Safeguarding Policy


St John’s Church Lemsford – Safeguarding Policy

The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 25th July 2022.

In accordance with the Church of England Safeguarding Policy our church is committed to:

  • Promoting a safer environment and culture.

  • Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the church.

  • Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation.

  • Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons.

  • Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons.

  • Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others.

 

The Parish will: 

  • Create a safe and caring place for all.

  • Have a named Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) to work with the incumbent and the PCC to implement policy and procedures.

  • Safely recruit, train and support all those with any responsibility for children, young people and adults to have the confidence and skills to recognise and respond to abuse.

  • Ensure that there is appropriate insurance cover for all activities involving children and adults undertaken in the name of the parish.

  • Display in church premises and on the Parish website the details of who to contact if there are safeguarding concerns or support needs.

  • Listen to and take seriously all those who disclose abuse.

  • Take steps to protect children and adults when a safeguarding concern of any kind arises, following House of Bishops guidance, including notifying the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (DSA) and statutory agencies immediately.

  • Offer support to victims/survivors of abuse regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred.

  • Care for and monitor any member of the church community who may pose a risk to children and adults whilst maintaining appropriate confidentiality and the safety of all parties.

  • Ensure that health and safety policy, procedures and risk assessments are in place and that these are reviewed annually.

  • Review the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Practices at least annually.

 

Each person who works within this church community will agree to abide by this policy and the guidelines established by this church.

 

We have appointed as our Parish Safeguarding Officers:

Ian Douglas                             01707 – 322135          (m) 07860 – 318148   isd1210@outlook.com

Mrs Jo Brooks (Deputy)          01707 – 256702          (m) 07768 – 158640    joholifield@gmail.com

 

                           Signed: Team Rector:  Fr Darren Collins

 

                                          Church Wardens:  Jenny Roden and Nigel Johnson


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PROMOTING A SAFER CHURCH

The Church of England’s Safeguarding Policy for children, young people and adults

Introduction

The care and protection of children, young people [the phrase 'young people'  means any individualaged 14 to 17 years old] and vulnerable adults [a 'vulnerable adult' means a person aged 18 or over whose ability to protect himself or herself from violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation is significantly impaired through physical or mental disability or illness, old age, emotional fragiliity or distress, or otherwise; and for that purpose, the reference to being impaired is to being temporarily or indefinately impaired] involved in Church activities is the responsibility of the whole Church. Everyone who participates in the life of the Church has a role to play in promoting a Safer Church for all.

This document sets out the safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adult’s policy of the Church of England. It has been informed by the Joint Safeguarding Statement between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, with whom we work jointly on many aspects of safeguarding policy on a covenant basis.  The Church of England safeguarding policy statement is based on 5 foundations and offers 6 overarching policy commitments:

  • Promoting a Safer environment and culture
  • Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the Church
  • Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation
  • Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons
  • Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons
  • Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others.

This policy applies to all Church Bodies ['Church Bodies' includes PCCs, diosesan bodies, cathedrals, religious communities, theological training institutions and the National Church institutions. This policy will apply to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications). There is also an expectation that the policy will apply to the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man unless there is specific local legislation in a jurisdiction that would prevent adoption] and Church Officers [a 'Church Officer' is anyone appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid]. Full understanding of, and adherence to, this policy should lead to a deepening in the understanding of, and respect for, the rights of children, young people and vulnerable adults as people of faith in the life of the Church.

Under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016, all authorised clergy, bishops, archdeacons, licensed readers and lay workers, churchwardens and PCCs must have ‘due regard’ to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops (this will include both policy and practice guidance). A duty to have ‘due regard’ to guidance means that the person under the duty is not free to disregard it but is required to follow it unless there
are cogent reasons for not doing so.
(‘Cogent’ for this purpose means clear, logical and convincing.) Failure by clergy to comply with the duty imposed by the 2016 Measure may result in disciplinary action.

