This is an update to share the outcome of the review that the Board announced earlier this month, in response to media allegations relating to a now former MSYP and how SYP responded in 2016.
The review considered SYP’s approach to how policies and procedures were followed after allegations were made to SYP in 2016. The review was carried out by an independent HR consultant, with the Chair and an external advisor. SYP staff were not involved in the review beyond providing admin support.
The review into the 2016 allegations concluded:
- SYP’s child protection policy in place at the time fully complied with national guidance and legislation. After receiving reports of allegations against a now former MSYP, the actions taken by SYP fully complied with this policy and with national guidelines, with a proper risk assessment at the core.
- The investigation into allegations about a now former MSYP, led by the Chief Executive and supported by a law firm, was thorough and conducted in accordance with the policy in place at the time.
- After the investigation concluded, appropriate action was taken in line with the investigation’s recommendations and SYP’s policies.
Looking to future governance and safeguarding, the review concluded:
- To ensure best practice, the Disciplinary Code and the Code of Conduct should continue to be reviewed regularly to ensure clarity, transparency and alignment with SYP’s values.
Changes to policies and procedures since 2016
SYP is an organisation run by young people for young people, so we take child protection and safeguarding very seriously. Since 2016, our child protection policies and procedures have been subject to continual improvement and review in line with national guidance and good practice. SYP’s Child Protection Policy was updated in 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Our Code of Conduct has also been updated during this period, most recently in 2021, with a specific focus on harassment, including sexual harassment. All MSYPs take part in a mandatory training programme that covers expected standards of behaviour and we have provided specific guidance for young people on what they should do if they feel unsafe.
After further allegations were made to SYP in 2017, we reported these to Police Scotland alongside the allegations we investigated in 2016. Police Scotland carried out its own investigations and it concluded, like SYP, that no criminality was established.
As reported in the media this month, charity regulator OSCR has also reviewed SYP’s approach to this matter and raised no safeguarding concerns with SYP.
This review has concluded definitively that SYP, its staff team and its Chief Executive acted appropriately at all times during the period of these allegations and that the organisation had the right processes and procedures in place, which fully complied with national guidelines.
While recent media allegations have been distressing for us as a Board, we recognise that this period of uncertainty has taken its toll on MSYPs too. As a result, we want MSYPs to be involved in our next steps as we move forward and help us continue to ensure that we have the highest possible standards of safeguarding in place:
- We will now review our Child Protection policy every two years – more frequently than the three years recommended in national guidance.
- We will carry out a further review and update of the SYP Code of Conduct, which will be led by an SYP Trustee, with an opportunity for MSYPs to feed in.
- We will review the SYP Disciplinary Code to ensure it is clear, transparent and in line with SYP’s wider policies.
We hope this will provide reassurance and we thank you for your support.
The SYP Board