Certain types of charity are set up to assist or care for those who are particularly vulnerable, perhaps because of their age, physical or mental ability or ill health. Charity trustees are responsible for ensuring that those benefiting from, or working with, their charity are not harmed in any way through contact with it. They have a legal duty to act prudently and this means that they must take all reasonable steps within their power to ensure that this does not happen. It is particularly important where beneficiaries are vulnerable persons or children in the community.
Trustees are expected to find out what the relevant law is, how it applies to their organisation, and to comply with it where appropriate. They should also adopt best practice as far as possible – advice on this is available from a number of knowledgeable sources, some of which are listed below. Children are an especially vulnerable group and therefore the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is concerned to stress the importance of charities having proper safeguards in place for their protection.
Although CCNI does not administer child protection legislation, it aims to increase public trust and confidence in charities and, as part of the registration process, it will always asks organisations working with children for
(a) information about the policies and procedures which they have in place for keeping children safe and
(b) disclosure of Access NI certificates in respect of trustees where the charity is legally entitled to obtain these.
We will provide further information on Child Protection and Safeguarding when registration begins.
Guidance and legislation
Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People:
For current guidance on safeguarding, legislation and resources see Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's website (External link)
Further guidance is available from NICCY:
7-9 Shaftesbury Square
Tel: (028) 9031 1616
Fax: 028 9031 4545
Website: http://www.niccy.org/ The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (External link)