Unit 4: Good governance and organisational oversight


4.2 Role and responsibilities

A Board of trustees must take their role and responsibilities seriously – this would include overseeing risk management, finance and audit, and health and safety, as well as safeguarding.

Failure to do so could result in intervention by regulatory bodies, such as the Registrar of Societies or, if in the UK, the Charity Commission. Safeguarding should be a key governance priority for all charities and organisations working in the international aid sector.

Here’s a list of key actions on safeguarding for trustees that has been put together by the Charity Commission of England and Wales:

  1. Ensure your charity has an adequate safeguarding policy, Code of Conduct, and any other safeguarding procedures. Regularly review and update the policy and procedures to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  2. Identify possible risks, including risks to your beneficiaries or to anyone else connected to your charity, and any emerging risks on the horizon.
  3. Consider how to improve the safeguarding culture within your charity.
  4. Ensure that everyone involved with the charity knows how to recognise, respond to, report and record a safeguarding concern.
  5. Ensure people know how to raise a safeguarding concern.
  6. Regularly evaluate any safeguarding training provided (which should be mandatory) ensuring it is current and relevant.
  7. Review which posts within the charity can and must have a criminal records check.
  8. Have a risk assessment process in place for posts that do not qualify for a criminal records check, but which still have contact with children or adults at risk.
  9. Periodically review your safeguarding policy and procedures, learning from any serious incident or ‘near miss’.
  10. If your charity works in different countries or locations, find out what different checks and due diligence you need to carry out in different geographical areas of operation.
  11. Identify a Board member as a designated safeguarding Board member.
  12. Ensure the Board has an oversight of any potential investigations (to ensure that complaints have been handled appropriately).
  13. Ensure there is mandatory staff training, including for the partners you work with, and ensure that they understand their roles and responsibilities.

In this guidance:

  • ‘Must’ means something is a legal or regulatory requirement or duty that trustees must comply with.
  • ‘Should’ means something is good practice that the Commission expects trustees to follow and apply to their charity.

Source: UK Charity Commission Guidance infographic

Activity 4.1 Reviewing roles and responsibilities

Reread the list above. Thinking about your own organisation are any of the key actions particularly challenging? Make a note of them in your learning journal.

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