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Safeguarding Policy


Although Stewardship does not work directly with children and adults at risk, it is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the ultimate communities being supported, staff, contractors, trustees and committee member and to taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety and protection of those who come into contact with Stewardship. 

This policy relates to Stewardship’s commitments to safeguarding and protecting the communities it is serving, staff and trustees. Where any suspected wrongdoing is in relation to staff, the procedure set out in the Whistleblowing Policy should be followed, as appropriate. 

Over recent years there has been increasing recognition of the way in which vulnerable people can be at risk of harm from organisations and institutions that are supposed to help them, either as a result of abuse and exploitation by individuals in positions of trust, or via programme activities in general. 

Consequently, there has been a significant increase in the efforts made by agencies to ensure that no harm comes to beneficiaries or target communities they are serving, from contact with their staff and associates or as a result of any of the organisation’s activities. 

This duty of care extends beyond statutory safeguarding requirements. Stewardship does not engage in any activity with children or adults at risk that is regulated by domestic safeguarding legislation, but it does take seriously its obligations to operate in a way that ensures, so far as is possible, that its work does no harm to anyone with whom it engages. 

Given these values, and in light of widely recognised risks, Stewardship has developed this policy to promote protection for all those people it comes into contact with, as well as staff and volunteers within Stewardship itself. 

Should it come into contact with vulnerable groups (including children), Stewardship will take responsibility to ensure it is doing all it can to protect such groups from all forms of harm, including abuse, neglect and exploitation and to ensure appropriate action is taken if such harm occurs.



Understanding the risks

Vulnerable persons can be harmed, or put at risk of harm, by organisations and institutions, and that abuse of vulnerable groups (including children) can happen in all types of organisations. Such harm may result from unintentional acts or deliberate actions. 

Unintentional acts may lead to harm due to a lack of ‘due diligence’ or competence or through organisational negligence, such as inadequate care and supervision, lack of policies, procedures and guidance to inform programming and practice, or lack of staff compliance with legal requirements. Also, deliberate actions may be taken by people with intent to abuse vulnerable people. 

Many of Stewardship’s grant partners are churches or Christian charities and require an understanding that ultimate beneficiaries could be subjected to Spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse which is characterised by a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour in a religious context. It’s misusing positions of power and authority in places where people feel involved or invested in a community and fear being separated from it. It can have a deeply damaging impact on those who experience it. 


Scope of this policy

1. For Stewardship staff and contractors

Compliance with this policy is mandatory for all Stewardship staff. For the purpose of this policy ‘staff’ is defined as anyone who works for, or is engaged by Stewardship, either in a paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time capacity. This includes directly employed staff, contractors, agency staff, consultants, volunteers, interns and equivalents. 

2. For board members and trustees

As board members and trustees must act at all times in the best interests of Stewardship and the ultimate communities being served, they are also expected to comply with this policy. This expectation is made clear to board members and through the Trustee Handbook. 

3. For recipients of Stewardship grants (partners)

For organisations and full-time Christian Workers to whom Stewardship makes grant payments, it is expected that they have appropriate safeguarding principles in place aligned to their activities. This expectation is made clear in our terms and conditions and is assessed during our due diligence processing when on-boarding new partners, provision of substantial gifts, ongoing partner reviews, or when Stewardship is alerted within reasonable measures from public notifications. 


Statement of commitment

Stewardship commits to taking all reasonable measures to ensure vulnerable groups (including children) impacted by Stewardship’s staff, trustees and grant partners are protected as far as possible from harm, including exploitation, neglect and abuse of all kinds.  

