The Access Foundation Safeguarding Policy


1. The Foundation is a grant making charity. It has general charitable objects as set out in principal governing document: a Charitable Trust Deed dated 18 February 2021. In accordance with its grant making policy the Foundation makes grants for various charitable purposes to charities and not for profit organisations both within and outside the UK. It is not envisaged, as specified in the grant making policy, that the Foundation will make grants to individuals.

2. It is further not envisaged that the Foundation’s Trustees, staff or volunteers will have any direct contact with grant recipients (ie the grantee organisations) or the beneficiaries of such grantee organisations, save perhaps very occasionally where (a) the Trustees might arrange a site visit for monitoring or other purposes and/or (b) in very specific cases where the Foundation’s volunteers might assist a grantee organisation in the delivery of the organisation’s work/specific projects. a.

3. Through adherence to this policy the Trustees demonstrate the Foundation’s commitment to safeguarding individuals from harm.

4. The fundamental principle that underpins this policy is that all individuals without exception have the right to be free from harm and the right to protection from any such harm. The aim of this policy is to ensure that no one is harmed in any way through their contact or relationship with the Foundation. All Foundation representatives (including the Trustees and any employees and volunteers) must ensure they not only understand, but also act in line with, this policy.


5. Safeguarding is a broader term than protection, as it also includes prevention. The promotion of welfare is paramount. For the purposes of this policy, safeguarding includes the Foundation’s representatives taking all reasonable measures to ensure that the risk of harm is minimised and, where there are concerns or specific incidents disclosed or observed, taking appropriate actions as necessary.

6. Further to definitions provided in the Department of Health “No Secrets: guidance on protecting vulnerable adults in care” publication, this policy has the following focus and scope:
- Harm, which “should be taken to include not only ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), but also the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health; and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development’.”
- Abuse, i.e. “a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons.”

7. Harm and abuse can be physical, verbal or psychological in nature, and inflicted through a single act or repeated acts. They can be planned or reactive, intentional or unintentional, and via an act of neglect or an omission to act. They may occur when a person is persuaded to do something to which they have not consented or cannot consent. “Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it.”

8. The term “vulnerable beneficiaries” includes children and young people; people with physical or learning disabilities; people with a physical or mental illness (chronic or otherwise, including addiction to alcohol or drugs); older people; and those with a reduction in physical or mental capacity.


9. As confirmed at paragraph 2 above, by virtue of its work as a grant-making organisation, rather than a service delivery organisation, on a day-to-day basis the Foundation has no interaction with vulnerable beneficiaries and indeed with beneficiaries in general. The only potential contact that the Trustees may have in this regard might be via (occasional) visits to grantee organisations or funded projects, who/which must have in place their own safeguarding policies and practices. As also mentioned at paragraph 2 above, in specific very cases volunteers might assist a grantee organisation in the delivery of the grantee’s work/specific projects. Again, such volunteers will be subject to the safeguarding policies and procedures of the relevant grantee organisation. (See the section below headed “Grant making”: it is a condition precedent of initial and continued grant-funding that a grantee organisation has safeguarding policies and procedures in place that comply with Charity Commission requirements and best practice recommendations and those of any other regulator).

10. However, as per the Charity Commission guidance on safeguarding (latest version as at the date of adoption of this policy (1 June 2022) entitled “Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees” (“Safeguarding Guidance”) – link below - safeguarding is a priority for all Trustees and their responsibilities are not confined to vulnerable beneficiaries:

“Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities.

As part of fulfilling your trustee duties, you must take reasonable steps to protect people who come into contact with your charity.”

11. Consequently, this policy applies equally (as appropriate) to the Trustees, any staff and volunteers and all who come into contact with the Foundation including, for example, grantee organisations and their representatives who may from time to time come into contact with the Trustees and other representatives of the Foundation in the manner outlined at paragraphs 2 and 9 above.

12. It its Safeguarding Guidance the Charity Commission expects trustees to make sure their charity:-
- has appropriate policies and procedures in place, which are followed by all trustees, [staff] volunteers and beneficiaries
- checks that people are suitable to act in their roles
- knows how to spot and handle concerns in a full and open manner
- has a clear system of referring or reporting to relevant organisations as soon as concerns are suspected or identified
- sets out risks and how they will be managed in a risk register which is regularly reviewed
- follows statutory guidance, good practice guidance and legislation relevant to their charity [see the guidance referred to in the main body of this policy and the additional guidance referred to at the end of this policy] - is quick to respond to concerns and carry out investigations
- does not ignore or downplay failures
- has a balanced trustee board and does not let one trustee dominate its work – trustees should work together
- makes sure protecting people from harm is central to its culture
- has enough resources, including trained staff/volunteers for safeguarding and protecting people
- conducts periodic reviews of safeguarding policies, procedures and practice

Safeguarding duties for charity trustees


13. The procedures outlined below have been prepared with a view to ensuring that the Trustees complies with the above mentioned expectations of the Charity Commission as set out in its Safeguarding Guidance.

