Recent news reports have raised concerns about safeguarding in charities, which inevitably prompts questions about the organisations you might support, work for, or volunteer with.
We want to reassure you that at the British Heart Foundation, we take the safeguarding of our 26,000 staff and volunteers extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance approach to any behaviour that puts the welfare of our people at risk.
The highest standards of safeguarding
To ensure we deliver on our commitment to make the BHF a safe and rewarding place to work, we have extremely robust safeguarding procedures, which you can read about here.
We also have a confidential whistleblowing hotline and email service, which is continually promoted to all of our staff and volunteers, giving them a simple way to raise concerns anonymously.
We know that a vital element of any safeguarding strategy is recruiting people of good character. Our recruitment process for both staff and volunteers is comprehensive, and includes background checks, disclosure forms and two reference requests.
Some reports have questioned the use of DBS criminal record checks in charity recruitment. But none of our retail employees and volunteers are legally eligible for an enhanced or standard DBS check, although we are looking in to alternatives.
Like any organisation of our size, we can’t stop all issues arising in the workplace. But in the rare instances that complaints are made, we conduct a thorough investigation, which involves the Police or relevant local authority when it’s required.
A robust policy, continually reviewed
While we’re confident in our procedures, we’re never complacent when it comes to the wellbeing of our staff and volunteers and continually make improvements to ensure we’re maintaining the highest standards of safeguarding.
We are now carrying out a thorough review of our safeguarding policy and procedures to see if there are further improvements we can make. This includes looking in to if we can enhance background checks for the people we recruit and take on as volunteers.
Thank you for your life saving contribution
We hope this information has helped answer some of your questions, and shows that we are committed to being transparent on this issue. If you work or volunteer at the BHF and have concerns, we would urge you to speak out by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 0300 222 5868. If you are a customer or supporter please contact us by phoning 0300 330 3322 or emailing [email protected].
Again, we want to assure you that there is nothing more important to us than the wellbeing of our thousands of staff, volunteers and supporters. Thank you for your work and support. Without it, we simply wouldn’t be able to fund research that is today saving the lives of millions of people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK and worldwide.