Stewardship commits to:


  1. Developing a zero tolerance ‘safety culture’ within Stewardship that creates and maintains protective environments.
  2. Placing safeguarding at the heart of recruitment practices by requesting three written references, undertaking basic Disclosure and Barring Service Checks (DBS) and checking qualifications and certifications, where appropriate.
  3. Ensuring Stewardship staff and board members are fully cognisant of safeguarding issues.
  4. Increasing understanding and raising the awareness of staff within the organisation of risks relating to safeguarding, ensuring that appropriate guidance is provided for those with a greater exposure, for example those;
    1. visiting donors/clients
    2. undertaking training & conferences, events (and similar) both in person and on-line
    3. dealing with potential vulnerable donors
    4. with oversight of Stewardship's website and social media accounts
    5. arranging work experience
  5. Taking appropriate and proportionate action if the policy is not complied with.
  6. Developing criteria so that staff understand what constitute non-compliance.
  7. Carrying out appropriate due diligence on new grant partners and when making significant grants, cyclical partner reviews, communicating safeguarding responsibilities in accessible terms and conditions in which Stewardship request that they have appropriate controls and safeguarding measures in place, and integrating safeguarding and onward reporting requirements.
  8. Making sure safeguarding considerations are integrated into relevant activities of the Stewardship, for example during face-to-face training events and conferences.
  9. Ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities to report concerns and of steps to take/who to go to in order to report such concerns
  10. Ensuring that safeguarding concerns are addressed promptly and through the appropriate channels.
  11. Reporting safeguarding incidents, allegations or concerns to external authorities, regulators and auditors, as appropriate, and in accordance with best practice. Stewardship will fully assess such reporting to ensure that submitting a report is unlikely to cause further harm to the individual(s) to whom harm has already been caused
  12. Ensuring that its Privacy Policy remains suitably updated so that, in keeping to Stewardship’s zero tolerance policy, it will report any wrongdoing on the part of its trustees and staff to appropriate authorities, will share such information as may be necessary to protect individuals from harm, and will provide fair and accurate references, which appropriately reflect Stewardship’s experience and interaction with trustees and staff


Embedding organisational commitment

In order to make its policy commitments a practical reality, Stewardship will instigate or strengthen a range of measures that focus on making sure this policy and associated procedures are in place, that people are supported to understand and work within the provision of the policy, that it is fully and effectively integrated into all our activities, and that it is subject to monitoring and review.

Stewardship staff will receive regular training/briefing on their responsibilities and obligations under this policy and it will form part of the induction for new staff and trustees.

Staff and trustees will be expected to acknowledge and accept their responsibilities under this policy. Breaches of the policy by staff will be treated seriously and will be treated as a potential cause for disciplinary action.


Reporting and responding to concerns

Stewardship staff are required to immediately report any concerns or suspicions of possible/actual harm to staff or the communities it is serving, including abuse, exploitation and neglect and policy non-compliance, or risk of such, resulting from action or inaction by anyone covered by this policy. This includes any suspected historic abuse. In the first instance, these should be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The person making the report should otherwise keep the matter strictly confidential and not seek to investigate the incident or suspicion themselves.

The Safeguarding Lead Trustee who sits on Stewardship’s board of trustees, will have oversight of the safeguarding and welfare incidents that arise. The Safeguarding Lead Trustee will have a regular slot at meetings of the board of trustees to ensure that trustees are appropriately appraised of matters that arise.

The names of the Designated Safeguarding Officer and Safeguarding Lead Trustee can be found in the Contact Information section at the end of this policy.

We are committed to reporting all relevant incidents to the Charity Commission for England and Wales via a Serious Incident Report. We will also report incidents to other regulatory bodies and government departments or funding bodies, where appropriate. Where there is evidence that criminal activity may have taken place, or concerns have been raised in relation to a child or vulnerable adult, we will report to the relevant police and/or safeguarding authorities as appropriate.

Decisions to report to external authorities will be fully assessed and anonymisation/pseudonymisation considered when necessary. Reporting will not be avoided on the basis that it may harm Stewardship’s reputation or give rise to litigation. Any concerns in relation to data protection will not act as a barrier to reporting, although will be carefully considered to ensure that the disclosure is made within the legal framework for so doing.

Stewardship will develop strategies and tools to ensure effective implementation of this policy and to enable the Designated Safeguarding Officer, the Board and others to monitor its performance.