This Policy Statement is supported by more detailed Practice Guidance and Reference documents which can be downloaded from: https://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-
holders/safeguarding-children-vulnerable-adults.aspx

Building on this, Church bodies may provide additional local procedures and guidance in line with the House of Bishops policy and practice guidance.

Safeguarding Policy Statement of the Church of England
The Church of England, its Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church.
  Safeguarding means the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture. This means we will promote the welfare of children, young people and adults, work to prevent abuse from occurring, seek to protect those that are at risk of being abused and respond well to those that have been abused. We will take care to identify where a person may present a risk to others, and offer support to them whilst taking steps to mitigate such risks.  The Church of England affirms the ‘Whole Church’ approach to safeguarding. This approach
encompasses a commitment to consistent policy and practice across all Church bodies, Church Officers and that everyone associated with the Church, who comes into contact with children, young people and adults, has a role to play.

The Church will take appropriate steps to maintain a safer environment for all and to practice fully and positively Christ's Ministry towards children, young people and adults; to respond sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm.

Foundations
In developing and implementing the Safeguarding Policy, the Church of England, is guided by
the following foundations.

1. Gospel
The Church is called to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. The life of our communities and institutions is integral to how we address this task. The good news speaks of welcome for all, with a particular regard for those who are most vulnerable, into a community where the value and dignity of every human being is affirmed and those in positions of responsibility and authority are truly trustworthy. Being faithful to our call to share the gospel
therefore compels us to take with the utmost seriousness the challenge of preventing abuse
from happening and responding well where it has.

2. Human Rights and the Law
The Church recognises the personal dignity and rights of all children, young people and adults, as enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998 and the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  Safeguarding work is undertaken within a legislative framework supported by government guidance which sets out a range of safeguarding duties, responsibilities and best practice.

3.Core Principles
The following key principles underpin the Church’s approach to safeguarding practice:

  • The welfare of the child, young person and vulnerable adult is paramount [In the event of any perceived or potential conflict of interest the welfare of any children and young people involved will always take precedence over all adults.]
  • Integrity, respect and listening to all;
  • Transparency and openness;
  • Accountability;
  • Collaboration with key statutory authorities and other partners;
  • Use of professional safeguarding advice and support both inside and outside the Church;
  • A commitment to the prevention of abuse;
  • The active management of risk;
  • Promoting a culture of informed vigilance;
  • Regular evaluation to ensure best practice.

4. Good Safeguarding Practice
The following key features [these are based on Safe from Harm Home Office, 1993, and the statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004] will help Church bodies [it is ackknowledged that the level and depth of arrangements that meet these key features will be dependent on the size and resources available to an individual church body] to promote and maintain a safer culture that protects and promotes the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

These features are :

  • A leadership commitment, at all levels, to the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults;
  • A safeguarding policy available to Church Officers ;
  • A clear line of accountability within the Church for work on safeguarding;
  • Clear reporting procedures to deal with safeguarding concerns and allegations;
  • Clear roles for Church Officers;
  • Practice and services informed by on- going learning, review and by the views of children, young people, families and vulnerable adults;
  • Safer recruitment procedures in place;
  • Clear arrangements for support and/or supervision;
  • Safeguarding training for all Church Officers working with or in contact with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults ;
  • Effective working with statutory and voluntary sector partners;
  • Publicly advertised arrangements for children, young people and vulnerable adults to be able to speak to an independent person, as required;
  • Complaints and whistleblowing procedures that are well publicised;
  • Effective information sharing;
  • Good record keeping.

5. Learning from the past

In the July Synod 2013 Archbishop Justin Welby stated: “The reality is that there will always be people who are dangerous and are part of the life of the Church. They may be members of the congregation; we hope and pray that they will not be in positions of responsibility, but the odds are from time to time people will somehow conceal sufficiently well. And many here, have been deeply affected, as well as the survivors who have so rightly brought us to this place. Many other people here have been deeply affected and badly treated. So we face a continual challenge and reality. ... There has to be a complete change of culture and behaviour.

