Feeling and Being Safe at PDSA

Policy Statement

PDSA is committed to creating an environment where everyone that comes into contact with the organisation, feels safe and is safe, be it employees, volunteers, clients, supporters or customers.

We want to ensure that we maintain an environment where our people feel empowered to raise concerns about issues, which affect them and those around them, using accessible processes and procedures.

When issues or concerns are raised/reported, or where we believe someone is at risk then the matter will be investigated and actioned appropriately, in line with the relevant procedure.


1.0 How We Keep People Safe

To demonstrate our firm commitment to our people feeling and being safe, we have a number of procedures and processes in place that underpin this approach. These procedures not only set our expectations as an organisation, but also outline the ways in which any concern can be raised, reported and resolved in the most appropriate way.

1.1 Safeguarding Procedure (Everyone - especially Children & Adults at Risk)

We are fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of vulnerable groups i.e. children and adults at risk. Our Safeguarding Procedure sets out the behaviours, responsibilities and measures in place to support this commitment. We encourage a culture where people are able to speak up if they feel something is wrong. Our Safeguarding Procedure enables anyone to easily report worries or concerns relating to a child or adult at risk, whilst making sure that those concerns are dealt with appropriately and in a sensitive manner.

1.2 Working with Young People & Adults at Risk Policy (Young People & Adults at risk)

PDSA is committed to protecting young people and adults at risk from harm, abuse and exploitation. Our Working with Young People & Adults at Risk Policy gives guidance on ensuring colleagues working alongside these groups are carefully recruited, selected, trained and supervised. This policy also sets out how to work with young people and adults at risk, legally, safely and ethically.

1.3 Health and Safety Procedure (Employees)

Our Health and Safety Policy sets out our commitment to providing a healthy and safe environment for all employees, volunteers, clients/customers, visitors and contractors who may be involved in, or be affected by, PDSA's activities. Ensuring that the organisation complies with legislation using approved codes of practice. The policy outlines that PDSA will provide the resources and training required to identify hazards and apply controls to prevent work-related accidents, incidents and ill health. It aims to achieve continuous improvement to the health, safety and welfare of all those affected by the organisation's activities.

1.4 Bullying and Harassment Procedure (Employees)

Our Bullying & Harassment Procedure confirms that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in our workplace and is designed to outline to both employees and leaders, their responsibilities in ensuring this. It sets out the process that should be followed should anyone be subjected to (or witness) incidents of bullying and harassment.

1.5 Grievance Procedure (Employees)

Our Grievance Procedure provides a commitment to ensuring the fair and consistent treatment of all employees. The procedure has been designed to set out the process to follow where an employee has a concern, problem or complaint about their working conditions or relationships with colleagues at all levels and ensures that grievances are dealt with in a prompt and reasonable manner.

1.6 Whistleblowing Procedure (Employees & Volunteers)

Our Whistleblowing Procedure encourages individuals to raise their concerns about any incidents of unlawful conduct, malpractice (financial or otherwise), risks to health and safety or dangers to the public or environment, at the earliest possible stage. PDSA’s approach to whistleblowing is to enable individuals to raise their concerns internally, at an early stage and in the right manner and is intended to encourage individuals to feel able to raise an issue when it is just a concern, rather than wait for proof.

1.7 Volunteer Problem Solving Procedure (Volunteers)

Our Problem Solving for Volunteers Procedure helps to deal with both complaints and discipline type issues involving volunteers, fairly and consistently. The procedure sets out a clear process which is followed should there be any issues or complaints raised by (or about) a volunteer.

1.8 Code of Fundraising Practice – Treating Donors Fairly (Everyone)

This code sets out clear guidance for PDSA on how to carry out our fundraising activity and in doing so how to keep donors safe. The code outlines what steps should be taken, should there be any concerns regarding our practices.

1.9 Dealing with Emotionally Distressed Client Guidance

There may be times where our veterinary staff encounter vulnerable clients who are emotionally distressed. This document gives guidance to our veterinary staff on how to best manage situations with emotionally distressed clients.

1.10 Reporting Cases of Animal Cruelty Guidance

There may be situations where veterinary colleagues recognise the signs of potential animal abuse and have concerns of wider domestic abuse involving our clients. This document gives further guidance relating to reporting animal abuse.

1.11 Inappropriate Behaviour Process

There may be times where our veterinary staff experience displays of inappropriate behaviour from clients. PDSA does not expect its staff to tolerate this and immediate action should be taken to promote the safety of staff and other individuals present on the premises. This process offers guidance and support on what to do in this situation.

1.12 Risk Assessments (Everyone)

As part of our commitment to ensuring everyone feels and is safe at PDSA, we have a full range of Risk Assessments, which we undertake, review and action, as part of our activities. These risk assessments include a suite of Health and Safety Risk Assessments, Working with Young & Vulnerable Adults Risk Assessments, Community and Education (including schools) Risk Assessments, Events Risk Assessments and Pet Check Risk Assessments.


2.0 Other Support

In addition to the above procedures, we also have support and advice networks available. These include:

  • HR Department – anyone can contact the HR team to discuss any help or support they need to help keep them safe at PDSA
  • Health and Safety Department – anyone can contact this department to raise any concerns regarding Health and Safety in the workplace
  • "Be Supported" is our employee assistance programme. It is a telephone & online advice service, which our employees and family members can contact for confidential and impartial advice on various subjects. Please note that this is a completely confidential service so issues, complaints or concerns raised will not be passed to PDSA, however where appropriate an individual would be encouraged to raise the issue using the appropriate channels)
  • “Retail Hub” is a helpline made available through the charitable organisation Retail Trust. This helpline provides support similar to that of Be Supported ie. Debt Advice, Emotional Wellbeing etc, however specifically for our Retail colleagues and Volunteers www.retailtrust.org.uk


3.0 Channels to speak up

Our aim is to make it simple and easy for our people to speak up about any worries or concerns they have about themselves or others.

We encourage our people to speak up when something doesn’t feel right. In addition to the above reporting channels outlined in the various procedures, colleagues may also speak up by contacting our dedicated Speak Up free telephone number, email inbox or web page.