Culture of Safeguarding: Accountability and Transparency

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OXFAM, Save the Children, football coaches, The BBC, Boarding Schools, The Anglican Church, The Catholic Church...The list of scandals is almost endless but there is a common thread running through all of them! Safeguarding Policies and Procedures. But it’s not just having them, it’s having ones that suit the organisation, it’s ensuring that staff and volunteers are aware, not just of safeguarding in general and policies and procedures specifically but it’s ensuring that they are followed through.

Stage 1: Policy and Procedure

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Are your policies and Procedures fit for purpose and up to date? They need to fit in with current legislation and standards. Making sure that they contain the correct information about who to contact etc. Also ensuring that Safeguarding is part of the application/interview process and is regularly reviewed. Anyone who reads them should be able to understand what should happen if a Safeguarding issue is raised. Policies should also make it clear that staff, clients and volunteers should have the confidence to raise issues. This can be done through the Whistleblowing Policy, a policy that gives permission, even encourages people to voice concerns. 

Stage 2: Training and Understanding

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Some of the above organisations have excellent procedures and policies but it is important that people know about them, really understand them and accept their responsibility to protect children. How do you evidence this? Training in Safeguarding should be mandatory for everyone involved in offering a service. The Training needs to be fit for purpose. It should give confidence to staff and volunteers to take action if they are worried about anything. People are required to sign policies to say that they have read them and understand them. They need to also understand the consequences of not following Procedures including the possibility of losing their job and being banned from working with children.

Stage 3: Managing Investigations

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It can be frightening for the staff/volunteers who have responsibility for Safeguarding to be faced with having to undertake and investigation. It is ok to say that you don’t have the right experience or background. It is important that you know where to go for help. Any Safeguarding issue that involves children and any organisation should be referred to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer), the LADO can advise on investigations. IT is part of their role to make sure that all investigations are robust and done properly. Salford CVS also support Voluntary Groups, Charities and Not For Profit organisations (CiC’s) with Safeguarding.

Stage 4: Sweeping under the carpet?

When any investigation is completed, an organisation should not be afraid of making the right decision and should not hide what is going on. Safeguarding should be an agenda item on Trustee/Committee meetings so that any issues are reported back. It’s putting the above into practice that could stop your organisation being in the press for all the wrong reasons!!

Creating a Culture of Safeguarding

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Safeguarding isn’t something you pluck off a shelf when you need it. It should be a culture that is part of everything an organisation does.

Help is available from Salford CVS, including work on the Salford Standards, a joint initiative with Salford City Council to ensure that highest Safeguarding Standards in an organisation. Just contact us for advice.

Salford CVS
Author: 
Steve Westhead (Development Team: Safeguarding)

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