Existing systems for risk management, due diligence, monitoring and evaluation, audit and review, and other organisational performance mechanisms will be adapted to include indicators and processes by which implementation of the Safeguarding Policy can be measured.  These processes will be periodically reviewed to ensure that they remain effective and up to date in respect of best practice.

Stewardship will implement and maintain a Whistleblowing Policy and a Complaints Policy, both aimed at encouraging a culture of openness and accountability, wherein staff and members of the public can be confident that they can raise any matter of genuine concern without fear of reprisal and in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously, and that matters will be investigated appropriately, managed on a need-to-know basis with appropriate remedial action taken


Policy Review

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice regularly. This policy will be reviewed by the board of trustees at least annually, when there is a change in UK law and/or best practice, or when an incident occurs that highlights a need for change (whichever occurs first).


Other Relevant Policies

The following Stewardship policies relate to contexts in which serious incidents may arise


  1. Whistleblowing Policy
  2. Complaints Policy
  3. Social Media Policy
  4. Employee Handbook


Contact Information

  1. Stewardship’s Designated Safeguarding Officer(s) are Andrew Cusdin and Nicola Johnson, the Deputy Safeguarding Officers is Andy Lee.
  2. Stewardship’s Safeguarding Lead Trustee is Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee currently Edward Mishambi.

These individuals have access to the email inbox for reporting concerns, which are

[email protected]

[email protected]

If you are not comfortable with submitting your report via email to that address, please call 020 8505 5600 and ask to speak with the relevant person.


Publishing this policy

Stewardship will ensure that this policy is at all times publicly accessible on its website

Date of original policy: 9th June 2021

Last reviewed: 19th June 2024

Date of next review of the policy: June 2025


Glossary of terms used in this policy

Term Definition

There are various types of abuse;

  • Physical abuse – actual or potential physical harm perpetrated by another person e.g. hitting, shaking, pushing.
  • Emotional abuse - a harm that can affects your mental well-being. Although it doesn’t leave you with physical scars, it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem. Emotional abuse comes in many forms e.g. intimidation, threats, criticism, undermining.
  • Sexual abuse - is a general term for any type of sexual activity inflicted on a person by someone without willing, active, unimpaired consent e.g. unwanted sexual touch, sexual assault (rape).
Anonymisation The removal of identifying particulars or details from a report.
Child According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is anyone under the age of 18.
Disciplinary action Action taken by Stewardship for dealing with staff who causes problems or do not adhere company policies e.g. removing them from their job.
Domestic safeguarding legislation

Relates to the legislation that covers specific industries e.g. The Care Act 2014.


Due Diligence The reasonable care that Stewardship undertakes to avoid harm to people.
Exploitation Refers to the use of an individual for ones’ own benefit, gratification or satisfaction.
Harm Refers to a negative impact on an individual’s physical, emotional or behavioural health and well-being. Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation often lead to an individual being harmed.
Neglect Failure, either deliberate or through carelessness, to an act or series of actions or events which lead to harm.
Pseudonymisation The replacement of the most identifying fields within a database with artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms e.g. a name is replaced with a unique number.
Risk assess The action to investigate and evaluate the risks.
Safeguarding Describes the steps taken to protect people from harm, including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, and other people who come into contact with Stewardship and/or their partners. While safeguarding principally refers to the prevention of harm, it also encompasses practices to handle incidents and/or complaints.
Safety culture A definition as the way in which safety is managed in Stewardship. It is the combination of beliefs, perceptions and attitudes of employees toward the safety of workers and the overall safety of the work environment.
Spiritual Abuse Spiritual abuse is a form of emotional and psychological abuse. It is characterised by a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour in a religious context. Spiritual abuse can have a deeply damaging impact on those who experience it. However, holding a theological position is not in itself inherently spiritually abusive, but misuse of scripture, applied theology and doctrine is often a component of spiritually abusive behaviour .
Vulnerable People/Groups Those that are a heighten risk of being at harm, due to various circumstances e.g. age, frailty, ill health, disabilities.
Zero Tolerance Appliance of rules or penalties to even minor infringements of a code in order to reinforce its overall importance.