And in addition, there is a profound theological point. We are not doing all this, we are not seeking to say how devastatingly, appallingly, atrociously sorry we are for the great failures there have been, for our own sakes, for our own flourishing, for the protection of the Church. But we are doing it because we are called to live in the justice of God, and that we will each answer to Him for our failures in this area. And that accountability is one that we must take with the utmost seriousness.”

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York wrote in their joint forward to 'Safeguarding: Follow-up to the Chichester Commissaries' Reports', June 2013:
We cannot overestimate the importance of responding appropriately today. Sadly for many this comes far too late. History cannot be rewritten, but those who still suffer now as a result of abuse in the past deserve this at least, that we hear their voices and take action to ensure that today’s safeguarding policies and systems are as robust as they can be. This work is an essential and prior Gospel imperative, for any attempts we make to grow the Church, to seek the common good, and to reimagine the Church’s ministry.”

The statutory reports and independent reviews into abuse that have involved the Church of England and other faith organisations highlight past errors and significant lessons to be learnt to improve safeguarding.  As a Church we continue to commit to a journey of truth, healing, learning and abuse prevention.


Policy Commitments

Based on the foundations outlined above the Church of England commits to:

1. Promoting a safer environment and culture

All Church Officers will respect all children, young people and vulnerable adults and promote their well-being.

The Church will strive to create and maintain environments that are safer for all, that promote well-being, that prevent abuse, and that create nurturing, caring conditions within the Church for children, young people and vulnerable adults. It will work to continue to strengthen and review these environments. This will be done by training, support, communication, learning, governance and quality assurance processes.

The Church will strive to support all Church Officers to adhere to safer working good practice and to challenge the abuse of power. It will ensure that processes are in place that listen to and advocate on behalf of children, young people and vulnerable adults within the knowledge that they will be cared for.

2. Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children and vulnerable adults within the Church

The Church will select and vet all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the Church, in accordance with the House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance.

It will train and equip Church Officers to have the confidence and skills they need to care and support children, young people and vulnerable adults and to recognise and respond to abuse.  This will be done by supporting the roll-out of consistent and accessible safeguarding training in accordance with House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance.

3. Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation

Anyone who brings any safeguarding suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation of current or non-current abuse to the notice of the Church will be responded to respectfully and in a timely manner, in line with statutory child and adult safeguarding procedures and the House of Bishops safeguarding policy and practice guidance.

All safeguarding work will be recorded in line with the House of Bishops safeguarding practice guidance.

All suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations, that reach the threshold for reporting to the statutory authorities, will be reported via the diocesan safeguarding adviser or designated safeguarding adviser/officer in another church body to the appropriate statutory authorities.  This will be done irrespective of the status of the person.

All Church Officers will cooperate with the statutory authorities in all cases.

In responding to concerns or allegations of abuse relating to Church Officers, the Church will act in accordance with the requirements of criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law, and so will respect the rights and uphold the safeguards afforded in these, both to the victim/survivor and the subject of concerns or allegations.

4. Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons

The Church will endeavour to offer care and support to all those that have been abused, regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred.

The Church is committed to continuing to learn how to respond in a supportive and healing way to the needs of those who have suffered abuse.

Those who have suffered abuse within the Church will receive a compassionate response, be listened to and be taken seriously. The Church will respond to any disclosure of abuse in accordance with House of Bishops policy and practice guidance. This will be done in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies in accordance with criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law. They will be offered appropriate pastoral care, counselling and support - according to the agreed need.

An appropriate pastoral response to the family, parish, congregation or order will be considered, with due regard to the right of privacy of those directly involved, and to the administration of justice.

5. Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons

The Church in exercising its responsibilities to suspicions, concerns, knowledge or allegations of abuse will endeavour to respect the rights under criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law of an accused Church Officer including the clergy. A legal presumption of innocence will be maintained during the statutory and Church inquiry processes. As the process progresses additional assessment, therapy and support services may be offered.

