Your safeguarding policy and procedures
Alongside your application, you will also need to submit a Safeguarding policy for your group in order for the Home Office Community Sponsorship team to assess your suitability to resettle refugees. This policy should outline your approach to protecting vulnerable adults and children, and how you plan to manage safeguarding concerns once a family have arrived. You’ll be sharing your safeguarding policy with the refugees who are resettled once they arrive.
What is safeguarding?
The term safeguarding is used to define actions taken to protect everyone from harm. This harm might come from adults or other children and, as someone working closely with newly arrived people, it’s important you understand what safeguarding is and why it’s important. All refugees who are resettled through Community Sponsorship are considered to be vulnerable people.
Your role as a sponsor group is not to take the place of the statutory authorities (such as the local authority Children and Families Department, police or medical services). Your role is to recognise whether there are concerns about the welfare of children or vulnerable adults and take action to report them where appropriate. This may involve reporting concerns to the relevant statutory services (ideally with the consent of the people concerned, where possible) and working with them to address the concern.
What to include in your safeguarding policy
If you are working with an organisation who will act as your Lead Sponsor, you should discuss their Safeguarding policies and procedures. If you do not have a safeguarding policy, you might want to use the template Safeguarding Policy written by the Home Office. You can download this as a word document on the right hand side of this page. Make sure that you update this to what works for you as an organisation. Don't forget to let your Local Authority know that this has been produced by the Home Office.
What training must we offer group members?
The level of training you ask volunteers in your group to participate in will be guided by your Lead Sponsor. Some organisations will ask everyone to attend an online or in person course, others may ask you to source accredited training for certain group members. Reset are able to offer an unaccredited safeguarding course free of charge to Community Sponsorship groups. It is essential that your Lead Sponsor signs off the content delivered on this course prior to stipulating attendance. Contact the Reset Training team for more information.
Your safeguarding process
When you are planning your safeguarding process (i.e: how concerns will be raised and managed by your group) make sure the process works for you. Remember to think about:
- who in your group is best placed to take on the main responsibility for the safeguarding process (this person is likely to be your Designated Safeguarding Officer);
- how this person can be contacted in order for safeguarding concerns to be raised;
- what is the best way for someone to raise safeguarding concerns;
- how you will keep a secure record of safeguarding issues;
- how you will provide training for your group members on managing safeguarding and using your policy and processes.
Your policy will underpin the way in which you will provide a safe environment for refugees so it’s crucial that this is a living document and that all who provide support to the family are aware of their responsibilities.
Advice for groups in Scotland
Safeguarding works differently in Scotland than it does in England and Wales. Read our resources for Groups in Scotland
Where can I get additional information on safeguarding?
The Home Office have created a template safeguarding policy you can amend and use if you wish. This is available as a word download on this page.
Your local authority
- Speak with your local authority – they will be very experienced in safeguarding
Your Local Authority's Safeguarding Team
- Every local authority has a Safeguarding Team. You can find yours here
- Many Community Sponsorship groups have found that their Local Authority's Safeguarding teams have been really helpful in providing training, support and advice to their group throughout their journey of application, preparation and welcoming a family. We recommend that you get in contact as early as possible with the relevant teams.
Your local police force
- Make contact with the local police safer neighbourhood team.
- Include their contact details in your safeguarding policy.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
- NCVO provides advice on writing safeguarding policies for vulnerable adults
Home Office resources:
- Information on Prevent e-learning training for employees/volunteers
- Information on preventing individuals from being drawn into serious and organised crime
Who needs to approve our safeguarding policy?
You should provide your Local Authority's safeguarding team with a copy of your safeguarding policy before you submit it to the Home Office. When you submit your safeguarding policy to the Home Office, they will ask that you provide evidence that the Local Authority's Safeguarding Team has seen your safeguarding policy and is happy with it. If the Safeguarding Team asked you to make any changes to your policy, the Home Office will need to see evidence that you made those changes. If your Local Authority's Safeguarding Team does not respond or declines to comment, you will need to inform the Home Office of this.