The Charity Commission has set out in its strategic plan for the next 12 months that safeguarding children and vulnerable adults is a priority.
And as part of that plan the Commission has pledged to communicate safeguarding lessons to trustees and staff.
The focus stems from the Goddard Inquiry, an Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse. The Inquiry opened in July last year to investigate historic sex abuse claims and examine whether public bodies and other non-statutory bodies have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales.
In light of this, it is crucial that charities and other organisations look to review their approach to safeguarding at once.
To highlight this key issue leading Midlands’ law firm Higgs & Sons hosted an important safeguarding seminar, in which legal experts will examine the law surrounding safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults.
The seminar, held at Higgs’ Brierley Hill headquarters, benefitted anyone who is responsible for safeguarding within an organisation, be it a school, charity or even in the workplace.
Annabel Kay, a former nurse and specialist lawyer in the Care and Capacity team at Higgs, comments: “Various headline making stories have shone a spotlight on the welfare of children in recent years, and rigorous scrutiny and accountability in this field is certainly a good thing.
“However, now more than ever before it is essential that organisations such as charities protect themselves, and ensure they have robust internal standards and safeguarding mechanisms in place.”
The Higgs & Sons safeguarding seminar examined the law surrounding safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults and offer advice and information on key aspects of the law including:
• The current legal position regarding safeguarding
• When is it safeguarding and when it is not?
• The role and responsibility of charity trustees, employees and volunteers in safeguarding
• The role of the Charity Commission and other regulators in safeguarding strategy
• What happens when it goes wrong? Who is liable and how should you report issues?
• Strategies and process for ensuring compliance
• Best practice in:
– Selection and recruitment
– Induction and training
– Drafting policies and procedures
Kirsty McEwen, Head of the Charity & Not for Profit team at Higgs & Sons, who was also speaking at the seminar, added: “It is really important that as the person responsible for safeguarding within your organisation, you are aware of the internal standards that should be implemented within a safeguarding framework, and equally that you have a clear, strategic action plan of what to do if things go wrong.
“At Higgs & Sons we understand the importance of this issue and can provide expert advice to assist you in getting to grips with the current legal position on safeguarding, best practice strategies and the correct processes to follow to ensure compliance.”
Higgs & Sons boasts more than 100 specialist lawyers including those with particular expertise and experience in the charity and not for profit sector and care and capacity matters.