The Church will take responsibility for ensuring that steps are taken to protect others when any Church Officer is considered a risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults. This will be done by working to mitigate any identified risks according to a safeguarding agreement.

Church Officers who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse belong to families, congregations and church communities. The Church will be mindful of the need to provide support to members of families, parishes and congregations affected by the Church Officers in such situations.

6. Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others

The Church, based on the message of the gospel, opens its doors to all. It will therefore endeavour to offer pastoral care and support to any member of the church community whom may present a known risk.

The Church will ensure that any risk has been assessed and is being managed in a safeguarding agreement in accordance with House of Bishops policy and practice guidance.  This will be done in collaboration with the relevant statutory agencies in accordance with criminal, civil and ecclesiastical law.


Putting the policy into action

All parts of the Church of England must adopt or take account of this Policy Statement within their own safeguarding policy [A shortened 'at a glance' version of this Policy Statement will be prepared for Parish, Dioceses, Cathedrals and other church bodies and be available on the national website]. The Policy Satement must actively underpin all safeguarding work within the Church and the drive to improve safeguarding practice. All Church bodies
should ensure that:

  • All Church Officers have access to this Policy Statement [This may be access to a Parish or Diocesan website and/or a hard copy A4 Policy statement];
  • The Policy Statement is promoted and publicised;
  • The Church’s safeguarding message is communicated as reflected in the policy;
  • They have a “Promoting a Safer Church” action plan in place that sets out, in line with national and local priorities, how the policy is being put into action and is reviewed regularly.


Latest versions of the Church of England’s Safeguarding documents can be found here:  https://www.churchofengland.org/clergy-office-holders/safeguarding-children-vulnerable-adults/national-policy-practice-guidence.aspx


If you are concerned that someone you know is at risk of, or is being abused, or presents a risk to others please seek advice from a Safeguarding Adviser or if necessary report the matter to the Local Authority Social Care Services or the Police without delay.


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St John’s Church, Lemsford

Ex-Offenders Recruitment Policy

 

• As an organisation assessing applicants’ suitability for positions which are included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order using criminal record checks processed through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), we comply fully with the code of practice and undertake to treat all applicants for positions fairly.

• We undertake not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a criminal record check on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed.

• We can only ask an individual to provide details of convictions and cautions that we are legally entitled to know about. Where a DBS certificate at either standard or enhanced level can legally be requested (where the position is one that is included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 as amended, and where appropriate Police Act Regulations as amended), we can only ask an individual about convictions and cautions that are not protected.

• We are committed to the fair treatment of our staff, potential staff or users of our services, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, responsibilities for dependants, age, physical/mental disability or offending background.

• We will make this policy available to all DBS applicants at the start of the recruitment process.

• We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records.

• We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.

• An application for a criminal record check is only submitted to DBS after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a criminal record check is identified as necessary, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that an application for a DBS certificate will be submitted in the event of the individual being offered the position.

• We ensure that all those in the parish of St John’s Lemsford who are involved in the recruitment process have been suitably trained to identify and assess the relevance and circumstances of offences. We also ensure that they have received appropriate guidance and training in the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders, e.g. the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

• At interview, or in a separate discussion, we ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment.

• We make every subject of a criminal record check submitted to DBS aware of the existence of the code of practice and makes a copy available on request.

• We undertake to discuss any matter revealed on a DBS certificate with the individual seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.

 

This policy was approved by the Parochial Church Council of St John’s Church Lemsford on 25th July 2022, and will be reviewed on a regular basis.


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Statement on Domestic Abuse

All forms of domestic abuse are wrong and must stop. At St John’s Church, we endorse the Diocesan Statement that we are committed to promoting and supporting safer environments which:

·         ensure that all people feel welcomed, respected and safe from abuse;

·         work to protect those experiencing domestic abuse;

·         recognise equality amongst people and within relationships;

·         refuse to condone any form of abuse;

·         enable and encourage concerns to be raised and responded to openly and consistently.

