Webinar transcript

Chris Riches

Hi, everybody. Welcome to today's webinar. Today, as you can see on the screen, we're going to be looking at the roles and responsibilities that registered charities have when it comes to protecting young people and vulnerable beneficiaries.

We're going to be looking at some of the obligations they might have through some governance standards and external conduct standards. But most importantly, we're going to be looking at some of the practical ways and bits and pieces that charities can do to achieve those aims.

My name is Chris Riches. I'm from the ACNC's Education section. Joining me today, Ian and Julia, and they're from our compliance team. Hi to both of you. You can give a wave. Great to catch up. How are you both?

Ian Parry

Doing well. Thanks, Chris. It's great to have this opportunity to present a webinar on what we see has been a very important topic, safeguarding.

Thank you to those people who have joined the webinar. A lot of registered charities I'm sure looking to understand their obligations for safeguarding. Thanks for the introduction. My name is Ian Parry. I'm a senior manager in Compliance. I'm joined by my colleague, Julia Bielak.

Julia Bielak

Hello, everyone. Welcome.

Chris Riches

Thank you to both of you for joining us. Before we get into things, as always and I'm going to put my quick speaking voice on, I'm going to get through a little bit of housekeeping.

If you've got any troubles with the audio, if you're here today, you can try listening through your phone. Call the number listed in the email that you have received upon signup and there'll be an access code there and you can listen in that way.

We've got some colleagues today, Matt and Guth who are going to be answering some questions in the background. So, feel free to type in a question or two if you wish through the GoToWebinar interface there. They'll be zooming through some answers as we go through. We'll try and answer all the questions that come through. If we don't, there will be a chance for you to send an email to us at education@acnc.gov.au and we'll be able to help you out through that as well.

Now, we've got our slides, obviously. You can probably see it. Our faces are here as well. We've got our cameras on. So you can switch between different views depending on what device you're on. You might want to click a mouse. You might want to slide from one side to the other. However you wish to view, you can.

We're recording this webinar. The slides and the recording are going to be available up on our site at some stage in the next day or so. We will also send an email out to everyone who registered today to give them a link to the recording to some other resources and some bits and pieces. We might mention some of those website links and all that during today's webinar. If we do, we will drop them into the chat as we go along as well.

Finally, we really would like to grab some feedback from you, if you wish. There's a little survey in the proceedings today, take literally 30 seconds. If you want to go answer a couple of questions, that would be great.

We've also got some handouts too which are available through the GoToWebinar interface as well. There's some various bits and pieces and templates and other stuff linked to safeguarding.

So all that done, hit the button, go to the next slide. What are we doing today? We will start just looking very quickly at the idea of what is safeguarding, who are vulnerable people and what the charities obligations are.

The real nitty-gritty of today is going to be looking at the issues, addressing and managing the risks, all the bits and pieces that your charity can do to fulfil its responsibilities in this area. Look after young people or vulnerable beneficiaries that your charity may have contact with. We'll look at this part of these policies, practice internal controls, which form a key part of this sort of work. There's a couple of case studies that we'll throw in there as well as we go along. So let's go.

Safeguarding and vulnerable people. What's safeguarding? Safeguarding is protecting the welfare and human rights of people connected to your work. It's a vital part of your charity's primary duty of care.

It refers specifically or particularly to the protection of people that might be at risk of say, abuse or neglect, or maybe exploitation, those who we might refer to or who might be referred to as vulnerable people or vulnerable beneficiaries. There's the bit of a definition of vulnerable people and vulnerable beneficiaries. Ian and Julia, the charities who work with or have contact with vulnerable people or beneficiaries, they really have some extra responsibilities, don't they?

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris. That's right. So while all people must be protected from harm, there's additional legislative and ethical considerations for protecting vulnerable people and I'll chat about that a little bit. So regarding vulnerable people or beneficiaries, the focus is often on the safeguarding of children and young people. But it's important to consider the safeguarding needs of children and charities. But charities should also be mindful that vulnerable people can include other groups that are considered vulnerable. It's often something that we see in practice as well that a lot of beneficiaries will be children but charities should be mindful that the definition of vulnerable people or beneficiaries is broader.