Code of conduct

14. It is expected that the Trustees, any staff and volunteers, third party providers and all who come into contact with the Foundation:-
a. act with integrity, respect and honesty;
b. take a collaborative, friendly and open approach, working together (as appropriate) to deliver the activities of the Foundation in furtherance of the Foundation’s objects;
c. are inclusive and respect diversity;
d. value the contribution of all who are involved in the delivery of the activities of the Foundation; and
e. aim to give all those with whom they have come into contact in connection with the work of the Foundation a positive experience.

Designated responsibility

15. The Trustees are responsible for ensuring that the Foundation meets its safeguarding obligations. However, responsibility for taking the lead on safeguarding issues and reporting accordingly to the board shall be delegated to a Designated Safeguarding Officer.
16. Kevin Misselbrook shall be the Foundation’s Designated Safeguarding Officer. He shall be responsible for reporting any concerns, queries or reports relating to safeguarding to the members of the Trustee board, or if considered more appropriate in the circumstances, to the Chair of Trustees of the Foundation.

Assessing risks

17. The Foundation’s safeguarding risks shall be assessed in the light of its activities.
18. All risks should be identified in a risk register which is reviewed and updated accordingly (a) if a safeguarding incident occurs and (b) each time this policy is reviewed (as per the “Assessing risks” section below).

Recruitment of staff and volunteers

19. The Trustees will ensure that robust procedures are in place when recruiting and selecting new Trustees, staff and volunteers to ensure that they are suitable and legally able to act in their positions. These include:-
- Obtaining a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) check as considered necessary/appropriate (but see below) before any new Trustee, staff member or volunteer is recruited - see the link below (and obtaining subsequent checks at such intervals as considered necessary appropriate (unless the person in question already has a standard or enhanced DBS certificate by virtue of his/her occupation or involvement with another organisation):

Basic DBS Checks Guidance


- Obtaining references, as deemed necessary appropriate;
- Checking, as deemed necessary/appropriate, any gaps in work history;
- Ensuring that any prospective new Trustee is eligible to act as a charity trustee by asking him/her to complete and sign the Charity Commission Trustee eligibility declaration (“Eligibility Declaration”)
- Asking existing Trustees to complete and sign the Eligibility Declaration each year (or at such other intervals as the Trustee board considers appropriate) to ensure that they are still eligible to act as charity trustees; and
- Ensuring that any staff from overseas have a right to work in the UK

Direct Contact

20. As mentioned above, as a grant-making charity the Foundation has very limited contact with individuals and beneficiaries outside the Foundation. However, it is important that appropriate and robust safeguarding procedures are in place governing the conduct of representatives of the Foundation if/when they visit grantees. As referred to at paragraph 9 above, grantees must have in place their own safeguarding policies and procedures and in respect of which the Foundation’s representatives will need to adhere in the context of any such visits referred to above.
21. It is also important that safeguarding procedures are in place governing the conduct of and inter-relationship between Trustees and any staff and volunteers.

Grant making

22. When assessing applications for potential suitability for grant awards the Foundation assesses whether they have appropriate systems of control including adequate safeguarding policies and procedures. As of the date of adoption of this policy this will include asking the same or similar safeguarding questions in the Foundation’s application form/application process as set out below:
“a. Do you have in place safeguarding policies and practices that are robust and compliant with current law and best practice; proportionate and appropriate for the vulnerability of your beneficiaries and suitable for the context within which you are working (e.g. UK or overseas, and any particular environments with special requirements)?”
- “b. If you have a safeguarding policy, please provide a copy (but please note that this will be for our records only and the Foundation will be relying on the answer provided at question a. above as to whether your policy complies with current law and best practice etc).”

23. The Foundation may, as deemed necessary/appropriate, also seek additional assurances/information regarding safeguarding from potential grant applicants. This will depend on a number of factors, such as:-
- the size and scope of the potential funding and, in some cases, the location (eg if the activities of the grant applicant are outside the UK);
- the vulnerability of the beneficiaries of the grant applicant; and
- the nature of the activities being funded and awareness of situations that may increase risk.

24. For all proposals that are short-listed for Trustees’ board meeting agendas, prior to the meeting in question the Trustee board (or an individual member of the Trustee board) to whom responsibility has been delegated in this regard) should assess the applicant’s answers to the Foundation’s safeguarding questions. Any queries or concerns should be raised with the applicant prior to the board meeting, and applications should be removed from the agenda if the issues raised are not dealt with satisfactorily by the applicant.

