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The Importance of Safeguarding | Jane Tweedie

Safeguarding is a key governance priority for Trustees and not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

Jane Tweedie explains: “The number of safeguarding issues being reported to the Charity Commission has increased significantly over the past 3 years. In response to issues reported, the regulator opened 550 new safeguarding cases in 2017/18, which is an 82% increase on the prior year.”

All Trustees have a duty to protect people who come into contact with their charity from harm.

The Charity Commission has recently updated its guidance on safeguarding duties for charity trustees. Charities should carry out a thorough review of their safeguarding governance and management arrangements, with reference to the guidance, if they haven’t done so in the last 12 months.

Within their Governance Documents, trustees should show appropriate evidence that they: ­

  • Make sure that their charity staff and volunteers are safe in the workplace, as well as their users and customers;
  • ­Protect people who may only come into contact with their charity temporarily. For example, if you host an event where people who do not usually work with you might be at risk;
  • Create an open culture and listen to victims.

It is also important that Charities contact the Charity Commission about any safeguarding issues, or serious safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations which have not previously been reported. In reporting serious incidents it is important that charities act early and report where necessary.

Guidance on how to report a serious incident can be found on the Charity Commission website: (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-report-a-serious-incident-in-your-charity).

Jane Tweedie is a Senior Manager of the specialist Charities Team at Whittingham Riddell.

Whittingham Riddell’s charity team specialises in independent examinations and Audits for charities annually, offering tailored solutions and best practice Governance support for this unique sector.

If you would like more information on the contents of this article, please contact Jane or a member of the team, please email us on: charities@wrllp.co.uk or call 01743 273273.

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