Introductory guide to safeguarding and child protection for the voluntary and community sector

Topics: Voluntary and community sector Safeguarding and child protection

A step-by-step guide for the voluntary and community sector

2019 UK edition (formerly Are they safe?)

This guide will help you set up safeguarding measures in your group or organisation. It has been written for leaders of voluntary, community and faith groups working with children and young people aged 0-18.

The guide takes a step-by-step approach to help you develop and implement a safeguarding plan to protect children and young people from harm. 

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

Our introductory guide is 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. Faith communities can find information and resources on safeguarding and child protection within faith settings here.

This new version updates and replaces the previous Are they safe? introductory guide published in 2017.

Authors: NSPCC
Published: 2019

Download the guide (PDF)


Nine steps on the pathway to safer practice

Step 1: Assessing the risks
Use the exercises and checklist to identify the needs of and risks to children and young people in your group.

Step 2: Identifying leaders
Decide who is going to be your nominated child protection lead and be clear about their role.

Step 3: Getting support
Ensure everyone understands why it's important to develop child protection and safeguarding measures and that you have support from the highest level in your organisation.

Step 4: Writing a safeguarding and child protection policy statement
Make sure you have a written policy statement for child protection and safeguarding and that it includes everything it needs to.

Step 5: Writing procedures
Create your basic safeguarding procedures to help everyone in your organisation respond appropriately to concerns.

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

Step 7: Selecting the right staff and volunteers
Make sure you have the best people working or volunteering for you and that they are safe to work with children and young people.

Step 8: Getting informed and staying up to date
Ensure that everyone in your organisation has the latest knowledge about how to keep children and young people safe.

Step 9: Making sure your safeguarding arrangements are effective
Put checks and reviews in place so that you can assess how well your group's safeguarding and child protection arrangements are working.


Please cite as:

NSPCC (2019) Introductory guide to safeguarding and child protection for the voluntary and community sector. London: NSPCC.