Safeguarding Policy

Key points

  • Safeguarding refers to the range of measures in place to protect people from harm, abuse or maltreatment. Safeguarding applies to both children and adults, and some groups may be more at risk than others.
  • Wellcome Collection has a responsibility to safeguard and protect our staff, and anybody who comes into contact with our work, from abuse or maltreatment.
  • Safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility and all staff must understand their role and how to respond when concerns are identified or raised, in accordance with this policy, the Wellcome Code of Conduct and the Wellcome Collection Staff Code of Behaviour.
  • When undertaking new activities, we make sure that safeguarding risk is appropriately assessed.
  • All disclosures, allegations or incidents of harm, abuse, or maltreatment must be reported to the Wellcome Collection Safeguarding Officers. Members of the public may do so by emailing: Safeguarding@wellcome.org.


Wellcome is committed to ensuring that anybody that comes into contact with Wellcome Collection or its work is safe and protected from abuse and maltreatment of any kind. At Wellcome Collection, this includes our staff and others that work with us, as well as children and adults. 

We recognise that we have a responsibility to provide safe environments for the children and adults that engage with us. This may be either in person or through digital forums: to see our exhibitions; collaborate with us; take part in events, school study days, youth projects or Hub residency activity; use the library at Wellcome Collection or visit our shop or café. This may be for one-off occasions or as part of more sustained relationships and engagements, including those led by our Youth Programme team and Research Development team. 

This means that we have a duty to safeguard both children and adults, and particularly adults at risk. For the purpose of this policy:

  • children and young people are defined as those under 18 years of age
  • adults are those over the age of 18 years. Adults at risk are those who are additionally in need of care or support, experiencing or at risk of abuse and (as a result of their support needs) are unable to protect themselves from harm or exploitation.

We consider that safeguarding is a fundamental part of our work and the way we conduct ourselves. This policy sets out our approach to safeguarding in line with our responsibilities under both our regulator, the Charity Commission, and national laws.

Who this policy applies to

Wellcome’s Board of Governors take ultimate responsibility for safeguarding within Wellcome Collection, and it delegates day-to-day responsibility to Wellcome Collection’s Leadership Team for taking all reasonable steps to ensure that it happens. 

All those within Wellcome have a role to play in protecting people from abuse or maltreatment. This policy therefore applies to all Wellcome staff that work at or with Wellcome Collection. This includes contractors, agency staff, freelance staff, collaborators, service partners and members of the Hub initiative (“Wellcome Collection personnel”), whether permanent or fixed-term, part-time or full-time. 

It applies all areas of Wellcome Collection’s public spaces and operations, including the library at Wellcome Collection and our digital forums, all of which are free of charge and openly accessible to the general public.


This policy is underpinned by our safeguarding principles, which reflect both our duties and responsibilities and our commitment to protecting people from harm.

  • Safeguarding is everybody’s business and our individual and collective responsibility.
  • All children and adults have a right to be safe from harm, regardless of their age, gender or gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious or other beliefs, disability or socioeconomic status. People may be at greater risk of abuse because of any of these characteristics.
  • Good safeguarding is person-centred, empowering, preventative, proportionate, protective and done in partnership with statutory, regulatory and other relevant organisations.
  • We require all organisations that we work with to ensure that their staff and operations are safe and promote welfare and wellbeing.
  • Equity, accessibility, diversity and inclusion, including our commitment to anti-ableism and anti-racism, are central to our values and practices and core principles of effective safeguarding.
  • To be effective, we must be transparent with our approach, accountable and committed to ongoing learning and improvement. Our processes will never restrict a person’s ability to make a complaint or to raise a concern with us.

Safeguarding standards

Wellcome holds itself and Wellcome Collection accountable to the standards in our Safeguarding Framework and we monitor our progress against them. Our standards set out a comprehensive system of protection and are represented through our three core pillars:


Our staff, and others working within Wellcome, uphold our responsibility to safeguard and protect from harm those who come into contact with our work. This is assessed from the point of engagement. Training is provided to promote an understanding of safeguarding, our wider values and the expectations that we all share.


Our work with people, whether direct or indirect, is safe and guided by policies and procedures that are embedded into Wellcome’s culture. We provide safe activities and operations and assess and reduce risk, including through Wellcome Collection as a public venue that engages audiences, our direct delivery and our funding. We respond to safeguarding concerns in a timely, transparent and supportive way.


We hold ourselves accountable to meeting both our safeguarding standards and principles. We do this through informed leadership and governance that give scrutiny and challenge. We provide a safe space for people to raise concerns and we continually monitor and review our safeguarding mechanisms to identify opportunities for improvement and for learning.

Roles and responsibilities

1. All Wellcome Collection personnel

All Wellcome Collection personnel, regardless of their role, have a responsibility to keep people safe from harm and complete all necessary training to make sure they are familiar with this policy and relevant procedures. All staff must comply with the Wellcome Code of Conduct, and Wellcome Collection’s Staff Code of Behaviour.

2. Wellcome Collection managers

Managers are responsible for promoting safeguarding awareness and making sure that they, and the staff that they supervise, are aware of relevant policies and procedures and that they complete relevant training. They must consider, assess and reduce safeguarding risk as part of their team’s work.

