Safeguarding should be a core value of every voluntary organisation and considered a personal responsibility of everyone working in them, NCVO has urged.
A suite of free online resources, launched today, outlines simple steps that voluntary organisations can take to ensure that they are run in a way that actively prevents beneficiaries, staff and others from suffering harm, harassment, bullying, abuse and neglect.
The resources were developed collaboratively by an NCVO-led partnership made up of expert organisations, created to deliver phase one of the Safeguarding Training Fund. The fund was announced in March by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
Phase two funding of around £600,000 will be used to raise awareness of safeguarding and improve safeguarding practice with voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations across England. The successful applicants will share the new training resources, alongside promoting locally available advice and support.
Development of the resources has included extensive user research and usability testing with small charities by digital agency Neontribe to ensure that information is presented in an easily navigable and clear format.
The resources are clear that every charity has a responsibility to be a safe place, and they emphasise that safeguarding works best when everyone in a voluntary organisation engages with safeguarding. Hence NCVO’s use of the hashtag #SafeguardingAsOne.
Included in today’s new resources are a series of specialist guides for people working in particular roles, such as CEOs, trustees, fundraisers, HR staff, PR & marketing staff and those working in voluntary sector infrastructure bodies.
The NCVO Knowhow website acts as the main hub for the resources. This in turn signposts to new content on partners’ website.
‘Highest priority’ for sector
Karl Wilding, chief executive of NCVO, said:
There can be no higher priority for the voluntary sector than looking after the wellbeing and dignity of absolutely everyone in contact with our organisations whether our intended beneficiaries, staff or volunteers.
Safeguarding is everyone’s business – everybody working or volunteering in a voluntary organisation should understand it, even those who don’t work directly with children or adults at risk. The more that people understand their part to play in safeguarding, the more effective the whole sector’s safeguarding becomes.
Safeguarding is too important to get wrong. These resources, developed with partners who are experts in their fields, give simple advice for organisations to take the first steps to get it right. All organisations can continue to improve their safeguarding and these resources will help them on that journey.
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society, said:
Charities must be safe spaces for everyone, whether that’s employees, volunteers or those who use their important services.
We all have a responsibility to raise awareness about safeguarding, ensuring organisations know their responsibilities and how to report concerns. “I am therefore delighted that my colleagues in DCMS have worked alongside NCVO and other charities to develop these essential resources.
Sarah Atkinson, director of policy, planning and communications at the Charity Commission for England and Wales, said:
Everyone involved in charities has the right to feel safe. For trustees, this starts with making protecting people from harm an absolute governance priority. Charities should be places where people know the signs and symptoms of harm and what to do when they have concerns, as well as the understanding that they will be heard. This is vital for all organisations – especially charities that exist to do good.
We welcome the launch of these new resources by NCVO, which will support the sector as it strengthens its response to safeguarding.
As regulator, ensuring trustees have the information they need in this area has been a priority for the Commission for some time. We are continuing to work in this area, building and developing the guidance we provide to trustees, as well as better enabling people to come forward when they have concerns about a charity.