NCVO aims to support safeguarding with code of ethics

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8 August, 2018


The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is consulting on a draft code of ethics.

The code is aimed at helping organisations to review their policies and practices in order to update them in line with their purpose and values. It seeks to provide an overarching set of principles that reflect values shared across the charity sector.

The draft code can be found here. The consultation closes on Wednesday 26 September 2018 and responses should be emailed to:

In the spotlight

Voscur recently held a lunchtime briefing on safeguarding as the subject has continued to be at the forefront of charity sector news with new reports or actions coming through on a daily basis.

The Charity Commission has seen an increase in reports of serious safeguarding incidents with 1,152 reported between February and May 2018, compared to 1,210 during the whole of 2016-17.

The organisation advises that safeguarding should be a priority for all charities and not just those working with groups traditionally considered at risk such as children or vulnerable adults. The latest best practice is for charities to broaden the definition of safeguarding and to think about how to safeguard everyone at all times, recognising that anyone charities come into contact with or who works for charities could be vulnerable at some point or in some situations.

The new code will be a welcome first step in providing a unified approach to safeguarding across the sector. This is a good time to review your safeguarding policy to reflect the new emphasis on ‘people in vulnerable circumstances’. You need to ensure your policy includes:

  • Your organisation’s processes for monitoring and identifying low level concerns to identify patterns of behaviour
  • Guidance on reporting serious incidents to the Charity Commission. The responsibility for doing this sits with the board of trustees – making sure they are aware of this

What should be reported?

The Charity Commission describes a serious incident as an adverse event – whether actual or alleged – which results in or risks significant:

  • Loss of your charity’s money or assets
  • Damage to your charity’s property
  • Harm to your charity’s work, beneficiaries or reputation

It includes issues with third parties that you may use. If you are in doubt as to whether or not to report an issue then the advice is to report it by emailing