THE QUEEN’S COMMONWEALTH TRUST SAFEGUARDING POLICY

Should you wish to report a safeguarding concern please contact us via our online form.

QCT’s work is all about Safeguarding – in that it seeks to safeguard and secure opportunities for young people today and in the future. QCT will continually review and improve its policies, systems and procedures to ensure they work and that they reflect best practice.

QCT believes that Safeguarding is fundamental to its work and embraces the opportunities it presents to share learning from recognised agencies to those it works with around the world. It works with those that share its commitment to Safeguarding and reflect its approach and principles within their Safeguarding policies, procedures and practices.

This Safeguarding Policy and Procedures document (‘Safeguarding Policy’ or ‘Policy’) sets out the place Safeguarding holds within the organisation and the framework for responding to Safeguarding risks. In association with the Code of Conduct, it describes the appropriate measures QCT takes to prevent Safeguarding incidents occurring wherever possible and the steps QCT takes to monitor, investigate and report on Safeguarding concerns should they arise. This Policy is to support an improved safeguarded environment for those QCT works with or for, or who come into contact with QCT and the work of those it supports, and applies to all QCT staff members, Trustees, volunteers, consultants, contractors, partners and Grant Recipients.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Our work The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) champions, funds and connects young leaders who are working hard to change the world. QCT provides three key elements young leaders tell us they need to succeed: flexible funding, practical tools and advice, and access to a global network of like-minded young leaders.

1.2. Purpose of this policy This Safeguarding Policy (‘Policy’) sets out QCT's commitment and approach to preventing, reporting, and responding to safeguarding incidents. The focus of this policy is to protect children, young people and adults at risk from harm. This Policy is accompanied by QCT’s Safeguarding Procedures which sets out in detail how the policy will be implemented.

1.3. Statement of commitment Safeguarding is at the heart of QCT’s vision, mission, purpose and values. It is unacceptable for anyone, young or older, to experience abuse or exploitation and safeguarding children, young people and adults. Safeguarding people is everyone’s responsibility. QCT is committed to preventing and responding to the harm of those who benefit from our support and assistance. QCT takes a zero-tolerance approach to any form of bullying, harassment, sexual exploitation or abuse committed by those obligated under this policy. QCT fosters a culture of safeguarding where everyone should feel comfortable to challenge behaviour that does not align with this Policy or other QCT policies and feels able to report concerns.

1.4. Definitions Safeguarding is when QCT exercises its duty of care by putting in place measures to promote the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and protects them from harm.

Abuse is when a child, young person, or adult at risk is harmed. Abuse may be perpetuated by people who are known to them. Further explanation on types of abuse are provided in QCT’s Safeguarding Procedures.

Children: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) defines a “child” as anyone under 18 years of age, irrespective of the laws and customs in their country of residence. All countries within the Commonwealth have ratified this definition and enacted national legislation to protect all children equally, without discrimination.

Young people: QCT works with young people aged 18 - 35 years of age. Young people are considered by QCT to be individuals who are within this age range and will extend similar protection to them.

Adults at Risk: An adult is at risk if they require protection or may be in need of protection by reason of factors that may make them vulnerable such as age, illness, mental or other disability, and/or who lives with economic dependence, a conflict environment, or cultural constraints. Being at risk can be a transient state, due to changes in environment, capacity, or resources. Risk may be temporary or more permanent and pervasive.

1.5. Who does this policy apply to? This Policy and Code of Behaviour applies to:

a. QCT Staff: part-time or full-time employees.

b. QCT Representatives: including QCT Network members, Trustees, Ambassadors, Advisors, volunteers, interns, consultants and contractors.

c. QCT Visitors: those who visit QCT-supported work with QCT’s knowledge and consent (including, but not limited to donors, journalists, or supporters), including events held online.

d. Grant Recipients: includes organisations, their leaders, staff and representatives of recipients of QCT funds who are expected to meet the standards set out in this Policy. Where the term “Grant Recipient representative” is used this refers to Trustees, advisors, volunteers, interns, consultants and contractors of the Grant Recipient.

QCT will apply appropriate disciplinary or other equivalent measures to anyone found in breach of this Policy, the Code of Behaviour and other relevant associated policies.

1.6. Laws and standards The principles in this Policy have been drawn from key international, regional and national instruments. These include the International Standards for Keeping Children Safe , the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) , the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) and UK national legislation related to safeguarding . QCT is a UK charity and is required to comply with the requirements of the UK Charity Commission whose guidance is also considered in this Policy.

2. PREVENTING AND REDUCING THE RISK OF ABUSE

2.1. Working with Grant Recipients All Grant Recipients are expected to create a positive environment in which safeguarding is prioritised so that children, young people, and adults at risk are protected from harm.

2.1.1. Grant Recipient selection: QCT will only enter into Grant Agreements with those that have, or demonstrate a willingness to adopt, a safeguarding culture that includes prevention and prompt reporting of any incidents or concerns where they have, or may have, occurred. QCT will review Grant Recipients’ safeguarding policies, implementation of the policies and procedures for preventing, reporting and responding during the due diligence process before entering into a Grant Agreement and through regular reviews during the time they are grant recipients.

