Skip to Content

Safeguarding policy

Borough Market’s policies for safeguarding children and adults at risk


The overall purpose of Borough Market is to provide a market as a public amenity for the benefit of the public. This means that the Borough Market is open to all.

This Policy is intended to:

  • Protect children, young people and vulnerable adults who benefit from the Market’s activities.
  • Provide staff, trustees and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding and child protection.
  • Provide a framework so that allegations or suspicions are dealt with appropriately.

Borough Market believes that a child, young person or adult at risk should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk and to keep them safe. We are committed to practices that protect them.


An adult at risk is defined as a person who has care and support needs and is, or is at risk of, being abused, exploited or neglected and unable to protect themselves against the abuse, exploitation or neglect or risk of it because of those needs. Children and young adults are defined as those under the age of eighteen.

The Care Act 2014 came into effect in April 2015 and replaced most previous law regarding adults at risk. The Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance 14.1 provides 6 principles for all adult safeguarding work which apply to all sectors and settings:

  • Empowerment: People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent.
  • Prevention: It is better to take action before harm occurs.
  • Proportionality: The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.
  • Protection: Support and representation for those in greatest need.
  • Partnership: Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.
  • Accountability: Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.

All staff and volunteers who may have contact with adults at risk will be made aware of the responsibility to follow these principles. This is reflected in this policy.

Borough Market charitable activities

Borough Market is a public open market and charitable trust. The Trustees are committed to providing a world leading food produce market whilst at the same time playing a leading role in the debate and education about food and its impact on society and public health.

The Market is one of the most famous and highest quality food institutions in the world and typically attracts around 21.5 million visitors per year.

The Market is made up of 117 food businesses offering ingredients and groceries as well as street food. Visitors experience a vibrant atmosphere full of sights and smells. The Market can get very busy, particularly at the weekends.

The Trustees of Borough Market also offer a series of physical and online opportunities for food lovers of all ages to learn to cook, shop and share their experiences of food. The Trust facilitates and delivers events and discussions both physically and digitally that further conversations around good food and sustainability. The Trust also works with partners to deliver programmes to support young people learning about food and tackling food waste, and hosts a successful Cookbook Club that brings together food lovers to enjoy and celebrate cooking.

The Trustees see their responsibility to share knowledge and engage in the debate about sustainability and ethical food production as fundamental to their charitable mission to run a market for the public benefit.  

The Trustees of Borough Market operate and are responsible for this policy.

This policy relates to the entire Market in both the physical and virtual / digital spaces. All of our activities are freely accessible to the general public.

Children and adults at risk visit Borough Market to shop for food, to attend events, school study days or youth projects, or to use our cafés and restaurants. The Market and our special events programme are aimed at visitors of all ages, but children under the age of 16 are welcome to visit the Market if they are accompanied by a supervising adult.

Our Young Marketeers programme, run in conjunction with charity School Food Matters (Registered charity 1134094) is open to school age children through a partnership with a group of schools in London and the southeast. Participating schools accompany their pupils throughout the programme.

Our Market Explorers programme is an online resource designed for Key stage 1 pupils and their parents. This series of digital booklets around food types provides only passive content or supervised interactions.

The Borough Market Cookbook Club is open to over 18s only, including adults at risk of all ages and abilities, through a membership scheme. The club is an interactive physical activity and also a series of digital events, where members share their experiences of cooking and their food experiences and interests.

We recognise that we have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for children and adults at risk who visit Borough Market or engage in any of our charitable activities.

This policy outlines the ways in which we aim to achieve this. The measures take into account the nature of the site which is open at all times to all members of the public. It also reflects on the nature of each visit which is mainly transient, where children and adults at risk are typically accompanied by a parent/guardian, teacher or carer. These visits to the Market, with the exception of the Cookbook Club and workshops, are not expected to build lasting relationships.

On the limited number of occasions where more interaction is envisioned, specific safeguarding assessments are created and are available to participants on request.

Organisational responsibility

We will make sure this policy is communicated to all Borough Market staff and Market traders. We will ensure all partner organisations using the site or online space and all event organisers, temporary or freelance staff, are aware of this policy.

We will ensure all Borough Market staff are aware of their responsibility to follow this policy and that those that work specifically with children or adults at risk are suitably and appropriately qualified and that appropriate disclosure and safeguarding checks have been carried out.

We will act upon any allegations of abuse against a child or an adult at risk. All staff and partners have a duty to report any suspicions or allegations of abuse to either the Managing Director or Chair of Trustees. We will ensure that the allegations are recorded and reported to Southwark Council’s Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub team at the earliest opportunity.

