In order to foster a safe and healthy environment for its community members, public entities need to develop a culture that demonstrates a commitment to protecting all those who use its services from any instances of abuse.
Abuse can manifest across any settings and involve unwelcomed actions or words that are known or should be known to have an impact on one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It includes actions or words that intimidate, isolate, or discriminate an individual or groups of individuals. Abuse may involve the following:
As they may utilize third parties to provide services, public entities must also consider their contractors and those they serve when taking steps to safeguard their community. Public entities are accountable for ensuring that any contractor it retains must be able to demonstrate that it has taken reasonable actions to establish a system aimed to prevent or mitigate any instances of abuse especially when working with vulnerable populations.
A vulnerable person is defined as a person who, because of their age, a disability, or other circumstances, is in a position of dependence on others or at greater risk than the general population of being harmed by person(s) in a position of authority or trust to them.
The following guidance highlights key risk controls and measures that public entities may opt to impose and require from contractors to have in place to prevent or minimize the likelihood or risk of abuse occurring. It should not be seen as an exhaustive list and should be used in conjunction with internal policies and procedures, as well as in compliance with local laws and regulations.
Reviewing a contractor’s code of conduct can help a public entity confirm that the contractor shares its commitment to protecting the safety, well-being, and rights of those they serve. The code of conduct should explain why providing safe environments for these individuals is so important to the organization, and outline policies and procedures in place directly related to doing so.
Ensuring employees strive to protect vulnerable individuals from harm and abuse starts with hiring people who already value those principles. A contractor’s screening policies may provide some insight into whether its employees share the organization’s commitment.
The public entity’s agreement with the contractor may grant the public entity the ability to select which of the contractor’s employees perform the services outlined therein. In those cases, consider imposing the following stipulations:
Maintaining a culture of accountability requires educating all contracted employees that will be delivering services to/on behalf of the public entity about the importance of safeguarding vulnerable individuals.
Part of developing a workplace culture that demonstrates a commitment to protecting all those who use its services from abuse includes putting place measures to prevent abuse, but also measures that mitigates harm and damages should instances of abuse occur.
To create a culture of accountability, public entities must establish appropriate measures to safeguard vulnerable populations from any instances of abuse. This accountability must extend to any contractors that deliver services to/on behalf of the public entity. By thoroughly vetting their contractors’ codes of conduct, policies and procedures, and hiring practices in regards to the protection of vulnerable populations, public entities can help minimize the likelihood abuse occurring during the delivery of their services.
If you have questions, please contact your Marsh representative.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting, or legal matters are based solely on our experience as insurance brokers and risk consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax, or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors.