How Safe Is Your Volunteer Organisation? #SafeguardingMatters

IS Safeguarding CONSISTENTLY AT THE TOP OF YOUR AGENDA?

Personnel Checks are a top 30 umbrella body in the UK providing DBS and safeguarding services to organisations nationwide.

We believe safeguarding is everyone's business and getting safeguarding right in an organisation that has direct contact with children is of utmost importance. Ensuring you have stringent safeguarding policies in place is crucial to deter offenders from targeting your organisation.

Safeguarding isn't just a box ticking exercise...

It needs to be consistent to work and remain at the forefront of everyone's minds. Safeguarding should be part of your recruiting and appointing process whether its through conducting the appropriate checks or organising training for your new team members.

It's not just your Safeguarding Officers or company heads that need to be aware of safeguarding procedures, everyone in your organisation should fully understand your policies, including all staff, parents, volunteers and young people.

Are you following safeguarding best practice?

Personnel Checks can conduct a Safeguarding Audit for your organisation to thoroughly assess the procedures you have in place, providing a list of recommendations and advice and guidance on how to fulfil them.

For more information on Safeguarding Audits, please don't hesitate to contact a member of the Personnel Checks team on:

01254 355688

Follow these 8 points to ensure you're doing everything possible when it comes to safeguarding your volunteer organisation.

1. Safeguarding Policy

As an organisation serious about safeguarding, you should have an up-to-date safeguarding policy in place that will inform visitors on your stance on safeguarding. You should also make sure visitors are aware of what to do if they have any concerns and have robust codes of conduct in place for all staff, volunteers and young people.

Having thorough safeguarding policies in place not only helps protect the children under your care but also highlights the fact you are a credible organisation who takes the safety of children and young people extremely seriously.

Your safeguarding policy should be renewed at least annually to ensure you are at the forefront of changes that may have occurred within safeguarding and surrounding legislation.

2. Welfare/Safeguarding Officer

Your organisation will have a designated Welfare/Safeguarding Officer, who should be there on occasion to answer any questions visitors may have about children under your care or themselves.

Your designated Welfare/Safeguarding Officer is responsible for implementing procedures and dealing with any concerns, acting as someone to turn to for individuals who have any worries.

3. Volunteer Accreditation

Do you have any accreditations such as 'VCQA' or equivalent? If so, are your visitors aware of this? This will indicate that your organisation is facilitating a quality and efficient service and provides assurance to commissioners and funders, as well as members of the public and visitors to your organisation.

4. Safe Recruitment

As an organisation that provides services to young people, you must ensure you have the appropriate recruitment processes in place. This can include interviewing, reference checking and undertaking relevant police checks for your staff and volunteers.

Conducting the appropriate checks on your staff and volunteers is crucial. If a member of your staff or volunteers has access to children they could be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check.

5. Promoting the welfare of Young People

Do your staff and volunteers actively promote the welfare of children and young people who attend your volunteer organisation? This can include a range of activities such as;

  • First aid provision
  • Conducting registers at the beginning and end of the day
  • Ensuring the ratio of staff/volunteers to young people is proportionate
  • Listening and responding appropriately to the views of young people

Actively promoting the welfare of children/young people will encourage others to also think this way creating a safe culture throughout your organisation.

6. Communication

Your organisation should not only have open communication with children and young people but also their parents/carers too.

If your organisation uses text messaging or social media to communicate with visitors, you should have robust guidelines in place to ensure the use of these methods are appropriate and are adhered to by all your staff and volunteers. It may also be a good idea to keep this monitored by your Welfare/Safeguarding Officer to ensure the language used stays in conjunction with your policies.

You must also ensure that parents and carers are well informed of any activities or events you hold and what they will entail. This also allows you to fully prepare for the events ensuring the appropriate number of volunteers are attending and you have the correct safety measures in place.

The safeguarding policies you have in place will cover staffing ratios and guidelines involving physical contact. These are crucial in ensuring a safe environment for your organisation and should be communicated to visitors to your organisation. Having complete transparency allows mistakes to be easily spotted and rectified.

7. Youth Involvement

How aware are the young people under your care when it comes to safeguarding?

Do they know what is expected from staff and volunteers within your organisation?

Are they aware of who they should turn to should they have any concerns or issues?

These are all crucial elements that should be discussed with children under your care. The more aware young people are of what is and isn't acceptable within your organisation, the faster harm can be prevented before it occurs.

Lancashire based social action organisation, SLYNCS, facilitate forums for young people, delivered by young people, including projects which are linked to issues that affect them within their local areas. This could be anything from poverty and deprivation to the dangers of abuse and how to spot the signs- not just in their own personal situation, but in other young people around them. After all who relates better to young people then fellow young people?

SLYNCS aim to engage and empower young people to make positive changes within their communities and can therefore be extremely beneficial to volunteer organisations where young people have the opportunity to relax and make friends with like-minded people.

For more information about SLYNCS- Get in touch: 01254 355688

8. Training and Education

Make sure all your staff and volunteers have undertaken the appropriate training which should be updated regularly to be able to continually safeguard your organisation and recruit other team members suitably. This will include recognised National Governing Body awards and safeguarding awareness training.

Ensure you're doing everything you can to protect the children under your care!

For more information on how our team can assess and overhaul your safeguarding procedures speak to a member of the Personnel Checks team today!

01254 355688

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