Safeguarding FAQS

These FAQs have been developed to support Safeguarding Officers and leaders. We’ve put together the most frequently asked safeguarding questions to make it easier for you to find the information most readily needed by our groups and districts.

See below a list of 15 clickable questions.

There is also printable version of the FAQ available here for download. 

If the question you wish to ask is not listed please email

What do I do if a child approaches me with a concern?

If a child discloses that they’re experiencing abuse or wish to report an incident that has occurred we would ask that you follow the steps set out below:

  • Listen and accept what is being said.
  • Make notes!!
  • Reassure the child as much as you can.
  • React to the conversation only as far as is needed for you to know whether a referral to Social Services is necessary.
  • Make it clear to the child what you have to do next and who you have to talk to.
  • Do not ask or allow the child to repeat anything to other staff.
  • Write up your notes in full, without throwing away any original notes. Include date, time, place, and any non-verbal behaviour the child displays whilst talking to you, for example moments of distress and when they occurred in the conversation.
  • If there is any bruising or marks noticed, draw a diagram to show where they are.
  • Follow our Safeguarding procedures – talk to the Local Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible.

For more information go to 'What to do if you're concerned about a child or young person?' in the safeguarding portal. 


What are the adult to child ratios?

  • 1 volunteer to every 3 Woodchips
  • 1 volunteer to every 5 Elfins
  • 1 volunteer to every 8 Pioneers
  • 1 volunteer to every 10 Venturers

The above adult to child ratios are based on Ofsted Out of School ratios. When considering the appropriate ratio for your activity, please consider risks as identified in the risk assessment. The support needs and experience of the children and young people you are working with, the level of experience of your volunteers and the environment you are in.


Can we have mixed age group dorms/tents? 

Our recommend practice regarding mixed age group is:

‘No person aged 18 or over should share a sleeping area or tent with any person under 18; this obviously does not apply to family groups. However, parental consent may be sought, as it would be more appropriate for a 16 or 17 year old to share with young adults than much younger children.’

We ask that you use your discretion and apply best practice where possible.

For more information go to 'Safeguaring Guidance' in the safeguarding portal.


Can children and young members sleep in a tent on their own? 

Usual practice would involve individuals sharing canvas in small groups, rather than individually.However in some circumstances in order to meet the needs of the individual lone camping is preferred.

If you do have a lone camper, consider how to make them safe e.g.

  • Positioning of the tent e.g. next to group leader/parent/removed from isolation
  • Giving them a device which they can use to call for help (whistle)

Our advice on tent sharing includes:

  • People should share with those of their choosing
  • Groups should not typically be mixed under or over 18s, unless they share a roof at home
  • Couples should not share, unless they share a roof at home


What activity can I be involved in before I've been vetted?

Adults who are helping on ad hoc basic or one off can be involved in Woodcraft Folk activity that does not involve an overnight stay. All adult volunteers should be encouraged to become members, they must read and be familiar with our Safeguarding policy and complete a Safeguarding declaration form.

Volunteers without a DBS and being supported by vetted leaders should not engage in the following activity:

  1. Left in the sole supervision of children
  2. Attend camps or residential events
  3. Supervise toileting or changing, personal care tasks – cleaning,
  4. Nappy changing
  5. Give medication


Where do I go if I wish to raise a concern about something I’ve witnessed or another adult’s behaviour?

  • You should not keep your concerns to yourself!!
  • You should contact your Group Leader or District Safeguarding Officer. Or you can contact the Woodcraft Folks Lead Safeguarding Officer at
  • See our Safeguarding Flow Chart in the Safeguarding portal


Who needs a DBS in my group/district?

All adults who are regularly (More than once a month, Intensively, more than four days in a month, Overnight or between the hours of 2am and 6am) helping out at group night or attending overnight stays should have a DBS. Only members with a DBS can attend camps or residential events, supervision of toileting or changing, personal care tasks – cleaning, nappy changing, giving medication.

See our ‘Vetting procedures – who needs a DBS or PVG’ guidance in the Members Screening section of the Safeguarding portal. 


Can my DFs lead a group? 

Yes, your DFs can lead group nights or take on a role of responsibility at camp. Consideration should be given on how you can support them to feel empowered to take on a leadership role within the group. They should be encouraged to have a DBS especially if they’re going to be helping out regularly.

Though it should be remembered that there must be a least two current Woodcraft Folk members over the age of 18 years present and engaged in the activity.

See our Safeguarding checklist in the 'Safeguarding Guidance' in the safeguarding portal.


What do I do if a concern is raised at a camp?

  • You should not keep your concerns to yourself!!
  • You should contact the Camps Safeguarding Officer, if you are unsure of who this you can speak to the Camp Coordinator or contact Folk Office.
  • See our Safeguarding Flow Chart in the Safeguarding portal.


How do I find out who my local safeguarding officer is?

All groups and districts should have a safeguarding plan available for volunteers to access either a paper copy on file, on a shared drive or available on request. The safeguarding plan should name the Local Safeguarding Officer for the district and their contact details. If this is not available you can ask staff at Folk Office at or your group leader. 


How do I manage alcohol and drug use on camp? 

Our guidelines do not permit, condone or tolerate any illegal behaviour by any person attending the activity, event, residential or camp. Woodcraft Folk activities should operate within the law.

  • No alcohol will be purchased for or supplied to any person or persons under the age of 18 at camp or Woodcraft Folk activity
  • The Woodcraft Folk does not tolerate, permit or condone the use of illegal substances at any of its events

See our Drugs & Alcohol policy which covers how groups & districts can manage the misuse of drugs or alcohol at their group nights, events and camps.


Do I have a legal obligation to report a concern?

Yes, we all have responsibility to safeguard the children in our care. 


How do I access training?

Woodcraft Folk offer both face to face training and online options. Dates of our upcoming face to face training dates are available at

Our online options available via the link above or the portal are:

  • Staying Safe webinars
  • Online Safeguarding module and quiz 
  • You can also contact your local council or volunteer centre to see if they offer free safeguarding training workshops.


Does Woodcraft Folk have a handy pocket guidance which can fit into my wallet and can be used at training events? 

Yes, our Safeguarding Pocket Guide can be found here on our website. 


Where is our safeguarding policy?

Is available on our Safeguarding portal. Click here