1. What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding means protecting health, well-being and rights so that people – especially children and vulnerable adults – can live free from abuse, harm and neglect. A child is anyone under the age of 18. A vulnerable adult is anyone over 18 who has a need for care and support (for example because of illness, disability, drug and alcohol problems, asylum seeker or refugee status or frailty) regardless of whether these needs are being met by a local authority.
Safeguarding risks include sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation; negligent treatment; physical or emotional abuse; bullying or harassment; commercial exploitation; extremism and radicalisation; forced marriage; child trafficking; female genital mutilation and discrimination on any of the grounds in the Equality Act 2010.
2. Why is safeguarding important to Cumbria Community Foundation?
The Charity Commission regulates charities including Cumbria Community Foundation. It has detailed guidance on safeguarding that we must follow.
Most of the organisations we fund help people who have lived experience of disadvantage or discrimination, or who are vulnerable. These people are at higher risk of neglect, abuse and exploitation. So, dealing with safeguarding concerns is common for organisations we fund. When looking at safeguarding, we want applicants and grantees to be open about issues and to learn from them. So, we think that appropriate handling and reporting of concerns is evidence of good practice.
3. Which grant applicants does safeguarding affect?
The Charity Commission says that as a charity, we must only fund organisations that have adequate safeguarding arrangements in place. So, safeguarding applies to every organisation we fund, not just registered charities and not only those working with children or vulnerable adults.
4. What does having ‘adequate safeguarding arrangements’ mean?
To be considered for a grant, all organisations must have policies and procedures that:
- show a commitment to protecting people from harm;
- make sure everyone in the organisation is aware of safeguarding;
- are publicly available, regularly reviewed and put into practice;
- enable people to raise safeguarding concerns; and
- set out how to handle allegations and incidents, and report to relevant authorities.
For organisations working directly with children or vulnerable adults, there also needs to be a safeguarding lead, evidence of regular safeguarding training and appropriate checks on trustees, staff and volunteers in eligible roles.
5. What about organisations that don’t work directly with the public?
Organisations like community centres or village halls that rent space to other groups, or organisers of public events, do not always directly work with the public. But they still have trustees, volunteers and perhaps staff. They will still be in contact with children and vulnerable adults on their premises or at events. And, because they are trusted in communities, they may become aware of potential safeguarding issues. So, they must have adequate safeguarding arrangements. That includes making sure that any groups working with children or vulnerable adults on their premises or at their events have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures.
Very rarely, we may fund organisations that would never have direct contact with children vulnerable adults. We still expect such applicants to be able to demonstrate that safeguarding is a priority and that they meet the Charity Commission’s basic requirements.
6. How does Cumbria Community Foundation assess safeguarding when we apply for a grant?
On our application form we ask you to confirm that your organisation can demonstrate the following on safeguarding.
- a commitment to protecting trustees, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries from harm;
- practices that ensure everyone in the organisation is made aware of safeguarding;
- policies that are publicly available, regularly reviewed and put into practice;
- procedures that enable people to raise concerns, handle allegations and incidents, and report to relevant authorities.
In addition if you are an organisation that works directly with children or adults at risk, we also require there to be an appropriately trained designated safeguarding lead (DSL), evidence of regular safeguarding training for all staff and volunteers, and for there to be appropriate checks on trustees, staff and volunteers in eligible roles.
We ask you to send us your organisation’s safeguarding policies and procedures. We will also check our own records and any publicly available information on your organisation. We will review your documents to see if your safeguarding arrangements are adequate. We may contact you if we have questions about them.
7. What about local organisations affiliated to a national body?
Sometimes local independent organisations like scout groups or sport clubs may be using the safeguarding arrangements of an umbrella or membership body. If this applies to you, you will need to answer the question on our application form and send a copy of the umbrella body’s policy. You will also need to complete and send a declaration stating when it was adopted by your local group, and who is responsible for your safeguarding locally.
8. What happens if you think our safeguarding arrangements are not adequate?
If you are an independent group working from another organisation’s premises, for example a community centre, you need your own safeguarding arrangements.
If you do not meet our safeguarding requirements, we will have to reject your request for funding. If you do have safeguarding arrangements, but we think they need significant improvement, we may suggest you get advice or training before we consider your application. If any improvements are minor, we may be able to offer funding, but with a condition that you make any changes before we award the grant.
We cannot offer applicants and grantees advice on safeguarding. But every local authority has a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and a Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) which co-ordinate what is done to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults in their area. So, we advise organisations with queries on safeguarding to contact these local boards for assistance:
- Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership cumbriasafeguardingchildren.co.uk
- Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board cumbria.gov.uk/AdultSafeguarding
The following websites also have useful information.
- Charity Commission guidance on safeguarding
- NCVO free resources for voluntary organisations on safeguarding
- Government guidance on agencies working to protect children
- NSPCC resources on safeguarding children
- Government guidance relating to the care and support of adults
- Government guidance on Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
Some local councils for voluntary service may also be able to help https://cumbriacvs.org.uk/