voluntary sector

Raising Standards of Safeguarding Practice Across the Voluntary Sector

voluntary sector

08:30 - 16:50

Thursday 7 March 2019

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.


This Forum provides attendees with the opportunity to explore ways to meet the challenge of effectively safeguarding the welfare of those who come into contact with voluntary sector organisations, including vulnerable service users, staff and volunteers. Sector leaders will provide policy updates on key developments while case studies will share outstanding examples of safeguarding practice.


This Forum is specifically designed for the voluntary sector. Typical job titles will include:

  • Chairs
  • Trustees
  • Chief Executives
  • Corporate Governance Managers
  • Heads of External Relations
  • Policy Officers
  • Directors of Governance
  • Compliance and Risk Managers
  • Heads of Volunteering
  • Volunteer Coordinators
  • Heads of Human Resources
  • Recruitment Managers
Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, Charity Commission 
  • Stephen Twigg MP, Co-Chair, International Development Select Committee
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Ruth Leonard, Chair, Association of Volunteer Managers and Head of Volunteering Development, Macmillan Cancer Support (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Promoting Safeguarding as a Key Governance Priority

  • Setting out the supervisory and monitoring role of the Commission and its approach in its updated safeguarding strategy
  • Outlining the key duties and responsibilities of charities and their trustees on safeguarding
  • Providing an update on the interim safeguarding taskforce and sharing lessons from the safeguarding incidents reported
  • Providing an overview of the suite of measures adopted by the Charity Commission following recent allegations of misconduct and safeguarding failures across the voluntary sector
  • Highlighting the importance of reporting serious incidents at the earliest possible stage with full and frank disclosure and how the Commission assesses risk before intervening when safeguarding concerns arise

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement, Charity Commission (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Looking to the Future of Safeguarding Across the Aid Sector

  • Reflecting on the findings and recommendations of the IDC report on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in the Aid Sector
  • Considering the changes in practice and improvements that have been made since the inquiry and report release, and the impact of the rise in reports of misconduct
  • Highlighting the role of DfID in ensuring every project and programme has a built-in safeguarding policy, and how to ensure this is adequately resourced
  • Working with the Charity Commission to develop effective structures and systems for incident reporting, accessible to every single person in the sector, and delivering a clear action plan for following up on reports

Stephen Twigg MP, Co-Chair, International Development Select Committee (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Providing Tailored Safeguarding Training for Volunteers

  • Examining how Girlguiding’s commitment to a four-part A Safe Space training programme ensures that volunteers are enabled to recognise, respond and refer any safeguarding concerns, allegations and disclosers
  • Exploring how to manage any concern, allegation and disclosure, within the community and through volunteers
  • Considering the importance, when building A Safe Space, to acknowledge the need to support volunteers

Isabelle King, Head of Safeguarding, Girlguiding (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Ensuring Effective Safeguarding Practices in Volunteer Recruitment and Management

  • Outlining how to proactively reduce safeguarding risks and protect staff, volunteers and beneficiaries with different backgrounds, roles and responsibilities
  • Working with YMCA England’s HR Department and consulting Young People’s Officers to ensure that recruitment and staff development is in line with regulatory requirements
  • Implementing comprehensive recruitment procedures such as providing clear role descriptors and conducting interviews that explore a candidates’ commitment to safeguarding
  • Ensuring that safeguarding measures are proportionate to the risk associated with the role and managing the risks associated with recruiting volunteers who have a criminal record
  • Requiring all new Y Care International representatives to undertake an induction process and adhere to the Working with Children and Young People Policy, emphasising clear lines of accountability

Tom Burke, Freelance Consultant (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Case Study: Taking an International Approach to Safeguarding

  • Outlining the experience of Rescue Global in responding to disasters worldwide
  • Discussing the challenges and importance of engaging partner organisations with safeguarding responsibilities
  • Exploring effective ways of working with partner organisations in different locations
  • Overcoming the challenges of managing safeguarding practices in very dynamic environments, such as the immediate aftermath of a disaster
  • Sharing how Rescue Global have developed best practices and embedded them into organisational culture
  • Understanding how education can be used to reduce vulnerability in target groups

