Questions to ask
Before commisioning any physical intervention training ask the following questions of your provider, Silvermill can answer them all to your satisfaction.
1 Company Public and Employers liability insurance cover? Check to see it
2 Does it contain a specific inclusion for occupational physical skill instruction, restraint / intervention and breakaway / self-defence? Check to see it
3 Do you have Professional Indemnity Insurance Cover? Check to see it
If the provider cannot produce their Public and Employers Liability Insurance cover and Professional Indemnity cover policies cover with specific inclusion for physical restraint / intervention and / or breakaway / self-defence instruction do not engage their services and do not proceed further.
QUALIFICATIONS / COMPETENCIES / FIRST AID
4 How do you record training injuries and what is your procedure if someone who is injured wishes to make a claim against you? (All providers should have a copy of ‘Accident Book' BI 510 to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998). Ask for confirmation
5 Do you possess a formal coaching or educational qualification recognised by a sporting governing body or educational awarding body for the skills you are proposing to teach?
Check to see it
6 Do you or the instructor teaching have a current first aid certificate? Check to see it
7 What legal and / or H&S training have you had?
AUDITS & REVIEWS
8 Has your training been subject to any form of legal audit to ensure legal accuracy? Check to see it
9 Has you training ever been subject to a Heath and Safety Review? Check to see it
10 Has your training ever been subject to a technical review of the skills taught? Check to see it
11 How do you monitor, review & measure the appropriateness and effectiveness of your training? Check to see it
12 What procedures do you have in place to internally &/or externally verify your training? Check to see it
13 What procedures do you have in place for complaints and / or appeals? Ask to see them
14 Has your training been subject to a risk assessment and / or training needs analysis? Ask to see it
15 Have you got a risk assessment for the training course you are proposing to deliver? Ask to see them
16 Do delegates complete medical questionnaires before each course? Check to see it
17 Do delegates complete a declaration of acceptance form or written contract outlining and identifying basic rules before training commences? (Ask to see one)
18 Have you got safety briefs for the course? (pre-course, static & dynamic training briefs) Check to see it
LEGAL & HEALTH & SAFETY CONTENT
19 Does you training contain any guidance on the law in relation to the use of physical force? (If they say yes, ask them to explain what reasonable force means.) Ask for explanation
20 Does the training provide any Health and Safety advice / refer to any H&S Sections, Regulations or Guidance? (If Yes, what ones?)
21 Breakaway Training: How many physical techniques are you proposing to teach? Ask for reasoning / methodology
22 Breakaway Training: What type of attacks will staff be learning to defend against? Ask for reasoning / methodology
23 Physical Restraint: Will you be instructing staff in non-harmful methods of control? Ask for reasoning / methodology
24 Physical Restraint: Will you be instructing staff in more restrictive methods of control? Ask for reasoning / methodology
GUIDANCE NOTES ON THE ABOVE QUESTIONS
1. All companies / individuals should have at least £5 million public and employer's liability insurance cover. Although public liability cover is optional employers liability cover is not. Failing to check if a provider has such cover could make the local authority liable if an injury occurs and a claim is made - Note: Martial Arts insurance may not be the appropriate cover for an occupational physical skills training programme).
The law has changed with effect from 28th February 2005 to exempt very small companies that employ only their owner from the requirement to have employers' liability compulsory insurance (see the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations 2004, SI 2004/2882).
2. Check to see that any insurance cover has the activity/ activities of: Physical Intervention / Restraint & Disengagement / Breakaway included in the policy as the activities covered by it. Getting insurance cover specifically for these activities is very difficult and normally requires proof of qualifications / competencies so id a good filter for sorting through providers.
3. Professional indemnity insurance protects businesses against compensation sought by a client if a training provider makes mistakes or they found to have been negligent. Professional indemnity insurance will also cover any legal costs. Most professionals carry professional indemnity cover. All consultants who are in the business of selling their knowledge or skills, should consider taking out professional indemnity insurance. Professional personal safety & physical skills instructors should also have this cover.
4. The legal requirement for recording and reporting accidents, diseases and dangerous incidents at work are laid down in the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, The Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. To comply with the above and the introduction of the Data Protection Act 1998 all physical skills training providers should have in their possession (and on all courses) Accident Book BI 510 as required by the HSE.
5. Home Office ‘approved' training and BILD ‘accredited' training are not qualifications.
Trainers should have a coaching certificate issued by a recognized sporting Governing Body relevant to the skills they are instructing. Examples would include: BJJAGB & Sport Coach UK.
6. For any activity where there is a risk of injury there must be a qualified first-aider available. It would be good due diligence if all instructors teaching held a first aid certificate, and you may find that some insurance cover may be exempt if the instructor did not hold a first aid certificate.
