Are they safe?

Topics: Voluntary and community sector

A guide to safeguarding in England for leaders of groups in the voluntary and community sector

This guide will help you set up safeguarding measures in your group or organisation. It has been written for leaders of a wide range of voluntary and community groups working with children and young people aged 0-18 in England, but may also be useful to groups elsewhere in the UK.

It’s aimed at groups who are in the early stages of thinking about safeguarding, but it can be helpful to those who already have some experience of working with children and keeping them safe. Organisations with more safeguarding experience may also find our Safeguarding standards useful.

The guide has 9 steps, which walk you through developing a safeguarding plan and implementing it to protect children from harm. It contains information about what safeguarding is, explains why voluntary and community groups need safeguards, and provides links to further information that will help you work through each step.

An accompanying wall chart allows you to note down safe practice you already have in place, and to record your planned actions for each step. Displayed in a prominent place it becomes a visual record of your progress.

Authors: NSPCC
Published: 2017

The 9 steps along your pathway to safer practice

Step 1: Check it out
Use the exercises and checklist to see what your group has or hasn't got in place.

Step 2: Who is taking the lead?
Decide who is going to be your "designated person for child protection" and be clear about their role.

Step 3: Getting support
Make sure that everyone understands why it's important to develop safeguards. Discuss issues to help your trustees, management committee, staff, volunteers, parents and children.

Step 4: Writing a child protection policy
Be clear about why your group needs a policy, and make sure you include what needs to be in it.

Step 5: Writing procedures
Create your basic safeguarding procedures.

Step 6: A code of behaviour for everyone
Write a code of behaviour for your group, so that everyone knows what is expected of them.

Step 7: Employing the right people
Make sure you do what you can to have the best people working for you, and that they are safe to work with children.

Step 8: Get informed – important topics about keeping children safe
Make sure that you know about the issues in this section. Your knowledge will help to keep children safe.

Step 9: Making it all work
What needs to be done to make sure your group's safeguards work? This final step will bring your safeguarding arrangements alive and help you to know that they are effective.


Please cite as: NSPCC (2017) Are they safe?: a guide to safeguarding in England for leaders of groups in the voluntary and community sector working with children and young people aged 0–18. London: NSPCC.

Download the resources

Safeguarding guide: Are they safe? (PDF)

Wallchart: Are they safe? pathway to safer practice (PDF) 

Wallchart stickers: Footprints (PDF)