As a deanery we are really determined that we hold the highest possible standards in the area of Safeguarding and I am grateful to Glenys Armstrong, the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, for the following checklist for every parish.
It can be quite difficult to state exactly what each church will need to do in order to comply with the guidance as each church may be different from the others in relation to what provision they make for children and vulnerable adults, what stage they are at in implementing the safer recruitment or training guidance etc. However, some key steps for all churches are:
- Ensure that you have appointed a parish safeguarding officer. A template role description is in the “Roles and Responsibilities” document.
- Check all of your roles that come into contact with children and vulnerable adults, to ensure that people have been safely recruited following the local guidance.
- Encourage everyone in any role in the church to complete the C0 training – you could do this by running a group session at the church. Talk to Vicky for a PowerPoint version of the C0 if internet access in the church is poor.
- Check that everyone who has a DBS check for their church role is signed up to the new C1/ C2 safeguarding training, (depending on their role) or has completed some in the past 3 years.
- Make sure that you have a parish safeguarding policy – there is a download for a simple one on the safeguarding pages of the Diocesan Website.
- Pin a copy of the National Safeguarding Policy “Promoting a Safer Church” to noticeboards, so that everyone can see it. You could have a “safeguarding” noticeboard, and add other information such as a Childline poster, a leaflet from Action on Elder Abuse, and some local phone numbers for people with concerns about mental ill health or domestic abuse for example, as well as the local policy.
- Ensure that safeguarding is a standing item on the PCC agenda. If there are no safeguarding concerns to report, use the agenda item to highlight a policy, training opportunities, or to have a discussion about how to improve local safeguarding arrangements.
- If you have a church hall or similar that you rent out, ensure that safeguarding arrangements are mentioned in the hire agreement – there is a template on the Safeguarding pages of the Diocesan website if it isn’t.
- Contact the Safeguarding team if you have any concerns about someone’s behaviour, about a child or vulnerable adult’s wellbeing, or if someone who has a conviction for offences against children or vulnerable adults is in or wishes to join your congregation, or for any other safeguarding concerns.
That will cover most of the things that are expected of a parish church and its clergy and officers from a safeguarding perspective. For the more serious (but far less frequent) situations, where for example someone with a conviction for child abuse wishes to join your congregation, if you contact us at the earliest opportunity we will guide you through next steps at each stage.