I'm happy to run through some other categories that would include vulnerable people or beneficiaries. So that might include people with impaired intellectual or physical functions, people with low socioeconomic backgrounds, people who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, people who are not native speakers of the local language, as well as people with low levels of literacy or education. Something that's quite topical at the moment, there's been a little bit of focus on slavery laws. So, people subjected to modern slavery which involves human exploitation and control, such as forced labour, debt bondage, human trafficking and child labour.

So going to the next slide, vulnerable people is not only limited to a charity's beneficiaries or the users of its services. It spans much wider and can include charity staff, volunteers and people in third parties or partners. Especially when you are perhaps working in an overseas country, that's often the situation where staff can find themselves in vulnerable situations and charities should ensure staff and volunteers working overseas have access to suitable housing, food, insurance, medical services, and communications, and establish an emergency plan for staff and volunteers working in conflict zones or other high-risk locations.

So it's important also to remember that the vulnerability question might be permanent and ongoing. Or it could be temporary and charities need to plan for all those circumstances. At least one important point. That a charity's ability to recognise vulnerability in its various forms is important and the first step to being able to protect vulnerable people is that ability to recognise the vulnerability of the people or beneficiaries.

Chris Riches

This is important. I mean, people sort of look at the idea of vulnerable people or beneficiaries and that they might sway towards perhaps a situation where that vulnerability might be one that's ongoing. But to remember that there can be vulnerability that is temporary or is one that is in a certain situation or a certain set of circumstances is a very important thing for charities to be mindful of, I suppose.

I know that you've touched on this in talking about charities that might be working overseas or with third parties, partners overseas. Some charities, simply by what they do might have more contact with vulnerable beneficiaries and as I said, due to the nature of their work or who they work with.

This adds I guess a greater significance to the responsibilities that they have and a greater significance to what they might have to think about when it comes to addressing those issues.

Now, among the responsibilities that charities have, the standards that they have to adhere with or comply with, the ACNC has in place. We just wanted to, Julia and Ian, have a quick summary of where safeguarding fits into some of the standards that the ACNC has in place, which are the governance standards but also the external conduct standards.

Julia Bielak

Thanks, Chris. Look, the ACNC Governance Standards don't specifically refer to safeguarding. But what they do is make it clear that charities need to comply with the law and the charity's responsible people have a duty to act with care and diligence and in the best interest of the charity.

So if you're going to act with care and diligence and in the best interest of the charity, you need to turn your mind to and take steps to protect vulnerable people. It's a really vital part of your duties and it's covered by those standards.

Chris Riches

Yeah. It falls very squarely under the duties that responsible people have, isn't it? It's not specifically mentioned, but it's very clear that it's part of what they should be doing.

Julia Bielak

Correct, yes, that's right. But when it comes to charities that work overseas, even those charities that just send funds overseas, there's other standards and they're called the external conduct standards. They have explicit statement requirements surrounding the protection of vulnerable people.

Charities that operate overseas have to adhere to the external conduct standards and the ECS, the External Conduct Standard, sorry for the abbreviation there, have explicit requirements for protecting vulnerable people.

So they specifically state the words, protect vulnerable people and they are listed in External Conduct Standard 4. If you want to look it up, there's some great information on our website as well about External Conduct Standard 4 but I'll talk a little bit more about it and what's required.

External Conduct Standard 4 requires a charity to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals overseas.

So we don't prescribe what reasonable steps are. Your charity needs to decide based on its own circumstances and we'll give you some information today that will help you to decide those things.

But it means considering the risks and considering things like the risks associated with the location you operated in, your size, the expertise of the staff that provide services on behalf of you or your partners overseas, the complexity of the operations, the cultural issues at play, or your work with third parties. There's more examples on our website.

Pay special attention to high-risk activities linked to children and vulnerable people such as overseas volunteering and child sponsorship. They come with additional risks. This standard applies to activities you provide and activities you engage others to provide.

Chris Riches

With this too, when we say take reasonable steps, I mean, it's very clear that you can't lump all charities into the one basket. This is not a one size fits all thing and I guess this is an important point to note as we go through this webinar. That for Responsible People, there's a bit of responsibility.

There's a bit of judgment when it comes to what reasonable steps for your organisation might be because quite simply, one size does not fit all. So be very aware that it is up to charities, their responsible people to know what reasonable might mean and to ensure that reasonable steps are actually taken.

