Safeguarding relates to the actions taken to promote the welfare and well-being of children, young people and vulnerable adults, and to protect them from harm, abuse and neglect.

The trustees of an organisation 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, or to spot signs of abuse; robust procedures for reporting abuse in a timely and objective manner, and clear accountability structures, including a named contact for any safeguarding issues.

The Henry Smith Charity takes the safeguarding of children and adults at risk seriously and we expect organisations applying for our funding to have a safeguarding policy which is up-to-date and relevant to their beneficiaries.

If you apply for an Improving Lives or Strengthening Communities grant you will be asked for a copy of your organisation’s safeguarding policy at the time of application.


The definition of a ‘child’ is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.

The fact, for example, that a child may have become 16 years of age, be living independently, in further education, in the armed forces, in hospital, or in a Young Offender’s Institution does not change their status, their entitlement to services, or their protection under the Children Act 1989.

The definition of an ‘adult at risk’ is any person aged 18 years and over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental health issues, learning or physical disability, sensory impairment, age or illness and who is, or may be, unable to take care of him/herself or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation.

We have a wider definition of whom we consider to be adults at risk. This includes people encountering domestic abuse, sexual exploitation and/or human trafficking, people who are experiencing homelessness, people suffering from alcohol and substance misuse, and people who are refugees or asylum seekers.

If you are unsure whether your organisation supports adults at risk, please speak to your local Council for Voluntary Service organisation or a similar infrastructure body in your area to seek advice.

What we look for

When we review a safeguarding policy, we are looking for assurance of an organisation’s commitment to protecting their beneficiaries, staff and volunteers from any abuse. The list of criteria points we use to assess your policy is included in our Safeguarding Checklist.

Whilst we appreciate that each organisation has differing levels of information in their safeguarding documents and that some policies may be superseded by their local authority safeguarding procedures, the safeguarding checklist highlights our judgement criteria. We may raise queries with you if some elements we expect to see are not included in your policy, so please be aware that our Grants Team may get in contact to ask for further information. If your organisation receives an assessment visit from one of our Visitors you will be asked about your safeguarding practices during the visit.

We try to encourage best practice amongst our grant holders and if your organisation is awarded a grant, we may occasionally set some specific conditions on improving your safeguarding policies and procedures as a condition of the grant. If this happens you will be provided with appropriate advice by a Grants Manager during the assessment process.