2.1.2. QCT is committed to provide technical advice and support to Grant Recipients to strengthen their capability to develop their own safeguarding policies, procedures and practices to keep people safe.

2.1.3. All Grant Recipients must:

a. sign their compliance with this QCT Safeguarding Policy through the Grant Agreement; b. ensure that safeguarding considerations are part of the programme design and undertake risk assessment and mitigate against risks identified; c. have their own safeguarding policy and procedures and share these with QCT. Where a Grant Recipient does not have an existing safeguarding policy and reporting procedure, or in QCT's opinion those in place are not sufficiently robust, QCT will support them to adopt and implement locally the principles of this Policy; d. provide details on how they will create a positive reporting culture and how they will respond to safeguarding incidents or concerns; e. ensure a means of reporting concerns locally. This applies to both those people in the community with whom a Grant Recipient engages, and those who are in a contractual or voluntary relationship with the Grant Recipient; f. agree to report all safeguarding incidents and concerns to QCT’s Safeguarding Lead via safeguardinglead@qct.org.uk immediately when reported to the Grant Recipient. The Grant Recipient should address the safeguarding concern by applying their own safeguarding policy or if that is absent/inadequate, use QCT’s policy and procedures; and g. agree to undertake and co-operate with investigations into safeguarding concerns.

2.1.4. For all Grant Recipients that QCT intends to have a longer-term working relationship with, QCT will, as part of the due diligence process, undertake a safeguarding assessment to inform the provision of additional safeguarding support.

2.2. Human Resources Safeguarding considerations will be implemented at all stages of the recruitment process of QCT Staff and QCT representatives.

2.2.1. Safe recruitment: QCT operates strict procedures to ensure it recruits only those QCT Staff or QCT Representatives who are suitable to work with children, young people, and adults at risk. Safe recruitment requires that QCT reflects their commitment to safeguarding in all job and contract advertisements, the interview and selection process and in the strict application of recruitment checks and references, observation during probationary periods and continued performance.

2.2.2. Staff training: Creating a safeguarding culture in which all QCT staff, QCT Representatives, QCT Visitors and Grant Recipients challenge behaviour that increases the risk of harm to children, young people and adults.

2.2.2.1. All new QCT Staff and QCT Representatives will have a mandatory induction within one month of commencing work for QCT that covers the Code of Behaviour, this Policy and related procedures.

2.2.2.2. In addition, all QCT Staff and QCT Representatives will receive subsequent refresher training to be held at least once per year.

2.3. Activities and events
2.3.1. QCT will consider safeguarding risks when organising any activity or event, including fundraising, profile raising, networking or other events for QCT or those that QCT engages with or supports. A risk assessment will be conducted for all new activities and events. QCT will ensure appropriate risk mitigations measures are in place.

2.3.2. All those working directly with QCT Staff and QCT Representatives should be made aware of this Safeguarding Policy, the Code of Behaviour and how to report a concern. Safeguarding briefings will be made with all event attendees prior to the event. When working with children, young people, and adults at risk, awareness raising on ways they can keep themselves and their peers safe should be included.

2.3.3. When QCT staff, QCT Representatives and QCT Visitors visit a QCT-supported organisation or activity, in person or remotely, they will ask to see, sign, and abide by the Safeguarding Policy of those responsible for the activities they are observing.

2.4. Communications and digital safeguarding QCT is committed to respecting the rights of children, young people and adults at risk featured in its online communications, the proper handling of data, and enabling a safe online environment for all users. The main principles relating to digital safeguarding include informed consent, privacy protection, responsible use of technology, the provision of trustworthy content and the provision of guidance for staff and user conduct. Refer to QCT’s Digital Safeguarding Policy for full details.

3. REPORTING SAFEGUARDING INCIDENTS AND CONCERNS

3.1. Whoever is notified of a safeguarding incident or concern has an obligation to report. Those making reports of safeguarding incidents or concerns DO NOT need to decide whether abuse has taken place. They DO need to report any information about the safeguarding incident or concern which they identify, or which has been raised with them to QCT. No individual should attempt to deal with a safeguarding incident or concern alone, including investigating the concern themselves.

3.2. Actions taken should follow the principle of the best interest of the child, young person or adult. If a child, young person or adult is at immediate risk of harm or has been seriously injured, immediate action should be taken, such as calling the relevant emergency services. The QCT Safeguarding contacts must be informed once any emergency action has been undertaken.

3.3. Safeguarding incidents and concerns are to be reported to QCT’s Safeguarding Lead via confidential email address: safeguardinglead@qct.org.uk. This email is also accessed by QCT’s Safeguarding Trustee and the Board Chair. This information will be shared with all QCT staff, representatives, grantees, beneficiaries and the public on the QCT website. A Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form is available on the QCT homepage (www.queenscommonwealthtrust.org/) and is accessible to all to report any safeguarding incident or concern.

4. RESPONDING TO SAFEGUARDING INCIDENTS OR CONCERNS

4.1. The guiding principle in responding to any safeguarding concern is that the protection and welfare of the child, young person or adult at risk is paramount. No child, young person or adult at risk should be put at further risk by any action taken by QCT.