3. Wellcome Collection Safeguarding Officers

The Visitor Experience Managers are Wellcome Collection’s Safeguarding Officers and are a point of support, advice and guidance for Wellcome Collection staff on safeguarding. They must make sure that safeguarding incidents, concerns or allegations are reported appropriately and complete additional training relevant to their role.

4. Wellcome Collection Leadership Team

The Leadership Team has a responsibility to make sure that this policy is communicated to all Wellcome Collection personnel. They must also make sure that safeguarding is included, where appropriate, in strategic plans, risk assessments, communications and quality-assurance processes.

5. Wellcome Safeguarding Lead

The Safeguarding Lead is responsible for identifying and managing safeguarding risks across Wellcome and ensuring that policy and procedure is developed, managed and implemented effectively in order to protect people from harm. They are a point of advice, support and guidance to the Safeguarding Officers at Wellcome Collection.

6. Governors

The Governors are ultimately responsible for safeguarding. They must make sure that safeguarding people from harm is central to Wellcome’s culture and that risk is being effectively identified and managed in order to achieve this.

Safer working practices

Wellcome Collection content 

Our building and public content, including online, permanent and temporary exhibition spaces and our library, are regularly assessed for safety and safeguarding risks and content suitability. Where content has the potential to be considered upsetting or of a sensitive nature, this is clearly indicated to visitors. 

Groups booking either on organised tours or as self-guided parties are given our gallery guidelines. These make clear that Wellcome Collection is aimed at those over the age of 14 years and that some exhibition content may be less suitable for children or all adults at risk. We signpost such content around Wellcome Collection to support accompanying adults (for example, parents, teachers, carers or guardians) to determine if it is appropriate for those in their care. For large groups attending Wellcome Collection, such as schools, we encourage pre-visits to support their own risk assessment. 

Public events 

Our public events are routinely assessed for safeguarding risks. This assessment, and any steps needed to reduce risk, are communicated to all Wellcome Collection personnel working at the event. The suitability of content of public events is also assessed, and warnings made clear to all attending in advance, with restrictions on bookings for specific age groups considered where appropriate. Events targeted at families, or groups where children would be a primary audience, are run by personnel that have had training in accordance with this policy. 

Youth events 

‘Youth events’ at Wellcome Collection refers to the live programming designed for 14- to 19-year-olds, and includes on-site, off-site and digital activities. It also includes content produced and created for young people. All such projects are fully risk-assessed by Wellcome Collection and led by staff suitably experienced and trained in accordance with this policy. All Wellcome Collection personnel working in youth events are safely recruited, including Disclosure and Barring Service checks as appropriate. 

For youth events involving schools and other groups, we share risk-assessment advice and a link to this policy in advance. Extended projects with youth or community groups may involve the gathering of registration data for those under the age of 16 years, including emergency contact details, medical information, parental consent and any media or photography permission. Some work with children under the age of 16 years may require a license or permit, such as public performances, and we will obtain these in-line with our legal duties.

Digital safeguarding 

Wellcome Collection aims to create safe spaces online for people engaging with our work. We will not tolerate discrimination, bullying, harassment or any other unsafe online behaviours. In line with our Access, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, all potential participants’ needs are considered and planned for. We recognise that those with access needs may have barriers to engagement with online content that may impact upon their safety.  

All digital events and activities are assessed for Content, Contact and Conduct risks, and moderated and led by appropriately experienced facilitators, trained in accordance with this policy and delivered in line with our digital safeguarding procedures. 


Wellcome Collection may, for records or publicity purposes, take photographs or images within public spaces and exhibitions. Images of children under the age of 16 years, and adults at risk, will only be used where consent is obtained from a parent or accompanying adult. For other adults and for children over 16 years of age, their consent will be directly sought. Consideration will be given to whether it is still appropriate to inform parents of children aged 16 to 17 years that their image is being shared. 

Wellcome Collection personnel will endeavour, where reasonably possible, to ensure that other visitors do not photograph children or adults at risk that are not in their party, with suspicious behaviour reported to security staff and the Safeguarding Officers.

Responding to concerns

Upon Wellcome Collection personnel becoming aware of any disclosures or allegations about harm, abuse or maltreatment in connection with our work, they must be raised with Wellcome Collection’s Safeguarding Officers, or Wellcome’s Safeguarding Lead. 

Members of the public and others outside of Wellcome can raise safeguarding concerns with us directly by emailing Safeguarding@wellcome.org

All concerns and allegations, including those about Wellcome Collection personnel, are taken seriously, and we will act in line with Wellcome policy and our duty to make referrals to appropriate statutory agencies in order to safeguard children and adults. 

We fulfil our duty to report serious safeguarding incidents to our regulator and in line with our Statement on Reporting Serious Incidents to the Charity Commission. 

All records relating to safeguarding concerns, incidents or allegations are held in accordance with our Data Protection and Information Security Policy.

Monitoring and review

Wellcome Collection ensures that this policy, associated procedures and safeguarding risk assessments undergo regular monitoring and quality assurance against our Safeguarding Framework.

The Audit & Risk Committee is responsible for reviewing the effectiveness of actions in relation to safeguarding, any areas identified for improvement and any incidents reportable to the Charity Commission. Reports are presented to the Board of Governors on an annual basis.

This policy will be reviewed and updated at least annually, and sooner if there are significant changes that may impact upon it.