One other thing to remember and as the slide here puts forward, beyond Governance Standards, beyond External Conduct Standards, there might be other laws, state, federal, even overseas legislation that your charity has to comply with. Again, it's important for charities and their responsible people to understand what are the legal obligations they might have and to consider it when working to protect young people and vulnerable beneficiaries.

That's a bit of context and a bit of introduction. What we'll do now is we'll jump into the nitty-gritty of things, in that we're going to look at some of the issues, look at managing the risks. We're going to go step by step through some of the important considerations that surround this issue, I suppose.

We do have, and I'll mention it now, a broader governance toolkit, which is able to be accessed on our site - acnc.gov.au/governance toolkit - that focuses on protecting vulnerable people and young - sorry, part of it focuses on protecting vulnerable people and young people.

And that part of it is acnc.gov.au/safeguarding. So there's a wider resource that looks at governance overall and there's a specific resource that looks at safeguarding.

Resource has a number of downloads, some of which we've included as index today with the webinar. There's checklists. There's other bits and pieces that will help you use them as a basis for your own charity's work. We'll dive in. To start with, we've got a bit of a case study, haven't we, guys? What are we looking at here in this case study or example?

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris. Let's have a look at an example of a charity that advocates for the mental health and wellbeing of children. So this particular charity to achieve their purpose, they conduct a number of activities which includes running seminars and workshops for school-aged children.

So now, we haven't yet discussed the steps charities should take to ensure they have strong governance to safeguard vulnerable beneficiaries. But when you think about the activities that this charity undertakes, you can appreciate the need to have policies and processes to guide decision making and to mitigate risks that could occur in an environment where the charity's responsible people, their employees or volunteers are interacting with school-aged children.

So when charities are safeguarding vulnerable people or beneficiaries, an important first step is identifying the risks. For this charity, running workshops with school-aged children, it will be important to strategically identify the risks so that it can be well placed to respond and safeguard its vulnerable beneficiaries.

So as for the next slide, let's look at how charities can do this in a bit more detail. The first thing to look at here is identifying and assessing the risks. Your charity needs to firstly understand the risks, needs to understand its obligations and also determine the policies, procedures and systems. It needs to manage both.

Chris Riches

We're talking here, and we pre-empt this on the slide here on the screen, we're talking here that this is a step towards developing a risk assessment I suppose, isn't it, Ian?

Ian Parry

Yeah, that's correct. As we've noted already, the idea of a risk assessment needs to be tailored to the circumstances and size of the charity. But we would see it as being an essential first step for a charity that are involved with or have activities that involve vulnerable beneficiaries and to take a risk assessment. So, let's look at that in a little bit more detail.

A risk assessment is a process that will help to identify the risks that come with your charity's work with people, prioritising each risk according to its likelihood and consequences, and also identify the policies, procedures and systems that the charity will need to deal with the risks.

You could conduct the risk assessment for the organisation, different departments of the charity or organisation or different programs. This would be a good point to discuss the tools and resources that are available to support charities. You've already mentioned some of them yourself, Chris.

On the ACNC website, we have the Governance Toolkit which you referenced with this specific section that focuses on safeguarding. There are other resources available also. In particular, the National Office of Child Safety has resources available to support child safe organisations, including an introductory self-assessment tool that's aligned with the national principles for child safe organisations.

This will be a great starting point for charities that are looking to enhance or review their safeguarding governance. It would be a really good lead-in for charities who are thinking, "Where do I start if I need to enhance or review my safeguarding governance?"

So looking at the risk assessment framework, some things that the charity should think about, we can have a look at the things such as the people the charity affects or works with, how common the types of incidents are that impact the charity and the consequences and incident might produce.

You can think about potential impacts on a charity's reputation, its partners and staff morale as well as the impact of incidents on victims, the charity itself and its beneficiaries. So, moving to the next slide, I'll hand it over to my colleague, Julia, who is going to focus on the policies that charities can implement for safeguarding.

Chris Riches

Definitely. We're looking here, aren't we? Here we are. I've missed a slide. I do apologise. So these are just looking at some of the bits and pieces that should be considered as part of our safeguarding policy. What have we got here? What have we got here, Julia?