4.2. Safeguarding incident and concern reports will always be acted upon and investigated swiftly. The Safeguarding Lead will ensure that the survivor is kept up to date with the progress of any investigation and provided with feedback at the end of any investigation.

4.3. All parties must maintain confidentiality when managing safeguarding incidents and concerns, on a need-to-know basis.

4.4. QCT is committed to supporting survivors/victims of exploitation, abuse and harassment and all decisions will be risk-assessed and minuted by the QCT Safeguarding Lead in consultation with the Designated Safeguarding Trustee.

5. POLICY IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING

5.1. Roles and responsibilities for policy implementation 5.1.1. Safeguarding is the responsibility of all those working or representing QCT. QCT managers and Grant Recipients have the responsibility to ensure that all their staff, representatives, visitors, and partners are made aware of this Policy and associated organisational policies. They should undertake regular safeguarding due diligence processes, risk assessments with mitigating measures to prevent and to respond to harm that may occur in the work supported by QCT.

5.1.2. The Safeguarding Lead is the Chief Executive Officer, who has overall responsibility for ensuring the implementation of this policy and to whom safeguarding incidents and concerns should be reported.

5.1.3. The Board of Trustees (‘the Board’) has ultimate accountability for safeguarding. The Board must always act in the best interests of those who QCT’s work is intended to support and assist. All Trustees will receive training appropriate to their role. A member of the Board has been appointed as the Designated Safeguarding Trustee who chairs the Safeguarding Committee (made up of other Trustees and staff members) which will meet regularly.

5.2. Policy monitori __5.2.1. Safeguarding risks, statistics and updates will be reviewed and assessed every month by the QCT Senior Management Team, every 2 months by the Safeguarding Committee and every six months by the QCT Board. Safeguarding is a standing agenda item at all Board meetings. The Board will receive regularly updates on safeguarding concerns and the outcome within the confines of confidentiality.

5.2.2. QCT will report confidentially annually in the Annual Report on their safeguarding approach, practices, and experience. QCT is committed to reviewing its policy and good practice on an annual basis, or sooner if there is a change in legislation or learning from an incident.

5.2.3. The Board has agreed this Policy and will review it regularly, and as required, to ensure it always remains fit for purpose. Trustees and QCT Staff are responsible to ensure QCT complies with this Policy and for making Safeguarding a priority.

5.3. Related policies and documents This Policy should be implemented in conjunction with QCT’s Codes of Behaviour, Safeguarding Procedures and Digital Safeguarding Policy. Other relevant policies to consider include QCT’s Staff Handbook.

ANNEX 1: Contacts for reporting a Safeguarding Incident

• All Safeguarding incidents or concerns should be reported to the Safeguarding Lead via safeguardinglead@qct.org.uk or at +44 7444 243877 (text or call, voicemail will be active out of office hours) and to the Safeguarding Officer via safeguardingofficer@qct.org.uk.

• If the incident or concern relates to the Safeguarding Officer then this should be reported to the Safeguarding Lead, and if the incident or concern relates to the Safeguarding Lead then contact the Chair and Safeguarding Trustee at SafeguardingTrustee@qct.org.uk.

• Having your details helps QCT to follow up but if you want to be anonymous you can submit information relating to a Safeguarding incident or concern via the following webform Safeguarding Concerns Webform.

• If you require urgent safeguarding advice and cannot reach the Safeguarding Lead, Safeguarding Officer or Safeguarding Trustee the NSPCC provides a 24 hour advisory service (https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-we-do/about- us/contact-us/), which includes a phone helpline from 8am – 10pm (GMT) during the week, and 9am – 6pm (GMT) at the weekend. While this is primarily to serve children in the UK, they would be able to provide some limited out of hours informed safeguarding advice in an emergency. In all situations, even if you have contacted the NSPCC, please notify the relevant QCT Safeguarding contact (Safeguarding Lead or Safeguarding Trustee) at the earliest opportunity subsequent to contacting the NSPCC.

ANNEX 2 - Steps to take when you receive or identify a safeguarding incident (concern or allegation)

Guidance for what do to do immediately when you receive a direct disclosure or receive allegations of a safeguarding incident

  • Listen to the person, allow them to say what they feel they want to say, but don’t ask leading questions
  • Ask who, when, where, what but not why;
  • Reflect back to the person what you have heard them say, to ensure there is no misunderstanding;
  • Avoid making comments about the alleged perpetrator, if there is one;
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret. As we are concerned about welfare it is likely that information will need to be passed on to the Safeguarding Lead and potentially the Safeguarding Officer and Safeguarding Trustee; and
  • Explain what steps you will take next, and understand whether the discloser is happy to share their contact details as this helps QCT to follow-up including understanding more fully the nature of the concern or allegations which may be important for allowing QCT to act on the information provided.

Step 1 As soon as is possible, write down everything you can remember that the person said or that you observed, as well as where and when the conversation took place. Include:

• Name of person making the report • Name(s) of who has been harmed • Name(s) of alleged perpetrators(s) • Description of incident(s) • Date(s), time(s) and place(s) of incident(s) • Anything that upon receiving or observing the disclosure or allegation you have said or done already

Ensure your notes are factual and as accurate as possible. The above information is the key information that you will require when completing a Safeguarding Incident Report form, which you should complete if you have the form to hand otherwise make notes. Opinions and presumptions should be avoided but, where it is felt relevant or important to include these, they should be clearly indicated as such.

