In developing our safeguarding policies and procedures, we saw other aspects of working with our youth workers – staff and volunteers – that needed improving. For example, we saw that NGOs in our countries often had no consistent approach to inducting staff and volunteers, supervising them (especially volunteers) and ensuring that they could share concerns or observations. These all relate to safeguarding, but they are also systems that lead to better efficiency and responsiveness in all aspects of our organisations.
Inducting Staff and Volunteers
Sometimes people come to work with us, either as staff or volunteers, and either we expect them to know everything already, or imagine that they know nothing. Neither of these approaches ensures consistency. Making sure that every person who starts in your organisation – whether a volunteer or a staff member – is clearly told about what you expect of them and the aims and objectives of your organisation is essential if you want the same approach from your whole team [Learn more about defining aims and objectives here].
Induction and Safeguarding
Safeguarding is an essential part of how you teach youth workers and other staff and volunteers what you expect from them. It is important to introduce it when they start – you never know when a child or vulnerable woman might share that they are experiencing abuse or in danger. Organisations that seek to keep vulnerable people safe at all times must ensure that the team sees this as an essential part of their role from the start, not an optional add-on introduced as an after-thought.
Professionalism and Safeguarding
For the same reason, safeguarding should be part of staff’s work plans. It isn’t an add-on but a fundamental part of their roles. If this is their role, they should have time to attend training or to deal with safeguarding incidents.