The Safeguarding Training Fund Phase 1: what we are doing and what comes next

Since the beginning of April, an NCVO led partnership of expert safeguarding and infrastructure bodies has been hard at work developing a range of safeguarding guidance and resources. This is to deliver phase 1 one the ‘Safeguarding Training Fund’, a programme of funding by the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Lottery Community Fund (the Fund).

We have just passed the mid-point of the project so it seems like a good time to provide an update on what we have been doing and what everyone can expect to see as the outputs of phase 1.

Our vision

We share the vision that all organisations should be a safe place for their beneficiaries, volunteers and staff. We have come together as partners because we care about getting safeguarding right, and we want to help improve safe culture across all organisations.

How we are going to achieve this

We’ll work towards achieving this by developing organisations’ safeguarding knowledge, skills, practice and values. We’ll do this by developing a comprehensive set of resources that are appropriate, relevant and proportionate. Very importantly, they will all be free at the point of access. This set of guidance and resources will help charities understand their safeguarding responsibilities, and give them the knowledge and tools to take the first steps in embedding safeguarding and safe practices within their organisation.

From the very beginning, we have been committed to putting the needs, experiences and voices of users within the voluntary and community sector at the heart of our project. This is a diverse range of users: from staff to volunteers, trustees and senior leaders, frontline practitioners with and without safeguarding expertise. Each of them will be working in very different types of organisation: from the largest charities to small unincorporated groups. They also find themselves in a diverse range of settings and contexts. Their experience, understanding of what is required and access to digital resources will vary significantly.

So the development of all the resources has been based on extensive user engagement. You can already read some of the key findings that have emerged through our user engagement here.

A new KnowHow ‘Safeguarding Gateway’

At the core of the project is a new ‘Safeguarding Gateway’ as part of the established NCVO KnowHow website. Based on extensive user research, it will help charities take the first steps on their journey to improving safeguarding of children, adults at risk of harm and build a safer culture for all. We have made it easy to navigate and it will signpost to all the resources of NCVO and its partners.

New guidance and resources

In addition, NCVO and its partners are producing resources and guidance on good practice in safeguarding tailored to meet the needs of the wider voluntary and community sector.

These are some examples of the things that organisations will be able to access at the end of phase 1:

  • New content on the NSPCC Learning website, including a number of podcasts, to help charities on safeguarding children.
  • An updated version of NSPCC’s ‘Are they safe?’ guide for organisational safeguarding and their Safeguarding Standards and Guidance.
  • An updated version of Children England’s ‘Our Decision’, explaining the criminal record checking regime.
  • An updated version of Children England’s ‘Everybody’s business’, an essential guide on safeguarding for trustees.
  • A range of resources by the Ann Craft Trust on safeguarding adults at risk of harm in voluntary and community settings, which has been identified as a gap outside of health and social care settings.
  • Refreshed and updated ‘Safe Space’ framework aimed at youth organisations from UK Youth.
  • New specific guidance from Protect for voluntary and community organisations on how to ensure strong whistleblowing and speaking out mechanisms to strengthen safeguarding and build safer cultures.
  • An up to date guide by NCVO and Bates Wells on safeguarding and the law, providing an overview of the key legal duties for charities.
  • A range of specific NCVO briefings for particular roles in charities which lack appropriate guidance of how to meet their safeguarding responsibilities (such as chief executives, fundraisers, etc.).

What next

These resources will be a significant step forward in tailor made safeguarding guidance for the voluntary and community sector.

But this is a quick project, aiming for completion in just six months. We know that there will continue to be unmet needs for many organisations and new needs emerging in the years ahead. We also know that just because we have produced all these resources, work needs to be done to ensure charities know about them and use them. It’s not a case of ‘if you build it, they will come’.

That is why the second phase of the Safeguarding Fund is also really important: DCMS and the Fund are providing further investment to raise awareness and ensure improved access to the safeguarding and safe culture support materials.

Properly embedding good safeguarding practice and awareness into the sector is a long-term commitment for all of us, that will go beyond the lifetime of the Safeguarding Training Fund.


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Avatar photo Elizabeth was head of policy and public services at NCVO until 2020.

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