Step 2 Call or email the Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer who should be contacted as soon as possible after the concern was raised (and no later than 24 hours). Send the Safeguarding Incident Report Form or otherwise your notes (see contacts listed in Annex 1) to the Safeguarding Officer. Contact the Safeguarding Lead if the Safeguarding Officer is unavailable. All written notes or the Safeguarding Report Form must be kept securely in a locked place or password protected if online.

  • If the alleged incident relates to the Safeguarding Officer you should contact the Safeguarding Lead; or
  • If the alleged incident relates to the Safeguarding Lead then contact the Chair and Safeguarding Trustee at the confidential email address (details can be found in Annex 1).

Step 3 The Safeguarding Manager (or Lead) will then determine the response to the concern or allegation in conjunction with others in QCT who have specific safeguarding responsibilities. Concerns and allegations will be acted upon and investigated swiftly, making the welfare of the child or vulnerable adult paramount. Any delay must be avoided.

Step 4 If you have made a report and need support afterwards then you can seek this from the Safeguarding Officer or Safeguarding Lead. Identifying a concern or allegation can have an impact, so seeking advice or support during or afterwards is completely acceptable.

Step 5 Due to the sensitive nature of safeguarding Incidents, confidentiality must be maintained during all stages of the reporting process, and information shared on a limited 'need to know' basis only (see Annex 6 - Confidentiality and Information Sharing Principles). This includes QCT senior management who might otherwise be informed of other types of serious incidents.

Guidance about what might constitute a safeguarding incident:

Safeguarding incidents include concerns or allegations about an individual child, young person or vulnerable adult or between beneficiaries and can be against QCT Representatives, Visitors, Grantees or beneficiaries of QCT supported work. They could, for example, include the following situations:

• Abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult is observed or suspected; • A child, young person, vulnerable adult or another individual discloses that abuse – including online - has occurred; • The behaviour (including online abuse), of an adult towards a child, young person or vulnerable adult; • The behaviour, including bullying and cyberbullying, of those that a Grantee is supporting (child, young person or vulnerable adult) towards each other -; • Information about a QCT Representative, Visitor or Grantee provided by statutory agencies or another organisation, or identified through the press/media; • Allegations of abuse perpetrated by a QCT Representative, Visitor or Grantee; • Risks identified through QCT recruitment processes (e.g. criminal records information); • Allegations or concerns being identified that arise during a disciplinary or a complaint; • Concerns raised about harm to a child, young person or vulnerable adult occurring ‘outside’ of activities/projects provided by a QCT Representatives or Grantee (e.g. at home, school, another organisation or in the local community)

ANNEX 3: Safeguarding Incident Report Form

Form for completion by QCT staff member, volunteer or other representative, Grantee, partner organisation or those in receipt of QCT funds.

If the individual concerned is in immediate danger, or needs urgent medical treatment, call emergency services

Download Incident Report Form

ANNEX 4 - QCT Procedures upon receipt of a report of a safeguarding incident

Annex 4a - How to proceed with a safeguarding incident report if it concerns harm to a child, young person, or vulnerable adult which is external to the activity of QCT or a Grantee

Upon notification of a concern the Safeguarding Lead (or Officer) must:

Step 1 If the Safeguarding Officer has been informed they will immediately notify the Safeguarding Lead and agree if any further information is needed for clarification purposes. This must be done on the same working day or quicker considering the nature and risk of harm. The Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer should assess the information they have received and decide if any further information is needed for clarification, however it is not their role to start any investigative process. Complete the Safeguarding Incident Report form.

Step 2 If the concern is about a child, young person or vulnerable adult being subject to harm which is being perpetrated within their home, school, community then there is a need to consider how best to protect the child or adult. The options include:

• Taking no action as the concern raised does not constitute a safeguarding one; • Monitor the situation and review again; • Consult with an external agency (e.g. statutory agencies or NSPCC Helpline if in the UK) or the Safeguarding Lead; or • Make a formal referral to statutory services (children’s services and police, if a crime may have been committed) and only if it is safe and appropriate to do so depending on the country where the child or adult lives and the systems they have in place.

Step 3a In countries which have developed and trustworthy systems and legislation for protection, the Safeguarding Manager (or Lead) should make an immediate referral into children’s services (or equivalent) and the police (if a crime may have been committed) having first discussed this decision with the Safeguarding Trustee. When this course of action is taken there is a need to consider whether to get consent or notify the person or their parents/carers of the action being taken. See Annex x about information sharing and confidentiality to help guide decision making about this aspect of safeguarding.

or

Step 3b In countries which do not have developed and trustworthy systems and legislation for protection, the Safeguarding Lead (or Officer) needs to consider what alternative measures might help which are available in the local context for example health care if a person is injured, support from other NGOs that are family focused, or faith, community/rights based organisations etc.

Step 4 The Safeguarding Lead (or Officer) must record all actions taken, decisions and outcomes. They should follow up any referral made to statutory services/ police after three working days to check that action has been taken.

