SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
‘A safe home is a happy home’ and ‘A safe workplace is a happy workplace’ are well-known expressions and thus it should follow that ‘A safe Church is a happy Church’. As Christians we are called to care for one another and it is right that we should make St Mary’s a welcoming environment open to all. As part of this we need to ensure we provide a safe environment for all our activities and that we look out for one another.
Safeguarding is preventative, i.e. providing a safe environment for everyone. All volunteers and employees who work with children and/or vulnerable adults are required to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, formerly known as a CRB check. All activities which take place at church or within the parish are required to have a risk assessment. The PCC has to agree to all new activities to meet the conditions of our insurance policy.
The Diocesan manual ‘A Safe Church’ provides policies, procedures and guidelines for all churches in the diocese to follow in relation to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults; also in responding to domestic abuse. A copy of this is held in the parish office and another in the upper vestry.
The diocese requires each parish to carry out an annual self-audit to indicate levels of compliance with the policies in ‘A Safe Church’. In March 2014 we submitted the second of these which was discussed at PCC. We also have to create an action plan for the coming year which was agreed at the PCC meeting on May 28th 2014. A copy of this is available at the back of the church.
Children: All those under 18 are defined as children. Procedures are in place for all children’s activities. Some leaders of Junior Church have attended safeguarding workshops in Wandsworth. St Mary’s has joined ‘’Safe network’, a joint venture between Children England and NSPCC, set up to support voluntary and community organisations and share good practice.
Vulnerable Adults: It should be noted that vulnerability may apply to any of us and is described as ‘a permanent or temporary reduction in physical, mental or emotional capacity brought about by life events, for example bereavement, previous abuse or trauma’. There are ongoing reviews of activities for vulnerable adults and risk assessments being carried out on all activities.
Recruitment: The Church of England and the Methodist Church set up a new joint policy in June 2013 for safer recruitment of both paid staff and volunteers in line with government requirements for faith communities. Southwark diocese is requesting all churches to work towards adopting the principles of this policy and its procedures for the recruitment, support and training of volunteers. The safeguarding team is working on this with team leaders.
Training: Diocesan training on Safeguarding has been completed by all clergy and SPAs. Some additional specialist training has also been undertaken by members of the safeguarding team. We are identifying training needs for our volunteers working with children and/or vulnerable adults and will then plan in-house training as required. On the morning of Saturday 11 October 2014 there will be a training session for all members of ministry team and PCC, network coordinators and all those working with children and vulnerable adults.
The Safeguarding team at St Mary’s is made up of three people:
- Libby Bradshaw, Parish Safeguarding Officer, also ‘eyes and ears’ for adults
- Asi Munisi, Parish Safeguarding Officer for Children
- Emily Standring, Parish Safeguarding Administration of DBS checks
If you have any queries or concerns in relation to this, however trivial they may seem, please contact me. Thank you. Libby Bradshaw