National Lottery Community Fund – Policy for grantholders

Safeguarding and protecting the children and adults at risk we support

Policy statement

The National Lottery Community Fund supports people and communities to thrive.

All Children and Adults at Risk have a right to protection and freedom from abuse or exploitation, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, economic status or otherwise.

Who this policy applies to

This Policy sets out the Fund’s position and guidance on safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at Risk. It applies to all our Grantholders throughout the UK and overseas and will be required of our Grant Applicants as well as Grantholders.

Our terms and conditions of grant make it clear that, by signing a grant agreement, Grantholders agree to the Grantholder requirements set out in this policy.

This policy relates to any concerns or incidents of abuse that arise as a result of a breach of a Gratholders safeguarding and protection obligations as set out within this document.

What the policy covers

The policy explains:

Meaning of terms used in this policy

Abuse: can include physical, sexual or emotional harm, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment, radicalisation or exploitation. Abuse can take place in person or online, by any person (which could include by other Children and Adults at Risk or by people in positions of trust).

Children and Adults at Risk: children and young people (meaning people under the age of 18 years) and adults who may be vulnerable due to, for example, their age, mental health, disability, illness, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, economic status or who may be unable to take care of themselves against abuse.

Safeguarding: proactive steps taken to prevent abuse against Children and Adults at Risk, including the action the organisation takes to promote the welfare of people including Children and Adults at Risk to protect them from harm.

Protecting: responding to concerns and/or disclosures that a Child or Adult at Risk may be experiencing, or be at risk of abuse.

People at the Fund: our permanent and fixed-term employees, non-executive Board and committee members, agency staff, interns, volunteers, consultants and anyone else working for or on behalf of the Fund.

Grantholders: any organisation or group that receives grant monies from the Fund.

Funding officer/manager: the person at the Fund who is the main contact with the Grantholder.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS): a service in England provided to help employers make safer recruitment decisions for people working in regulated activities and prevent unsuitable people from working with Children and Adults at Risk.

There are equivalent services in the devolved administrations within the UK including but not limited to Disclosure Scotland, Access NI and the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme or equivalent police checks overseas.

These services process requests for criminal records checks and decides whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a list of people who are barred from working with Children and Adults at Risk.

What we require of Grantholders

In terms of safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at Risk we require all Grantholders to:

  1. Have their own tailored policy for safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at Risk which is proportionate and relevant to their organisation’s activities and has been agreed by their trustees or other governing body. This policy must be reviewed regularly and staff and trustees must be trained on its contents.
  2. Ensure that all sub-Grantholders and third-parties appointed by them to perform any part of the grant activity where working with Children and Adults at Risk have their own, appropriate safeguarding and protection policies and procedures in place.
  3. Recognise that when they sign a Grant Agreement with the Fund, this includes agreeing to fulfil the expectations of Grantholders set out in this policy.
  4. Work collaboratively with their Funding officer/manager where there are potentially serious concerns or disclosures about the safeguarding or protection of any Child or Adult at risk.
  5. Take a common sense approach to safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at risk.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales published its new safeguarding strategy in December 2017 which states that safeguarding should be a key governance priority for all charities, regardless of size, type or income, not just those working with children or groups traditionally considered at risk. Further the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) also published safeguarding guidance in May 2018 which highlights key steps charity trustees can take to ensure that they are getting safeguarding right.

It is an essential duty for trustees or other governing body to take reasonable steps to safeguard beneficiaries and to protect them from abuse. We therefore expect all Grantholders to have a safeguarding policy and procedures, proportionate to its activities.

To help enable a safe and protective culture in your organisation, you (the Grantholder) commit to:

  • Prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all Children and Adults at Risk who come into contact with your organisation (including contact with your centres, projects, staff and/or volunteers)
  • Ensure Children and Adults at Risk are given a voice by creating an environment and providing opportunities for Children and Adults at Risk to tell you what you are doing well, what risks there are to them and how you can help keep them and others safe.
  • Clearly outline to all the people in your organisation (permanent and fixed-term employees, non-executive committee members, agency staff, interns, volunteers, contractors and consultants) your mandatory policies and processes and a code of conduct that keep Children and Adults at Risk safe.
  • Have a tailored, up-to-date procedure for reporting concerns and disclosures that everyone knows about and feels confident in applying (including not just the people in your organisation but also the carers or guardians of the Children and Adults at Risk who come into contact with your organisation and, where appropriate, the Children and Adults at Risk themselves).

