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Getting started with safeguarding

This page is free to all

How to use this page

This page shows you how to use Knowhow content to get started with safeguarding. It focuses on the things the Charity Commission expect you to do, and tells you which Knowhow pages have guidance to doing them well.

However, if your organisation’s main work is with children or with adults at risk,  you have more responsibilities when working with those groups. We recommend you use more detailed guidance.

Six areas of activity

The Charity Commission reference 10 principles, and gives additional descriptions of what they expect to see. We have summarised these as six main areas of activity.

Understanding and Managing the Risks

You must understand, manage, record and review the safeguarding risks in your organisation, thinking about everyone you come into contact with.


Policies and procedures

You must have the right policies and procedures for safeguarding in your organisation. You need to make them public, make sure they are used and you must review them regularly.

  • The policies and procedures page has information about the policies and procedures you need and links to writing guides. 
Making safeguarding a priority

You need to make sure that safeguarding is key priority for your organisation as part of good governance. This includes having the right roles in place and adopting the right practices.

  • Our roles and responsibilities page explains how all your trustees should be involved and the role that can be taken by a designated safeguarding lead or a named person.
  • Our code of conduct section explains how to set expectations and standards, and provides links to writing guides.
  • The Governance Code website is useful to help you see how safeguarding sits alongside the rest of governance.
Supporting your staff and volunteers

You must understand when it is appropriate and legal to carry out background checks on your staff and volunteers. Where it is not appropriate to take these checks, you must put other measures in place to ensure they carry out their roles safely. You must also make sure staff and volunteers have appropriate training and you should regularly review the training you offer.

Handling and reporting concerns
Everyone involved in your organisation should understand how to recognise, respond to, record and report a safeguarding concern.
  • Our recognise, respond and report page is a starting point for small organisations. It also has links to more detailed and specialist information.
  • Our what to do if you are worried page is where you can find guidance for situations where you don’t have your own policies and procedures in place yet.
Your culture and values


You must make sure all trustees, staff, volunteers and people you work with understand safeguarding and their right to be safe. Everyone should know how to speak up and feel comfortable raising concerns. You must review whether you have got this right, and make changes if not.


  • Making sure everyone is aware of what safeguarding is and why it’s important is a first step. Our what is safeguarding? page explains this and has elements that can be shared with your staff, volunteers, trustees, and the people you work with.
  • Our getting people involved page and our safeguarding day to day page contain examples of best practice that you can use.
  • Wondering how to work out if you've met your responsibilities? Our safeguarding for trustees introduction covers questions to ask in each of the six areas.
  • Want to read the full Charity Commission guidance? Visit the website.
Page last edited Jun 18, 2021

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