Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees
Posted on: July 22nd 2022 · read
The Charity Commission updated their guidance on safeguarding and protecting people last month, providing the sector with a welcome reminder of how to protect people who come into contact with your charity through its work from abuse or mistreatment of any kind.
Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities.
Accordingly, a charity must have appropriate polices and safeguards in place and ensure it is being proactive in protecting its beneficiaries, staff, stakeholders and anyone else who comes into contact with it. Such is the necessity of this governance matter, the Commission will refer concerns to relevant safeguarding agencies where needed to implement safeguarding legislation. Their expectations of charities are detailed below:
- To have appropriate policies and procedures are in place, and they are followed by all trustees, volunteers and beneficiaries.
- That checks are performed which ensure people are suitable to act in their roles.
- A charity knows how to spot and handle concerns in a full and open manner.
- There are clear systems of referring or reporting to relevant agencies as soon as concerns are suspected or identified.
- Risks are identified and how they will be managed are set out in a risk register which is regularly reviewed.
- That statutory guidance, good practice guidance and legislation relevant to their charity is all followed.
- A charity's response to concerns is quick and appropriate investigations are carried out.
- Failures and harm are not ignored or downplayed.
- A charity’s trustee board is balanced and does not let one trustee dominate its work.
- Protecting people from harm is central to a charity’s culture.
- Resources, including trained staff/volunteers/trustees for safeguarding and protecting people, are sufficient.
- Periodic reviews of safeguarding policies, procedures and practice are conducted.
The Commission’s guidance provides updated links to useful advice and practical support:
- The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) provide a resource for advice on how to get started with safeguarding.
- The Charity Governance Code includes best practice advice, including on safeguarding.
- Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development, have produced a ‘Good governance for safeguarding’ guide in collaboration with UK Aid.
Finally, the Commission note that if a charity works with children or adults at risk then there are more safeguarding legal requirements applicable which must be worked within.
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