How to write a safeguarding policy

Having a written policy makes it clear to everyone in your organisation what is expected from them and what their safeguarding responsibilities are.

Before you start to complete the template we recommend that:

  • You have a team meeting to discuss the particular needs of your group. Have you had any safeguarding issues or incidents? Are there any concerns or issues that your staff or volunteers are uncertain of how to deal with? Your policy should include procedures on how to deal with any safeguarding concerns that may occur.
  • You write your policy as a group. This makes the policy more relevant if everyone has contributed to it.
  • All staff and volunteers undertake Introduction to Working Together to Safeguard Children and Young People training.
  • Where possible you should involve children/ young people and their parents / carers in the development of your policy. Ask for their opinions and suggestions. This illustrates to children and parents / carers that you are taking safeguarding seriously, and that your staff understand their safeguarding responsibilities.
  • All staff and volunteers should have a copy of your policy and have read and understood it. It should also be made available for parents should they wish to see it. We recommend that you have one on display and/ or available on your website.
  • Your safeguarding policy should be an active document. It is good practice to regularly review the policy and keep it up-to-date with any local or national changes.
  • Your nominated “safeguarding officer” should be responsible for making sure that your policy is kept up to date and that all staff and volunteers are kept informed about any changes.

What to include in your safeguarding policy

A safeguarding policy is a statement that makes it clear to all staff and volunteers within your organisation and the children, young people and families that use your services your commitment to safeguarding children. Your policy should include what your organisation will do to protect the safety and welfare of children in your care and what staff and volunteers should do if they are concerned about a child.

Here are some headings that you should include within your policy:

Introduction - Your introduction should include the name of your organisation and give a brief outline of the work that your organisation does with children and young people. You should make it clear that you are committed to the welfare and the safeguarding of children and/or young people within all the activities that you undertake.

A named person within your organisation who is the safeguarding lead - This is where you include the name of your chosen Designated Safeguarding Officer and their contact details. Your Designated Safeguarding Officer does not have to be an expert in child protection but should take on responsibility for providing advice and support to other staff, and ensuring that safeguarding children remains a priority in all the work that you do.

You should also include the name and contact details of a Deputy should the Designated Safeguarding Officer be unavailable.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of abuse - Child abuse is quite rare however, it is important that all staff and volunteers understand the different forms of abuse that some children may experience and the signs and symptoms of such abuse. The LSCB recommend that all staff that work with children and young people access training to help them not only identify but also act upon any form of abuse that they may identify. See Working Together to Safeguarding Children and Young People.

Becoming aware of a safeguarding issueIt is important that your procedures provide some detail about how you become aware about a child or young person’s safety. 

For example:

  • a third party or anonymous allegation is received;
  • a child or young person’s appearance, behaviour, play, drawing or statements cause suspicion of abuse and/or neglect;
  • a child or young person reports an incident(s) of alleged abuse which occurred some time ago;
  • a written report is made regarding the serious misconduct of a worker towards a child or young person.

What to do if you're concerned about a child - It is important that you treat any allegations extremely seriously. Never think that someone else may be dealing with it. If you receive information that a child may be at risk of, or experiencing harm make sure your organisation and staff know how to respond appropriately. See Concerned about a child and Managing Allegations.

Stage 1

  • Initially talk to a child/young person about what you are observing. It is okay to ask questions, for example: “I’ve noticed that you don’t appear yourself today, is everything okay? But never use leading questions
  • Listen carefully to what the young person has to say and take it seriously. Act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying.
  • It is not the responsibility of groups to investigate incidences of suspected child abuse but to gather information and refer only.
  • Always explain to children and young people that any information they have given will have to be shared with others, if this indicates they and or other children are at risk of harm;
  • Notify the organisation’s Named Person for safeguarding (above)
  • Record what was said as soon as possible after any disclosure; the person who receives the allegation or has the concern, should complete a pro-forma and ensure it is signed and dated.  The contents of the pro-forma should include:
  • Date and time of notification
  • Young person’s name
  • What was said
  • Actions to be taken (both internal and external actions - based on the issues raised in the allegation. Eg; Notify Manager/ Duty and Advice/ LADO)
  • Respect confidentiality and file documents securely;

Stage 2

  • The Named person(s) should take immediate action if there is a suspicion that a child has been abused or likely to be abused.  In this situation the Named Person should contact the police and/or the Duty and Advice Team. If a referral is made direct to the Duty and Advice team this should be followed up in writing within 24 hrs.

