A NEW policy to help safeguard victims of potential abuse, neglect or exploitation has been drawn up by Barrow Council.

Councillors, council staff and contractors will be encouraged to blow the whistle if they have any concerns about children and vulnerable adults.

The idea is to stop people in the community being physically, emotionally or sexually abused, exploited or groomed.

Town hall executive director Phil Huck said it was important Barrow Council had a “robust” policy towards safeguarding people. Mr Huck said: “People tend to think that safeguarding is only a children’s issue and it is, but it’s also about vulnerable adults.”

He said Cumbria County Council is the “first line” for dealing with and investigating safeguarding reports, but Barrow Council could help.

“We still have a significant role to play and we are fully committed to fulfilling our duties. It’s one of those areas where it is not enough to say safeguarding is somebody else’s job,” said Mr Huck.

“As a council officer you might observe something of concern and there is a duty for us to report it in the same way as everybody else.”

Mr Huck said council staff often carried out maintenance in people’s homes and may occasionally see things that concerned them.

Mr Huck said: “The advice I would give to officers is to worry less and report it to the correct authorities so that they can make those decisions. We are not the first line responder but we have a duty to report anything we are concerned about. That’s what this policy is saying and gives information about where people should call.”

Council leader Cllr Dave Pidduck, the Labour councillor for Hindpool, said it was vital to have such a policy in place.

The policy is legally-required and was agreed by the council’s executive committee. It now goes to the full council to be adopted.

The policy obliges staff to undertake safeguarding training and to raise concerns with their line manager or external agencies.

The list of abuse includes domestic violence, honour-based abuse, neglect, self-neglect and criminal exploitation.

The 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act requires councils to prevent people from becoming radicalised or involved in extremist activities.