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Safeguarding in the Voluntary Sector – What Matters?

Published: 21/01/20 | Categories:
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Author: Suzanne Mollison

Following the launch of the new Wales Safeguarding Procedures in November, WCVA’s Safeguarding Officer, Suzanne Mollison, asked some colleagues to share their thoughts on voluntary sector safeguarding.

The new Wales Safeguarding Procedures were launched in November. The new Procedures build on the guidance laid out by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 and aim to help anyone working with adults or children – paid or unpaid, across all sectors.

The main function of the new procedures is that they give clarity about what is expected of you when it comes to Safeguarding. For example, there are not only pointers for best practise but also specific timescales for certain tasks and when they are to be completed.

I asked some of my voluntary sector colleagues what they think is the most important thing that a voluntary sector organisation should do to safeguard their beneficiaries, their volunteers, and/or their staff and trustees, as we move into 2020.

‘VOLUNTEERING SHOULD BE FUN, BUT ALSO SAFE’

Ann Woods is the Chief Officer and Safeguarding Lead for Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC) having worked for 15 years within Third Sector Family Support Services.

She says ‘I think, that we as Third Sector organisations delivering Public Services should ensure that:

  • the wellbeing of our service users is of paramount importance – protecting the rights and interests of service users and carers;
  • our volunteers are recruited, trained and supported to be able to deal with the challenges that delivering public services (and life in general!) bring –     volunteering should be fun, but also safe!
  • our staff and trustees have the knowledge, skills and support to safeguard everyone linked to our organisation from harm – putting good policy into good practice, minimising risk.

It is also vitally important for all of us to seek support (for ourselves and our organisation) if we are unsure about any aspect of Safeguarding.  Your local CVC (supported by WCVA’S Safeguarding Service) can help.

All County Voluntary Councils (CVCs) can be found here: Third Sector Support Wales

‘SAFEGUARDING IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY’

Carl Harris is Senior Training and Development Consultant (Wales) / Uwch Ymgynghorydd Hyfforddiant a Datblygiad (Cymru) for the NSPCC.

He also considered the same question. Carl says that voluntary sector organisation should be safeguarding by:

  • (For Beneficiaries) Ensure beneficiaries have a voice and that this ‘voice’ is listened to;
  • (For Volunteers) Volunteers must receive a proper and timely induction including necessary safeguarding training and an awareness of the organisations policy and procedure for what to do if they have concerns for the welfare of a child or adult at risk;
  • (For Staff and trustees) Make sure that all staff and trustees are aware of their safeguarding responsibilities, as ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’.

This is a message that the NSPCC have been conveying for some-time now. Thank you, Carl, for the reminder.

So, the overall message is that safeguarding is a team effort and a shared responsibility.

We can all make our contribution and a difference, to help keep people safe from the risk of abuse, neglect and harm.

No one person should, and no one organisation can, do it alone. Please make use of the various opportunities for help and support mentioned above.

Suzanne Mollison is Safeguarding Officer at WCVA. For Information and Support around Safeguarding, please visit the safeguarding webpages or call 0300 111 0124 (option 6)