NB Parents / carers will need to be informed about any referral to Children & Young people’s Social Care unless to do so would place the child at an increased risk of harm.

Safe recruitment - Sometimes there are people who work, or seek to work with children and young people who may pose a risk to children and who may harm them.  Ensuring that you have a clear process for recruiting staff and volunteers should help reduce this risk. Even if you know someone very well you must ensure that they go through the same recruitment and selection process as a paid worker.

  • Use application forms to assess the candidate’s suitability for the role. This makes it easier to compare the experience of candidates and helps you to get all of the important information you need to ask.
  • Make it clear that you have a commitment to safeguarding and protecting children. You could include this in a job application pack.
  • Have a face-to-face interview with pre-planned and clear questions.
  • Include a question about whether they have any criminal convictions, cautions, other legal restrictions or pending cases that might affect their suitability to work with children.  
  • Check the candidate’s identity by asking them to bring photographic ID.
  • Check the candidate actually holds any relevant qualifications they say they have.
  • Apply for a DBS check. 
  • Always request references rather than accept pre-written references  Ask specifically about an individual’s suitability to work with children.
  • Provide them with a copy of your safeguarding procedures.

There may be occasions where you wish to appoint a worker from abroad. This will mean that DBS checks may not be able to be undertaken. Nevertheless a “fit person” check may be available from the country the person is moving from. You should ensure that additional references are undertaken on any worker from abroad.

Anyone responsible for recruitment within your organisation should attend the Safe Recruitment training.

Management and supervision of staff/volunteers - It is important that all staff have an opportunity to discuss with their line manager any safeguarding matter giving them concern and this is best done by providing regular supervision. Your procedures should indicate the supervision arrangements in place for your staff. 

Allegations agains staff - All Groups should have procedures in place to ensure that any allegation made against a member of staff is dealt with appropriately.See Managing Allegations.

Recording and managing confidential information - This section should include:

  • A form for recording concerns/allegations of abuse, harm and neglect should be attached to the guidelines. This can be a very simple form outlining name of child, date of birth, date and details of incident.  The person who receives the allegation or has the concern should complete and sign this form.
  • A summary of the organisation’s commitment to manage confidential information safely, how information is stored for example, how secure is your computer where children’s details may be kept, do you keep confidential information locked away.
  • A statement about the rights of children and young people to confidentiality unless the organisation considers they could be at risk of abuse and/or harm.

Distributing and reviewing policies and proceduresAll Groups should have in place a system for distributing, displaying and reviewing their overall policies and procedures. 

  • They should be reviewed annually and signed by the Management Committee.
  • (Best practice guidelines advise the involvement of parents/carers and young people in developing policies that affect them)
  • Your Policies and Procedures should be displayed on a prominent notice board and on your web site and a copy should be given or be made easily available to all staff and parents.
  • Please list the areas where you will display your polices and how you will make staff and users of your service aware of them.

Responsibilities of management commitees All groups need to make sure that their policies and procedures are approved by their Management Committees. These Committees need to understand that they are ultimately accountable for all that happens within their establishment and that includes the implementation of effective safeguarding procedures

Some of the ways which this can be achieved:

  • Provide written guidance to all staff and committee members
  • Ensure everyone understands their legal duties and responsibilities

Management committees should also:

  • Develop a clear framework for behaviour management towards any children or young people
  • Provide information about procedures to follow if an allegation is made
  • Ensure all workers have training to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse
  • Ensure that all staff have DBS checks as appropriate to their role.
  • Have correct policies in place covering your activities eg: health and safety, lone working, etc.
  • Understand what is good safeguarding practice and take responsibility for ensuring this is undertaken by all staff within your organisation
  • Ensure all workers understand that physical punishment or threat of physical punishment must never be used
  • Ensure that workers understand that verbal humiliation of children is unacceptable.


Updating your safeguarding policy

Your safeguarding policy should be revised every three years. You can do this easily by completing the Section 11 audit which is a safeguarding assessment of your organisation. Completing this questionnaire will help you ensure that you are keeping your safeguarding policies and procedures up to date and are doing all the right things to keep children and young people safe.

For further information on the Section 11 audit click here.