At St Paul’s Church, Coven we recognise that the few who are determined to harm children or adults, deliberately seek out groups or organisations where they can meet children or other vulnerable people. The Church is particularly vulnerable to these people. Creating and maintaining a safeguarding culture will discourage them from becoming involved for the wrong reasons and make it difficult for them to harm or abuse children or adults if they do.
To assist with the creation of a safeguarding culture each PCC (or equivalent charitable body) must:
At least one appropriately experienced designated Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) to work with the incumbent and PCC. This PSO should be a lay person. The PSO may also be the DBS administrator for church officers who work with children or vulnerable adults but if not, the PCC should appoint another individual. The PSO should be supported, trained and given a copy of the parish safeguarding policy and procedures; (see separate Model PSP role description)
Safer Recruit, Support and Train:
Ensure that all church officers who work with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults are:
- recruited following the House of Bishops’ Safer Recruitment practice guidance;
- aware of and work to House of Bishops’ safeguarding guidance (includes both policies and practice guidance);
- attend diocesan safeguarding training at least every three years;
Provide appropriate insurance to cover for all activities undertaken in the name of the PCC which involve children and vulnerable adults;
A formal statement of adoption of the House of Bishops ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement’. This should be signed on behalf of the PCC.
Contact details of the PSO, Churchwarden and any other local leaders.
Contact details for the Diocesan Safeguarding Team – including phone, email and website details.
Information about where to get help with child and adult safeguarding issues, domestic abuse and key helplines e.g. ChildLine (See separate ‘Model Safeguarding in parishes-who’s who’)
Provide access to a hard copy Parish Safeguarding Handbook (see separate Handbook)
Provide access to a hard copy of the Diocese Safeguarding Manual
Create an environment, which is welcoming and respectful and enables safeguarding concerns to be raised and responded to openly, promptly and consistently;
Have a procedure in place to deal promptly with safeguarding allegations or suspicions of abuse in accordance with the relevant policy and practice guidance and in consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser;
Report all safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser;
To ensure that known offenders or others who may pose a risk to children and/or vulnerable adults are effectively managed and monitored in consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser;
Comply with all data protection legislation especially in regard to storing information about the ‘church workforce’, including volunteers and any safeguarding records;
Ensure that an “activity risk assessment” is completed and reviewed regularly for each activity, which is associated with either children or vulnerable adults, and run in the name of the Church.
Review and Report Progress:
The PSO should regularly report on safeguarding in the parish. Safeguarding should be a standing agenda item at each PCC meeting. At the APCM the PCC should provide an annual report in relation to safeguarding. In the PCC’s annual report will be a statement which reports on progress and a statement as to whether or not the PCC has complied with the duty to have “due regard” to the House of Bishops’ guidance in relation to safeguarding.
Other points to consider:
Are you working in an LEP?
- If working within Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs), agree which denomination or organisation’s safeguarding policy to follow, including where to seek advice in urgent situations in line with the practice guidance. This decision should be ratified both by the bishop and other appropriate church leaders in the partnership and shared with the DSA; in the event of a specific safeguarding concern, ensure that all the LEP partners are notified.
Irrespective of this choice all abuse cases arising in Church of England settings must be notified to the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.
Hire out your church premises?
- Any hire agreement with any person/body wishing to hire church premises must contain a provision whereby the person/body hiring the premises agrees to comply with the relevant safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops and the diocese (see separate model Hire Agreement).
- The hire agreement should also contain a provision whereby all those hiring church premises are required to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are protected at all times, relevant staff have had appropriate DBS checks and that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent injury, illness, loss or damage occurring.
- Ensure that all those hiring church premises carry full public liability insurance for this or are covered through the church insurance (for example hire for a children’s party).
Do you have a clergy vacancy?
During an interregnum the PCC must, working with the churchwardens, ensure that all information about safeguarding matters is securely stored before passing the information on to the new incumbent. The departing incumbent must give the safeguarding information to the Parish Safeguarding Officer who can pass the information on to the new incumbent when he/she takes up his new role.
Support & Compliance
The measures identified in the list above will be checked during parish visitations and the documents referred to can be found on National website or Diocesan Website. If you have questions or need support to complete the steps on the checklist you can contact the DSA for further support and advice:
Diocesan Safeguarding Phone Number:
St Mary’s House 01543 306030
Diocesan Out of Hours Emergency 07530 748056
St Paul’s Parish Safeguarding Officer – 07944775164