The Charity Retail Association has launched a new safeguarding scheme for charity shops that will allow them to display licences showing customers they conform to a minimum set of requirements.
The CRA, which is a membership organisation for UK charity shops, developed the Charity Retail Safeguarding Scheme in conjunction with the children's charity Barnardo’s.
Charities that join the CRA, which currently has about 400 members, can apply for inclusion in the scheme as part of their membership packages.
Last year, the Charity Commission's inquiry into Oxfam GB raised concerns about the safeguarding measures in place at its shops.
To receive a licence, charities will have to adhere to best practice on safeguarding in stores by putting in place a series of measures, such as providing Disclosure and Barring Service checks on staff and key volunteers and operating e-learning courses.
There are more than 233,000 volunteers in the charity retail sector. The CRA aims to strengthen confidence in the sector by encouraging charities to work towards a consistent set of principles.
Alex Angelakis, membership and events officer at the CRA, told Third Sector the organisation wanted to “get ahead of the curve” on safeguarding by creating a model of good practice.
Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said in a statement: “This scheme provides an excellent framework within which charity retailers can operate their safeguarding processes, taking a big step towards ensuring there is even more focus on keeping staff, volunteers and customers safe.
“The scheme can be operated by any charity retailer, whatever its size, and thus offers the possibility of real consistency across the sector in terms of its safeguarding practices.”
The initiative is based on the Licence to Operate scheme run by Barnardo's.
Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said that Licence to Operate had shown “a consistent and methodical approach can work very well in the charity retail sector”.
Khan added: “I am very pleased that we have been able to help CRA share our learning with the sector as a whole.”