Crucial for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk, a thorough, well-developed safeguarding policy is a vital component of your organisation’s policy suite. A clear, well-planned policy will outline your commitment to protecting your clients, employees and volunteers and will also demonstrate how your procedures will protect them from harm. It should also outline the process you have in place for reporting and recording concerns and incidents.
Remember, safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and when creating your policy it’s a good idea to involve your staff so that they can understand the issues that arise and what to do. It’s also worth bearing in mind the principles set out in the Care Act of 2014, designed to help protect vulnerable adults. These are:
Ensuring people are supported and confident in making their own decisions and giving informed consent.
It is better to take action before harm occurs
Giving support to those who need it
Providing the least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented
Working closely with community organisations can decrease risk as they can assist in preventing and detecting abuse
Being accountable and offering complete transparency in safeguarding solutions will ensure an organisational mind-set that puts safeguarding at the forefront
When designing your policy it is also important to state your intent – in other words your commitment to ensuring that clients, staff and volunteers are protected from all forms of abuse. Remember to be clear on what constitutes abuse and think about the organisational processes that will need to be put in place to report and deal with concerns. Once your policy is complete make sure staff receive appropriate guidance on their role. Include the policy in training and ask everyone to sign it to say they have read and understood it.
Read more in Barnet Council’s Safeguarding Adults Board’s guest post on ‘Safeguarding Checklist for Adults (for the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector)‘ which provides more links and insights, plus a checklist for you to develop your own Safeguarding policy.