🌳 2. Build foundations

How to integrate digital safeguarding into your existing safeguarding policy.

Why you need a policy

You have a duty of care to ensure your beneficiaries’, your users’, safety and wellbeing when supporting them online. Just like you would in any other context. So your organisation must have a safeguarding policy that reflects this. One that covers digital safeguarding, is regularly reviewed and is publicly available.

This policy provides the foundations of your digital safeguarding work.

Integrate with your existing safeguarding policy

You could choose to develop one integrated safeguarding policy covering offline and online activities. Children’s charity Barnardo’s and grass roots charity Safe & Sound do this.

Or you may decide you need a specific digital safeguarding policy, such as Amnesty International UK or Oxfam UK.

Your policy should complement your Data Protection Policy and comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Policy functions

Your safeguarding policy should provide guidance for your staff and volunteers on:

  • Their safeguarding responsibilities

  • How to recognise and report safeguarding concerns

It should also:

  • State the different online platforms you use to deliver services, and their risks

  • Describe procedures for mitigating identified risks, and identifying and reviewing new ones

  • Describe procedures for responding to safeguarding concerns that arise during the course of online service delivery

  • Reflect the input of your users, staff and volunteers

Minimum contents list

Tailor your policy’s level of detail to the work your organisation does. But as a minimum, include:

  • Purpose

  • Scope: who the policy applies to

  • Legal framework

  • Your organisation’s beliefs on protecting vulnerable users

  • Contact details for your safeguarding lead

  • Reporting procedures

Put policy into practice

Implement your policy through:

  • Regular discussions with staff

  • Providing easy access to digital safeguarding advice and procedures (e.g. via a shared document or webpage)

  • Visual aids within your organisation (e.g. posters, leaflets, etc.)

  • Policy review sessions

  • Providing a variety of digital routes for users to disclose safeguarding concerns (e.g. one-to-one sessions or anonymous surveys)

🔗Link: Safeguarding Day-to-Day (NCVO)