Step 5 The Safeguarding Lead (or Officer) should also consider if there is any additional support that QCT can provide for the child or vulnerable adult or signposting to other support services in the locality.

Annex 4a - flowchart

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Annex 4b - How to proceed with a safeguarding incident report where it is against a QCT Representative(s)

In instances where there are allegations or observations that a QCT Representative has harmed or may have harmed a child, young person or vulnerable adult then the allegations management process which follows will apply. A QCT Representative refers to QCT staff, volunteers, Trustees, consultants and contractors but not QCT Grantees, their representatives or QCT Visitors.

Step 1 If the Safeguarding Officer has been informed they will immediately notify the Safeguarding Lead and agree if any further information is needed for clarification purposes. This must be done on the same working day or quicker considering the nature and risk of harm. The Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer should assess the information they have received and decide if any further information is needed for clarification, however it is not their role to start any investigative process. Complete the Safeguarding Incident Report form.

Step 2 If there is a child or vulnerable adult that has been harmed then the Safeguarding Lead (or Officer) will as a priority ensure that the protection of anyone who has been harmed first of all.

Step 3 The Safeguarding Lead will call a Safeguarding Strategy Group meeting to determine together the approach to manage the allegation. The members of the safeguarding strategy group as follows: Safeguarding Lead, Safeguarding Manager, Safeguarding Trustee, and CEO. The meeting may take place face to face or virtually.

Step 4 The Safeguarding Strategy Group will have several options to consider in managing any allegation. Firstly, they will need to assess, on the information they have, whether the allegation is about safeguarding as oppose to misconduct or poor working practices. The definition of a safeguarding allegation from the UK2* will be useful to apply here as the test.

Step 5 If, after the initial consideration, the Safeguarding Strategy Group do not consider the matter constitutes a safeguarding allegation then they must decide if an internal investigation is required to determine if the behaviour/incident was related to poor practice or misconduct and then follow the appropriate internal procedures to address this. All decisions and reasons for decisions, including there being no need to take safeguarding action, must be recorded and kept separate from an individual’s file but cross-referenced to it.

Step 6 If it is agreed that it is a safeguarding allegation, then the Safeguarding Strategy Group must make an initial plan which considers the following:

(a) the immediate safety of any relevant child/ren, young people or vulnerable adult involved, for example those that are the subject of the safeguarding allegation or other children, young people or vulnerable adults that the individual has contact with through work or family; (b) what information to share with the individual(s) who is the subject of the safeguarding allegation; (c) whether any immediate decision should be taken about suspension of the individual (either from paid work or volunteering) subject to the allegation, pending further enquiries and/or investigation. The act of suspension does not indicate a person’s guilt. An individual must not be suspended automatically when there has been an allegation without careful thought. Suspension should be considered in any case where: • there is cause to suspect a child/vulnerable adult is at risk of significant harm; • the allegation warrants investigation by the police; • there is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal; or • there are concerns that the person about whom the allegations are made may put pressure on or interfere with potential witnesses. (d) if any records need to be secured or ‘locked down’, or any work equipment be removed from the individual who is the subject of the allegation (e.g. laptop, mobile phone, iPad) if the concerns relate to their online behaviour being abusive e.g. grooming a person with the intent to abuse or exploit them; (e) what other information is required; (f) identifying who else is aware of the safeguarding allegation and who has been spoken to; (g) whether advice should be sought from the local statutory authorities (i.e. children’s or adult services and police); (h) whether the allegation needs to be reported to the Charity Commission for England and Wales as per QCT’s Serious Incident Reporting process (Annex 5); (i) arrangements to support the person who is the subject of the safeguarding allegation, the person who raised the allegation and the alleged victim(s); (j) a plan around the management of information both internally and externally.


*2 A Safeguarding allegation is where a person (child or adult) has (NSPCC provided definition): a) Behaved in a way that has harmed a person, may have harmed a person or might lead to a person being harmed; b) Possibly committed or is planning to commit a criminal offence against a person or related to a person; or c) Behaved towards a person in a way that indicates s/he is or would be unsuitable to work with children, young people and/or adults.

Step 8 The Safeguarding Strategy Group will need to determine if the allegation needs to be reported to children’s or adult services (or the equivalent if they exist) and the police. This will depend on many factors such as the law in the country, whether it is safe to report to the police or the children’s or adult services (or equivalent if they exist) in the location where the abuse is alleged to have taken place. In the UK the expectation is that the statutory services will undertake the investigation of an allegation before any internal procedures of the organisation follow such as performance or disciplinary. This position will not necessarily be applicable in other countries where such formal systems either don’t operate or are inadequate or unsafe. In such circumstances, the Safeguarding Strategy Group may have to conduct the investigation themselves or appoint an independent body to do this.

Step 9 Full records of the allegation, decisions, actions and outcomes must be kept securely with restricted access to them.

Step 10 The Safeguarding Strategy Group will need to maintain oversight over any external or internal investigations and determine the necessary actions once the outcomes of any investigation is completed.

