Regulatory alert to charities
The Charity Commission has issued an alert to charities following a number of serious incidents which have been reported regarding accusations of harassment in the workplace.
The Commission suggested that charities should not only work to safeguard those individuals who are traditionally considered at risk, e.g. children, but should extend such safeguarding practices to those working with/ for the charities and other persons coming into contact with the charities.
This goes further than previous regulations by adding that trustees should be satisfied that any partner organisation has in place adequate safeguarding arrangements, including appropriate policies and mechanisms to provide assurance on compliance. The reason being that if something were to go wrong, the trustees are accountable and would be expected to put things right.
Therefore, trustees should ensure their safeguarding practices are robust by carrying out formal yearly reviews of the policies and procedures in place. If there are any safeguarding issues, incidents, complaints, or allegations, the charity should contact the Commission.
Serious breaches of safeguarding policies can potentially be considered as breaches of trustee duties. Trustees should, therefore, know and understand their duties and responsibilities, ensure adequate measures are in place to assess and address safeguarding risks, and ensure the policies and protocols are adequately used in practice.