Safeguarding and Prevent Newsletter – Issue 18

Welcome to the eighteenth edition of the Creative Alliance Safeguarding and Prevent Newsletter. Our Newsletter is produced every quarter, distributed to all Creative Alliance learners, employers and staff and is intended to raise awareness of Safeguarding, Prevent, British Values and how to keep learners safe and create a positive working environment.

At Creative Alliance we want to provide all our stakeholders with key information, advice and guidance on how to access support for themselves as learners, as employers or as members of our staff.

Our previous newsletter focused upon a range of topics including understanding Prevent, the embedding of British Values and Prevent into learning, Neurodiversity Celebration Week 18th – 24th March and Stress Awareness Month in April.

To read, please view our previous newsletters below.

This edition introduces the launch of the Association of Mental Health First Aiders, discusses how feedback loops play a role in creating and sustaining an inclusive culture at an organisational and sector level and raises awareness of PMAC, specialists in Mental Health & Wellbeing.

Introducing the Association of Mental Health First Aiders

Last week saw the launch of the Association of Mental Health First Aiders – England’s first and only membership body for Mental Health First Aiders.

Our mission

Our mission is to grow and empower the largest community of Mental Health First Aiders to transform how we talk about and support mental health. We’ll champion the vital work Mental Health First Aiders do, by sharing good practice and highlighting the achievements of our members. Together we will make mental health conversations part of our everyday and ignite a new era of action.

Exclusive benefits for members

New and exclusive resources, the MHFAider Support App®, regular webinars, and your monthly newsletter – will now be provided through the Association

As staff at Creative Alliance are trained Mental Health First Aiders, we can access these exclusive benefits on your behalf and be empowered to fulfil our role with confidence, skill, and care.

Education & Training Foundation Newsletter

The Education and Training Foundation published an article about ‘Feedback Loops’ in their recent Newsletter which we thought would be useful to share with our learners and employers.

Dr Katerina Kolyva, CEO highlights the importance of trust in Further Education and Skills and how feedback loops play a role in creating and sustaining an inclusive culture at an organisational and sector level

Feedback Loops

These are self-sustaining cycles that either yield benefit – positive feedback loops – or create problems – negative feedback loops – within a system.

One example of a positive feedback loop is the trust loop. When there is trust between two parties, this leads to open behaviour between them. As a result of that openness, there are fewer unknowns between the two parties. This means there is less concern or doubt about each other’s behaviour, which leads to stronger ties, increased confidence and a focus on impact and outcomes rather than input and process. This in turn deepens trust, and so the positive cycle continues. Trust in the FE and Skills system can lead to stronger confidence, a higher profile positively positioning FE and Skills as a relevant sector, and better staff recruitment and retention.

In contrast, a negative feedback loop can be detrimental to a system’s overall health and smooth functioning. The scrutiny loop is an example. Things may be going wrong within a system, so the system becomes subject to increased scrutiny. Actors in the system now spend all their time dealing with the loss in confidence, questioning and over focusing on process, and because their time is spent on that, they have no time to fix the underlying problems within the system. In this example, an initial problem is merely exacerbated by the self-sustaining negative feedback loop.

I’m sure many of us will be able to identify both positive and negative feedback loops that affect our professional lives. For the Further Education and Skills sector, the scrutiny loop is perhaps one we can identify with, as are feedback loops (both negative and positive) associated with recruitment, retention and career progression. What can be difficult is pinpointing where these loops begin and, if negative, how they can be broken. Mapping these reinforcing loops is a key step towards enabling the sector to take collective ownership for enacting change and working towards improvement together.

Inclusive feedback loops

This month in particular, as we celebrate Pride month, I’ve been thinking about how feedback loops play a role in creating and sustaining an inclusive culture at an organisational and sector level. We must ensure our people feel they belong, but might feedback loops help us to think about how that ongoing work supports a self-sustaining inclusive culture of belonging?

For example, if we are vocal and open in exploring what diversity, equity and inclusion mean in practice, ensuring participation of different voices in this discussion and role modelling our behaviours and actions, might that then encourage colleagues to feel they can be themselves in the workplace? A stronger sense of belonging continues to strengthen participation of different voices in exploring what equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging really mean, leading to a more confident and open organisation.

When it comes to inclusion, this kind of positive loop requires us to think carefully about authenticity, focusing on actions and narrative, as language and symbolism are important in ensuring that no individual feels tokenised. This can be a difficult balance to get right and requires continual feedback, dialogue and action with all involved. Carried out with due care, though, and incorporating the idea of feedback loops from systems thinking, it can enrich how we think about inclusion in months such as Pride month, and beyond. What positive and negative feedback loops do you see in your professional environments and how can identifying these support improvements and growth?

Best wishes,

Mental Health & Wellbeing training with pmac

How can we assist?

At PMAC, we believe in support being accessible to all organisations, businesses and non-profits to ensure staff are happy and healthy. This is why we continue to offer:

 Fortnightly free webinars on a variety of topics, for anyone to attend;

 Regular free resources including our quarterly wellbeing calendar and employee/manager support articles on our website;

 Free strategy calls to businesses to provide advice and guidance on wellbeing strategies;

 Useful resources on our social media pages

If you would like to explore running something a bit more bespoke for your workplace, please get in touch with us and we would be delighted to discuss how we can assist.

 Q3 Wellbeing Calendar Now Available

We are now passing the half-way mark of 2024, which means we are now steaming ahead into Q3 2024! This can only mean our Q3 wellbeing calendar is now available as a free download!

If you are new to our wellbeing calendars, they are your one-stop resource for everything mental health/wellbeing-related throughout the year. Featuring all key days/weeks for workplace wellbeing, as well as general holidays to be aware of. They also include the dates and topics of our fortnightly free webinars which are not to be missed.

Please feel free to download the calendar below.

Every apprentice working with Creative Alliance has the right to work and learn in a safe environment, free from harm. If you have any concerns about a member of staff or co-worker, please contact Creative Alliance directly.

Lead Designated Safeguarding Officer

Helen Dixon:

Office: O121 7530 049 / Mobile: 0742 9607 315

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer

George Morris:

Office: O121 7530 049