Agreed standards and good practice guidance for working with children and young people is available via Volunteer Now's website, see Keeping Children Safe: Our Duty to Care available at: https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/keeping-children-safe-our-duty-to-care/.
For agreed standards and good practice guidance on working with adults at risk see Keeping Adults Safe: A shared responsibility at https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/keeping-adults-safe-a-shared-responsibility/.
Publications include individual self-assessment checklists to help your organisation assess where it is in relation to safeguarding standards. These checklists will help your organisation identify criteria which are already being met and those that require further development. Accompanying resource packs can be found at https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/keeping-children-safe-our-duty-to-care-resource-pack/ and https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/keeping-adults-safe-a-shared-responsibility-resource-pack/
Volunteer Now has also developed a tool to help organisations working with both children and adults at risk, to develop/review their policy and procedures. This checklist contains nine safeguarding standards that are intended to be the minimum standards of practice in organisations that are working with all vulnerable groups and who wish to develop one overarching safeguarding policy: Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk: Policy standards (see https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/safeguarding-children-adults-at-risk-policy-standards/)
Organisations working with children and adults at risk need to have robust recruitment and selection procedures in place, including carrying out AccessNI checks where required. Volunteer Now has developed AccessNI: What You Need to Know (see https://www.volunteernow.co.uk/publications/accessni-what-you-need-to-know/) - a publication which provides support to organisations in relation to eligibility for checks, the types of checks that can be processed and the information disclosed on them, how checks are processed and the associated costs.
Charities working to deliver services to beneficiaries overseas
Charities that provide services to vulnerable beneficiaries overseas are expected to meet their legal responsibilities and agreed standards of practice in Northern Ireland as well as those of the countries in which they work. Charity trustees must consider safeguarding elements of service delivery, in supporting projects, working with partners and employing staff. As such, careful consideration should be given to assessment of risk for the protection of staff, volunteers and vulnerable beneficiaries.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) has produced the following risk management tools which may help charity trustees to effectively manage risk and protect their charity from harm. Chapter two of CCEW’s Compliance toolkit – Due diligence and Monitoring the end use of funds includes a:
- risk assessment checklist (highlighting key issues you might want to think about) and a
- risk assessment matrix (assesses likelihood, impact and potential controls)
Charity decision tree
The three UK disclosure services and ACRO have drawn up the below to help guide organisations in deciding whether (a) they need to obtain a criminal record check as part of the recruitment process and (b) if so, the organisation they should go to obtain such a check.
Download Charity decision tree PDF (345 KB)
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland hosted an Essential safeguarding good practice seminar in May 2018, which was attended by over 90 charity representatives.
The free seminar was aimed at ensuring charities working with vulnerable beneficiaries overseas are aware of their responsibilities as charity trustees, and the safeguarding standards expected of them.
Keynote speakers at the seminar were:
- Sarah Mistry, Director of Effectiveness and Learning, Bond (UK network for organisations working in international development)
- Sandra Adair, Director of Operations, Volunteer Now (lead organisation for the provision of volunteer support, promotion and development in Northern Ireland), and
- Myles McKeown, Head of Compliance and Enquiries, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.
Following the event, the Commission has published the following resources to support the sector: