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Safeguarding resource hub

What does safeguarding mean?

There is no single, recognised definition of the term ‘safeguarding’. It is a way of describing a proactive approach to policies and procedures that protect people from possible harm. This includes all people, but is particularly relevant to those who are most vulnerable to harm, such as children or adults at risk.

Safeguarding is different from other associated terms, such as child protection. Child protection involves a more reactive approach to protecting children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm. Safeguarding should be a pro-active practice that becomes embedded across all your work.

The Charity Commission defines safeguarding as “protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect”.

The NSPCC defines safeguarding children as:

  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Charity Commission guidelines

The Charity Commission expects all charities in the UK to take steps to protect the people it works with from abuse or mistreatment of any kind. These are described in its guidance Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees, updated in October 2019.

The guidance states that all charities working with children or adults at risk should:

  • establish good safeguarding policies and procedures that all trustees, staff and volunteers follow
  • make sure all staff and volunteers receive regular training on child protection or working with adults at risk
  • appoint a safeguarding lead to work with local authority safeguarding boards and/or create a plan for responding to concerns overseas
  • manage concerns, complaints, whistleblowing and allegations relating to child protection or adults at risk effectively
  • have clear policies for when DBS checks are required, how you assess the level of check needed and how you handle the information

Youth Music’s safeguarding policy and requirements for funded partners

We are currently reviewing our safeguarding policies and practices to ensure that they align with the Charity Commission’s latest guidance to grant making organisations, so the following is subject to change.

Youth Music’s safeguarding policy states that all organisations receiving grant funding or applying for grant funding from Youth Music have the primary responsibility for safeguarding beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, and must take all the necessary steps to ensure that their organisation is operating in a safe and secure environment. This includes:

  • staff and volunteers receiving appropriate training and support to prevent safeguarding issues arising, and to spot signs of abuse

  • carrying out DBS checks where appropriate

  • robust procedures for reporting abuse in a timely and objective manner

  • clear accountability structures, including a named contact for any safeguarding issues.

Our funding agreements contain clauses on safeguarding children and adults at risk. If you have a grant with Youth Music, it’s important that you read your funding agreement carefully, and ensure that your organisation is compliant with all of these clauses.

Useful resources

  • This Empower Hour video will help build knowledge of safeguarding practices and concepts. Produced as part of Youth Music's Exchanging Notes series, it provides practical examples for people working with music with young people.



  • UK Youth’s Safe Spaces Framework sets out what it considers to be the minimum levels of safe organisational practice in a number of different areas, including Health and Safety, Safeguarding, and Leadership and Governance.


  • NCVO’s safeguarding guidance is a hub of tools, resources and guidance, including links to training and further support. This includes:

    • guidance on the difference between safeguarding children and adults

    • Getting Started With Safeguarding – a useful resource that summarises Charity Commission’s safeguarding principles and provides links to further guidance





  • Funder Safeguarding Collaborative. The Funder Safeguarding Collaborative (FSC) was created to strengthen the ability of grant-making organizations to prevent abuse and exploitation across their operations. The FSC believes that all funders can make a valuable contribution to keeping people safe and to preventing harm to the communities they serve.

Statutory guidance

There are laws and statutory guidance that underpin the broad legal basis and duties for safeguarding that apply to organisations who work with children and adults at risk.

These include: