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Guidance on writing a safeguarding policy and procedure

If your organisation works with children or young people or with adults at-risk in vulnerable situations it should have a safeguarding policy.

Additionally, the Charity Commission advises that safeguarding should be a priority for ALL charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk. 

The policy should communicate your commitment to safeguarding and clearly set out the role that all volunteers and staff have to play in protecting people from harm.

It should also give clear procedures for how to report and record any concerns and incidents.

You should make sure that all staff and volunteers are familiar with the policy and know where to find it.

What to think about before writing your policy

• How do you check staff and volunteers (both existing and new)?

• How should someone raise a concern?

• How will you respond to concerns or allegations?

• How does your safeguarding policy relate to other policies and procedures?

• What training do you need to offer staff and volunteers?

• What will you do to make sure everyone is aware of your policy?

What to include in a safeguarding policy

• A statement of your commitment to protecting your clients, employees and volunteers from all forms of abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual harm

• Guidelines on what to do if there is an allegation or incident, or if concerns are raised about the welfare of a child or person at-risk or in a vulnerable situation.

• Who adults at-risk and children can contact if there is an incident

• Definitions of abuse (whether emotional, physical or psychological), harm and neglect

• Complaints and disciplinary procedures that are in place to manage concerns about the behaviour of staff or volunteers

• Procedures for recording allegations and incidents, and the disciplinary action that will be taken if these aren’t followed

• Who is responsible for recording abuse or harm

• Practical advice to staff and volunteers on dos and don'ts within the organisation.

Please note that this isn’t an exhaustive list of the areas that you should cover. Your safeguarding policy should be tailored to your organisation and its activities.

Making sure everyone is familiar with your policy

Whatever the size of your organisation, you should make sure that staff and volunteers are familiar with the safeguarding policy.

It’s a good idea to cover the policy as part of their induction and training. Make a record that they’ve seen it – for example, you could ask them to sign a statement saying they’ve read and understood it.

As with other organisational procedures, review it regularly to make sure that it’s still fit for purpose. Keep a record of when the policy was last checked.

Guidance on writing your policy

  • Every local authority has a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and a Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB). These are multi-agency bodies to coordinate what is done by everyone on the Board to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults in vulnerable situations in the area. The Boards publish policies and procedures in their area and provide other support. Contact your local authority for more information or see SAFEcic's list of LSCBs and LSABs
  • NSPCC shares free safeguarding resources and examples of best practice with professionals working with children and young people including an example policy for organisations working with children and young people. They also have paid for products and services.
  • See our page on Safeguarding for volunteer involving organisations for specific guidance and NCVO members can access our Volunteers and the Law resource with a section on safer recruiting.
  • For charities charity that do not work directly with children or vulnerable adults (i.e. it does not engage in ‘regulated activity’) then GetLegal from Bates Wells lawyers have a customised Safeguarding and Welfare Policy for sale.
  • The Charity Commission's Strategy for Dealing with Safeguarding Issues in Charities and in particular their guidance on trustees' responsibilities.


Face-to-face training

NCVO offer training on safeguarding for volunteer managers, trustees and senior managers delivered regularly at NCVO in London or bespoke at your premises. Email our training team to discuss what might suit you.

NCVO's Trusted Suppliers Leonard Consultancy and SAFEcic  provide bespoke training to organisations with a discount for NCVO members

Online training

NCVO's Trusted Supplier SAFEcic offers online courses (NCVO members get 25% off).

DBS Criminal Record Check

A DBS check is a process for gathering information about an applicant’s criminal history and is an important part in safeguarding. It helps organisations make safer recruitment decisions and prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups.

Disclosure Services is an NCVO Trusted Supplier and a DBS criminal record check service.

Disclosure Services provides Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS criminal record checks on applicants and the system is reliable, easy to use, fast, accurate and fully secure. It includes a fully electronic application process with dedicated relationship manager and significant cost and administrative savings.

NCVO members benefit from up to 40% savings on Disclosure Services standard admin fees.

A DBS check alone is not sufficient to meet your safeguarding obligations. You will need other procedures and systems as part of your safeguarding policy.

For more information visit the volunteer recruitment process and for paid staff offering the job and post-offer checks.

Safeguarding and Pre-inspection Audits 

NCVO’s Trusted Supplier SAFEcic offers safeguarding audits and pre-inspection audit services for a wide range of organisations such as those in leisure, health and education. These aim to raise standards for safeguarding children and/or adults and also assist managers in benchmarking the safeguarding arrangements in their organisation.

Typically taking a day or more for larger, complex organisations or those with multiple sites.


NCVO members get 10% discount on consultancy and practice services from our Trusted Supplier Leonard Consultancy.

UK Youth provide their Safe Spaces program to set a minimum level of practice consistent with operating a safe organisation. The framework covers issues including health and safety, data protection, safeguarding, child sex exploitation, bullying and radicalisation.

Page last edited Jul 04, 2019

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