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Safeguarding in Charities and Trusts: What You Need To Know


Kelly Ofasi

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This blog post was originally published on The Safeguarding Company website >>  https://www.thesafeguardingcompany.com/resources/blog/safeguarding-in-charities-and-trusts-what-you-need-to-know/

SAFEGUARDING IN CHARITIES AND TRUSTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In this blog, we explore the safeguarding measures a charity needs to take in order to keep the children, young people and adults who use them safe from harm.

The UK Government states: 

All charities have a responsibility to ensure they don’t cause harm to anyone who has contact with them. Charities working with children or adults at risk have extra responsibilities. 

Trustees of charities must ensure the charity fulfils this responsibility, even if some of the activities are delegated to a safeguarding lead or group, the trustee will retain overall responsibility for safeguarding within the charity.  

HAVING A STRONG SAFEGUARDING CULTURE 

Any type of harm or abuse can have a lasting impact on those who experience it. Everyone working in the charity must ensure that there is a strong safeguarding culture which the UK Government defines as:  

  • People are protected from harm 
  • The charity minimises the risks of any harm or abuse 
  • There is a system in place that deals with any concerns appropriately and promptly  
  • Everyone has faith in this system 
  • Everyone at the charity understands their role 

All trustees must ensure their charity undertakes these five actions: 

  1. Identify and manage risks 
  2. Have suitable policies and practices in place 
  3. Carry out necessary checks 
  4. Protect volunteers and staff 
  5. Handle and report incidents appropriately 

IDENTIFY AND MANAGE RISKS 

All potential safeguarding risks must be identified by the charities. These risks could vary depending on: 

  • Who the charity works with? 
  • Where does the charity operate? 
  • What does the charity do? 

All charities must identify any safeguarding risks they could potentially have. The UK Government has this detailed guide to help all charities identify and address all risks associated with: 

  • Working with children and young people 
  • Working with adults at risk 
  • Operating online 
  • Working with other bodies 
  • Working overseas 
  • Preventing terrorist abuse 

HAVE SUITABLE POLICIES AND PRACTICES IN PLACE 

It is vital for all organisations to have robust safeguarding policies and procedures for managing concerns and everyone in the charity understands and uses them. Most importantly everyone should understand how to identify a concern or incident and how to effectively report it to the safeguarding lead. 

CARRY OUT NECESSARY CHECKS 

Safer recruitment is the first vital step in safeguarding as every charity needs to ensure that the trustees, volunteers, and staff working within the charity are suitable to act in their roles. A huge part of the safer recruitment process is carrying out relevant checks which can include: 

  • Checking gaps in people’s work history 
  • Checking references 
  • Carrying out Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks 

Having robust safer recruitment processes will relay that your charity takes safeguarding seriously and will deter unsuitable people from applying to work within the charity. 

Read more about safer recruitment here:  

PROTECT YOUR VOLUNTEERS AND STAFF 

Safeguarding is important not only to safeguard the people who use your services. But also to keep your volunteers and staff safe from harm as well. 

You do this by having clear policies on the following: 

  • Bullying and harassment, and 
  • Whistleblowing 

You must also have suitable insurance in place. It is also a good idea to educate volunteers and safe on current safeguarding issues such as signs of abuse, low-level concerns and allegations against colleagues, mental health training and inclusion.  

HANDLE AND REPORT INCIDENTS APPROPRIATELY 

Handling incidents or allegations of abuse should always be done following the charity safeguarding policies and procedures. You are safeguarding procedures should include:  

  • Handling and recording in a secure and responsible way 
  • Acting quickly, ensuring you stop or minimise any further harm or damage 
  • Reporting to all relevant agencies 

Support 

  • Read The Charities Commission safeguarding guidance 
  • Read Bond’s Good Governance for Safeguarding 
  • Read NCVO’s safeguarding resource
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