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Safeguarding – what we all need to know and do

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Creating a safe and welcoming environment where everyone is respected and valued is at the heart of safeguarding. It’s about making sure your organisation is run in a way that actively prevents harm, harassment, bullying, abuse and neglect. It’s also about being ready to respond safely and well if a problem arises. Moreover, the Charity Commission expects every charity to prioritise safeguarding.

ACRE, along with CAN as the network member for Norfolk, encourages village and community halls to make sure policies and procedures are in place to keep everyone safe. We also recognise of course that charities’ activities are delivered in many other kinds of venues, and often outdoors. Given the range of activities and events that take place in a variety of locations, it’s helpful to have a closer look at why it’s important for committees, trustees and managers to make sure the right policies and procedures are in place.   

Helpful themes and links

Safeguarding and Wellbeing 

There is a strong link between safeguarding and mental and physical wellbeing. If someone’s wellbeing is suffering, they may consider taking actions that put them at risk.

Adult grooming 

Grooming involves manipulating someone until they’re isolated, dependent and vulnerable to exploitation. Many types of harm are incorporated in the Care Act, including modern slavery, physical, sexual and financial abuse. Read more here.

Legislation 

All safeguarding is governed by legislation, including The Care Act and The Mental Capacity Act, Social Services and Wellbeing Act (Wales), Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act. You can find more information here, including Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) as an aspect of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA)  and the importance of DBS checks.    

Organisational abuse 

This relates to care received in an institution such as a hospital or a care home, or at a patient’s own home. You can read more about this here. Norman Lamb, ex-North Norfolk MP, now chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust talks about the Transforming Care agenda here

Sport

Sports organisations need safeguarding policies and procedures. Read more here about why such policies are needed, and the difference between those aimed at safeguarding adults and those for safeguarding children. 

The Community

Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB) and Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership bring together statutory and VCSE organisations to promote effective working relationships in tackling abuse. See links below.

COVID-19

The importance of safeguarding has of course manifested itself during the pandemic as mutual aid groups and VCSE organisations have responded to help.  Read more about the important role played by VCSE organisations at our Norfolk VCSE Covid-19 Story page.    

Organisational responsibility 

As a formally constituted voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation, you need to have insurance in place and check your policy covers you for what you are doing; consider your need to have professional indemnity and public liability insurance in place, as well as a safeguarding policy and procedure.  

Individual responsibility

Lone working 

You need to safeguard yourself if you are a volunteer, staff member or trustee. Ideally a lone working policy should be in place, but at the very least make sure someone knows where you are going and when they can expect you to let them know you have completed the task and are safe. 

Being observant 

Be vigilant and observant and if you suspect an issue, report it to your manager or co-ordinator, or to an approved authority.

Personal information 

Warn your service users or clients not to give their personal information to others unless they are sure who is collecting it, why they want it and what they intend to do with it.

Electronic safeguarding 

Don’t open attachments or links in emails or on social media unless you are sure of the source. 

Information, advice and reporting sources in Norfolk  

If you are suspicious or concerned about someone’s safety, ring Adult Social Services on 0344 800 8020. In an emergency call 999. Read more here.  See how Norfolk approaches safeguarding for adults at Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board and for children and young people at Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership.    

CAN’s Community Development Officers can advise about safeguarding policies and procedures. Call 01362 698216 or email [email protected]  ACRE has revised its model safeguarding policy - please contact us for a copy. And read more about ACRE’s campaign, along with some excellent links to further information, here.