Safeguarding is a key governance concern for all charities

The Charity Commission’s new safeguarding strategy says that safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.  The strategy explains that trustees should ensure their charity provides a safe environment for staff, volunteers, and anyone who comes into contact with it.

Safeguarding is one of the three areas of risk facing charities that the Commission prioritises in its work, alongside fraud and financial abuse and mismanagement and the extremist and terrorist abuse of charities. It says trustees always remain responsible for safeguarding, even if some aspects of it are delegated to staff.  The new strategy confirms that safeguarding goes beyond preventing physical abuse and includes a duty to protect people from harm generally. It encompasses neglect, emotional abuse, exploitation, radicalisation and the consequences of the misuse of personal data.  The strategy also reminds charities of their duties to carry out appropriate due diligence where working with overseas partners.

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Commission said that “…all trustees should make safeguarding a governance priority. Of course, what trustees do in practice will depend on the context of their charity’s work, and trustees should take a proportionate approach. Charities working with vulnerable groups such as children and adults at risk for example, will need to ensure their safeguarding policies and practices comply with relevant safeguarding legislation and regulations.

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