Charities are being offered the chance to tap into years of legal experience and knowledge to ensure they are meeting legal obligations over issues such as safeguarding and data protection – better protecting both vulnerable people and themselves.
Solicitor Malcolm Johnson, who is based in Hudgell Solicitors’ Fleet Street offices in London, has more than 20 years’ experience in the specialist area of safeguarding litigation and supports many victims of abuse in civil compensation claims.
Mr Johnson says understanding the implications of the law over protection and safeguarding, and ensuring the right policies and procedures are in place, can prove difficult for charities in particular, many of which have no people with experience in the specific roles.
The recent introduction of new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws from the European Union, which contain provisions intended to enhance the protection of children’s personal data, brings new challenges for charity groups.
Mr Johnson regularly advises on safeguarding policies in relation to both children and vulnerable adults, and recently gave a seminar to a private rehabilitation hospital which looks after severely disabled adult patients.
He has also developed an expertise bringing claims on behalf of those aggrieved by data protection breaches.
Now, he is looking to help charities in need of advice, through short but helpful seminars, tailored to the needs of particular charities, and by conducting audits of charities’ policies should one already be in place to suggest amendments which need to be made.
Hudgell Solicitors keen to offer safeguarding legal support to charity groups
“Charities should have their own safeguarding policies and this is an area we at Hudgell Solicitors are keen offer support in,” said Mr Johnson.
“The very nature of charities means many are established to and run by people who have little or no experience of putting policies and procedures in place to not only protect the vulnerable people they come into contact with, but also themselves should any allegations be made.
“There needs to be set procedures to follow.
“As a firm we are committed to giving back to good causes and community groups, so to share our legal knowledge in a minefield such as safeguarding law is an ideal way. It helps us support some great charities which are doing wonderful work to support vulnerable people.
“The key is setting out what is required in plain language to help guide people through the legal maze.”
Mr Johnson says charities and organisations can find it difficult to handle allegations of abuse or improper treatment, especially if not all involved are aware of clear safeguarding policies.
He said: “Most safeguarding policies work on the basis that when an allegation of abuse is made, the organisation then has to decide whether to report the allegation to the police and social services
“Policies will usually warn against an organisation trying to investigate the veracity of the allegation itself and then deal with it “in-house”. This is too often the case when organisations try and protect reputations. The priority has to always be to protect those who may have been placed at risk.”
Mr Johnson is proud to support Coram Voice, which offers advocacy services to young people who are living in care or have recently left care, regularly helping advocates prepare and conclude complaints brought against local authorities.
His recently published book, “An Advocates Guide to Complaints in England” is now available at