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Planning safeguarding training

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What training is required?

You must make sure you have the right level of safeguarding training available for all your staff, volunteers and trustees. The Charity Commission expects all charities to ensure that trustees, employees and volunteers know about safeguarding and best practice for all other groups. 

The training should: 

  • match the needs of your organisation and your activities 
  • be appropriate to their role and the level of the risk involved 
  • be up to date reflecting current legal or regulatory requirements.

People usually start with either:

  • introductory training that covers both safeguarding children and adults at risk
  • introductory training that specialises in safeguarding either children or adults at risk.

You may also need or want to find training that is:

  • designed for people in different roles (for example training for a designated safeguarding lead or training for trustees)
  • designed to cover particular risks (for example Prevent training about safeguarding people from radicalisation)
  • designed for people who provide a certain type of activity (for example training for sports clubs)

Organisations that work providing regular activities, training or care for children or adults at risk – particularly if they are funded by statutory bodies (such as the local council) or are Ofsted/CQC inspected – will need to make sure their training is up to the standards required by those regulators. For everyone else there are no set standards and no standardised accreditation of safeguarding training. 

AccessWeb is a small volunteer-led organisation which provides guidance on how to make websites disability accessible. They do a half day training once a year which gives an introduction to safeguarding children and adults at risk of harm. The training focuses on potential signs and symptoms of harm online and how to pass information to local authority social services. 
MakeContact is a large national charity providing a befriending service connecting elderly people with volunteers who visit them in their home. They have a mandatory, specifically designed five hour introductory training session for all new trustees, staff and volunteers on their safeguarding duties. The course focuses on working with adults at risk of harm but includes key details on harm to children. This is repeated every two years. Additional e-learning training is available for staff and volunteers working with people with certain conditions such as dementia or in specific roles (eg. public fundraising). All new MakeContact Trustees have training on their responsibility to oversee and scrutinise safeguarding with an annual briefing on key legal changes. 

So how do you know if you are doing things right?

  • Arrange training on a regular basis with updates and refreshers depending on the level of risk.
  • Retraining is recommended at least every three years for all staff and volunteers at the right level for their role.
  • Make sure your designated safeguarding leads get specific training for their role every two years.
  • Check to see if the training you offer covers the risks and areas that you have considered as most relevant to your organisation when producing your safeguarding policy.
  • Keep records of who attended what type of training and when.
  • Gather feedback on the training sessions.
  • Review your training every year to ensure it reflects current legal duties, to see whether everyone is attending often enough and whether the training feels useful for them.
  • Ask your local safeguarding board or partnership for advice on the choices you have made.

Choosing a training provider

There are a large number of providers offering safeguarding and either child protection or adult at risk of harm training. These include:

  • charities
  • specialist training companies
  • freelance trainers
  • local authorities social care
  • local safeguarding children boards or partnerships
  • local adult safeguarding boards.

They provide training on different subjects, and using language suitable for different levels of knowledge and how to manage different types of risk. 


  • what the training needs to achieve and how you’ll know if it has been effective.
  • how the training fits into your safeguarding plan
  • if you want to send individuals to an open course or have in-house training
  • whether the training needs to be face-to-face or whether an online training course would be suitable
  • what training you can find locally from your safeguarding partnerships and boards, local authorities and infrastructure organisations and whether you need anything additional
  • your budget.  

Once you know what you are looking for, you can start to narrow down your choice. 

  • If you don’t have strong local connections already, you can use our links to local and national support to find different local organisations who may have courses you can send people on.
  • If the right course for you isn’t available locally, we have a list of training providers with links to some leading charity sector organisations who offer face to face or online training. 

Researching training

As there is no set standard for safeguarding training, you need to ensure that the organisation is credible and reliable. Use the training organisation’s website to decide if they are up to date or not.  


  • if the advertised course dates are for this year
  • if the website contains a phone number and email address
  • how much you can find out about the people behind the company
  • if the website has feedback from people who have attended the training
  • if the website provides details so that you could get in touch with those people
  • if they use current terminology such as Disclosure and Barring Service not criminal records checks
  • if they have expertise in safeguarding in charities or whether most of their work is in education or social care. 

Use the organisation’s website and any materials they send out about the training to work out whether it is right for you. In a larger organisation you may send one staff member to attend training to bring back comments before sending other staff or volunteers. If you are looking at working with a freelancer, you might ask them for evidence of their expertise, experience with comparable organisations to yours or references from other people they’ve delivered training for.

Lee Action Centre provides a range of community development projects for adults and children in their area. They asked other charities in their area for recommendation for training providers. They researched seven providers and asked four to send a proposal for a training course. They chose the trainer who had previously delivered training for lots of community groups in the region even though they weren't the cheapest. 

Useful questions

  • What does the training consist of? Is it up-to-date and does it contain current legislation?
  • Is the training suitable for charities? 
  • Is the training package flexible enough to reflect the needs of your organisation and everyone involved?
  • Is the latest learning from serious case reviews and statutory investigations included and does it show the lived experience of those who have experienced harm? 
  • What is the trainer’s background and recent practice? 
  • Is the trainer prepared to adapt their training to work with your safeguarding processes and procedures?
  • Will they use training methods that suit your staff and volunteers?
  • What resources and information will be given to people attending the training? 
  • How is the training evaluated?  
  • What are the costs of the training? 
  • Does the basic fee include travel and/or accommodation? 
  • Is VAT payable?
  • What is the cancellation policy?
  • Does the training provider have a confidentiality policy or statement relating to anything which may be discussed in training? 
Sunnydale Refugee Centre is a small charity which runs a range of services, working closely with volunteers. Given the range of work they split their training provision. Their Children’s Services Manager to a one day child protection course run by a respected national children’s charity and their Volunteer Coordinator travelled to London for a specialist Safeguarding for Volunteer Managers course. All other staff attended a one day training run by their local council for voluntary services. 

Designing training in-house

If you have safeguarding expertise and training expertise within your organisation you can design training yourself. Use our checklist to help you get started.

  • What skills do you need to pass on to your staff or volunteers?
  • What behaviours are common in your organisation that need to be changed or reinforced?
  • What knowledge is needed so that your staff and volunteers can meet their legal obligations in your organisations?
  • What is the right balance of information based on the level of safeguarding risk and responsibility your staff and volunteers encounter?
  • How much time is available?
  • How frequently can you offer the training
Varden Youth Centre has a designated safeguarding lead who champions safeguarding across their team. They have developed a range of training tailored for the activities and services they provide. An introductory three-hour session for everyone focuses on the code of conduct and reporting concerns. All volunteers working directly with young people have an additional three hours on managing personal boundaries and responding to a disclosure. Annually they run a session for managers on changes in laws and learning from recent serious case reviews. 


Page last edited Oct 07, 2019

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