The VCC is totally committed to the safety and welfare of our cadets and adult volunteers, as well as external stakeholders. Whilst some of our activities are designed to challenge our cadets and let them experience a ‘sense of risk’, all necessary precautions are taken to ensure they remain safe.
Activities conducted by the VCC can be ‘site based’ as well as external (eg: on a training area or in a public location). For activities beyond the unit, our Duty of Care extends to cover travel to and from the external location (unless personnel are instructed to make their own way to and from that location) as well as activities undertaken at there, even if these are managed by a third party. Where a third party delivers training or activities to our cadets we undertake due diligence checks in advance to make sure their staff are DBS cleared, have suitable qualifications, and that the provider has adequate insurance, risk assessments and emergency action plans in place.
All VCC cadet force adult volunteers (CFAVs) receive annual safety and safeguarding training, as well as undergoing regular enhanced DBS checks. CFAVs are taught to look out for signs of abuse and bullying, and how to report them. The VCC Safeguarding Policy is available on request.
There are various primary and secondary health and safety obligations placed upon the VCC when it comes to assuring safe delivery of our training and activities. Primary obligations relate to regulatory requirements and secondary obligations relate to specific assurance requirements of key stakeholders.
The key principle that underlines the VCC health and safety policy is that it will apply a ‘Duty of Care’ to all stakeholders affected by its activities. This Duty of Care will apply to all activities, in all circumstances, and at all premises. Effective execution of this Duty of Care will ensure that the VCC provides its training and activities safely. The evidence the VCC collates in support of this provides assurance to all the relevant regulators and stakeholders.
All cadets, staff and other volunteers have a duty to ensure they take care of themselves as well as others, and that they cooperate with any health and safety arrangements that the VCC and/or MOD requires.
VCC activities take place at a variety of locations. These include military and naval establishments, training areas, training centres, ranges and other MoD premises. Also included are public facilities such as adventure training centres. Annual camps can take place anywhere although will usually be within a MOD establishment. Wherever our activities are being undertaken, our Duty of Care principle always applies.
We ask cadets’ parents and guardians to share our health and safety responsibility by ensuring that we are aware of any changes in cadets’ medical status and that sufficient information is provided, in confidence, to their child’s VCC unit.
All of our activities follow the MOD ‘safe system of training’. This is made up of four elements: safe persons, safe equipment, safe practice and safe place. By following the SST our activities are not only properly authorised but adequately planned and conducted to ensure that cadets, CFAVs and others are not put at undue risk. Those responsible for delivering a particular activity are also made aware of the need to adapt to changing circumstances and the possibility of drafting a dynamic risk assessment if those circumstances so require.
Our Duty of Care requires proper supervision of cadets at all times when engaged in VCC activities wherever they are being undertaken. It is the responsibility of each VCC unit Commanding Officer to ensure that this requirement is met, both in terms of quantity of adults and their appropriate qualifications. It is essential that an appropriate ratio of staff to cadets is maintained as defined in the Cadet Training Safety Precautions book (AC72008). Further guidance can be obtained from HQVCC or unit Health and Safety Officers.
Sickness and Injury
When a cadet or CFAV falls sick or is injured whilst involved in VCC activities, their medical treatment is not a VCC or MOD responsibility, beyond any immediate first aid treatment that can be given by trained personnel. Treatment should normally be obtained via the NHS, although free treatment may be given by a Naval Medical Officer or in a Naval Establishment if Service facilities are more readily available. VCC personnel may, when involved in our activities, be given treatment from Service sources for the relief of dental pain but dental treatment generally should be obtained through the NHS.
All accidents, incidents and near-misses are reported in accordance with the Volunteer Cadet Corps Regulations (VCRs). Whilst it is rare, we will take cadets and CFAVs to hospital should an occurrence be assessed as being beyond the capabilities of our trained and qualified first aiders. In the case of cadets, parents or guardians are immediately informed and kept updated. In the majority of cases a hospital visit is purely precautionary.
Each VCC unit will have risk assessments for its activities. Please contact your unit’s Health & Safety Officer to see copies of these and for further information.