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MU Safeguarding Policy

The MU is committed to upholding the highest standards of safeguarding, child protection and protection of vulnerable adults. Our Safeguarding Policy seeks to clarify where safeguarding overlaps with the MU’s work, setting out our roles and limitations in this area.

Last updated: 04 July 2023

Many MU members work with children and vulnerable adults, typically in music education, but also in other capacities such as theatre. One of the MU’s primary roles in safeguarding, therefore, is to provide guidance to help our members protect those they work with, and to protect themselves.

As part of this, the MU provides training on safeguarding in music education. We offer an online training course provided by Educare, and we give our own safeguarding training on request, subject to availability. We also provide other advice and support related to safeguarding, including a Safeguarding Code of Conduct for members, a downloadable Safeguarding Statement, and guidance on DBS checks and equivalent in Scotland and Northern Ireland, all of which are described further on our main safeguarding page. The MU also processes DBS checks for members.

MU members who teach in schools, other education settings or private practice, or who work in other situations where children and vulnerable adults are present, are sometimes subject to allegations relating to safeguarding breaches or abuse. The MU represents members in this situation to ensure that due process is followed and that members are supported through any investigation. Members should refer to our guidance on what to do if you are subject to a safeguarding allegation.

Limitations and disclaimer

While we expect our members to uphold high standards of professional behaviour in line with our Safeguarding Code of Conduct, the MU cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of our members, and we cannot guarantee that members will adhere to our Safeguarding Code of Conduct. Similarly, we cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of anyone who has participated in MU safeguarding training or taken our online course provided by Educare.

Our Safeguarding Code of Conduct is for general guidance only and is not a substitute for specific legal advice. Members should be aware that safeguarding legislation can change and varies in the four nations of the UK.

The MU does not usually offer services outside our working hours (10am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday apart from bank holidays) and we are not an emergency point of contact for safeguarding issues. We advise members to refer to our guidance on organisations that can assist in emergencies (found on our main safeguarding guidance page) or contact the police if children or vulnerable adults may be at risk.

Any legal assistance provided to members facing allegations related to safeguarding is subject to the MU’s legal advice and assistance criteria being met.

The MU reserves the right to contact the police or any other appropriate organisation about safeguarding issues should we deem it necessary to do so. The MU cannot guarantee to keep disclosures confidential.

Points of contact

Members can contact the MU about safeguarding matters. All safeguarding incidents reported to the MU are recorded and monitored by the MU’s Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL), who is the MU’s National Organiser for Education. If this person is absent, another member of the MU’s Education Department will cover.

The MU’s DSL ensures that MU staff are trained and supported in dealing with safeguarding issues, to manage relationships with external organisations and partners relating to safeguarding, to provide advice to the MU’s Secretariat and Executive Committee on safeguarding matters, and to have oversight of activity related to safeguarding at the MU. The MU’s DSL can be contacted directly by emailing

Review of policy

This policy and all safeguarding guidance supplied by the MU, including the MU’s Safeguarding Code of Conduct, are written and maintained by the MU’s DSL. They are reviewed annually.

Safeguarding glossary

Child: any person under the age of 18.

Young person: interchangeable with “child” with no separate legal definition.

Vulnerable adult: also known as “adult at risk”, any person aged 18 years or over who is at risk of abuse or neglect because of their needs for care and support, and who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse.

Student: used here as a shorthand for any child, young person or vulnerable adult that an MU member may be working with, in education or otherwise.

Guardian: used here to include parents and carers; the person/people who is/are legally responsible for the care of the student.

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL): individual with overall responsibility for safeguarding in a particular workplace or organisation, such as a school or music service.

Local Area Designated Officer (LADO): officer or officers employed by the local authority to be involved in the management and oversight of allegations against people that work with children. This role officially applies in England only.

Abuse: maltreatment of a child or adult. A person may abuse or neglect a child or adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children or adults may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. An adult or adults may abuse, or a child or children.

Safeguarding children: protecting children from maltreatment, preventing harm to children’s health and development, ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care, and taking action to enable children to have the best outcomes.

Safeguarding adults: protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect; people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect while promoting the adult’s welfare where appropriate, having regard to their views, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action.

Child or adult protection: part of safeguarding. It refers to activity that is undertaken to protect specific children or adults who are suffering, or at risk of suffering, significant harm.

Safeguarding allegation: this is where a person in employment or volunteering:

  1. Has behaved in a way that has or may have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or in way that might lead to harm.
  2. Has possibly committed or is planning to commit a criminal offence against or relating to a child or vulnerable adult.
  3. Has behaved in a way that indicates they are or would be unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.