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For those of you who know us and the resources we offer, you will be familiar with our flagship 10 standards framework that we developed over the past several years of our existence as a safeguarding charity. It was developed to provide a useful and comprehensive framework and template for organisations, whatever their size and scale of operation, to scrutinise and strengthen their own safeguarding arrangements. It is our belief that having a robust framework within which you can set your safeguarding activities and plans is essential and critical to demonstrating your commitment to creating a safe place within your organisation.

The creation of a safe place hinges on the culture and values that organisations seek to create and espouse. Therefore, the need for organisational culture to be healthy and open to reflection and learning is critical to facilitating good safeguarding. To help facilitate learning and knowledge building, particularly for faith organisations, on what this means and how this can be achieved, we have embarked on reviewing our 10 standards to incorporate addressing two key areas of practice that have emerged over the recent years as essential to safeguarding: Organisational Culture and Governance.

Whilst these are two very broad areas to consider, our focus as always will remain on the safeguarding aspects within these areas. The culture within charitable organisations has come under significant scrutiny, over the past few years, following the uncovering of harmful and poor practices that vulnerable beneficiaries have experienced at the hands of those that were meant to serve and protect them. This has, therefore, rightly drawn the attention of charity and sector regulators, who have been impressing the need for charity trustees and leaders within charities to give careful and serious thought to their organisational culture and governance, particularly with regards to safeguarding.

What can you expect to see in these new standards?

Our two new standards will speak into 4 key considerations, that we call the 4-Ps:

Principle – This section sets the ethos and values which establishes the legitimacy and importance of organisational safeguarding culture and governance. As the faith and charity sector is largely motivated by a values-based approach, our view is that setting the scene and foundation on a values framework is important and useful. We speak into the importance of trustworthy leaders who recognise the worth and dignity of those they serve and are willing to demonstrate a commitment to justice. The hope is that these values shape and drive the remaining 3-Ps which are aimed at offering more practical advice.

Policy – This section explain 'why' things should be done. We will address detail about relevant legislation and guidance issued by government or other non-governmental and statutory agencies that organisations need to be aware of in relation to creating a healthy safeguarding culture and governance framework. These will then inform what processes and procedures you put in place and need to be reflected where relevant within your own organisation’s documentation and communications.

Procedure – This section describes 'what' should be done. They include procedures that facilitate and help trustees and leaders in the creation of a healthy safeguarding culture and aid good safeguarding governance. There will also be reference to particular steps/actions to take in dealing with crisis management situations. These procedures make up the common and best practice approach to safeguarding.

Practice – This section define 'how' things should be done. They provide more practical suggestions and tasks to consider in the creating of a safe culture and healthy governance. Here we also signpost you to tools offered by other key agencies in the charitable sector that you would find useful. Given the wide variety of activities undertaken within the charity and faith sector, it is important to remember that you will have to draw out what is relevant to your immediate context within which tasks are being carried out and follow any regulation or statutory guidance relevant to you.

Another key area that we focus on is the important of Reflection and Learning, not just in the aftermath of a safeguarding incident, however major or minor, but also being proactive in reviewing and assessing the delivery of your safeguarding activities and practices on an ongoing basis. However we do recognise that the former, does offer wider opportunity and scope for reflection and learning and it is important that this is carried out promptly, sensitively and in a well thought out manner. As always you have access to our Safeguarding Helpline to think through how this can be carried out. Should you be interested in particular consultancy support in relation to this, our Consultancy and Engagement team would be happy to explore this with you ([email protected]).

We are mindful that the knowledge and understanding in these areas is growing and evolving over time and therefore our hope is that these new standards offer you a helpful starting point in developing your own strategy to creating a safe and healthy organisational safeguarding culture and governance framework to sustain such a culture. Our aim remains to keep the information we offer on these subjects under review and as up-to-date and relevant as possible, therefore do keep an eye out, particularly if you are members with us.

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