Additional expectations

There are additional expectations on those Grantholders who work directly with Children and Adults at Risk.

If your funded project involves working in regulated activity with Children and Adults at Risk, you will also consider:

  • Having one or more nominated member of staff (a Designated Safeguarding Lead) who has the knowledge and skills to promote safe environments for Children and Adults at Risk and is able to respond to concerns and disclosures.
  • Ensuring everyone understands their safeguarding roles and responsibilities and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to concerns and disclosures relating to the protection of Children and Adults at Risk.
  • Using safe and transparent recruitment processes including (1) an appropriately detailed DBS/PVG check for staff who come into contact with Children and Adults at Risk (2) obtaining references that confirm that the referees are not aware of any reason why the applicant should not work with Children and Adults at Risk (3) up-to-date, proportionate safeguarding training for people in your organisation.
  • Conducting safeguarding risk assessments and provide guidance for your organisation, locations, projects and processes to enable a safe, inclusive environment for all Children and Adults at Risk we support. This could include guidance on taking Children and Adults at Risk away on trips, consents required, the ratio of adults to Children and Adults at Risk, transport safety and emergency procedures and guidance on Children and Adults at Risk who require medication and consideration of the Prevent Duty.

The Prevent Duty being the duty in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on specified authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

What should be included

Your Safeguarding and Protection policy and procedures should include as a minimum:

  • A statement outlining your organisation’s commitment to safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at risk
  • Specific safeguarding and protection risk areas for your organisation and how you address them
  • Who is responsible for safeguarding and protection
  • How to report concerns and disclosures
  • What happens if someone does not uphold your policy or procedures
  • How you protect whistle-blowers or others who raise a concern about your organisation
  • How often the policy and procedures will be reviewed and kept up to date
  • Links to your related policies and processes

As part of your policy, you will have a Code of Conduct for people in your organisation that includes:

  • Your expectations of their interactions with any Children or Adults at risk supported by your organisation
  • Your expectations regarding any online contact with Children and Adults at Risk including on social media sites such as Facebook, including best practice
  • Reporting all concerns and disclosures (including any historic unreported concern or disclosure)
  • Promoting the safety and welfare of Children and Adults at Risk at all times.

Transparency

  • Your policy and procedures should be publicly available and proactively promoted to provide reassurance and enable the Children and Adults at Risk you support and/or their carers/guardians, as appropriate, to give constructive feedback and report any concerns or incidents to staff.

The Fund will work with you to maintain a focus on your proactive approach to safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at Risk

Before you become a Grantholder, we will ask you about safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at risk. We will require you to report any concerns as part of our grant management process.

Once you become a Grantholder, we will maintain a focus on your proactive approach, where appropriate, on safeguarding and protecting Children and Adults at Risk as part of our grant monitoring process.

When you should report a concern or issue to the Fund

  • If a concern or disclosure about abuse is reported to you, you should investigate and otherwise address it in line with your own safeguarding and protection policy. You should also carry this out in line with any requirements of your regulator(s) and the law as it applies to your organisation.
  • In addition, you should inform your Funding officer/manager as soon as possible and no later than within three working days of any potentially serious concern or disclosure so that we are aware of the situation and we reserve the right to request further information if we deem it appropriate.
  • If you flag a safeguarding or protection concern with us, we will respect your anonymity, if requested. If you provide us with information that suggests that someone may be at risk, we may need to share this information with the police or other appropriate authorities. In this case we would still take steps to preserve your confidentiality.
  • If we have good cause to believe that you have not complied with your obligations under this guidance, we may suspend or terminate your funding.

Links to external guidance

Where you can get guidance on safeguarding and protection policies and procedures

People at the Fund do not have the specialist expertise to advise you on your safeguarding and protection policies and procedures as these must be tailored to fit the activities of your own organisation.

If you require advice, we recommend that you review the guides for organisations produced by: