What is safeguarding?

11 April 2019

Put simply, safeguarding is protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect or exploitation. Making sure that these groups are adequately protected is a vitally important duty.

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It can be a challenging area to get right.  It calls for strong leadership, empowered staff who are properly trained and an environment where people feel confident in reporting any concern. To support this, robust safeguarding arrangements are key.  

How to manage safeguarding

The way safeguarding is managed can vary significantly dependent on the type of organisation concerned. Usually though, there are a number of key elements that are commonly considered. These include:

Leading from the front

Those with senior responsibility must promote a culture of taking safeguarding seriously, acknowledging that ultimate responsibility for this rests with them.

Getting specialist help

It is important for any organisation to have access to appropriate advice, guidance and expertise on safeguarding matters.  

Developing and implementing a suitable policy and procedures

Setting out how children and/or vulnerable adults will be kept safe is essential.  Usually, this will be in the form of a written safeguarding policy.

Implementing safer recruitment practices

Effective recruitment procedures demonstrate to staff, volunteers and those interested in working in an organisation the importance given to the safety and wellbeing of those who use your group or service.

Providing information and training to those that need it

All staff need to attend relevant safeguarding training to give them the knowledge and skills to recognise signs of abuse, neglect or inappropriate behaviour and be confident in responding to any concerns raised.

Responding to concerns and allegations where they arise

Part of developing a safe, trusting and supportive culture is making sure that anyone who raises a suspicion, concern or allegation of abuse is responded to respectfully and in a timely manner.

Monitoring and reviewing your practices

Safeguarding arrangements should be kept under close and regular review. The organisation should take prompt action as a consequence of any safeguarding issues that arise.

Keeping appropriate documentation

Clear and accurate records are a necessity, particularly where referrals have to be made to a child protection or adult safeguarding agency because someone may be at risk of abuse or in need. Other records may also be needed where an organisation is called upon to prove that they were compliant with regulations and guidance at the time of an alleged safeguarding incident. 

To find more detailed information on safeguarding, please see our guidance on safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. We also provide more specific guidance for educational establishments and nurseries.