Latest tragic case underlines the need for safeguarding stringency

23rd September 2016

The significance of Higgs & Sons' recent safeguarding seminar was underlined after the Charity Commission published its report following the enquiry into Bristol Community Church this week.

The inquiry involving allegations of sexual abuse, raised serious concerns about the adequacy of the safeguarding governance within the charity - one of the key issues addressed in Higgs' safeguarding seminar.

Kirsty McEwen, Head of the Charity & Not for Profit team at Higgs & Sons, comments:

"This latest case is another example of where a lack of rigour in terms of safeguarding procedures may have led to vulnerable young people being placed in danger by an organisation that should have been protecting their welfare.

"Charities play a vital role in the lives of many vulnerable children and adults and it is essential that organisations have robust internal standards and safeguarding mechanisms in place to protect themselves and those under their care."

This was the key message underlying Higgs & Sons' safeguarding seminar held earlier this month, in which speakers examined the law surrounding safeguarding for an audience made up of those responsible for safeguarding within organisations including schools, charities and local authority service provision.

Kirsty McEwen continues: "We work with a number of organisations providing expert advice on this vitally important issue.

"There is quite rightly a great deal of scrutiny on charities and third sector organisations at the moment as stories such as the Bristol Community Church case come to light.  We believe it is vitally important to work with charities to ensure best practice and correct processes are followed so that not only are they compliant with the law, but more importantly that vulnerable children and adults are safe and protected."


"This case is a reminder to charities that work with children and vulnerable people that it is essential that they have adequate safeguarding policies and procedures which reflect both the law and best practice. Even more importantly though, where incidents occur or allegations are made, charities must ensure safeguarding issues are taken seriously and dealt with promptly in accordance with those policies and procedures ." Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission. (https://www.gov.uk/government/news)

Click here for details of the Charity Commission enquiry report.

The Higgs & Sons safeguarding seminar examined the law surrounding safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults and offered advice and information on key aspects of the law including:

  • The current legal position regarding safeguarding
  • When is it safeguarding and when it is not?
  • The role and responsibility of charity trustees, employees and volunteers in safeguarding?
  • The role of the Charity Commission and other regulators in safeguarding strategy
  • What happens when it goes wrong? Who is liable and how should you report issues?
  • Strategies and process for ensuring compliance
  • Best practice in:

- Selection and recruitment

- Induction and training

- Drafting policies and procedures


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