Finding the right information about safeguarding – what you told us

Have you ever found yourself trying really hard to Google something to which you’re sure there must be an answer out there somewhere, but you can’t find precisely the thing that you’re looking for?

And when you arrive at a site which seems like it might be useful, getting a sense of whether it’s actually reliable, and then finding the exact thing you need, can be further challenges.

It’s a frustrating situation to be in. And given that it’s the way most of us kick off nearly all our attempts to find information these days, if you can’t get the answer online, unless you really need to know urgently and you know who to call, then often you’ll put it off – possibly indefinitely.

And that’s how it’s been for lots of charities looking for information about safeguarding, especially when the responsibility falls on someone who’s not an expert in the area – which is most of the time for most charities.

NCVO, along with a partnership of other charities, were recently awarded funding by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the lottery to try and fix this problem and help people access reliable information about safeguarding.

Our first step has been to research how people in charities are looking for information like this. The partnership’s digital experts, Neontribe, did this by talking to people and mapping steps they have taken when attempting to do this and,  by watching them, try and look for information online and observing the problems they run into.

Picture of post its depicting a user journey

We’ve made some important discoveries from this.

For example, while people were largely quite familiar with safeguarding as a concept when it applies to children, people weren’t as familiar with it as a concept for adults. Concepts and language used within adult safeguarding, such as ‘mate crime’ and ‘self determination’ were rarely recognised at all in our testing. ‘Mental capacity’ was frequently misunderstood as mental ill health. These are all entirely understandable findings from research with non-experts, but they have big implications for how information and advice for non-experts needs to be presented in order to be useful.

Sometimes this sort of jargon also meant people didn’t realise when they actually were doing something well already, but didn’t identify it with the term that professionals might use.

A clear and repeated message we’ve taken away from the research is the importance of getting clear information quickly that can help people decide what to do. Many people running small charities in particular are pulled in lots of different directions, and have limited  time for even the most important tasks. We need to make sure that we’re making it as simple as possible to use the information we’ll provide.

Lots of people want to believe in the best in everyone, and that means that some organisations think that if no one has ever used their complaints policy to raise an issue, then there’s no more they need to do to improve safety. This can stop organisations doing extra work to be better at keeping people safe in relation to equality issues, bullying and harassment and supporting adults at risk. How to tackle this is a challenge for everyone to think about.

What’s next?

Based on this user research, over the next eight weeks  we will be developing information that is easy to use and quick to find. It will form a new ‘safeguarding gateway’ on the NCVO Knowhow website.

We’ll also be exploring the best ways to help organisations to plan to review and improve what they do, raising awareness of the importance of safeguarding with everyone they work with so that they all understand their right to be and feel safe.

This entry was posted in Impact, Research and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Like this? Read more

Lauren is a freelance project management and training consultant. She is currently project managing the Safeguarding Training Fund on behalf of NCVO. Lauren has previously worked as a senior manager in children and young people focused organisations such as The Challenge, Lifelites, Y Care International, and various other small international NGOs across Africa.

Comments are closed.