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Policies and procedures

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Use this page to understand the key safeguarding documents you will need. There are links to templates and tools for creating them.

Safeguarding policy

Every voluntary sector organisation must have key documents that help it manage safeguarding well. You must have them if your organisation is a charity or if you work regularly with children or adults at risk. These documents set out what your organisation will do to keep people safe.

You must make sure that everyone, no matter what their role, understands the documents and uses them in the day-to-day running of the organisation. Every year you must review how you’re doing and address areas for improvement that have come up.

Your policy should cover all the key risks for the groups you work with and the activities you do.

The amount of detail in your policies and how often you review them depends on what your charity does, where it works, who with, and the level of risk. Everyone, including your staff, volunteers and people you work with, should be aware of how you manage safeguarding. Your policy and procedures should be easily available, either online or on paper (or both).

Keep a record of any changes you make to your safeguarding policy. You must have a clear plan of how you’ll make sure everyone knows about the changes and keep track of how effective they are.

We recommend these resources to help you write your policy:

Reporting procedure

Your safeguarding policy may contain several different procedures depending on your organisation and activities. However, you will always need a reporting procedure that clearly explains how people can make their worries known and how you will handle any problems.

The reporting procedure needs to set out:

  • who to speak to
  • how issues should be reported
  • where information will be stored and shared internally
  • how you’ll share this with police, social services or regulators if necessary.

More about reporting procedures

Code of conduct

A code of conduct sets out your expectations of staff and volunteers. You should include clear expectations of what people should do and say, and what they must not. This will help raise awareness of illegal, unsafe, unprofessional and unwise behaviour. Being clear about standards of behaviour is an important part of safeguarding.

What you should do with your code of conduct:

  • Involve staff, volunteers and even your participants in creating the code so you can make sure people feel it protects everyone.
  • Make sure everyone in the organisation is aware it applies to them and they must follow all its standards.
  • Be clear about what will happen if someone doesn’t follow it.
  • Include specific standards or expectations for roles with particular responsibilities if necessary.
  • Keep a record to show that all your staff and volunteers have seen and understood it and agree to follow it.
  • Make sure the code allows participants to question staff and volunteers if they think they’re doing something wrong.

More about the importance of a good code of conduct

A risk policy and register

Charity trustees and senior managers of organisations must regularly review what risks their organisation faces, including safeguarding risks. They must have a plan showing how they’ll manage those risks. You should do this by keeping an up-to-date risk register. This document shows that you have thought about how likely and severe risks are. It also covers how you plan to reduce those risks and helps you see how safeguarding sits alongside other risk management.

Trustees’ annual report

Every registered charity has to send an annual report and accounts to the Charity Commission. It’s good practice for charities of any size to include a risk management statement in their report. Where its income is over £500,000, it must include this by law.

The risk management statement should state all major risks the charity faces and how it controls those risks. This will include safeguarding matters, especially if you regularly work with children or adults at risk or have had an increase of reports of harm in the organisation.

Registered charities with income over £1 million must, by law, include extra information about fundraising in their trustees’ annual report. This statement must include details of its approach to fundraising and measures taken to protect the public, including vulnerable people, from unreasonably intrusive or persistent fundraising approaches, and undue pressure to donate. 

Related documents, policies and procedures

You’ll need to think about the big picture and how your organisation’s mission statement, policies and procedures contribute to safeguarding.

These links take you to more detailed and specific policies relating to safeguarding.

The following Knowhow links take you to templates for our members to use which help create a safer organisation. Membership is free for small organisations and you can follow the links and then sign up.

These are tools for looking at overall good practice in your organisation.

Page last edited Jun 18, 2021

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