Julia Bielak

Well, a policy that outlines your charity's approach to safeguarding should reference to your charity's legal obligations. So as Chris mentioned earlier, there may be our legislative obligations but you may also have obligations to other state or national regulators or funding bodies. There could be other people that you do.

So, reference those. Outline the identified risks. Define the key terms, for example, safeguarding vulnerable person. Clearly state your charity's expectations of staff, volunteers and partners. Outline your charity's processes for managing risks so you know how you're going to manage your risks. It's important for your -

Chris Riches

I'll flick to the next slide. Sorry about that, Julia. There's a few more here if you wanted to go through them.

Julia Bielak

Yes, that's right. Thanks. Identify who's responsible for managing the safeguarding so who within your organisation. Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of people involved in safeguarding.

So there may be one or two people or a particular way that a concern is reported and people know how to do it. Extend obligations to your charity's partners and contractors. Contain supporting resources such as an incident response plan or an employee vetting document and be endorsed by your charity's board.

It's important to ensure that the policy is observed and implemented. So sometimes, charities can have policies. However, people within the organisation might not be aware of them and they might not be implemented. So the implementation is a really important step.

Chris Riches

There was one point there too and we'll probably highlight this too as we go through that, extend obligations to your charity's partners and contractors. Again, we particularly have referenced to this. If you are working with overseas partners, if you are working with contractors overseas, you need to ensure as a charity that if you are working with third party, as we call them, that this safeguarding policy that you have in place, the end of it is not the end of where your charity is. The end of it is encompassing of operations that may include a third party, may include a partner or a contractor. So be very aware of that.

Probably what that's going to mean is that if you are for the safeguarding, and your partner or contractor might already have a policy or procedures in place, you probably need to talk to them as well.

That would probably be a very smart step forward to ensure that you're all on the same page and that any policies that are in place encompass everyone that they should. So that was just one, I wanted to prioritise the one that I'll call out.

Again, our governance toolkit and the safeguarding resources, it's got, and I'll flick that one, it's got a template of a safeguarding policy and your charity can grab a hold of that and perhaps adapt it for its own circumstances.

It's a good starting point, another good starting point I suppose for charities that are looking to develop and strengthen their safeguarding governance. So again, go and have a look at the safeguarding stuff that we've got on our site.

It is also a handout again in our GoToWebinar control panel interface here. So go and download it if you wish.

The resource that you mentioned earlier on, Ian, we'll throw a link of that or link to that into our follow-up email as well. So people will be able to easily click on that and follow it and be able to have a look at those resources too.

Now, one other thing that's important here is that while you have a policy as a charity, you can't just have a policy and not commit to it. I know you mentioned, Julia, you got to have resources. You've got to have the ability to step up and say, "We have a policy. We now want to commit to it."

You have to also ensure that there's leadership on this policy and that everyone in your charity shares the commitment to it and what it covers as well. Now, we've got internal - looking at internal controls here. Julia, what are we talking about when we talk about internal controls?

Julia Bielak

Thanks, Chris. What we're talking about again with internal controls is having and implementing the right policies, procedures and systems which allows - they can serve as an early warning to allow a charity to stop an incident or help in that instance.

As well as they can mitigate or reduce the consequences of an incident if it actually does occur. So we call these policy systems and procedures internal controls and it's important. They're appropriate for your charity and they address your specific risks.

Chris Riches

What are some examples of those things?

Julia Bielak

Thanks. I was just about to go in. Some examples of internal controls include due diligence check so background checks on your staff, segregating duties and providing supervision. So for example in high-risk situations, they might be shared by two people so they can assist each other and reduce risk.

Managing third parties, that means making sure your partners are capable of and committed to protecting people in their work and that appropriate agreements are in place. So those agreements and the communication with people help serve as internal controls. A code of conduct for staff can also help prevent harm and mitigate risk because everyone is then aware of the behaviours that they're expected to exhibit in the workplace.

Chris Riches

Now, having these type of controls in place, now it's not of very much use if they're not adhered to. What are some of the ways that we can look at here to ensure that they are adhered to? What are charities' abilities or what should they be looking at to ensure that the policies and everything that's in place is known and is stuck to I suppose?

