Legislation and guidance
Charity law and regulation
Charities in each nation of the UK are governed by specific legislation and regulation. Summaries of charity law are available from:
The Charity Commission for England and Wales also gives legal guidance on different topics.
Safeguarding and child protection legislation and guidance
Legislation and guidance across the UK highlights the responsibility of those who work with children to safeguard them from all forms of abuse and neglect.
There is also specific guidance for charities in each nation, which explains what safeguarding is and what trustees’ responsibilities are.
In England and Wales, the Charity Commission has published guidance on Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees (Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2019).
The Department for Education (DfE) in England has published a voluntary code of practice for out-of-school settings. It includes information on safeguarding and child protection, staff suitability and governance (DfE, 2020).
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has created an online portal for charities in England to help handle safeguarding concerns about charity employees and volunteers. The tool is designed to help charities manage concerns and allegations, identify who to contact and provides helpful resources and advice.
Children England provides guidance on the safeguarding responsibilities of trustees (Children England, 2019).
NCVO has set out a framework of ethical principles for charities (NCVO, 2022).
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland offers advice on Safeguarding children (Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, 2019).
In Scotland, the OSCR provides guidance on keeping vulnerable beneficiaries safe (Scottish Charity Regulator, 2018).
Responding to safeguarding incidents
In England and Wales, the Charity Commission has published a Strategy for dealing with safeguarding issues in charities (Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2017a).
Guidance on how to report incidents and who to report them to is provided in Safeguarding – the role of other agencies (Charity Commission for England and Wales, 2017b).
In Northern Ireland, the Serious incident reporting guidance (PDF) includes information about how to report incidents to the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and lists the other organisations that need to be informed (Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, 2018).
In Scotland, the OSCR provides guidance on reporting notifiable events (PDF) (Scottish Charity Regulator, 2020).
In Wales, the Working together to safeguard people: code of safeguarding practice sets out safeguarding expectations for all individuals, groups and organisations providing activities or services to children and adults (Welsh Government, 2022).
The WCVA also provides information about safeguarding for third sector organisations (WCVA, 2021).
Across the UK there is guidance to ensure organisations that raise funds do so safely and legally.
There is also guidance to help foundations and funding bodies ensure the organisations they work with have adequate safeguarding measures.
The Fundraising code of practice outlines the standards expected of all charitable fundraising organisations across the UK. Its key principles are that the work of all fundraising organisations should be legal, open, honest and respectful. It includes a section on working with children which covers age limits, consent/permissions and vetting and barring checks (Fundraising Regulator, 2019).
The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) has provided guidance on Safeguarding for foundations (ACF, 2021). This highlights that trusts and foundations should ensure they have a safeguarding culture within their own organisation as well as ensuring those applying for funding are addressing safeguarding. Trusts may require organisations to report any safeguarding incidents to them as part of the funding agreement.