Safeguarding support for voluntary groups

All organisations have a duty of care and a legal responsibility for safeguarding their employees, volunteers, clients, visitors – in fact anyone that the group or charity comes into contact with. Safeguarding – the term used to describe the policies and procedures which protect individuals from abuse, harm and neglect – is a priority for all charities and voluntary groups, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk.

With this in mind, you should have the following in place:

  • Robust safeguarding policies
  • Clear and understood processes for identifying, escalating and reporting safeguarding issues
  • Safeguarding training for staff and volunteers
  • Appropriate DBS checks for staff and volunteers

To help you become safeguarding compliant, we offer a range of services outlined below. To find out more and to discuss your requirements, contact our Safeguarding Lead Helen Archer – helen.archer@communityimpactbucks.org.uk.

For further advice, have a look at our online support on running your organisation, advice for groups on safeguarding policies and keeping your volunteers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our support for community buildings.

Principles of safeguarding training

Designed for volunteers, our safeguarding training is delivered by our Level 3 qualified safeguarding trainer for up to 12 people at our office in Monks Risborough, at an alternative venue arranged by attendees or, due to the current COVID-19 social distancing rules, via Zoom.

On completing the training, attendees will:

Understand their role and responsibilities as a volunteer regarding safeguarding and protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults

  • Knowledge of key elements of relevant legislation and guidance on safeguarding
  • Steps to take to avoid allegations and complaints
  • Ways in which concerns can be reported and specific local advice and contacts.

Know how to respond to evidence or concerns of a safeguarding issue

  • Overview of different types of abuse and neglect – physical, emotional, psychological, financial
  • Actions to take in response to evidence of abuse
  • How to respond to and report a concern or disclosure of abuse
  • Overcoming silencing factors/barriers to reporting

Cost: £34 per person (inc VAT) (Minimum of 12 individual bookings)

Safeguarding policy support

We can review your existing policies and adapt these to align with current legislation and the activities of your organisation. We can also offer exemplar policies and an ongoing review of legislative and best practice frameworks.

Contact our Safeguarding Lead Helen Archer to discuss what type of support you are interested in and we will provide a consultancy fee quote for your project – helen.archer@communityimpactbucks.org.uk

Volunteer DBS checks

At Community Impact Bucks we offer Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) checks for volunteers and voluntary groups.

Our service includes creating the online account process followed by in-person original document identity verification at our offices.  Verification away from our offices can be arranged but will incur travel expenses on a case by case basis. Due to COVID-19 social distancing rules, DBS verification can be completed using a video app such as WhatApp, Zoom or MS Teams.

We currently charge the following administration costs: –

  • Basic DBS checks£53 plus vat (£23 Government fee plus, £15 Buckinghamshire Council admin fee, plus £15 CIB admin fee)
  • Standard and enhanced DBS checks£30 plus VAT (DBS check free for volunteers, £15 Buckinghamshire Council admin fee, plus £15 CIB admin fee)

Additional notes:

  • All individuals and employers within the UK can request a Basic disclosure to check a person’s criminal history, convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC).
  • In a Standard disclosure, an applicant’s criminal history is checked for cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions. Most voluntary organisations ask staff and volunteers to complete an Enhanced check, which is as a Standard plus searches the DBS Children’s Barred List or the DBS Adult barred list first to protect vulnerable groups.
  • We are an authorised umbrella organisation working alongside Buckinghamshire Council’s DBS service.

Advice for community buildings and village halls

In 2020 Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) was awarded over £100k from the National Lottery Community Fund to promote good safeguarding practice to village and community halls throughout England.

We are working with ACRE to make sure that the voluntary management committees that run halls and community buildings have the knowledge and confidence to provide a safe environment for all.

As they become available, advice and examples of best practice will be shared with those managing and using village and community halls so that they fully understand their responsibilities and have appropriate and proportionate policies and procedures in place.

Free resources for groups and charities

These free Charity Commission and NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) safeguarding resources outline steps that charities and groups can take to keep people safe and prevent harm, harassment, bullying abuse and neglect. The resources were developed by a NCVO-led partnership, as part of phase one Safeguarding Training Fund.

There are a number of specialist guides covering roles, activities, whistleblowing, responsibilities of Trustees and CEOs, Volunteer Managers and other key roles in charities and groups.

For those charities and groups offering volunteering opportunities, you must make sure you safeguard your volunteers and that they are considered in your safeguarding policies and procedures. To help you do this have a look at the NVCO free resources to get you started.

The government has a safeguarding tool to help charities and groups handle allegations of abuse or harm. It also provides links to organisations providing safeguarding resources for organisations working with children, if you have concerns about a vulnerable adult, or you want to find out about the Charity Commission’s requirements for safeguarding.

If you would like to talk more about the safeguarding needs of your charity or group please contact our safeguarding lead Helen Archer/ tel 01844 617228.