25. Including the same or similar provisions as set out below in the Foundation’s terms and conditions of grant with which each new grant recipient must agree to comply (and taking such steps as considered necessary/appropriate to include such provisions in existing grant agreements and/or bring to the provisions to the attention of existing grant recipients). Standard terms and conditions of grant are set out in the Foundation’s grant making documentation.

Provisions in the Foundation’s terms and conditions of grant

“As soon as is possible in all the circumstances, [name of grant recipient] shall inform the Foundation of any safeguarding concerns or incidents that arise during the [grant cycle] [OR] [in connection with the Project].”

“If any safeguarding concerns or incidents arise during the [grant cycle][OR][in connection with the Project] and in the reasonable opinion of the Trustees of the Foundation, such concerns or incidents are not adequately addressed the grant shall be repayable (in whole or in part) at our discretion.”

26. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 22.b. above, if a grantee’s approach to/position regarding safeguarding is felt to be inadequate at any stage of the grant-making process, the Foundation should require the grantee to improve its approach/position accordingly before releasing grant funds. If funds have already been released then it may be necessary/appropriate to terminate the agreement and/or request repayment of all or some of the grant funds already released. Please also see the section below headed “Handling and reporting safeguarding incidents and concerns”.

Handling and reporting safeguarding incidents and concerns

27. All representatives of the Foundation (including the Trustees and any staff and volunteers) should take seriously and respond quickly to any suspected, disclosed or observed incidents of harm or abuse to any individuals connected with the Foundation including members of the Trustee board, staff, volunteers and vulnerable beneficiaries (and beneficiaries in general).

28. All concerns, queries or reports of potential or actual harm or abuse to individuals must be reported as soon as is reasonably practical to the Designated Safeguarding Officer, or a member of the Trustee board if appropriate in the circumstances, including as much information as possible regarding the incident(s).

29. Upon receipt of an incident report as referred to above, the Trustees will then:
- assess the concern, allegation or incident;
- notify, as necessary appropriate, the relevant authorities as appropriate, for example Social Services, the Police and the Charity Commission (see the Commission’s guidance referred to on page 8 “How to report a serious incident in your charity” which specifically refers to reporting requirements in relation to safeguarding incidents);
- subject to, as relevant/appropriate, (a) the law, (b) the terms of the Foundation’s governing document, (c) any relevant grievance or disciplinary procedures; (d) the terms and conditions of grant, (e) the terms of any other agreement in place with a third party and/or (f) the consideration of any expert advice obtained take such other action as deemed necessary/appropriate including, but not limited to, terminating trusteeship; terminating a contract of employment, terminating an arrangement with a volunteer; terminating the grant agreement and/or requesting repayment of grant funds already released; and/or terminating such other arrangement with a third party;
- fully document the incident and make a record of the Foundation’s actions in response; and
- put in place any new measures required to prevent similar instances in the future.

Reviewing this policy

30. This policy must be reviewed by the Trustees at least once per year. In reviewing the policy the Trustees shall consider, amongst other things:-
- assessed risks and whether the risks have changed since the policy was last reviewed;
- any actual or alleged safeguarding incidents that have occurred since this policy was last reviewed;
- whether this policy and the safeguarding procedures set out herein should be amended in any way in the light of (a) Charity Commission safeguarding guidance in place at the date of review, (b) any other relevant sector safeguarding guidance, (c) identified risks and (d) any actual or alleged safeguarding incidents referred to in the above bullet point; and
- any specific guidance given or action required by the Charity Commission or any other regulator or body.


31. Awareness and update training will be arranged and provided as necessary/appropriate to ensure that the Trustees and all who may work with the Foundation are clear about their safeguarding duties and responsibilities.

Publication of this policy

32. This policy shall be posted on the Foundation’s website (if any) and a hard copy shall be provided free of charge as requested by any individual or organisation.


33. This policy shall be brought to the attention of each member of the Trustee board and any staff members and volunteers and each will be asked to sign the declaration at the end of this policy by way of indicating that he/she has read and understood this policy and the Charity Commission guidance referred to herein.

Charity Commission guidance

34. Links to the Charity Commission guidance that is relevant in the context of this policy are set out below.

Safeguarding Guidance (also referred to at paragraph 11 above)
How to report a serious incident in your charity
Charity Commission guidance CC30 entitled Finding new trustees
Charity Commission guidance entitled Charities: how to protect children and adults at risk
Charity Commission compliance toolkit – entitled Protecting charities from harm – Chapter 2: Due diligence, monitoring and verifying end use of charitable funds:

Useful further reading resources

Charity Governance Code
NCVO Charity Ethical Principles
Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) Safeguarding Framework
ACF’s new framework to help foundations think through their approach to safeguarding.