Following recent events, the Charity Commission would like to remind ALL trustees to take safeguarding extremely seriously. Safeguarding should be a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.
The Charity Commission has four clear expectations of trustees:
- Provide a safe and trusted environment. Safeguarding involves a duty of care to everyone who comes into contact with your charity, not just vulnerable beneficiaries like children and young people.
- Set an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding, so it is safe for people to report incidents and concerns in the knowledge they will be dealt with appropriately.
- Have adequate safeguarding policies, procedures and measures to protect people and make sure these are made public, reviewed regularly and kept up to date.
- Handle incidents as they arise. Report them to the relevant authorities including the police and the Charity Commission. Learn from these mistakes and put in place the relevant mechanisms to stop them happening again.
As your regulator, they expect charities to meet these expectations.
The Commission’s advice is that you should now:
- Undertake a thorough review of your charity’s safeguarding governance and management arrangements and performance if you haven’t done so within the last 12 months.
- Contact the Commission about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not previously been disclosed to the charity regulator.
Their regulatory role is to ensure charities comply with their legal duties, manage any incidents responsibly and take prompt steps to protect the people affected by it. They cannot look after the safety of your people for you and do not investigate individual incidents for you.
Find more information about what and how to report to the regulator. More information about safeguarding responsibilities for trustees, and the role of the Charity Commission and other regulators, is below: