Key points

  • The coordinator/facilitator of a YPAG has a duty to protect the members
  • Obtain relevant health information e.g. allergies, medication requirements, emergency contact details
  • Understand child protection governance in your country
  • Children and young people may choose to protect their identity and retain anonymity
  • Make sure you gain the right consent for the activities you are planning locally.

A YPAG group in training

A safe and welcoming environment

Attendance at YPAG meetings is voluntary but the coordinator/facilitator has a duty to not only ensure they are safe, protecting the physical social, and mental health of members, but also that staff address any child protection issues appropriately in line with their hospital or University guidance.

Top safety tips!

  • Have records of relevant health information for all members such as emergency contact details, allergies and medication requirements. Ensure they are up to date!
  • If you are meeting in meeting rooms or offices in the hospital at weekends or evenings with children, ensure that they have access through security and arrange to collect them at a meeting point.
  • Ensure parent(s) and YPAG members have your contact details so they can phone you directly.
  • Be aware of potential bullying within the group and use exercises such as developing charters of behaviour with group members to ensure everyone feels included and valued.

Travelling to external meetings and conferences

You may have opportunities to travel and occasionally abroad.  If travelling with or without parents it is good to establish ground rules such as

  • Check that travel and appropriate medical insurance is in place.
  • Have clear meet up points after clearing airport security and exiting public transport.
  • If the young person has medication such as inhalers, request that the coordinator carries one in addition to the young person in case of lost luggage.

National Child Protection Governance Schemes  

young person

You must be aware of the legal requirements that need to be addressed when working or volunteering with children and young people.

Although we all do our best to safeguard our members there are legal requirements that need to be addressed when working or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults.  In Scotland and England and all other EU countries, there are national governance schemes that do background checks with relevant authorities.

In Scotland, all adults over 16 working with children and young people require clearance via the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Membership Scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland.

In England, any person working with children and young people should have undergone clearance via the Disclosure and Barring System (DBS) previously known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.  Other points to consider include:

  • Know what the national child protection governance scheme is in your country
  • Ensure all of the adults working with your YPAG meet the criteria
  • Have a local policy ensuring that all adults have background checks
  • Everyone is aware of the child protection policy and procedures
  • Find out what to do if you have concerns about the safety or well-being of a child
  • If children do disclosure anything to you, you must be aware of who to escalate this to within your organisation.

Remember disclosure schemes only provide you with information that is on record.  It is all our responsibility to stay alert and know what to do if you have concerns.

Confidentiality Agreements

Industry sponsors may request a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (CDA or NDA) is signed to maintain the confidentiality of certain information during the course of business.  The coordinator or the employer of the coordinator signs the CDA on behalf of the group.  Any confidential information, such as a drug name can be removed from the documents reviewed by YPAGs as it is not necessary to their assessment of information or documentation.

Confidentiality of YPAG members – protecting their identity, options for anonymity

Members of YPAGs may choose to protect their identity and retain anonymity in their responses to investigators or industry.  This can be respected by the role of the facilitator/s in a YPAG. Some young people may also choose not to disclose their health condition to other group members or researchers. This must be respected.