The Access Platform believes that when online interactions are well-designed and efficiently managed, they are far safer than real world interactions that might occur at Open Days, for example. This article explains the key processes that The Access Platform has in place to protect users of its service and what your responsibilities are as an Admin.
The Access Platform operates a shared responsibility model for Safeguarding. It is our responsibility to follow the processes outlined in full in our Safeguarding Policy. It is our Customers' responsibility to make themselves aware of our Safeguarding processes and use them to manage the platform and interactions that happen through it in a way that they deem appropriate.
What processes do The Access Platform follow?
- Know who your representatives are
The Access Platform gives each Customer a unique code that Ambassadors must have in order to create an account. After they have created an account, every Ambassador is 'deactivated' by default. Admins must review and approve profiles before they can be active on the service. Admins should share the code confidentially with Ambassadors and only 'activate' profiles of known Ambassadors.
- Keep engagements within the platform where they are safe
The Access Platform only displays the first names of all users on the platform so it is harder for interactions to move onto social media where they are not visible to Admins.
- Contact information is never shared by The Access Platform
Whilst we collect contact information, all engagements happen through the platform, so we never share a user's contact information with the other participants of any interactions.
- Provide training and messaging around not sharing personal or contact information
As far as is reasonably possible, we try to remind and encourage users of the service that it is against our terms and conditions to share contact information through our service. Examples of where we do this include having a 'Resources' section in the app with a Safeguarding 101 video, which talks about this any many other elements of Safeguarding on The Access Platform.
- Direct Messages are saved and accessible by Admin
All Direct Message conversations can be seen by the Admin, providing total transparency.
- Keyword detection on all conversations
To save the Admin time and make the platform safer, we run keyword detection software across all of our conversations. We look for words that indicate participants are trying to communicate off-platform or meet up and words that indicate a danger. A full list of our keywords are included in our Safeguarding Policy. You can also add custom keywords that you would like to be detected and blocked. Read more about how our keyword detection process works in this article.
- Human reporting of conversations
Any participant of a conversation can 'flag' a conversation which sends an alert to our Admins to review the conversation.
What processes do Customers need to follow?
- Ensure all of your Ambassadors are appropriately trained
Ensuring your Ambassadors are appropriately trained is the single most important way to be safe on The Access Platform. We have a Safeguarding 101 video in the resources section of our App to help with this, but additional training is advisable. (You may already deliver training to your team of student Ambassadors.) Only 'activate' Ambassadors who you feel would represent your institution appropriately and effectively to prospective students when using Chat.
- Ensure Keyword and Flagged Conversation notifications are checked
We have refined our keyword list and created the flagging process so that it is only triggered when we believe there is sufficient risk detected in a conversation. Please use these notifications to help you keep the conversations safe. Please note that keyword detection has limits and we cannot guarantee that all 'at risk' conversations will be flagged.
- Identify a Designated Safeguarding Point of Contact for the Platform
It's good practice to identify a Designated Safeguarding Contact for your use of The Access Platform. This contact information can be directly added to the platform in Settings. This person will then receive an email outlining relevant information about Safeguarding on The Access Platform so they are familiar with the processes outlined above and have a point of contact at our end.