Quick read

Why is safeguarding important for HR professionals?

Gateley Legal's logo Gateley Legal

Article by

For schools, care homes, and social care, safeguarding is non-negotiable. But what about other sectors?

We are increasingly seeing clients developing safeguarding processes and procedures despite operating in unregulated sectors. Whilst it might not be a legal requirement to have systems in place to protect children and vulnerable adults, the benefits of doing so far outweigh the risks.

Why have a Safeguarding Policy?

Regulated Activity Providers

Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA), Regulated Activity Providers (RAPs) are those responsible for regulated activities such as teaching, training, instruction, care, or supervision on a regular basis. For RAPs, there are legal obligations relating to safeguarding children and incident referrals with which they must comply.

Involvement with children and adults at risk

Some organisations fall outside of the legal requirements but are on the cusp of having to comply due to having some involvement with children and/ or adults at risk.

Many organisations have employees or business partners who directly engage with children and adults at risk, by virtue of having 16 to 18-year-old employees or offering apprenticeships, for example.

Equally, some organisations have indirect involvement with children and adults at risk as part-and-parcel of their business activities. This could include volunteering in the community, visiting schools, or young people visiting their premises. Perhaps the employer is a service business with a contract in a school or care home and, as a result, their employees could encounter children or adults at risk.

Direct and indirect contact with children and young adults raise questions such as:

  • do you need to DBS check your workforce?
  • do you need to think about ‘safe recruitment’?
  • do you need a Safeguarding Policy to ensure your workforce knows what to do in the event of an incident?

Why does safeguarding matter?

Avoiding safeguarding incidents and preventing people being left vulnerable to harm are the overall aims of having safeguarding measures in place. If there is an incident, however, safeguarding policies and procedures can equip your workforce to manage an incident efficiently and effectively.

Having no safeguards in place can have serious ramifications for individuals and the business. Dealing with a safeguarding incident can also be very difficult, emotionally taxing and time-consuming. Not only is there pressure to handle the incident appropriately, but there is also the need to consider consulting with third parties, such as the Local Authority Designated Office (LADO) or the police.

From a business perspective, safeguarding allegations or incidents can become public very quickly, which can negatively impact both reputation and brand management.

Common trends

Some of the pitfalls we see when it comes to safeguarding include:

  • overlooking DBS checks or not understanding which type is required;
  • poor management of safeguarding issues;
  • not considering or communicating what constitutes good or poor practice regarding activities or involvement with children and/ or adults at risk.

How can we help?

We can help you to start thinking about your safeguarding needs. Whether a short form Safeguarding Policy or a detailed document with associated appendices, we can tailor it to your organisation. Considering safeguarding sooner rather than later is important to recruit appropriately, maintain a positive and responsible workforce, minimise risk and, above all, create a safe working environment for everyone.

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.