Safeguarding statement for the year ending 31 March 2023


The Royal Society (‘the Society’) is committed to protecting from harm all people who benefit from the work of the Society including staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and other people who come into contact with the Society through its work.

Our organisation

The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, was founded in 1660 and incorporated by Royal Charter, and is a registered charity in England and Wales. The Society has two wholly owned subsidiaries, Royal Society Trading Limited and Royal Society (London) Ltd. Royal Society Trading Limited was dormant throughout the year ended 31 March 2023.

The Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. Fellows and Foreign Members from across the globe are elected based on the excellence of their science. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society.

As a national academy, the Society represents the UK and collaborates with international partners to advocate for science and its benefits. It provides authoritative and independent advice on matters of science that support the public good, including policies that promote excellent science and scientific issues that inform public policy. It also organises scientific conferences and public events, and publishes scientific journals.

Our commitment

Everyone who participates in activities at the Society, or run by Royal Society staff, is entitled to do so in a safe and enjoyable environment. Having safeguards in place within an organisation not only protects and promotes the welfare of adults and children but it also enhances the confidence of staff, volunteers, parents/carers and the general public.

The Society is committed to helping all staff and volunteers fulfil their responsibility to safeguard adults at risk and children from harm and abuse and to support them to do so. All these people have a Duty of Care to safeguard the welfare of children, and adults at risk, and prevent their abuse as outlined in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018)Safeguarding and protecting people for charities and trustees (2017), Care Act 2014 (updated 2018) and in accordance with the requirements of the Charity Commission

The Society’s policies and procedures specifically focus on:

  • making the welfare of children and adults at risk paramount. This means that the need to ensure these groups are protected is a primary consideration and may override the rights and needs of those adults working with them;
  • enabling everyone whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity to participate in activities in a safe environment; 
  • taking all reasonable steps to protect children and adults at risk from harm, discrimination or degrading treatment, and to respect their rights, wishes and feelings;
  • taking seriously all suspicions and allegations of poor practice or abuse and responding swiftly and appropriately to them in accordance with current procedures; 
  • ensuring that all Royal Society employees and volunteers who work with children and adults at risk are appropriate for that role and responsibilities, and are provided with relevant training; and 
  • ensuring that, as an employer, the Society is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation and to creating a culture of inclusivity where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

The Royal Society’s safeguarding commitment extends to a research culture where all involved with or contributing to Society-funded research activities are treated with dignity and respect. The Royal Society has no tolerance for exploitation, abuse, bullying or harassment of any kind, in any context, and believes that organisations that host researchers and activities funded by the Royal Society have a duty of care to safeguard all those involved in research against inappropriate behaviours, enabling all of them to work without fear.


The Society has reviewed its safeguarding policy in the year to ensure it meets all requirements and reflects best practice guidance.

There are a number of other relevant policies that govern the work of the Society, its trustees, staff and volunteers including:

  • Whistleblowing policy which encourages staff to report concerns; and
  • HR procedures which covers procedures from recruitment processes to anti-bullying policies.

All of the Society’s policies have a relevant policy owner assigned and are formally reviewed at least every three years. Changes in the landscape are continually monitored and policies are continually reviewed in this regard to ensure they remain effective and appropriate.


The Society has appointed Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) and team Safeguarding Champions, and relevant members of staff attend regular, relevant training sessions which include updates on regulatory requirements and provide examples of best practice. The Society’s safeguarding policy is available to all members of staff and volunteers employed by the Royal Society or engaged in Royal Society business.

All new joiners attend an induction session which includes information and training on relevant policies, which include measures to minimise the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking where appropriate. 


This statement has been formally approved by the Council members of the Society and signed on their behalf by Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, on 17 July 2023.