Annex 4b – Flowchart

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Annex 4c – How to proceed with a safeguarding incident report in respect of a Grantee

Step 1 Grantees must alert the QCT Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer if they identify a safeguarding concern about a child, young person or vulnerable adult or if there is an allegation of abuse against a Grantee Representative. This must be done within one working day of the incident being identified or received (see Annex 1 for contacts). The Grantee must provide full written details of the concern (ideally on a Safeguarding Incident Report Form - Annex 3) and the protective action taken or proposed.

Step 2 On receiving this information the Safeguarding Officer will notify the Safeguarding Lead who will in turn call a Safeguarding Strategy Group meeting. The purpose will be to determine what action will be taken and by whom at QCT and the Grantee.

Step 3 Where the Grantee already has a robust safeguarding policy and procedures then they should be responding to the concern or allegation and reporting back regularly to the Safeguarding Officer (or Lead) on the steps they have taken and the outcome. They can seek support from the Safeguarding Officer (or Lead) as necessary and this could involve the provision of technical and financial assistance to any investigation as needed. Clearly much will depend on the legislation in country and where there are safe and trustworthy child or adult services and police in country. Where these do exist, the Grantee should work in conjunction with those statutory bodies to safeguard.

Step 4 The Safeguarding Strategy Group will have to decide whether to make a serious incident report to the Charity Commission.

Step 5 The Grantee will be required to report back the outcome of managing the safeguarding incident and any lessons learnt and future actions arising out of this to the Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer. The Safeguarding Strategy Group will need to be satisfied that the incident has been appropriately managed and all risks have been addressed. If this is not the case, then QCT will consider: changing, suspending or ending the relationship with the Grantee and/or providing the Grantee with more support to build safeguarding capability as well as identifying any lessons learnt for QCT.

Annex 4c - Flowchart

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Annex 4d – How to proceed with a safeguarding incident in respect of organisations partnering with QCT

QCT partners organisations to provide onward grant funding and therefore it is the partner organisations who are responsible for the oversight and management of safeguarding incidents in those organisations. This is not to say that partner organisations cannot seek advice from QCT’s Safeguarding Officer or Safeguarding Lead. A process for monitoring and reporting on safeguarding incidents that occur in partner organisations, and those that they in turn provide onward grant funding to, should be agreed with the partner organisation and kept under review by the Safeguarding Lead. In the absence of an agreed process, the process which applies to Grantees should be adopted.

Annex 4e - Action relating to a QCT Representative following the conclusion of the investigative process

At the conclusion of any investigations:

Step 1 At the end of an investigation the following terms should be used when recording the outcome of a safeguarding allegation: • Substantiated: there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation • False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation • Malicious: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and that there has been a deliberate act to deceive • Unsubstantiated: there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation.

Cases in which an allegation was proven to be false, unsubstantiated or malicious should not be included in employer references.

Every effort should be made to reach a conclusion in all cases even if:

  • the individual refuses to cooperate, although they should be given a full opportunity to answer the allegation and make representations;
  • it is difficult to reach a conclusion;
  • the individual has resigned or person withdraws their services; or
  • the person is deceased.

Step 2 The Safeguarding Strategy Group will formally review the outcome and determine if any further action is required by QCT. The range of options open will depend on the circumstances of the case and will need to consider the result of any police investigation or trial, any investigations in respect of the child/young person/adult victim(s), as well as the different standard of proof required in disciplinary and criminal proceedings. Options include:

  • reintegration of the QCT Representative;
  • instigate the disciplinary process in respect of staff or the volunteer resolution process in respect of volunteers;
  • alerting other known employers of the individual concerned which is normally the responsibility of the statutory authorities to do;
  • making a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (or equivalent body in the other UK nations(3*) or countries, if such a system exists) for consideration to bar the person from working with children or adults where they were involved in working with children, young people or vulnerable adults or in a position of trust. The referral process is outlined on the DBS website (England and Wales) and they can be contacted for advice. The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for making such a referral; and
  • updating the Charity Commission as to the action taken and outcomes.

Step 3 If an allegation is determined to be false or malicious, the Safeguarding Lead must consider if any further action is required which includes:

  • if the safeguarding allegation was deliberately invented or malicious then this should be discussed with the police and advice sought (depending on the country in which this occurred) to determine if it constituted a criminal offence
  • deliberate false or malicious allegations, or the leaking or misuse of confidential information whether false or not, are serious disciplinary offences and will be investigated in accordance with QCT’s Disciplinary Policy.

Step 4 At the end of the process of managing an allegation, the Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer are responsible for the identification of any lessons learned. This learning may have implications for the safeguarding policy and procedures and/or training. This learning must be shared with the Lead Trustee for Safeguarding.


*3 DBS covers England and Wales. In Scotland refer to Disclosure Scotland. In Northern Ireland refer to AccessNI

ANNEX 5 - QCT’s Reporting of Serious Safeguarding Incidents to the Charity Commission for England and Wales

1. Introduction

1.1 QCT’s Reporting of Serious Safeguarding Incidents is applicable to all QCT Representatives. Its purpose is to ensure that QCT Representatives can identify serious incidents, escalate them as appropriate and report them internally so that the Trustees can exercise adequate oversight and together with the Safeguarding Lead consider whether to make a serious incident report to the Charity Commission for England and Wales (‘the Commission’).

