, the Safeguard-Me model can be successfully integrated into countries with inadequate or even non-existent safeguarding systems.

 

Jon’s plan to upgrade the paper-based safeguarding system with efficient digital passports aims to reach a critical mass for system-wide change. When it does, Safeguard-Me can ensure that every individual working with children or vulnerable adults is checked, safe, and ready to carry out their job. 

 

If you want to hear all about Safeguard-Me greater detail, catch our podcast below: