Risk Assessment Policy

Joanna North Associates Ltd – Adoption Support Agency

Updated June 2020

Our Risk Assessment Policy applies to physical as well as psychological and emotional harm that could be caused in the workplace or as a result of our work. 

At Work Psychological or Emotional

The team will always be encouraged to monitor their own mental and emotional wellbeing  and consider factors such as burnout or distressed caused by the nature of our work.  The issue of wellbeing and stress at work will be raised at monthly reflective practice sessions in order to assess any gradual build up of stress.  If necessary, team members will be encouraged to take a break, be supported through counselling or any other suitable plan to enable refreshment and rejuvenation.  Team members will be encouraged to pursue activities that support their wellbeing such as exercise, mindfulness practice etc.  These can be logged as CPD.     

At Work Physical Safety

We will carry out suitable and sufficient assessments of the risks to the health and safety of Service Users and our Employees, and to others who might be affected by our work activities, in compliance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992.  This policy should also be read in conjunction with our Safeguarding Policy. To ensure that this happens we will.  Please see below for Risks to our clients.

We will be vigilant and identify all hazards with a potential to cause harm to Service Users and Employees and others who may be affected by our business.  This includes hazards from both dangerous persons as well as substances and the environment.

We will evaluate the probability and severity of potential injury or damage and record these. 

Where we identify a risk of serious or imminent danger we will:

Establish appropriate procedures for controlling exposure to this special risk, including the stopping and resumption of work

Nominate sufficient competent persons to implement the procedure for evacuation from the premises and restrict access to the danger area for all who have not received adequate instruction.

Analyse the options for eliminating, reducing or controlling the identified risks and then take the appropriate action.

Review the assessments periodically and particularly where they may no longer be valid
or where there has been a significant change in work activities, processes, etc.

Keep records in writing, or electronic form, of the significant findings of risk assessments and identify Service Users and employees who may be especially at risk.

Provide appropriate health surveillance where there is an identifiable disease or potential adverse health condition related to our work.

Appoint competent person(s) to assist us in complying with our statutory duties for health and safety.

Provide our Service Users and employees with comprehensive and relevant information on risks, preventative and protective measures, emergency procedures and competent persons.

In addition to the above it is our policy to carry out specific risk assessments in accordance with other Regulations and Codes of Practice, as detailed in our Arrangements section of the full Safety Policy.

At Work – Mental and Emotional Wellbeing for our Clients

We recognise that we are involved in work that could make our clients vulnerable to stress, anxiety and upset.  Finding a birth relative is a step into the unknown to many people and the unknown often causes human beings anxiety.  As a result of this we will be thinking regularly in our reflective practice sessions about any vulnerable clients.  We will also be mindful of the following:

We will be on the look out for vulnerable adults.  Please see our Protection of Vulnerable Adults policy. 

At the beginning of our work with clients we will assess their needs in terms of support, we will make them aware of our counselling support and we will encourage open conversation about emotional states as they go along the pathway of finding a birth relative.  We will also discuss their level of support.  See Practice Direction on Initial Interviews.   

We have designed a set of leaflets to help our clients through difficult aspects of this work such as rejection from a birth relative or having to wait a long time for information.  Please refer to the file Advice Leaflets to help clients.  

Our team will have read all of these leaflets so that they are prepared to support clients in these areas, but clients and service users will be encouraged to use the counselling service and the leaflets are not designed to replace counselling, advice and general support.      

We will consult with Dr. Joanna North Psychologist and Psychotherapist if we have concerns about a particular client at the beginning of the process or during the assessment process.  All of our clients will be invited to discuss any anxiety or upset with her as well as us.

Dr. Joanna North continues to develop her knowledge in the field and this year will train in Suicide Prevention as well as managing anxiety and depression.  She will apply this knowledge to our work. 

Our team have good communication skills but they will upgrade their skills and train further in counselling and communication.

The team will engage with the Registered Manager at regular intervals on reading and training and these will be recorded in CPD.  Client safety is at the front of all our minds and we will liaise as a team with difficult dilemmas.  We are also aware of our responsibilities to third parties and birth family members who are being traced.  With this in mind our initial contact letters are carefully written to minimise shock and distress, they invite the use of counselling if necessary and they make it clear that we will not bother them again if they refuse contact.   The process of contact with them is described clearly and we explain that following a refusal the file will be closed and their data will be kept safe.  We ask our clients not to contact people again through their own devices if they are faced with a negative response.