Hannah Pathak, Head of Engagement, Rescue Global (invited)


Case Study: Working in Partnership to Deliver Outstanding Safeguarding Practices

  • Understanding how working collaboratively with the local community brings added value when it comes to protecting the safety and welfare of children
  • Working in partnership with local authorities and other agencies to deliver targeted support and intervention services to vulnerable children and their families
  • Supporting vulnerable children and their families through a range of support and intervention services including, the Phoenix Child Sexual Exploitation Project, the Family Intervention for Self-Harm Project and multiple local children’s centres and projects
  • Reflecting on experience and working to continuously improve services through the establishment of a quarterly internal Safeguarding Panel

Paul Ringer, Deputy Chief Executive, Spurgeons Children’s Charity (CONFIRMED)

Highly Commended for Safeguarding Children and Young People, Now Award 2017


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Closing Keynote: Equipping Trustees with the Necessary Skills and Awareness to Uphold Safeguarding

  • Understand the legal duties of trustees to manage safeguarding risks, allegations and incidents
  • Learn about the potential personal and organisational liabilities associated with becoming the trustee of a charity
  • Explore how your charity can build the confidence of its trustees to discharge their duties effectively
  • How to recruit and retain trustees with the adequate skills and knowledge to proactively promote safeguarding and create a safe organisational culture

Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager, NCVO (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change


* To attend the following workshop sessions, delegates will have the opportunity to sign up in advance of the day.

Places are limited, however the presentations from the workshop sessions will be made available to all delegates. *



11:30-12:30 & 14:00-15:00

Workshop: Information Sharing - Effectively Balancing Respect for Privacy Against Safeguarding Priorities

  • Establish how safeguarding requirements and data protection requirements can work together, rather than against each other, to enable information sharing
  • Ensuring that your organisation meets both safeguarding and data protection requirements
  • Maintaining privacy whilst protecting individuals through transparent and secure information sharing procedures
  • Introducing the tools used by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity to assist staff in making decisions when faced with information sharing dilemmas

Claire Robson, Head of Governance Legal and Compliance, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (CONFIRMED)

In the wake of numerous allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse across the voluntary sector, the demand for more rigorous safeguarding practices for all charities has increased. Despite the Charity Commission receiving 2,114 serious incident reports relating to safeguarding between February and September 2018, the final report of their Safeguarding Taskforce, published in October 2018, highlighted concerns that significant under-reporting is still taking place. This follows the International Development Committee’s latest report into sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector which states that charities have shown ‘complacency verging on complicity’ when responding to sexual abuse.

The Charity Commission have made clear that any behaviours that put beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and members of the public at risk have no place within charities. The Commission issued an alert in December 2017 reminding charities of the importance of safeguarding, and the regulator’s updated Safeguarding Strategy (2017) clearly identifies safeguarding as a ‘key governance priority’ for all charities. However, in a recent survey conducted by Cass Business School, only 42% of respondents reported that their Board had sufficient safeguarding skills.

Safeguarding issues make up an increasing proportion of the Charity Commissions’ regulatory compliance case work; according to their annual report Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement, safeguarding concerns featured in 302 regulatory compliance cases in the 2016-17 period which is an 85% increase from the previous year. In addition, over half of the serious incidents reported by charities related to safeguarding.

Alongside the Charity Commission’s increased regulatory interventions on safeguarding, the Department for International Development (DFID) has committed to implementing new safeguarding standards for the organisations it works with, demonstrating the emphasis that is being placed on addressing safeguarding challenges within the voluntary sector. Building on this, in October 2018 the government announced a £2 million fund for investment in projects to raise awareness of safeguarding and improve incident handling.

In light of this increased scrutiny by government, regulators and the public, it is vital that charities have robust safeguarding policies and procedures in place. As well as maintaining their reputation, charities have a duty to protect beneficiaries, therefore organisations across the sector must ensure that they are upholding their safeguarding responsibilities and developing an organisational culture that prioritises safeguarding.

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