BB Safe | Safeguarding Culture & Compliance

Governing for Safety – Board directors, management committee, executives, leaders

If you’re a board director or management committee member do you understand your legislative obligations in relation to the safeguarding of the children or client groups you are working with? There could be civil and even criminal penalties for failure to protect children and vulnerable adults. What about your role in setting a culture of safeguarding?

At BBSafe we work with Boards and leadership groups from a wide range of organisations – schools, community services agencies, sports clubs, religious organisations. We know that these leaders are passionate about the work they do, and we know they are BUSY! Often, Board members and management committee members are volunteers and need all the support they can get to discharge their important obligations. 

If you are on a board or committee or council, you cannot dismiss safeguarding as an operational issue. Until safeguarding is an embedded as other workplace health and safety obligations, leaders need to stay very close. 

Beyond seeking assurance that all your working with vulnerable people checks are done, what else do you look for? Here are some tips:

– make sure you understand your legislative obligations – there can be civil and criminal penalties applied to leaders for failures to prevent or report abuse
– attend to your own training – board directors and leaders need safeguarding training too
– welcome and examine complaints and feedback – does it look like people feel safe to raise concerns? or could silence mean a culture of fear is operating?
– get nosy – when you are out visiting sites, view it through the eyes of your clients – can you see information about rights, what behaviours to expect from staff and how to raise concerns? And talk to your teams – what do they have to say about safeguarding?
– What indicators of safeguarding are there? Have you thought about what the ‘near misses’ are in safeguarding for your organisation?
– are you confident that safeguarding risk is being assessed in a methodical and robust way by people who really understanding safeguarding?
– has the board correctly prioritised safeguarding in your strategic plan and is the board adequately resourcing safeguarding?

There’s much that Boards can do to demonstrate strong leadership on safeguarding that sets the tone from the top. We are always happy to have discussions with boards and invite you to join us for our free March webinar where we will provide a short version of our Governing for Safety training that can be applied to any organisation. It will provide an overview of the safeguarding responsibilities of leaders in organisations and how those leaders can drive cultures of safety. Register here and please feel free to share with your networks.