Safeguarding should be a priority for all third sector organisations, especially those that work with children, young people and adults at risk.

Introduction to third sector safeguarding

Safeguarding CTA

WCVA's Safeguarding Service provides information, resources, advice and training for third sector organisations in Wales.

Why is this important?

  • Organisations that work with at risk groups (e.g. children and vulnerable adults) have legal responsibilities in relation to safeguarding
  • The Social Services and Well-being Act (2014) introduced a strengthened, robust and effective partnership approach to safeguarding in which each professional and organisation must do everything they can, to ensure that children and adults at risk are protected from abuse.
  • The Charity Commission regards safeguarding as a key governance priority for all charities, not just those that work with groups traditionally considered vulnerable.

Everyone has a responsibility for safeguarding - it is everybody's business!

Safeguarding is a valuable part of an organisation's governance framework. It relates to:-

  • health and safety
  • staff recruitment, development and retention
  • quality assurance
  • funding

Good and appropriate safeguarding provides public reassurance about your organisation and contributes to the positive reputation of the third sector in general. 

Useful Links



How WCVA can help 

We can support you with the following: 

Information and Resources Self-assessment tools, templates and guidance for organisations wishing to develop safeguarding policies and practices
Advice One-to-one confidential advice from our designated Safeguarding Officer
Training Open programme, bespoke and online safeguarding learning and development opportunities available

 Download our Safeguarding service leaflet 

Get in touch


Phone: 0300 111 0124 (option 6)


Please scroll down for more information about third sector safeguarding and free downloadable resources to support you in maintaining high standards of safeguarding in your organisation. 

Policy and practice 



Every organisation working with children, young people or adults who may be at risk due to age, illness or disability, should have a safeguarding policy.

It should be kept where it can be read and be made available to all staff, volunteers and interested parties, once signed by the chair of the board. The policy should include clear procedures for responding to an allegation, disclosure of possible abuse or concern about poor practice. The policy should be reviewed and updated annually.

Whilst there are common good principles that should appear in all safeguarding policies, the detail should be specific to each particular organisation.

Supervisors, staff and volunteers providing services to children, young people or adults who may be at risk, should all receive abuse awareness and safeguarding training to be able to recognise when someone is at risk and respond appropriately to allegations or suspicions. Staff / volunteers should be given training about the organisation's safeguarding policy as part of their induction.

Safeguarding training and a clear code of conduct related to abuse prevention and recognition should be a priority for all delivery organisations and agencies offering any type of work involving close and regular contact between staff and clients. The role of the safeguarding officer is a key element of your safeguarding practice, providing a single point of contact for people who are part of your organisation and with those agencies beyond your organisation. 


Safeguarding self-assessment

Third sector organisations play an important role in providing services and activities for children, young people and adults. Using a risk based approach and self auditing can help you make informed decisions about safeguarding within your organisation.

The self audit tool can be used as a checklist to review safeguarding within your organisation and to identify what else you might need to do to put safeguards in place. The tool does not intend, nor can it, cover all possible elements of safeguarding in third sector organisations. Similarly, it is not possible to capture all elements in detail such as policy design. It is designed to highlight your legal responsibilities, good practice and some areas for practical consideration. Only you can determine what best possible safeguarding looks like for your organisation.


We constantly review the tool so that it reflects current developments. This version is based on PQASSO Essentials, which asks about how your organisation or group is implementing safeguarding as part of governance, leadership and management, working with users, managing resources and managing staff and volunteers in particular.

We would like to know how the use of the self assessment tool changes practice within organisations and how useful people find it. Contact the safeguarding service if you would like to discuss your action plan. 


DBS and Safer Recruiting



It is essential that third sector organisations carry out appropriate background checks on staff, volunteers and trustees. The use of a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS, formerly CRB) check should be part of your overall safer recruitment policy and practice. This is strongly recommended by the Charity Commission.

You can only carry out checks for certain roles and activities. If you're not sure whether to carry out a check, you can use the DBS eligibility tool.


DBS checks must be obtained through an umbrella body registered with the DBS. The DBS Registered Body that is carrying out checks on your behalf should confirm the eligibility for the correct level of check.  Further information can be found on the website.

Where staff or volunteers are working with children or adults at risk, it is important that the correct level of DBS check is requested and the requirement for such a check should be made clear in a job or role description.

  • Standard checks are appropriate for roles such as finance officer or treasurer, where you wish to ascertain the individual has no known history of fraud.
  • Enhanced checks are appropriate for roles where there is contact with children or adults at risk allowing the opportunity for a relationship of trust to develop. Enhanced checks will be made available for roles meeting the eligibility criteria.
  • Enhanced checks with a barring list check (adult workforce, children's workforce, or both) are required by law for individuals working or volunteering in roles which are regulated activity. 

Under legislation, there are specific activities and work that a person who has been barred from working with a particular vulnerable group (children and/or adults) must not do. This is known as regulated activity.

If a voluntary organisation is engaging a member of staff or volunteer in regulated activity then a DBS enhanced check including a check against the relevant barring list(s) (children and/or adults) must be carried out before they start in that role.

Employers who wish to engage a person in regulated activity must not knowingly employ a barred person and are therefore eligible to ask for an enhanced DBS check to include a check against the relevant DBS barring list (children and/or adults list). This barring list check will show if someone is included or not on the relevant DBS list.

Other work not meeting the definition of regulated activity, but includes substantial contact with a child or (vulnerable) adult at risk, may be eligible for an enhanced DBS check as a matter of best practice. This type of check will not include a check against the barring lists.

DBS logo

It is not always necessary to carry out a new check every time you take on a new member of staff or volunteer, or need to recheck existing staff. Find out more from the DBS Update service.

If you are looking for a provider, you may find it helpful to view this list of DBS checking services (DBS Providers) for more information about services that can provide standard and enhanced checks for third sector organisations.

You can also contact the WCVA safeguarding service to discuss check eligibility and the use of DBS checks, including the Update service, as part of your overall recruitment plan.



Safer Recruiting Maze (under construction)

How to report concerns



The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 places a statutory duty on all relevant partners (health, education, etc) of the local authority to refer to the local authority any adult or child who is suffering or at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or harm and reinforces the good practice for any individual or organisation to refer to social services or the police any child who is suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm. 


If you have a concern about a child:

If any person has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, has suffered or is likely to be at risk of abuse, neglect or harm, it is their responsibility to ensure that such concerns are referred to local social services or the police, who have statutory duties and powers to make enquiries and intervene when necessary

You may also contact:


If you have a concern about an adult:

Protecting an adult at risk should be everyone's paramount concern. You can contact your local social services office or call the Police.

You may also contact:



Duty to refer

There are other statutory duties to report harm and risk of harm and specifically the duty to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service for those carrying out regulated activity.

Any organisation working with vulnerable groups has a statutory duty to refer an individual to the Disclosure and Barring Service in certain circumstances. This is independent of any responsibilities to report cases of harm or abuse to social services, safeguarding boards or the police.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sets the legal duty to refer information and also defines what is meant by regulated activity, which is work a barred person cannot do.


Safeguarding Topics Library

This section provides a list of links to more information on specific issues related to safeguarding.