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Charity Commission updates safeguarding guidance

18 Nov 2021 News

The Charity Commission has updated its safeguarding guidance for trustees to include a new section on online safety.

Released yesterday, the update comes during Adult Safeguarding Week and amidst news that the regulator is looking into reports of an ex-trustee paying a 16-year-old for sex. 

Safeguarding guidance reminds charities that trustees have a responsibility to keep everyone who comes into contact with the organisation safe, including online. The updated guidance states that this can be achieved by using age restrictions, offering password protection and by keeping in line with GDPR legalisation.

The Charity Commission explained that it “will hold trustees to account if things go wrong and will check that trustees followed this guidance and the law”.

The regulator expects all charities to have appropriate policies, procedures and codes of conducts in place, and make sure that are followed by all trustees, volunteers and beneficiaries. 

Alongside advice on online safety, the regulator signposted to resources that offer further advice on this matter, specifically: Internet Matters, Get Safe Online and NSPCC.

The regulator stressed the importance of charities keeping up-to-date safeguarding measures. If a charity’s policies and practices have not been reviewed in over a year, it suggest it should be a priority to review them. 

The guidance was first published in 2017 and has been regularly updated, with advice on disqualifying trustees, protecting staff overseas and DBS checks. 

Paul Latham, director of communications and policy at the Commission, said: “The last few years have shown how important safeguarding is for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk such as children and vulnerable adults. Safeguarding is about protecting everyone – beneficiaries, volunteers and employees, and those with more fleeting links to the charity.

“Charities must be safe spaces for every individual who comes into contact with them. That is why the Commission has, during Adult Safeguarding Week, published updated guidance to include information about keeping people safe online. We have also produced a new summary guide for trustees about their safeguarding responsibilities, adding to our range of ‘five-minute guides’. We urge all trustees, especially those who have not recently refreshed their knowledge about safeguarding, to take five minutes to read the guide.”

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