Policies & Procedures
Having clear policies and procedures in place is essential for ensuring that all people involved in your organisation have a shared understanding of what you mean by safeguarding, what their responsibilities are, and what to expect and do in the event of any incidents. Policies are not to be seen only as documents to be written, signed off and forgotten. Policies should be meaningful, appropriate to the organisation and based on organisational values, principles and purpose. These should be developed collaboratively and reviewed and revised regularly with all people they concern. Safeguarding policies should be practical, realistic, and communicated simply to ensure that everyone is aware of and understands their contents.
Our Top Three Recommendations
- Developing a Safeguarding Policy: a Guide (pdf) by the Alliance. A comprehensive guide and checklist to take you through developing a policy that is meaningful and appropriate to your own organisation.
- Safeguarding Policy Review Checklist (Word) by the Alliance. Use this tool to help you review your policy and revise as required to ensure that it is up to date and relevant.
- Suite of Policies checklist (Word) by the Alliance. This enables you to check whether you have all other necessary policies in place to support your safegaurding policy.
- Safeguarding Policy Templates: by Bond. A suite of core policies that can be adapted or used as they are to strengthen your safeguarding framework.
- Bond’s resource Understanding Effective Safeguarding Culture is a tool to help organisations understand the indicators and behaviours associated with safeguarding culture. Section 1 provides indicators on Policies and Procedures.
- Developing Child Safeguarding Policy and Procedures: a Facilitator’s Guide: by Keeping Children Safe. This guide is to help people work through the process with their team, to audit their current measures and develop and strengthen child safeguarding policies and procedures.
- Keeping Children Safe Online: A Guide for Organisations: by Keeping Children Safe. This guide is aimed at international NGOs who want to use social media in their work with children and young people, but contains practical guidance, tools and templates which can be applicable to all organisations using social media.
- NSPCC Writing Safeguarding Policies & Procedures: These straight forward tips help guide organisations through writing safeguarding or child protection policy statements and procedures.
- Child Safeguarding Policy (video): an animation of their policy, by Save the Children Indonesia, as an alternative way of communicating what is often a complex written document.
- Code of Conduct (video): from The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, this video highlights the principles behind what is often simply referred to as “the Code of Conduct” in the humanitarian sector, to which all NGOs working in disaster relief and humanitarian work can sign up.
- Check the Alliance’s Events & Training page to see if we have any of our ‘Developing Your Safeguarding Policy’ or ‘Reviewing your Safeguarding Policy’ webinars or workshops coming up soon.
Examples of Policies
- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a United Nations programme providing humanitarian and development assistance to children and families living in developing countries. UNICEF is a large organisation and their safeguarding policy reflects this.
- The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a large UK based organisation dedicated to preventing abuse against children and young people. They have developed a sample safeguarding policy (NSPCC 2018), and advice on how to develop an organisational response to safeguarding incidents can be found on their website.
- The Christian Blind Mission (CBM) is a large international organisation specialising in helping those living in developing countries and with disabilities, in particular blindness. The Child Safeguarding Policy of CBM (pdf) (CBM 2018) is an excellent example of a comprehensive policy that incorporates all the steps an organisation should go through.
- The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is one of the sister charities in the Caritas network. SCIAF’s work encompasses community building, agriculture, education and support, with a range of beneficiaries including children, young people, vulnerable adults and people with disabilities. The SCIAF Safeguarding Policy and Procedure (pdf) (SCIAF 2018) is available online. It covers all the potential contact an Alliance member may have and is very comprehensive.
- OXFAM is a confederation of 20 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty, led by Oxfam International. Oxfam has an excellent suite of safeguarding and related policies that can be found online.
Small/Medium Sized Organisations
- Gaia Education is a medium sized international (Scotland based) organisation focusing on sustainable development. They have a medium-sized board of trustees, several staff members (UK based and in-country), and 142 partner organisations around the world. They have a comprehensive set of policies available online.
- Link Education International is a medium-sized organisation operating in sub-Saharan Africa, focused on raising standards of teaching and learning in schools. They have a large board and several members of staff based in the UK and overseas. They have a comprehensive policy & code of conduct available online that covers all their activities and beyond.
Safeguarding policies and procedures must be grounded in the legislation and policy framework of the country an organisation is registered or based in. See our list of relevant legislation for Scotland and the UK on our 'UK Context and Beyond page'.
Code of Conduct
A code of conduct can be contractually binding and linked to the employment or volunteer contract. It sets out the behaviour expected of the employee/volunteer/trustee/contractor. They are often embedded within the safeguarding policy and can be called ‘code of conduct’, ‘core values’, or another term that illustrates how the organisation expects those affiliated with it to behave. Below are some example codes of conduct.
- Save the Children's code of conduct can be found online.
- Gaia Education's ‘Core Values’ policy (pdf) can be found online.
Anti-Bullying and Harassment
Safeguarding encompasses more than child and vulnerable adult protection - bullying or harassment at work can constitute a safeguarding incident. Safe organisations should have robust anti-bullying and harassment policies in place that provide clear reporting and resolution processes.
- Gaia Education's Anti-Harassment Policy (pdf) can be found online.
Safe organisations should have a whistleblowing policy that enables employees/staff/beneficiaries to raise concerns about the organisation, or, individuals within the organisation. These policies are not lengthy, but they must provide clear reporting processes.
Safeguarding in Practice
Access practical tools, resources and training to help you in your own organisation