Case Studies


A registered charity, Catholic in origin and Christian in ethos which is dedicated to the relief of poverty.  The core work of this Society is local befriending which is undertaken by 10,000 voluntary members across England and Wales, whilst a range of projects meet specific needs in the wider community.

Members of the charity visit those identified as in need either in their own homes, in residential homes, in prison or in hospital.  Members may also organise events such as day trips or parties for those in need and often provide lifts to Church shops, hospital and other places.  The Society operates a number of other projects including two residential homes for vulnerable adults, two approved premises, a residential holiday centre, two support centres, 25 community shops, 14 furniture shops and a number of children’s summer camps.

The Challenge

No one had ever been employed by the Society with sole and specific responsibility for safeguarding. The Society recognised that it needed dedicated support to ensure that safeguarding policies and procedures were in place and that all members and staff adopted safeguarding best practice.

The Society needed the following key deliverables:

  • To issue society wide safeguarding policies and procedures
  • To devise a safeguarding training strategy and resources
  • To commence delivery of training within agreed timescales
  • To visit and audit all associated projects
  • To achieve 100% CRB disclosures by an agreed date

The Athena Solution

We worked with The Society for two years making them a safer organisation, providing a vast range of safeguarding consultancy and training at all levels, including the writing and publication of a policy and a range of procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, the introduction of a safeguarding champions model and named safeguarding leads. We integrated a long term training strategy including a cascade model to deliver training to all levels from volunteers to Board of Trustees.

To familiarise ourselves with all aspects of The Society’s work we have taken time to attend National and local dioscean meetings, visited Special Projects, and Conference activity in order to obtain the widest perspective of the organisation’s safeguarding requirements.

We also provided advice on safer recruitment policies, developed a new safeguarding structure, provided Consultancy Safeguarding advice and an independent voice on The Society’s Safeguarding Implementation group. We provided an independent link between The Society and its umbrella organisation the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS), delivered a Train the Trainers Safeguarding course for Children’s Camp Leaders, developed roles and responsibilities for Safeguarding Officers and Named Safeguarding Leads. We designed and developed a Children’s Camps Resource Pack, provided safeguarding items and updates for The Society’s newsletters and other publications, delivered training for Safeguarding Officers; identified natural links between Safeguarding and Health and Safety to prevent duplication for members. We carried out audit/support visits to monitor compliance with the new safeguarding procedures, gave advice to The Society’s Youth wing on Facebook management, introduced the concept of Safeguarding Posters, and designed a project safeguarding self audit and assessment tool with a view to offering support visits.

The Outcome

Elizabeth Palmer CEO said: The SVP contracted Athena consultancy to help with the establishment and implementation of robust safeguarding procedures and policies, as well as developing a safeguarding infrastructure to ensure effective management of safeguarding issues. Athena was also asked to provide professional advice in response to real time incidents. Of particular value was the bespoke training to diverse internal customers and the implementation of a safeguarding audit programme. The engagement of Athena enabled the SVP to move forwards in this critical area, providing the foundation for effective organisational learning and professionalisation.

Athena has helped the Society get to where it now is and I would like to thank you for all the work you have done with us. I would especially like to commend Lisa who succeeded in building a rapport with the members at the events she attended.