1.2 Safeguarding incidents fall within the category of a serious incident for the purposes of reporting to the Commission.

1.3 This Annex outlines the procedures to be followed in respect of reporting safeguarding incidents to the Commission.

2. The Commission’s role in relation to safeguarding incidents

2.1 The Commission’s role is to ensure that Trustees are handling the incident appropriately and, where necessary, that they are putting in place improved governance and internal controls, to prevent further harm.

2.2 The Commission is not responsible for dealing with incidents of actual abuse or mistreatment and it does not administer safeguarding legislation. It cannot prosecute or bring criminal proceedings although it may refer concerns on to ‘lead agencies’, such as police, local authorities and the Disclosure and Barring Service, as well as to specialist bodies responsible for designated areas, such as education or health and social care.

3. Reporting to the Commission

What is a serious incident in respect of safeguarding?

3.1 This means an adverse event, (whether actual or alleged) which results in or risks significant harm to a charity’s beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with the charity through its work. In this context “significant” means significant in the context of the charity, taking account of its staff, operations, finances and/or reputation.

3.2 QCT is required to make a report to the Commission if a serious safeguarding risk materialises.

3.2.1 This will usually be if incidents of abuse or mistreatment (alleged or actual) of beneficiaries of the charity (adults or children) which have resulted in or risk significant harm to them and: • this happened while they were under the care of the charity; • other incidents of abuse or mistreatment (alleged or actual) of people who come into contact with the charity through its work, which have resulted in or risk significant harm to them and are connected to the charities activities; or • breaches of procedures or policies which has put people who come into contact with the charity at significant risk of harm, including failure to carry out relevant vetting checks which would have identified that a person is disqualified in law from holding their position within the charity. (This might be, for example, because they are disqualified in law, from working with children or adults4*).

The above may include incidents in the workplace that have resulted in or risk significant harm to Trustees, staff or volunteers. QCT is expected to make a judgment call about which incidents either individually, or as a collection, are serious in the context of the charity.

3.2.2 A report should always be made to the Commission where the level of harm to the victims and/or likely damage to the reputation of, or public trust in the charity, is particularly high.

3.2.3 A report should be made if the number and nature of staffing incidents indicate there are widespread or systematic issues connected to sexual harassment, abuse and/or other misconduct in the charity.

3.2.4 QCT may be alerted to alleged abuse of a beneficiary, staff member, volunteer or someone else who it meets through its work, which has occurred outside of the charity (e.g. in the family home or community) and where:

• The abuse was not connected to its activities in any way; and • The person responsible for the abuse was not a trustee, staff member or volunteer.

In such incidents, QCT is not expected to report to the Commission unless it’s found (or alleged) that the incident wasn’t handled appropriately by QCT and this resulted in harm to the person or persons concerned. In such circumstances a report should also be made to the police and local authority country context permitting.

The online guidance (How to report a serious incident in your charity, June 2019) provides some examples of the types of incidents that should be reported *5.

3.3 The process for reporting a safeguarding incident to the Commission

Step 1 Staff should report their safeguarding concerns or allegations by following the QCT safeguarding policy which applies to all QCT’s work.

Step 2 Once notified of the safeguarding concern/allegation, the Safeguarding Lead will complete the serious incident notification form (Appendix 1) and make a recommendation as to whether the concern/allegation warrants making a serious incident notification to the Commission.

Step 3 The Safeguarding Lead sends the serious incident notification form to the Safeguarding Trustee for consideration and a timely response. The urgency of reporting will depend on factors including the nature and seriousness of the incident, the potential impact on QCT and whether it is likely that there will be media coverage of the incident.

Step 4 The Safeguarding Trustee is ultimately responsible for the decision making but they will take into account any recommendation made by the Safeguarding Lead in reaching a decision.

Step 5 The Safeguarding Lead will then follow the recommendation of the Safeguarding Trustee.


4* The Commission’s guidance ‘Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and Trustees’ (25 October 2018) is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-Trustees 5* Examples table - deciding what to report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752170/RSI_guidance_what_to_do_if_something_goes_wrong_Examples_table_deciding_what_to_report.pdf

Step 6a If the decision is that no serious incident report is required, then the rational for this must be recorded on the serious incident notification form and filed within the relevant section of the safeguarding recording system, or

Step 6b If the decision is that the concern or allegation meets one or more of the criteria (see 3.2) then the safeguarding Lead will make that report to the Commission via its online portal.

Step 7 The Commission will reply with an incident report number and specify if it wants any further information or actions. The Safeguarding Lead is then responsible for all follow up and reporting back to the Commission as required by them and will log any further information on the Commission’s portal if required to do so e.g. if new information emerges or there is an outcome to an investigation.

3.4 What to report to the Commission

3.4.1 The Commission’s Serious Incident Reporting Guidance notes that it is important to provide enough detail in the report to give the Commission a clear picture of what happened and when, the extent of any loss or harm, how the charity is dealing with it and the planned/possible next steps. It is important to balance the fact-finding exercise with the need to report incidents promptly.

3.4.2 If QCT becomes aware of any material changes to the facts reported or significant developments, QCT must inform the Commission as soon as it becomes aware of them.