If a complaint is made against a member of Borough Market staff, we will investigate the complaint and take appropriate disciplinary action where appropriate. We will also inform the police and Southwark Council safeguarding team if this is deemed appropriate. We will describe the outcome of the investigation to the person making the complaint.


All Borough Market staff and delivery partners whose roles require them to interact closely with children or adults at risk are briefed regarding the contents of this policy and their obligations under it.

Our Young Marketeers programme is run in conjunction with School Food Matters, who

are required to ensure that only suitable staff, volunteers and freelancers are allowed to undertake work that brings them into regular contact with children. School Food Matters uses the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to assess the suitability of staff, volunteers and freelancers.

A full copy of School Food Matters safeguarding policy, under which the Young Marketeers programme is run, can be reviewed here:

Staff code of behaviour

Borough Market staff are required to comply with the staff rules and the requirements of behaviour in the staff handbook.

Safeguarding: Normal Operation of the Market

The Market is open six days a week for retail sales of street food, groceries and other produce. The Market is freely open to anyone and there are no controls on entry, outside capacity controls and a temporary set of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any practices by our staff or traders which could be upsetting to younger children or adults at risk are dealt with on a routine basis by our Market supervisory staff. Traders are encouraged to explain their practices through information or signage and are encouraged to stop and explain what is happening to those that may be concerned.

Borough Market sees its duty to illustrate and discuss the ethical and environmental merits of food production as central to its charitable mission, and regularly hosts debates and classes to highlight the issues surrounding areas such as animal husbandry, farming and sustainable fishing.

Accompanying adults and carers remain pivotal to determining the appropriateness or otherwise of the food production practices on view in the market.

As is common with other central London locations, Borough Market recognises the importance of working with homeless adults at risk. Our approach is to engage positively and signpost support services. We have a clear procedure for supporting homeless adults at risk who may be experiencing distress and work closely with partner third sector organisations offering outreach support to the vulnerable.

Market-wide risk assessments are carried out twice a year to identify health and safety risks that could cause harm to any visitor. This frequency has been increased to weekly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Controls are put in place to mitigate risks. In addition to this, individual risk assessments are carried out prior to any engagement activities and safeguarding and other mitigations put in place to limit risk.

Safeguarding: engagement activities

Entry to the Trust’s programme of community events is free of charge, both in the physical Market space and online. Only entry to specific classes/talks, Young Marketeers or Cookbook Club are via ticket or invitation.

Each activity in the Market is assessed and where any activities that could cause concern to children or adults at risk are identified, verbal and written warnings will be given out before the activity begins. In general all activities will include techniques commonly used in food preparation and cooking. The nature of the dishes are advertised well in advice so parents and carers are equipped to assess the appropriateness of the content.

If the activity is likely to contain content that is considered inappropriate for children or adults at risk, an age restriction will be placed on the event. These type of events are very rare in Borough Market.

Some events are specifically aimed at family groups, or at general audiences where children would be a key part of the audience. These will only be run by suitably qualified, experienced and trained people who has been briefed in accordance with this policy and our other relevant policies.

The risk assessment process for any larger-scale commercial event will be overseen by the staff member managing the event. Risk assessments will identify risks to all visitors, including children and adults at risk, and the associated control measures put in place to prevent injury or stress during the course of an event. No event will go ahead until these assessments and controls are in place.

Safeguarding: youth events

Our Young Marketeers programme, which is hosted in the physical Market space, is run by School Food Matters. All events are assessed for risk, focussing on prevention and minimising risk. School Food Matters put in place plans that safeguard the people using their services through processes which include:

  • Always working in an open environment, where possible avoiding private or unobserved situations;
  • Treating all young people fairly with respect and dignity;
  • Being an excellent role model for example, not smoking, drinking alcohol or eating unhealthy food in the company of young people;
  • Keeping a written record of any injury or incident that caused harm (including verbal attacks)


Photography is a key part of many visitors’ trips to Borough Market. The vivid colours of the food are very visually attractive, as are the general views of the Market infrastructure and environment.  Borough Market does not restrict photography for personal use, but our staff are trained to intervene where a photographer is taking photographs of a child aged below 16 or an adult at risk which is not part of the photographer’s party. All staff will report anyone acting suspiciously to the operations manager on duty.  

Borough Market staff will ensure that consent is received from the parent, carer or guardian of any child or adult at risk that features in its own photography for promotional purposes.


This policy will be reviewed as necessary as part of our ongoing risk assessment procedures. Training will be provided to Borough Market staff as appropriate in accordance with best practice.