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Safeguarding in grant applications

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Communicating in advance

It’s important you’re open and transparent about the safeguarding provisions you expect organisations to have in place. This will help them decide whether to apply for grants and what preparations they’ll need to do for their application.

  • Make it clear on your website and application form what safeguarding measures you expect to see.
  • Provide guidance on what this looks like and how you assess suitability. 
  • Make sure your expectations are not ‘one-size-fits-all’ but allow organisations to respond appropriately and proportionately based on the activities they offer and who they work with.  
  • Be clear about whether you can provide budget, advice or support to encourage organisations who need to improve their safeguarding practice. 

The application form

The application form must provide sufficient information and detail to so you can do an initial risk assessment before shortlisting. In terms of safeguarding, it should include:

  • a clear description of proposed activities and the intended beneficiaries
  • who will deliver the work, what training they’ve completed and which qualifications they have
  • relevant core policies (safeguarding, complaints, health and safety) and examples of how they’re put into practice
  • experience of delivering similar projects so you can assess competence
  • evidence that people they work with know they have a right to be safe and speak up when they have concerns
  • a risk assessment to show they understand the safeguarding risks and how they will manage them
  • a budget line for safeguarding showing specifically how it’ll be used 
  • details of any partners and joint funders so you can assess risk, expertise and support available
  • referees so that you can assess track record and reputation.

Assessing grant applications

During assessment you must carry out due diligence checks. This is a Charity Commission requirement and is also vital for good safeguarding. In terms of safeguarding, these checks help to:

  • identify areas for improvement
  • provide an opportunity to agree improvements or adjustments before the grant begins
  • reduce the risk of failure/early termination of the funded activity due to safeguarding concerns.

It’s up to you to choose how to carry out those checks and how thorough they should be. You should clearly be able to show that policies and procedures have been put into practice. 

Here are some questions that can help you raise safeguarding standards among the organisations you fund. 

  • Do the safeguarding policies they have match the groups they work with? 
  • Are there separate procedures for working with children and adults at risk if they are key beneficiaries?
  • Are the organisation’s values a good match with yours?
  • Can a reputable organisation such as a local authority, a charity known to you or another public body that the applicant has worked with provide a reference? 
  • Can partners, other funders or beneficiaries reassure you of their track record through a testimonial?
  • Do they have partners with additional experience that can help them manage safeguarding risks?
  • Is their governance structure clear and do they have named people responsible for safeguarding?
  • Do they have the resources in budget and time to meet the safeguarding responsibilities related to the funding activities?
  • Can they show you how they track safeguarding concerns and tell you how many concerns they have managed in the past 12 months? 
  • Are core policies in place?
  • Do staff understand how to deal with concerns?

Processes that could help you with your due diligence checks.

  • Review the organisation’s policies and procedures. 
  • Work together with other reputable funders and share insights.
  • Speak with those who have provided references or testimonials.
  • Hold a meeting with applicants to discuss safeguarding.
Tom’s Club has 10 years experience of delivering an after school club. It applies for funding to deliver a parent club, including courses. This is because many parents have reported low self esteem and loneliness is affecting their parenting. The funder asks for information that shows why Tom’s Club are the best people to deliver this service, what risks it’s identified and how the team will manage these. The funder also wants to hear what parents, children and local stakeholders such as schools have to say.

Who should be included in the assessment process? 

If you are making a grant in an area where you don’t have internal expertise, you can involve a specialist with good knowledge of safeguarding in that area. You can also involve a person with lived experience of the area who can help you in your assessment process. 

If you do this make sure:

  • you are clear on their role and scope for influence 
  • you only give them the information they need from the application, not all the details
  • you explain your expectation of confidentiality
  • you take a safeguarding approach to the way you involve those people especially if they are children or adults at risk themselves.

Where it would be helpful to include children or adults at risk in the assessment process, make sure that you follow your safeguarding procedures for their involvement. 

Chalk Family Trust receive an application from a community project that proposes to work with refugees.  The trustees have limited knowledge about this beneficiary group. They arrange for someone who represents the refugee community as well as someone who understands safeguarding issues in that area to help with the assessment. 


Always provide feedback to applicants, whether they are successful or not. It’s helpful for them to know what they’re doing well in relation to safeguarding and how they need to improve. When you make safeguarding recommendations to unsuccessful organisations, you help raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding.

Page last edited Sep 30, 2019

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