Julia Bielak

Some of the things too that a charity can do to ensure that is communicate your expectations and raise awareness of the issue through formal channels. So policies which we've talked a lot about, procedures, training resources or less formal methods to communicate with your staff like email updates, newsletters, staff meetings where the topic of safeguarding is discussed.

Policies and procedures are talked about and people are informed about the charity's expectations. Develop and maintain a culture that values safeguarding. So it's something that's quite alive within your charity.

I just wanted to go into a case study now, that's right and helpfully about a charity, a small charity that operates overseas. As we've talked about the risk and what steps you would be required to take depends on your own size and circumstance and the activities that you provide.

So we'll look at a case study that focuses on a charity's obligations as they are laid out in the External Conduct Standard 4. That's because charities that operate overseas are subject to the External Conduct Standards as we've already discussed.

They often can rely on programs to be delivered by overseas partners or third parties. So you may send funds or have an agreement with someone overseas to provide services on your behalf.

This means that communicating and buying becomes even more vital. So for example, say you're a small charity that fundraises to support offshore programs that provide support for disadvantaged children including education and food programs. You're working with a partner offshore that runs the program.

What we might view as reasonable governance in that context is thinking of some practical things you could do would be understanding and documenting what the risks might be for your charity in that context.

Thinking that the partner has adequate safeguarding measures in place, ask the questions of them, what do they do and document any evidence. Check the reputation of the organisation that you're working with. Are they registered in the country they're operating to deliver their services that you're getting them to provide?

Perhaps ask them for and keep a copy of their registration certificate. Find out about their staffing and volunteer recruitment processes and their ability to safely deliver the programs that you're supporting.

Ask them for information about how their staff are screened and perhaps some evidence that this occurs so that you know who is providing those services. Have a written agreement that outlines your expectations and the obligations of each organisation when it comes to safeguarding. It makes it quite clear and you've got something to rely on.

Be aware of the complaints process your partner has regarding vulnerable beneficiaries and beneficiaries can raise issues and know how they'll be dealt with by that organisation. So that's just some examples, hopefully a bit more concrete related to a small charity that sends funds overseas. There are more examples available on our website as well.

Chris Riches

Now, I know and you just touched on this, Julia, the awareness side of things but also the confidence or the assurance that a charity's people might have when it comes to reporting a concern or an incident. I'll address this one to you, Ian. What are some of the ways that a charity can ensure that its people are confident in following through, confident in raising issues, that sort of thing? What are some of the case here?

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris. Detecting and reporting issues is a very important practice and complements the policies and procedures that Julia just ran through there as well. So it needs to be the complete package.

There are things that a charity can do to detect changes in risk, instances of harm and noncompliance with obligations. It includes making sure that there are ways for people to provide feedback, raise grievances and report issues. Also, people who report concerns or incidents of harm are protected.

Chris Riches

So when we talk about protecting people who report, who raise a concern, who come to the charity and say, "I've got a bit of an issue here," we're talking about issues in relation to things like confidentiality or anonymity, aren't we, Ian?

Ian Parry

Yeah, that's right. This illustrates the importance of the charity's people have in confidence in the measures that are in place, their staff and volunteers for example. Charity should ensure that there is a clear and transparent system for investigating and responding to concerns.

Also, they might consider training staff in safeguarding so that they can identify incidences and know how to respond.

Let me have a look at the next slide when we're taking action when there are concerns. When an issue is raised, the charity of course has to take action to understand what happens, what risks there are to protect the people that are involved. There's a template. We've referenced the template a few times but I really do encourage charities to think about accessing our resources to support their governance. So there's a template available on our website.

You've mentioned the location once before but I'll reiterate it. That's acnc.gov.au/safeguard. It can help charities to develop an Incident Response Plan and it will guide charities through the steps they need to consider.

So let's look at those steps in detail. It helps to have a plan in place to guide the charity's response. So the charity should think about who is responsible for responding, what's required and when matters should be reported to an external party.

That last part is probably a very important point. We talk about the importance of having governance for the ACNC but there are legal obligations in place that require charities to have mandatory reporting when certain incidents occur.

We've referenced that a little bit earlier in the webinar. That charities really do need as part of their planning and risk assessment to ensure what those legal obligations are.

Chris Riches

I'll make mention here, through again our safeguarding package on our website, there's an Incident Response Plan template that will help charities and guide them through some of the steps that they might need to consider.

