Corporate safeguarding: the things you need to know

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Gateley Legal

Corporate bodies are under a duty to ensure sufficient safeguarding policies are in place to provide protection. Safeguarding provides protection against issues such as abuse and bullying.

A failure to adequately fulfil this duty could lead to legal ramifications; this insight will explore some of the key aspects of safeguarding policies that all sectors and businesses should consider.

Key Steps

  1. Maintain a safeguarding policy

    Having a policy and guidance notes to tackle the risks associated with safeguarding allows a business or organisation to demonstrate it has taken steps to mitigate risk. Given the delicate nature of safeguarding, and the sensitive topics it relates to, it is good practice to illustrate how serious your business or organisation is about addressing the risk of discrimination and harassment – a comprehensive, informative policy that is communicated out will do this. 
  2. Provide comprehensive training 

    Dedicated safeguarding training is recommended so that staff and volunteers have the skills and knowledge to overcome the safeguarding challenges they may face. In addition, appointing individuals with specialised training to act as a point of reference to raise concerns and discuss solutions with, is also a helpful exercise and demonstrate that your business or organisation is acting responsibly with its safeguarding obligations.
  3. Investigation procedure

    Even if the above steps are followed, sometimes incidents happen. Safeguarding problems is no exception to this, unfortunately. If policies and procedures are in place, together with good a record-keeping and training regime, organisations and business will be seen to have acted diligently. Should an incident arise, there should be a clear investigation procedure in place. 
  4. Continuing obligation – review, review, review!

    The landscape is constantly evolving, not least due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Where some safeguarding risks like workplace harassment may decline, other risks such as cyber-bullying may rise. As an organisation or business you have a duty to continuously review policies and procedures – what may have been adequate in yesterday’s world, may not be enough in tomorrow’s!
  5. Be ready for press attention 
    Safeguarding is a hot topic and the press are as keen as ever to report. If they do want a comment on a story, they won't give you much time to respond!  Whilst sometimes the “no comment” route is advisable, if you have the opportunity to correct a misunderstanding or to put forward your position before print, you should consider taking it. Make sure you monitor all emails addresses regularly, including general inboxes such as “info@” and that your employees, officers and coaches know who to refer any media request to and take advice on what comment to make. Your reputation is, after all, one of your main assets.    

Need advice?

We have a team of lawyers from across different disciplines at Gateley that can provide strategic support in relation to all aspects of safeguarding, from the preparation of policies and procedures to advice on the employment law implications of any investigation.

We can also assist clubs, associations and individuals in response to media interest and requests, dealing with enquiries, allegations and/or responding to safeguarding issues, as well as providing guidance on an appropriate and timely response, at the same time providing a strategic approach to protect reputation.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our experts listed below.

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