Safeguarding as a priority
The Charity Commission has announced that there needs to be a stronger onus on safeguarding throughout the sector, in light of the regulator’s most recent annual report, Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement, which reveals an increase in safeguarding concerns.
On 5th February 2018, the Charity Commission released a press release which highlighted the significant increase, from 163 to 302 incidents of safeguarding concerns in the Commission’s regulatory compliance cases within the past year.
The press release reiterates that it is not just charities who work with traditional at-risk groups such as children, the elderly and the inform, who should be prioritising safeguarding, but all charities have a responsibility to ensure that safeguarding measures are in place.
Charities are reminded that they should provide a safe and trusted environment which has adequate safeguarding policies and procedures to enable those affected to come forward and report any possible incidents in the knowledge that it will be handled sensitively.
Trustees have a specific duty to avoid exposing beneficiaries and employees to undue risk so they should promote making safeguarding a priority and be alert to potential risks that may arise within their charity.
The Commission’s report advises trustees to review how their charity manages safeguarding and to ensure that all safeguarding incidents, complaints or allegations have been disclosed to the regulator.
In addition to this report from the Charity Commission, the Department for International Development co-hosted a landmark Safeguarding Summit on 5th March 2018 in an attempt to challenge UK-based international development charities to increase their standards and ensure that those under their care are protected. This comes as a response to recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, which have received a significant amount of media attention.