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Getting people involved

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Use this page to plan how to involve staff and volunteers in safeguarding. It will also give you guidance on how you can raise awareness and how you can encourage people to speak up if they have a concern.

Safeguarding is not just about putting a series of rules, policies and procedures in place. At its core, it’s about being an organisation where everyone is respected and feels safe.

Everyone in an organisation should feel they have the power to keep themselves and others safe from harm, and to report or challenge inappropriate behaviour. Effective safeguarding is done with people not to them.

Involve people in planning

Your organisation’s aims should be reflected in clear and accessible documents, policies and procedures. You can have the world's most detailed paperwork but it’s the ease with which staff and volunteers use it that shows its effectiveness.

You should:

  • make safeguarding part of your core organisational values and build a statement about everyone’s right to be safe from harm
  • make sure everyone knows about the code of conduct, and policies and procedures relevant to their role, particularly in safeguarding
  • encourage suggestions and feedback on these key documents so you know they work well
  • lead by example – make sure your team has the confidence to call out problems as soon as they see them
  • remember that some people may have experienced harm or know people who have
  • make sure all discussions are carefully planned, with thought given to the language you use
  • make sure at least one person involved in any discussion is trained to support people who need to speak about something that’s happened to them.

You can do this by:

  • developing your code of conduct with your participants, staff and volunteers by running workshops or activities
  • setting up a way for staff and volunteers from different parts of the organisation to give their views on draft documents
  • organising discussions to explore different types of harm and how they affect people
  • talking to and regularly remind people of the organisation’s values and ask them what they can do to contribute towards them.

Let people know they have a right to be safe

You must let everyone know they have a right to be safe from harm. You need to make it clear how they can speak up if they are worried about themselves or someone else. When you do this, at first you might find you have more concerns or complaints to deal with. This is normal and you should be prepared for it to happen.

Things you can do:

Encourage people to speak up

Everyone should feel comfortable talking about things that are worrying them. Your service users, staff and volunteers must have a clear understanding of the standards you expect and how they can speak out when those standards are not met.

You could:

  • adopt a code of conduct which clearly states how you expect people to behave in the organisation and what’s unacceptable
  • run a welcome session for volunteers and give people the opportunity to ask questions about the code of conduct
  • give staff and volunteers the opportunity to provide feedback on colleagues or speak about any worries they have during one-to-one sessions
  • regularly remind everyone of how to speak up about safeguarding concerns
  • regularly remind everyone that you will not allow anyone to be victimised for raising a safeguarding concern and create a policy to support this
  • provide independent support (an advocate) for people who want to make a complaint or who have experienced harm.

Listen when people speak up

You must be ready to listen when people speak up. You should encourage all your staff and volunteers to:

  • Show they care and help people open up
    So that people know they can trust them and their feelings are important.
  • Take their time and slow down
    It can take many conversations, not just one, to understand someone’s experience.
  • Show they understand
    So the person they’re talking to knows they have understood them and action will be taken.

You must make it clear that people should speak up about things that happen to them within your organisation as well as outside it. Everyone should know that if they feel they are not being listened to, they can also go outside the organisation to report the problem. This is called whistleblowing.

Further information

Last reviewed: 18 June 2021

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 18 June 2021

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