Again, it's also available as a handout today for those of you with us. So you can download it. If you miss out on doing that, go to our website and have a look and download that amongst the other resources that we might have.

When we get into talking about plans and procedures and things like that, now they can't be static. They can't just be a point-in-time type thing. They have to be living documents and they have to be constantly reviewed and they have to be updated. Ian, if you wanted to maybe mention a few other things and we can see a couple on the screen here when it comes to reviewing and looking over a plan a charity might have in place in this area.

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris. So to help with this task, charities can timetable regular reviews of safeguarding policies, procedures and systems. That's one thing that they can implement. Charities can also look at reviewing their policies and procedures after any incident to ensure that lessons learnt are incorporated back into the process.

So during the review process, checks such as looking at the current working environment, legislation and regulation, they can be included. Also, charity can evaluate whether the people and partners, staff and volunteers included are following the policies and procedures properly.

Charities should ask this question, "Do their policies and procedures work?"

I'd like at this point to share a little three-word slogan that I came across that's used by a charity. It's made a lasting impression on me and I think it really reflects well the idea to continually review on an ongoing basis the safeguarding governance you have in place.

The slogan is commitment, compliance and complacency.

The idea is to achieve compliance but in order to do this, you have to have commitment. The charity also importantly needs to avoid complacency to ensure that it doesn't become too comfortable and fails to address the risks. So something a little bit unique. You often don't think about having complacency as part of a charity's slogan to have really strong safeguarding. But I think it really reflects that point about the danger of becoming too comfortable and not reviewing or considering what needs to be updated in your safeguarding governance.

Chris Riches

Something that worked six months ago, three months ago, 12 months ago, it might not work now. It might not be relevant now. So you definitely have to review and you definitely have to, as it says here, schedule regular reviews.

When you learn lessons, feed them back and gather them and ensure that what you're doing improves through the lessons that you learnt. Now, I'm going to flick over I reckon with another case study here. So what I might do, Ian, I might leave you with this case study if you wanted to share, explain it and go through it.

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris. I think this is a good chance to wrap up all the steps that we've gone through that charities can take to develop strong governance in terms of safeguarding. This is our third and final case study.

So this looks at a registered charity that advocates for carers to family members with disability. So we've looked at case studies that focus on vulnerable beneficiaries being children, but remember that the definition of vulnerable beneficiaries is broader. This case study is a reminder of this.

We often encounter charities in the ACNC Compliance Team that undertake activities that aren't closely aligned with vulnerable beneficiaries but their activities nonetheless has potential for the charity to interact with vulnerable beneficiaries. It's important that these charities have reasonable governance in place to safeguard the vulnerable people they could interact with.

So this charity as part of this case study while its principal focus is on advocacy of carers, the charity should identify and assess the safeguarding risks.

It should put in place policies to guide its decision making. It should engage people and build a safeguarding culture and also have in place procedures to report incidents and review its governance.

A final point, the ACNC appreciates the challenges faced by charities to have resources that they need to deliver their purpose. We don't expect all charities to have a dedicated staff member whose only role is a governance and risk coordinator.

We understand that there are small charities who have different circumstances that need to be addressed. So charities should implement governance that's reasonable for their size and circumstances and remember that there are tools available to support them on their journey to effective governance.

Chris Riches

Not only are those tools available from our side. There are plenty of tools available around the web. Again, we'll link to a few of them in our follow-up email.

Also on the safeguarding page itself, if my memory serves, there's I think probably 10 different links down the bottom of the page to various resources and websites ranging from not-for-profits and charities to, I think there's some legal stuff in there. There's also some other government department stuff in there as well.

So definitely make use of the resources that are there. Access them and use them as reference points for the work that your charity will need to do in this area I suppose.

With the end of that case study, we're getting near the end of things at our end here. What we might do, we might just wrap up with five or six key points just to reiterate a couple of things that we've talked about throughout today's session.

The first couple here are on screen.

Again, going right back to the start, safeguarding is a very important thing obviously, but it is a primary part of a charity's duty of care. So that's the first one to remember. ACNC obligations, there are both implicit and explicit responsibilities for charities when it comes to protecting young people vulnerable beneficiaries.