3.4.3 Information to be included in the report to the Commission:

Contact details, including: • your own contact details (these would usually be those of the COO as Safeguarding Lead); • the charity name and its registration number (The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, Reg Charity No. 1172107); • reference numbers and contact details if you’ve reported it to other organisations, like the police; and • names and registration numbers of other charities involved in the incident, if relevant.

Details of the incident, including: • date of the incident; • what happened; • date the charity found out about the incident; • how the charity found out about the incident; • what impact the incident has had on the charity’s beneficiaries, finances, staff, operations or reputation; and • whether Trustees are aware of the incident.

Details of how your charity is handling the incident, including:

  • which of the charity’s policies or procedures relate to the incident and whether they were followed; what steps the charity has taken to deal with the incident;
  • what steps the charity has taken to prevent similar incidents; and
  • where applicable, the charity’s media handling or press lines, including a link to a press release if available.

Note: it is not necessary to provide the names or any other personal details of any individuals involved in the incident in the initial report that QCT makes to the Commission. The Commission will request this information if they need it.

3.5 Additional considerations

3.5.1 QCT may need to prepare a communications plan covering what it will say to staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, members, supporters, patrons, the public and the media.

3.5.2 QCT will review what happened and identify and take steps to prevent it from happening again – this may include strengthening internal controls and procedures, and/or seeking appropriate help from professional advisers.

3.5.3 Consideration must also be given to whether a serious incident should be reported to QCT’s insurers in accordance with the relevant insurance policy.

In addition to making a serious incident report to the Commission, if the incident occurred in the UK, it may be necessary to inform or make reports to other relevant agencies. QCT should report: • crime, or suspected crime, to the police and obtain a crime reference number; • any incidents of harm or risk of harm to UK children or vulnerable adults (including any concerns, suspicions or allegations) to the relevant local authority and obtain a reference number;

3.6 Confidentiality and data protection

All serious incident reports should be marked as confidential (unless the information is already wholly available in the public domain, which is highly unlikely). In addition: • any personal data should be removed to the greatest extent possible and, if appropriate, the risk of identification of individuals (though unnamed) should be highlighted; • any particularly sensitive information in the report should be identified; • any specific exemptions from disclosure (such as an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act) should be specifically referred to and relied upon; and • the report should contain a request that it is not disclosed to third parties and that the Commission notifies the charity if it receives a request to disclose information to third parties (e.g. the media or individuals).

3.7 What happens next?

The Commission will typically acknowledge receipt of the report. It will assess the risk and look at how QCT is dealing with the incident, and may take steps to verify the details, for example and where relevant, by contacting the police. The Commission may also follow up if it: • needs more information about the incident: • considers QCT needs regulatory advice and guidance; • has to use its legal powers to protect the charity and/or the people who come into contact with the charity through its work; • decides to request updates on future development; • needs to monitor the charity’s progress in dealing with it.

In very serious cases the Commission may take steps to exercise its enforcement powers, for example, issuing a warning or opening a statutory inquiry into the charity, though it is rare that it would do so without some form of preliminary communication or dialogue.

4. Learning from serious incidents

4.1 It is important that QCT appropriately manages and responds to a serious incident. This includes learning from the incident and taking steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

4.2 The Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Trustee should consider whether QCT has taken appropriate steps to respond to a serious incident and ensure that sufficient controls and procedures are put in place to mitigate and manage any future risks to QCT and its beneficiaries. This should be documented and shared with the Trustees.

5. Serious Incident Notification Form in respect to Safeguarding Incidents

Download Serious Incident Notification Form (.docx)

6. Criteria for Serious Incident Notification

Download Criteria for Serious Incident Notification (.docx)


6* The Commission’s guidance ‘Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and Trustees’ (October 2019) is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safeguarding-duties-for-charity-Trustees

ANNEX 6 - Confidentiality and Information Sharing Principles

The following principles should help inform whether you can share information. Note there are occasions in safeguarding when it will be necessary to share information if operating in the best interests of the victim, but careful consideration should be given to any information sharing. UK Govt Golden Rules of Information Sharing7*:

  1. Remember that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Data Protection Act 2018 and human rights law are not barriers to justified information sharing, but provide a framework to ensure that personal information about living individuals is shared appropriately.
  2. Be open and honest with the individual (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
  3. Seek advice from other practitioners, or your information governance lead, if you are in any doubt about sharing the information concerned, without disclosing the identity of the individual where possible.
  4. Where possible, share information with consent, and where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to having their information shared. Under the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 you may share information without consent if, in your judgement, there is a lawful basis to do so, such as where safety may be at risk. You will need to base your judgement on the facts of the case. When you are sharing or requesting personal information from someone, be clear of the basis upon which you are doing so. Where you do not have consent, be mindful that an individual might not expect information to be shared.
  5. Consider safety and well-being: base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well-being of the individual and others who may be affected by their actions.
  6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, adequate, accurate, timely and secure: ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those individuals who need to have it, is accurate and up-to-date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
  7. Keep a record of your decision and the reasons for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.

7* HM Government (2018) Information Sharing: Advice for practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers