Free Example UK Safeguarding Policy Template For Small Charities & Community Groups

Free sample UK charity safeguarding policy template for small charities and community groups. A basic policy for vulnerable adults & child protection.

Free Sample Small UK Charity Safeguarding Policy Template

This free sample charity safeguarding policy template, is particularly suitable for small charities and community groups.  It's a basic policy but one that complies fully with Charity Commission safeguarding policy guidance, with links to all the Charity Commission safeguarding guidance and other charity safeguarding resources for vulnerable adults & child protection.

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Implementing A Charity Safeguarding Policy & Procedures

A safeguarding policy is nothing more than a piece of paper, unless everyone is made aware of and understands it, and any necessary DBS checks and training are carried out.

As importantly, senior leadership must ensure that what they say and do conveys the importance of safeguarding procedures to create a culture, which puts vulnerable adult and child safeguarding at the heart of our work.

Charity Trustee Safeguarding Responsibilities

The Charity Commission views vulnerable adult and child safeguarding as a key trustee responsibility.  Here is their infographic on 10 safeguarding duties for charity trustees.  However, the Charity Excellence master database contains 500+ assessment statements that it uses to create individual questionnaires.  The statement  'A board member/committee oversees safeguarding of vulnerable individuals, including regular reviews of compliance and reports of any breaches in safeguarding practice' is reported by charities to be one of the lowest performing areas.  Why not table safeguarding for your next trustee meeting, review your policy and reporting and appoint a lead trustee for safeguarding?

What To Include In A Charity Safeguarding Policy

If you work with vulnerable adults or children, you will need a safeguarding policy.  Charity Commission guidance requires that it includes how you will:

  • Protect people from harm.
  • Make sure people can raise safeguarding concerns.
  • Handle allegations or incidents.
  • Respond, including reporting to the relevant authorities.

I would add to this that:

  • It be reviewed and approved by the Board annually.
  • The requirement for DBS checks.
  • Training requirements.
  • Your process for assessing and managing risk.

You may wish to add any other requirements you may have if working with specific groups of people, such as children or vulnerable adults.

Charity Commission Safeguarding Guidance

This resource uses the Charity Commission safeguarding guidance to provide a example charity safeguarding policy template and has links to the Commission guidance and other charity safeguarding resources.

Whilst it reflects the Charity Commission safeguarding guidance, it is not possible to write a policy that covers every kind of charity or activity. Consequently, it is essential that you add/delete/amend as necessary to ensure it is appropriate for your charity.

And just having a safeguarding policy doesn't make it work - complete the People questionnaire to assess your safeguarding procedures and to download a Word version of this policy template. A one-stop shop for everything.  Three directories that find grant funding, donations and free help, 60+downloadable funder lists, 8 online health checks and the huge resource base.  Quick, simple and very effective.

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Detailed below are the main headings you would expect in a charity safeguarding policy, with content that you must tailor to meet the specific requirements of your charity or community group.

Policy Purpose

Our charitable activities include working with vulnerable people.  The purpose of this safeguarding policy is to protect children and vulnerable adults and provide stakeholders and the public with the overarching principles that guide our approach in doing so.

Safeguarding Principles

We believe that:

  • Nobody who is involved in our work should ever experience abuse, harm, neglect or exploitation.
  • We all have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all of our beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, to keep them safe and to work in a way that protects them.
  • We all have a collective responsibility for creating a culture in which our people not only feel safe, but also able to speak up, if they have any concerns.

Safeguarding Policy Applicability

This safeguarding policy applies to anyone working on our behalf, including our charity trustees and other volunteers.

Partner organisations will be required to have their own safeguarding procedures that must, as a minimum, meet the standards outlined below, and include any additional legal or regulatory requirements specific to their work.  These may, but are not limited to:

There may be other requirements or frameworks for those working overseas.

Safeguarding should be appropriately reflected in other relevant policies and procedures.

Types of Abuse

Abuse can take many forms, such as physical, psychological or emotional, financial, sexual or institutional abuse, including neglect and exploitation.  Signs that may indicate the different types of abuse are at Appendix 1.  There isn't enough room to include Appendix 1, but you can download it from the safeguarding policy questions in the Charity Excellence People questionnaire, or use you own.

Reporting Safeguarding Concerns

If a crime is in progress, or an individual in immediate danger, call the police, as you would in any other circumstances.

If you are a beneficiary, or member of the public, make your concerns known to a member of our team, who will alert a senior member of the charity.

For members of the charity, make your concerns known to your supervisor.  If you feel unable to do so, speak to a trustee.

The trustees are mindful of their reporting obligations to the Charity Commission in respect of Serious Incident Reporting and, if applicable, other regulator.  They are aware of the Government guidance on handling safeguarding allegations.

Charity Trustee Safeguarding Responsibilities

Responsibilities should be made clear and individuals provided with any necessary training and resources to enable them to carry out their role.  It should be reflected in Committee ToRs, job descriptions, annual plan and appraisal objectives, reporting to the trustee Board and other procedures, as necessary. .

Trustees.  This safeguarding policy will be reviewed and approved by the Board annually.

Trustees are aware of and will comply with the Charity Commission guidance on safeguarding and protecting people and also the 10 actions trustee boards need to take to ensure good safeguarding governance.

A lead trustee/committee with be given responsibility for the oversight of all aspects of safety, including whistleblowing and H&SW.  This will include:

  • Creating a culture of respect, in which everyone feel safe and able to speak up.
  • An annual review of safety, with recommendations to the Board.
  • Receiving regular reports, to ensure this and related policies are being applied consistently.
  • Providing oversight of any lapses in safeguarding.
  • And ensuring that any issues are properly investigated and dealt with quickly, fairly and sensitively, and any reporting to the Police/statutory authorities is carried out.
  • Leading the organisation in way that makes everyone feels safe and able to speak up.
  • Ensuring safeguarding risk assessments are carried out and appropriate action taken to minimise these risks, as part of our risk management processes.
  • Ensuring that all relevant checks are carried out in recruiting staff and volunteers.
  • Planning programmes/activities to take into account potential safeguarding risks, to ensure these are adequately mitigated.
  • Ensuring that all appointments that require DBS clearance and safeguarding training are identified, including the level of DBS and any training required.
  • Ensuring that a central register is maintained and subject to regular monitoring to ensure that DBS clearances and training are kept up-to-date.
  • Ensuring that safeguarding requirements (eg DBS) and responsibilities are reflected in job descriptions, appraisal objectives and personal development plans, as appropriate.
  • Listening and engaging, beneficiaries, staff, volunteers and others and involving them as appropriate.
  • Responding to any concerns sensitively and acting quickly to address these.
  • Ensuring that personal data is stored and managed in a safe way that is compliant with data protection regulations, including valid consent to use any imagery or video.
  • Making staff, volunteers and others aware of:
    • Our safeguarding procedures and their specific safeguarding responsibilities on induction, with regular updates/reminders, as necessary.
    • The signs of potential abuse and how to report these.

Everyone. To be aware of our procedures, undertake any necessary training, be aware of the risks and signs of potential abuse and, if you have concerns, to report these immediately (see above).

Safeguarding And Fundraising

We will ensure that:

Charity Commission - Online Safeguarding Procedures

We will identify and manage online risks by ensuring:

  • Volunteers, staff and trustees understand how to keep themselves safe online. You could use high privacy settings and password access to meetings to support this
  • The online services you provide are suitable for your users. For example, use age restrictions and offer password protection to help keep people safe
  • The services we use and/or provide are safe and in line with our code of conduct.
  • Protect people’s personal data and follow GDPR legislation.
  • We have permission to display any images on our website or social media accounts, including consent from an individual, parent, etc.
  • We clearly explain how users can report online concerns. Concerns may be reported using this policy, or direct to a social media provider using their reporting process.  If you are unsure, you can contact one of these organisations, who will help you.

Approval and Review

Approval By Date Next Review Date
Trustee Board


The Charity Excellence assessment statement 'A member of the Board leads on whistleblowing (Public Disclosure Act), with the whistleblowing policy and his or her contact details available to everyone' is at amber in the Charity Excellence Sector Data Store meaning that many charities do not do this well. Yet, it forms a key component in keeping your people safe from harm, by enabling them to alert the Board to serious issues they aren't or do not feel able to raise through normal procedures.

You can download an example whistleblowing policy from Charity Excellence Governance questionnaire. It should be readily available to everyone. It could be included in your staff handbook, briefed during induction, or included in safeguarding training, on your website, and/or pinned to the wall in your office/staff room. You might consider simple A4 posters with the key elements of the policy included.


Outlined below are a range of safeguarding resources and guidance, which will help you in creating your charity safeguarding policy.

Charity Excellence Safeguarding Resources

Charity Excellence holds a master list of 95 statements about how well charities keep people safe from harm.  It enables you to assess not just safeguarding, but also other issues such as data protection, discrimination/bullying, whistleblowing and H&SW for staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, donors and the public.  These are reported in the safeguarding area on your dashboard, with each connected to a wide range of resources, including example policies.

