Writing a safeguarding policy How to set out an organisational approach to protecting children
Children have the right to be protected from harm so it is important that any organisation or group that works with children or young people has a clear set of guidelines about how they will keep children safe and to respond to child protection concerns.
This page explains what a safeguarding policy should include to ensure your organisation has the overarching principles and procedures needed to protect children from harm.
What is a safeguarding policy?
A safeguarding or child protection policy is a statement that makes it clear what an organisation or group will do to keep children safe.
It should include:
- a statement setting out the organisation's commitment to protecting all children
- what the organisation will do to keep children safe and respond to concerns
- a list of the supporting procedures that accompany the policy.
Getting started on your policy
There are different ways to write a safeguarding policy, but before you put pen to paper it’s helpful to think about potential risks to a child in your organisation, how someone might raise a concern and the practicialities of who should be involved in writing the policy.
Things to consider
- What are the potential risks to children - who may pose a risk? what situations may increase risk?
- How do you check people who work or volunteer for the organisation currently and new starters?
- What are the different ways someone might raise a concern?
- How should you respond to concerns or allegations of harm?
- How does this policy link up with other policies and procedures?
- Should you provide training for staff and volunteers? How will you raise awareness for everyone involved with the organisation?
- Tailor your policy and procedures to suit the needs of your organisation.
- Use words and phrases that will mean the most to the group or community.
- Involve people from different parts of the organisation to make sure the policy is relevant for everyone.
- Think about how you can involve children and incorporate their perspective.
- Ask different people in different roles to read the policy and feedback to ensure it is accessible to everybody.
What to include
Aim to keep your policy under 2 sides of A4 paper and try to include the following:
Purpose and aim of the policy
Identify the organisation, its purpose and function. Set out the organisation's commitment to keeping children safe and how, in broad terms, the organisation will meet this commitment.
Links to relevant guidance
Briefly state the main law and guidance that supports the policy. Explain how this policy links to other relevant organisational policies and procedures such as taking photographs and videos, internet use, recruitment.
Your organisation should make sure that all children and young people have the same protection regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. Your policy needs to state your commitment to anti-discriminatory practice and should explicitly recognise the additional needs of children from minority ethnic groups and disabled children and the barriers they may face, especially around communication.
Scope of the policy
Be clear about who the policy applies to. It should cover all children under 18 but does it apply to all adults in the organisation? Should it just be staff and volunteers who work directly with children? What about those who have occasional contact with children such as a caretaker?
Provide the date the policy comes into force and review dates.
Once your organisation has an agreed policy, there should be a plan of action to make sure all adults and children are aware of, understand and can access the safeguarding policy.
Things to consider include:
- how you will tell everyone about the new or updated policy and any challenges that might arise
- making sure your policy is accessible to people with communication difficulties or different language needs
- checking your policy is supported by relevant procedures and is linked up with other policies, such as a photography and sharing images policy.
- dates for reviewing your policy.
Our free online tool for organisations working with children and young people provides checklists and resources to help you safeguard children.
Further help and advice
Child protection training
We offer a range of online and face-to-face training courses for people who work with children to help you gain the skills to act appropriately and confidently to keep children safe.
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
CASPAR is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.
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