+44 (0)1256 316 525

Safeguarding is an integral component of good corporate governance

 

Every company whose employees or business partners engage directly or indirectly with young or vulnerable people, has a legal and moral duty of care to do all it can to protect them from harm. Wherever a vulnerable person works or whatever their circumstances may be, they have the right to be cared for and protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation.  Supporting this right is the essence of safeguarding.   

Safeguarding is often only associated with educational establishments or environments that care for children.  However, every organisation has employees or business partners who directly or indirectly engage with children or vulnerable adults either in their place of work or in the community. Examples may be working directly  with them as colleagues or at commercial venues, social events, in studios during a video or photo shoot, when travelling on company business, volunteering, or supervising them as interns or apprentices. If any organisation is working in the community or committed to improving or developing their positive impact on society, safeguarding policies and procedures will be needed. Employees may also indirectly contact young people. For example, when using social media or other online platforms, when handling sensitive data or images as a HR or customer service professional, or when collaborating with them via a third party in a supply chain.

business 1219868For organisations who employ young workers either in their own organisation or in third party sites, safeguarding is a high priority as regulation and responsibility are prime drivers. In these cases, it is necessary to implement, manage and review policies and procedures on a regular basis, ensuring that they are compliant with national statutory guidance, corporate responsibilities or updated regulations.  

Healthy organisations manage safeguarding well, but things can go wrong and a skilled, timely, independent and sensitive response, managed by experts, enables an organisation to deal with incidents effectively and reduce individual and organisational harm. Those that employ young workers who fail to address their responsibilities may also be at risk of significant consequences, for example criminal investigation, negligence claims, employment tribunals, loss of reputation and the subsequent impact on staff.

Corporate safeguarding is not an add-on or an optional extra, it is an integral part of good governance against which the performance of companies may be measured in terms of how well they apply social responsibility values to their business.  From a regulatory or corporate responsibility viewpoint, safeguarding should be not be relegated to low priority.  
 
Too often, organisations discover the value of corporate safeguarding following an incident that requires a full and thorough investigation.  In most cases, if proactive action has been taken and early recognition dealt with in a timely fashion by well-informed staff, it would have enabled a the matter to be resolved more efficiently and avoided risk or escalation and reputation damage.  
 
If a matter needs expert help, the team at Corporate Safeguarding will step in to ensure that the path through the safeguarding process is clear and supportive of the organisation; this may include supporting Human Resources professionals, working alongside key managers, staff, liaising with agencies or attending any meetings or appearances on its behalf if needed.  

 

To find out more about our Corporate Safeguarding Health Check or PEMSĀ® services, please call +44 (0)1256 316 525.