Charity Safeguarding Training Courses

We've included charity safeguarding courses in our Free Charity Training resource.

AI And Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults

AI will pose significant potentially major risks in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults from grooming, disinformation and scams.  Our AI Ethics & Governance Framework provides a simple practical tool to ensure everyone is adequately protected.

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  • What is safeguarding? Safeguarding is protecting an individual’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.
  • Who does a safeguarding policy apply to? Children and vulnerable adults, who may be unable to protect themselves from abuse, harm or exploitation.  For example, because of illness, age, mental illness, disability or other types of physical or mental impairment.
  • Why is safeguarding important? Vulnerable groups, such as children, elderly people and those with disabilities, are at a higher risk of neglect and being subjected to abuse.  Safeguarding ensures they are adequately protected.
  • Does every charity need a safeguarding policy?  If you work with vulnerable people, you must have a Safeguarding policy. If you do not, you should have a Whistleblowing policy and may wish to consider a Bullying & Harassment policy.
  • What should be in a safeguarding policy? A safeguarding policy makes clear how people are protected from harm, including online, ensure people are able to raise safeguarding concerns, handle allegations or incidents and report to the relevant authorities.
  • Are trustees responsible for safeguarding? The Charity Commission guidance makes clear that safeguarding is a key governance responsibility of charity trustees.
  • What are trustees safeguarding responsibilities? The Charity Commission places 10 safeguarding responsibilities on trustees, including ensuring your charity has an adequate safeguarding policy, that is regularly reviewed and includes risks, culture, dealing with concerns, training and DBS checks.
  • Who needs safeguarding training? Everyone who works or volunteers with children or vulnerable adults should understand their role in safeguarding, including recognising the signs of neglect and abuse and knowing how to follow their charity’s safeguarding policy.
  • How do we manage safeguarding when working overseas? Safeguarding challenges working overseas can include different cultures, practices or legal systems.  You should apply the same practices as in the UK and make sure your charity complies with any extra requirements of the other country.
  • Where can I get safeguarding advice? For safeguarding advice in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, contact the DBS Regional Outreach.
  • What is the Charity Commission's role in safeguarding incidents?  The Commission’s safeguarding role is to ensure charity trustees are handling a safeguarding incident appropriately and, where necessary, putting in place improved governance and internal controls.  It is not responsible for dealing with incidents.
  • How do we handle a safeguarding incident outside our charity?   If your charity becomes aware of such incidents, you would not normally be expected to report them to the Commission, unless it’s found (or alleged) that it wasn’t handled appropriately by your charity and this resulted in harm. In such circumstances, a report should also be made to the police and local authority.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check FAQs

  • What does DBS mean? DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service, which carries out DBS checks in England and Wales.
  • What is a DBS check? A DBS check is a way for employers check an individual's criminal record, to help decide whether an individual is a suitable person to work for them.
  • What are the different types of DBS checks? There are 4 types of DBS checks - Basic DBS, Standard DBS, Enhanced DBS and Barred Lists DBS.
  • What is an enhanced DBS check? An enhanced DBS certificate will contain the same details as a standard DBS check, but may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is considered to be relevant and ought to be contained in the certificate.
  • What is an enhanced with barred lists DBS check? An Enhanced with Barred Lists certificate will contain the same information as an Enhanced DBS check, but will also include a check of one or both Barred Lists.
  • Who carries out DBS checks in Scotland? DBS checks in Scotland are carried out by Disclosure Scotland, which checks and shares information about people's criminal records.
  • Who carries out DBS checks in Northern Ireland? DBS checks in Northern Ireland are carried out by AccessNI, which provides basic, standard and enhanced checks.


Here are charity safeguarding policies and resources produced by the Charity Commission and other charities.

International Safeguarding Checklists

Charity Commission guidance - working overseas.

International Child Safeguarding Standards.

Keeping children safe online assessment tool.

This Article Is Not Professional Advice

This article is for general interest only and does not constitute professional legal or financial advice.  I'm neither a lawyer, nor an accountant, so not able to provide this, and I cannot write guidance that covers every charity or eventuality.  I have included links to relevant regulatory guidance, which you must check to ensure that whatever you create reflects correctly your charity’s needs and your obligations.  In using this resource you accept that I have no responsibility whatsoever from any harm, loss or other detriment that may arise from your use of my work.  If you need professional advice, you must seek this from someone else. To do so, register, then login and use the Help Finder directory to find pro bono support. Everything is free.

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