We recognise that:

·         all forms of domestic abuse cause damage to the survivor and express an imbalance of power in the relationship;

·         all survivors (regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity) have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse;

·         domestic abuse can occur in all communities;

·         domestic abuse may be a single incident, but is usually a systematic repeated pattern which escalates in severity and frequency;

·         domestic abuse, if witnessed or overheard by a child, is a form of abuse by the perpetrator of the abusive behaviour;

·         working in partnership with children, adults and other agencies is essential in promoting the welfare of any child or adult suffering abuse.

We will respond to domestic abuse:

In all our activities by –

valuing, listening to and respecting both survivors and alleged or known perpetrators of domestic abuse, whilst appreciating the need to ensure a distance is kept between the two and refusing to condone the perpetration or continuation of any form of abuse.

In our publicity by –

raising awareness about other agencies, support services, resources, and expertise, through providing information in public and women-only areas of relevance to survivors, children and alleged or known perpetrators of domestic abuse.

When concerns are raised by –

·         ensuring that those who have experienced abuse can find safety and informed help;

·         working with the appropriate statutory bodies during an investigation into domestic abuse, including when allegations are made against a member of the church community.

In our care by –

ensuring that informed and appropriate pastoral care is offered to any child, young person or adult who has suffered abuse;

identifying and outlining the appropriate relationship of those with pastoral care responsibilities with both survivors and alleged or known perpetrators of domestic abuse.

 

We are committed to reviewing our policy and procedures regularly. March 2022

 


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St John’s Church Lemsford

Safeguarding Provision to be attached to any Hire of Church Premises Agreement

The Parochial Church Council of St John’s Lemsford Parish Church has a Policy for Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults. A copy is attached. Your booking agreement is conditional upon you complying with it unless you already have an equivalent policy of your own.

 

You are required to ensure that children, young people and vulnerable adults are protected at all times, by taking all reasonable steps to prevent injury, illness, loss or damage occurring; and that you carry full liability insurance for this.

 

In particular this means that:

·         you will comply with the attached good practice guide with children and young people or vulnerable adults unless you already have an equivalent;

·         you will provide the church with a copy of your organisation’s Safeguarding Policy/ies or if you do not have one adopt the current parish policy;

·         you will recruit safely all current paid and voluntary workers who work with children and/or vulnerable adults, by obtaining satisfactory disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service where eligible, and keeping records of dates and disclosure numbers indefinitely;

·         you will keep a list of the names of all paid and voluntary workers with regular and direct contact with children/vulnerable adults , and update it annually;

·         you will always have at least two leaders over the age of 18 years in any group of children and young people, no matter how small the group;

·         no person under the age of 18 years will be left in charge of any children or young people of any age;

·         no child or group of children or young people should be left unattended at any time;

·         a register of children, young people or vulnerable adults attending the activity will be kept securely. This will include details of their name, contact details of parent/guardian/carer etc., date of birth and next of kin;

·         you will immediately (within 24 hours) inform the Parish Safeguarding Officer of:

·               (a) the occurrence of any incidents or allegations of abuse or causes of concern relating to members or leaders of your organisation, and contact details for the person in your organisation who is dealing with it

·               (b) any known offenders against children or vulnerable adults seeking to join your membership, and manage such allegations or agreements with offenders in co-operation with statutory agencies, and with the church.

 

The Parish Safeguarding Officer for St John’s Lemsford Church is:

Name: Ian Douglas  E-mail: isd1210@outlook.com Tel. No: 07860 318148

                                    

Declaration

I agree to abide by appropriate safeguarding procedures. I understand that my booking agreement may be terminated in the event of my failing to comply with these procedures.

 

Signed ………………………………………………… Designation ……………………………

 

Organisation ………………………………………….. Date ……………………………………

 

Please sign two copies, one to be retained by the church, and one by the organisation



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Promoting a safer church