Duty of Care for Safety and Security

VPJ are proud to announce a new service to help support the safety of staff and students in International schools.


Phil Jones has been consulting to some of the worlds largest Aid Agencies often in high risk and conflict locations.

Phil has advised on:

  • Duty of Care,
  • Basic and emergency planning at local and strategic levels. 
  • Constructed systems to assist organisational Duty of Care
  • Advised and produced contingency planning for when things do go wrong.
  • Staying safe and avoiding damaging legal actions via neglect or lack of knowledge.

Through many years of practical and direct experience Phil has constantly been in demand providing training, seminars, awareness sessions and practical day-to-day management in many global locations.


Phil is now the VPJ Operations Director and can offer a wealth of knowledge to the International School market on Duty of Care and Safety and Security.


Duty of Care is often talked about but seldom is it fully understood. There are certain scenarios whereupon Duty of Care is obvious and simple precautions and procedures are put in place as a safeguard.

Often we fail to grasp the importance of Duty of Care and can be oblivious to some of the more extreme outcomes concerning individual and collective responsibility, accountability and liability.

You could actually be responsible for a situation and thought you had no connection to, or responsibility for.  It can be challenging to understand and to implement.


The following statement is a realisation of potential consequence...


The question is posed by a seasoned professional with decades of top level management experience in hostile environments:


“In this high threat environment, on a daily basis I take many decisions on what staff can and

cannot do. And despite a wide range of constantly adapted measures to reduce and limit risk, I must assume that a critical, fatal incident will probably happen one day.

Apart from serious moral and ethical concerns, is there not also a legal angle to this? If a critical incident happens, what is the legal responsibility? To what extent can my organisation or I be held legally accountable? Could either be taken to court?”

…But the short and simple answer is basically ‘yes’. Of course the issue is more complicated

than that; but it has far-reaching implications.

                                                         …Security Management Initiative(SMI)  Policy Paper; Can You Get Sued?



International Schools operating overseas can often be subjected to a heightened risk from various sources. In the extreme it could be a threat from kidnap for ransom or other forms of terrorist activity within the country of operation. It could be a natural disaster such as earthquake or Tsunami or something more routine based such as a traffic accident or a child in the play area sustaining an injury through play; all have Duty of Care responsibilities and all have the potential, if pressed, to result in liability actions.                                                                                                                


Duty of Care for Safety and Security can come in a wide and varied guise. Almost everything we do can have a duty of care aspect connected to it.


Many issues of duty of care only come to light after an incident or accident has already occurred, when questions are usually asked about responsibility and accountability, in legal terms it may boil down to 'Who was at fault' combined with could (or should!) the incident have been avoided?




Student walking on school grounds is hit by a vehicle causing injury to the student and damage to the vehicle.


Q1. Who is at fault: The Student? The Vehicle Driver? The School?


 A1. All three could be at fault... look at the scenario a little closer:


 Did the student and driver pay attention to what was going on? blame here may be hard to identify




Had the School briefed all students about the potential of accidents around the morning arrival time involving the coming and going of various vehicles?


Have drivers (Parents doing drop off, teachers arriving and possibly early morning deliveries being made) been warned about their speed, where to access, who has right of way etc?


Are there any signs or notices to highlight a potential risk?


From one end of the spectrum to the other...

The world has changed significantly since 9/11 in terms of risk to individuals living and working overseas.

The rise of various ‘Terror’ groups who are focussed on ‘anti-western’ ideology and a rising growth of religious extremism, which has focussed attacks on educational establishments and individuals amongst other (what they call) legitimate targets.


Schools and School management, including all levels of teachers and supporting staff, have a Duty of Care to provide and contribute to the safety and security to all those in their charge.


 VPJ Solutions can assist schools identify Threat, Risk and assess their Vulnerabilities to it.


Regardless if it is the risk from traffic flow in and out of the school during morning arrivals or afternoon departures, to the issues around staff and pupil safety within the school and recognising, understanding and being aware of the external risks that may impact on maintaining a safe school environment.


Too much (and often extreme) physical protection can have a detrimental and psychological effect and can impart a ‘prison type’ approach to what should be a pleasant and enjoyable experience within the school.


VPJ approach the safety and security duty of care aspect from an understanding of context and need.

The main aim is to keep staff, pupils and the school safe while maintaining ‘normality’


Our Operations manager at VPJ has been dealing with safety and security from a duty of care approach for many years. Gaining practical experience from years spent in under-developed locations around the world and supporting some of the world’s largest International Non-Governmental Organisations by writing directives, formalising protocols, conducting trainings, workshops and lectures and constructing contingency plans to ensure if things do go awry there is a plan in place to give direction on how to react in a safe and timely manner.


Some of the services we can provide include:


1. Safety and Security Duty of Care Awareness (Organisational and Individual levels)

2. Incident Management

3. New / changed scenario assessments (to meet new or growing threats and risks)

4. Construction of  documents and directives and other related Duty of Care and

    safety guideline documentation

5. Key point, School, office, storage, living accommodation and asset security

6. Guard Training

7. Emergency fire drills including identification and use of fire-ighting equipment       

    and  emergency building evacuation

8. Safety and Security Induction courses (Basic & intermediate levels)

9. Pre-travel training for newly recruited staff (country specific in content if  


10. Training and mentoring of Security Focal Point persons (SFP)

11. Training / Mentoring of Security Managers / Coordinators


•   Crisis Management: at School;  the processes of reporting internally

     and externally. 'Who does what' 

     (who is your crisis management team and what are your reporting lines?) and   

      what preparation is required?

•    Hostage / Abduction Training. How to reduce the risk of being kidnapped and

       surviving being a hostage


 Contingency Planning: Do you have a plan in place for the rare occasions that things do go wrong? It is your duty of care responsibility to mitigate risk and to ensure you have done 'everything reasonable' to keep staff and students safe... HAVE YOU?


 The list is wide and varied as no two incidents will ever be the same. With our experience we can assist you to identify, assess and mitigate the risks you may face.


VPJ can also deliver bespoke workshops tailored to your exact school needs as identified in a consultative assessment.



You may never have cause to understand the processes involved as most cases of duty of care, liability and responsibility don't come to the fore until an accident or incident has already happened... Then it is too late!



Contact us for more information.


VPJ Solutions Limited are members of EARCOS

We are located at:

VPJ Solutions Ltd

Unit 5 & 6

Punchbowl Lane



PE20 3SB



Registered Number 09475399

VAT Registered

Contact us today!

If you would like more information or wish to place an order, please contact us:

Tel: (+44) 01205 361815    

email: info@vpjsolutions.co.uk


Or use our contact form Click Here.

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