7. If instructors are proposing to give Legal and H&S advice then it would be feasible for them to have had some form of training. This should not require an instructor to hold a law degree or a H&S qualification but they should be able to demonstrate their understanding of these areas and justify their advice given.
8. This will reduce the instructors and the local authority's liability by showing that an independent audit of the advice given is accurate.
9. A H&S review by an independent H&S professional would be good evidence to show how the training provider is monitoring and measuring their training in line with a risk control strategy.
10. A technical review by a qualified physical training agency would demonstrate an external source of monitoring and review.
11. The training provider should also be able to demonstrate how they are monitoring and reviewing their own training skills and techniques as part of their own quality management.
12. Can the training provider show how they are internally verifying their training and, if they are using additional trainers, how they externally verify that what they are teaching is correct.
13. Equal Opportunity and Discrimination legislation should allow for any decision made by a training provider to be appealed against. For example, is a delegate failed a course the provider should be able to justify, in writing, their assessment criteria and inform an individual of their rights of appeal. This is a requirement of all sporting Governing Bodies and Educational Awarding Bodies such as BTEC, City & Guilds etc.
14. If training is a risk control measure ask the provider to show how they have come to formally agree the system / syllabus they are proposing to teach. They should be able to provide documentation to support their answer in the form of a risk assessment or training needs analysis.
15. If they are being asked to provide a specific course for staff ask them to demonstrate why what they are proposing to instruct will be right for staff.
16. Medical questionnaires are important as they will highlight any injuries that delegates may have (past and present) and any medication that delegates may be on that they need to be aware of. Failure to do this may mask injuries that could be further affected by the training and as such may breach the duty of care owed to the delegate. As Restraint is a manual handling activity a manual-handling checklist should be used as a minimum for that activity in line with the Regulations.
17. A declaration of acceptance is important as it gets the delegate to agree to the terms and conditions of the training. All delegates should sign such a document.
18. Safety briefs are important and should be read at the beginning of the course and before any static (closed loop) and dynamic (open loop) training takes place and should be based on an assessment of risk so that the salient points to be covered in the brief have been identified by a formal process.
19. If someone is going to give advice on he law, ie., Reasonable Force, then they should be able to explain what Reasonable means or at least demonstrate by example. Does the provider show the relevant Criminal Law Sections and make reference to the Human Rights Act and what models, if any, do they use to illustrate their advice and guidance. This is important when you consider point 3 above - Professional indemnity insurance.
20. Does the training work within a hierarchy of control measures. For example, Breakaway and Restraint should be a last resort option but how is this being demonstrated and taught to staff. Does the provider show the relevant H&S Sections and Regulations and what models, if any, do they use to illustrate their advice and guidance.
21. The more techniques that are taught the less staff will remember and / or be able to recall under pressure and distress. If too many techniques are taught then we have to ask why and get the provider to justify their answer. If they state that it is because that is the "National Standard" be careful as no "National or International Standard" exists. It would also be apparent that the provider is unaware of the relationship between motor learning and performance and as such has had no formal training in this area and is possibly does not hold a recognized instructional / coaching award.
22. Many Breakaway courses teach a wide range of defences against attacks including: wrist grabs, hair grabs (front & rear), collar grabs, strangles (front & rear), bear-hugs (front & rear), ear grabs and floor techniques. In some programmes 14 different techniques are taught to defend against 14 different types of attacks. However, the programmes omit to cover the most common types of assault that staff are exposed to such as: punches, slaps, kicking, biting, pushing and shoving, which are all mainly front-on assaults. Therefore, some techniques are taught that are not needed, some that are needed are not taught, and too many techniques are taught that staff will forget.
23. Non-harmful methods of control are normally promoted as the ‘only' system of intervention that can be used as it does not rely on more restrictive or ‘pain-compliance' techniques. This is based on the myth that any restrictive intervention may amount to abuse. Although non-harmful methods of control are preferable they are limited by design and so will fail when attempted in situations of high risk. This may increase the risk of injury and also fatality (see research on positional asphyxiation).
24. Restrictive intervention will involve the use techniques more likely to cause harm and as such are ‘disapproved of' by many instructors / agencies who advocate that they "cannot be used" as they form the basis of abuse. However, a restrictive intervention should be considered where a non-harmful method of control is likely to fail and where the risk of positional asphyxiation can be reduced by its implementation. If a provider is stating that they can never be used then they are showing a lack of understanding in the legal aspects of what they are proposing to instruct and will be unaware of the definition of what constitutes a skill (Guthrie 1952).