It’s important to have your policy clearly written down so that everyone knows what is in it, and when everyone is under pressure in a safeguarding situation you all know what to do, when and how.
Even if you do have something written down, it is a good idea to review it.
- Does your policy work in practice?
- Is it still up to date? Has the law changed or key staff changed?
- Could you do something better?
The Work of building your Safeguarding Policy
The next sections will show youth organisation leaders the work of developing your safeguarding policy. We encourage you to find a local expert to assist you with this if you can.
Engage your board and senior management team
- Ensure that your management team and/or board understand why this is a priority for your youth organisation.
- Ensure that you know how you will keep the management team and/or board updated on this process, and work together to ensure it is effective.
- Ensure that your management team and/or board are aware that this process will take up staff (and beneficiary) time if it is to be effective.
Identify who is leading this process
It is important to have strong leadership on this, as on anything. If you are developing (or revising) your safeguarding policy it is important that the person leading this is either in your senior management or has a clear mandate from senior managers.
Make a plan
If you have been given the task of leading the development of the safeguarding policy for your organisation, you need to make a plan. This is a project, like any. You need to identify the elements that will go into it and consider who else you need to be involved with and how much time it will take.
Engage your wider team and beneficiaries
It’s good to let people know in advance that you are reviewing safeguarding policies so that they can consider this and reflect. It’s also important as they will need to set time aside if you are going to be able to consult them effectively.
At this point, you can explain why this is a good thing for everyone involved, and a chance to make your youth project more effective.
It’s also a moment where you can understand what resistance and misconceptions people may have (if any) so that you can be ready to address them as this work progresses.
Do your homework
In order to start, you need to be entirely confident about safeguarding, what it is, and how it works (or doesn’t work) in your local context.
- Identify international expert organisations (see links below)
- Map your local expert organisation [learn more here]
- Understand local safeguarding legislation
Consider the amount of time it will take to contact, meet, learn and listen to these people, and the time you need to study and develop your understanding. Ask them about the risks they face, and how they deal with them. Request copies of their policies and ask them how they deal with the authorities, or the external support they access if their own organisation, or local authorities, cannot protect a woman or child from harm.
Review your plan
If your plan isn’t working, or you are struggling to make progress, reconsider – the important thing is that you reach your goals!
Map your organisation’s safeguarding risks
Now that you have spoken to others, you will have a clear idea of what a policy is, and what goes into making one, you need to understand what risks your own organisation is facing. Referring to Where are women and girls at risk? you can approach this in the way you think will get the most accurate information.
Make sure your consultation allows everyone to be heard, and remember that the more people from different backgrounds you engage, the bigger the picture will be.
At this stage, collect all risks – those girls and women might face in your activities and outside. This will help your team to have a broad overview of the challenges they face, helping you to develop effective safeguarding and consider whether your project, in general, is responding to these needs wherever possible. You can do this in the next section.
You might also be interested in
- Safeguarding definitions and reporting mechanisms for UK NGOs | BOND
- Keeping children safe | KCS Standards
- Safeguarding training, advice and resources | Safeguarding support hub
- User-friendly tools, resources, standards and training focussed specifically on child safeguarding | Keeping Children Safe
- A range of resources to support both child and adult safeguarding | BOND
- Templates for safeguarding policies, codes of conduct and other relevant documents | BOND