Again, most explicitly, they go through External Conduct Standard 4. But as we discussed earlier on, the governance standards are very clear in how they put forward the roles and responsibilities that responsible people have. So they're the first two. Julia, what are the next two?

Julia Bielak

The next two are it's important to remember that a risk assessment isn't just about identifying possible risks but seeing which ones are most likely to impact your charity and then looking at how you can deal with them, what systems or internal controls are needed.

Of course, good policy isn't the only component. Communication and leadership help develop a charity culture that values safeguarding.

Chris Riches

The last couple, charities need to ensure that any concerns that might be expressed by their people or people from a partner for example, that they're reported anonymously.

There's also a clear system to investigate these incidents as well because if that system is clear then there's confidence. It's important that, obviously, if you want this whole thing to work that there's confidence in the system that the charity has in place.

The last one here is, and we've spoken about this a few times, the need for regular reviews and an attitude towards review and improvement I suppose.

Your review should be undertaken with a view to improve what you have to build on what you have, to take on board any lessons that the charity or a charity and partners might have learnt, to then have them flow into or incorporate them in the systems you have. So that's the last thing to remember here.

Now, I'm just having a look at the clock. We've got a few minutes. So we won't hold you up beyond our scheduled time. We've gotten some questions and there was one that's come through that I thought I might put to both Julia and to Ian here.

One charity has asked how they can engage their staff and volunteers. Now, we've gone through some points and some ways and methods of doing it. From your perspectives, what do you believe may be the one or two absolute key ways that this can be done, the one or two key ways that a charity can engage staff and volunteers in this area?

Ian Parry

I'm happy to field that question. I think the number one thing I would suggest is giving staff and volunteers a voice, actually listening to them and then giving them ownership of the matter so that they can actually provide their thoughts.

Something that I reflect on as I've been to different seminars and meetings regarding safeguarding is when you think about the National Office of Child Safety and the National Principles for Child Safety, they're very strong on advocating for the voice of children and young people.

So it's not just about the responsible people in the board sitting in isolation and thinking about what's in the best interests of the charity.

Of course, we want them to do that but they do need to engage their staff and volunteers and beneficiaries to ensure that the safeguarding governance they have in place is either effective and supports the charity.

The other thing I would say on top of that in terms of having a good safeguarding culture, the National Office of Child Safety I think have some resources available. Things as simple as posters and those kinds of things put it up in the office.

A great reminder of the need to have child safety and safeguarding is to actually have those visual prompts that actually embed and reminds staff of the need to have good governance around safeguarding. Like everyone, we can get focused on the number one priority and I'm sure that charities are busy at different times with natural disasters and those kinds of things, fulfilling their charitable purpose.

But having those visual prompts I think is really good to actually remind staff. Another way you could have a prompt is to have it as a standing item on a board agenda.

Chris Riches

I guess too when we talk about getting the word out, sorry to use that phrase but if you've got a third party, if you've got a partner, again the idea of communication. But also the idea of ensuring that both parties sit down and talk about these things.

You mentioned, Ian, about giving voice to people but giving voice to both organisations and communicating about maybe the challenges that the partner might face if they're doing some of the on-ground work for example.

That's something that's very important as well to ensure that there's a wide scope of knowledge that you can get feedback into any work that you need to do.

What we'll do, we might wrap things up there because it's lunchtime or morning tea time depending on where you are around Australia at the moment. We've got a few ways that people can stay in touch with us and here they are on the screen.

There's obviously through the website, social media, our podcasts. We've got a new podcast episode just up too so go check that out. Sign up and receive that. Go and have a look at some of these bits and pieces.

Beyond that, thank you very much for coming along today. Feel free to join us for webinars coming up in the future. Or to access previous webinars, we have the address there.

Thank you, Ian, and thank you, Julia, for joining us today. Thanks. Thanks.

Ian Parry

Thanks, Chris.

Julia Bielak

Thanks, Chris.

Chris Riches

Cool. Beyond that, thank you to, Matt, thank you to Guth for answering questions, for typing away madly in the background and all that sort of stuff. We hope you enjoyed our presentation today. If you've got any feedback, please fill in the survey once we're done here.

If you've got any further questions that you might have, education@acnc.gov.au. We look forward to you joining us again very soon. Have a great day, everyone. See you later. Bye.