Safeguarding of Children & Vulnerable Adults Policy
Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
The Diocese of Bristol aims to create communities of wholeness with Christ at the centre. The church communities need to be places where all are safe and protected from abuse, all can be healed and all can live life to the full.
With this in mind the Diocese of Bristol provides effective safeguarding training, support, advice and policies so that children, young people and vulnerable adults are safe from abuse in the life of the Church and their wellbeing is enhanced. Details of the policies can be found at: http://www.bristol.anglican.org/parish-resources/safeguarding.
The main guidance is “Parish Safeguarding Policy Guidance 2015” but there is a whole range of guidance notes covering ‘Safeguarding’ as detailed below. Revised national policies are due to be approved by the House of Bishops in May 2016.
Basic Safeguarding information:
1- What is Safeguarding?
2- Categories and definitions table
Diocese of Bristol Safeguarding policy:
3- Safeguarding Policy 2015
Managing Safeguarding allegations: against anyone with an official role in the Church:
4- Allegations management procedure
Diocese of Bristol safer recruitment information:
5- Safer recruitment guidelines
6- Recruitment of ex-offenders policy
7- Handling of disclosure information
Guidance for ministry with those that may pose a risk to others:
8- Ministering to those that may present a risk
Guidance and Advice on Parish responsibilities:
9- Parish safeguarding responsibilities
10- Role of PSO
11- Parish Safeguarding Policy guidance 2015
12- Church building hire agreements: safeguarding considerations
The current National Church of England Safeguarding policies and practice guidance can also be found on the same site. These documents contain practice guidance regarding running activities and personal responsibilities and behaviours which must be followed by all who work with vulnerable groups across the diocese.
This policy is compliant with the above policies / guidance notes but details how we will adopt / implement and maintain the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults at St Anne’s, Oldland.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) has adopted this policy so as to safeguard the physical, sexual and emotional welfare of children and vulnerable adults. It also seeks to provide the people who look after them with guidance for their own protection, in relation to all church activities.
Aims & Objectives
The aim of our work is to share the love of the Lord Jesus with all those entrusted to our care and to lead them into a deeper relationship with Him as their personal Saviour, Lord and Friend.
In doing this, we commit ourselves to the safeguarding of children and adults who may be vulnerable, ensuring their well-being in the life of this church.
We commit ourselves to promoting safe practice by those in positions of trust and the inclusion and empowerment of children and people who may be vulnerable.
This policy applies to all church related activities involving children and vulnerable adults plus their leaders and co-workers. However, it is the responsibility of each of us to prevent the physical, emotional, sexual, financial and spiritual abuse of children and vulnerable adults and to report any such abuse that we discover or suspect to the appointed representative.
Definition of a child - There is no single law that defines the age of a child across the United Kingdom. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the UK government in 1991, states that a child “means every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”
We recognize that everyone has different levels of vulnerability and that each of us may be regarded as vulnerable at some time in our lives. We may become vulnerable for a while and then less so through situational issues, ill health, disability or other causes.
Definition of a ‘Vulnerable Adult’ – “An adult who has needs for care and support and; is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.” Some adults will be at risk of harm but may not come under the definition above but they may still need support.
The PCC responsibilities regarding safeguarding can be found on the Diocese of Bristol website in the ‘Parish Safeguarding Responsibilities’ guidance notes. All PCC members should read the guidance notes and be aware of their ‘Safeguarding’ responsibilities.
Insurers and the Charity Commission require good safeguarding practice to be in place and in particular that safer recruitment practices occur. Parish compliance is monitored annually via the Parish Safeguarding audit.
Where a new activity or event is planned e.g. starting a new group involving children and / or vulnerable adults, the leader in charge of the activity / event must have read this policy which is on the Church Website (stanneschurcholdand.org.uk/church policies/safeguarding) to ensure the activity is set up according to best practice from the beginning. If helpers have to be recruited for the new activity / event then the PCC should refer to this policy when considering how many helpers need to be recruited to ensure safe working practice and how they will be recruited.
Nominated Person or Safeguarding Officer
The PCC will ensure that an independent safeguarding officer is, as reasonably as possible, available for children, vulnerable adults, leaders, parents or carers to speak with, if there are any welfare concerns.
Publicity suitable to identify this person to children / vulnerable adults (e.g. a photograph) will be provided within the church premises and on the church web site.
The Safeguarding Officer job description can be found on the Bristol Diocese website and the officer (s) should be aware and comply with the guidance detailed in ‘The Role of the Parish Safeguarding Officer’ and ‘Parish Safeguarding Policy Guidance 2015’. Currently, Karen Wilmot is the Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) for the children and Jan Parry is the PSO for vulnerable adults.
We undertake to exercise proper care in the appointment and selection of those who will work with children or people who may be vulnerable. An appointment procedure approved by the PCC will be followed for the engagement of all workers with children and vulnerable adults using the guidelines / policies as detailed under the Diocese of Bristol Safer Recruitment Policy. This will include:
Staffing / Ratio Levels
The leaders and helpers to child ratio will be observed and there should always be a minimum of two adults present for groups regardless of the size of the group. Specific ratios are recommended for the number of children / vulnerable adults to adults and it is necessary to be aware and plan for these levels. For mixed groups there will, whenever possible, be at least one male and at least one female adult. This also means that there should be two adults in any vehicle which is being used on behalf of the Church to transport children or vulnerable adults. Specific activities, for example, swimming, may require different ratios. N.B. There should always be two responsible adults present during contact with an individual child or vulnerable adult.
In line with Ofsted the following is recommended:
Twenty children with only two adults might pose a risk; even fifteen could be a problem. There may be a need for a higher ratio of adults to children if there are no other activities going on in the building at the same time.
In a crèche the specific ages of children and any special needs or circumstances should be assessed by the adult on duty at the beginning of each session and the warden notified. Necessary action should be taken if it is felt that the adults present would be unable to deal with the children in an emergency arises.
It is important to remember that one adult can only carry two babies at a time should the need to leave the premises in the event of an emergency arise!
Basic information on each child or vulnerable adult in a group should be available. A register of attendance should be kept for each session with a record of adult leaders and children / vulnerable adults present.
All premises used will be clean, having adequate space, heating, lighting and ventilation. For children, outdoor play space will be available for activities exceeding 4 hours. Drinks will be available and all food preparation and eating arrangements will comply with the appropriate hygiene regulations. Adequate toilet facilities will be provided. Provision will be made for dietary and other special needs.
All groups and activities will be covered by adequate liability insurance.
For external bodies hiring or using church premises our hire form provides a clear understanding that they have the responsibility for safeguarding for their own activities and events.
Health & Safety
A telephone will be available during all activities.
Leaders will be aware of any fire and safety procedures and are not permitted to smoke whilst caring for children.
Children or leaders with infectious illness must not attend activities and children.
Accidents and any action taken will be recorded in the accident book. A first aid kit will be available and no medication will be administered without written parental / carer’s consent. Parental / carer’s contact information will be maintained in addition to any other relevant information (e.g. asthma, allergies etc.) A register will be kept in case of emergency, which can be found in the Orchard Room Office.
All activities should adhere to St Anne’s Health and Safety policy.
The parish is committed to resourcing, training, supporting and regularly reviewing those who undertake work amongst children and people who may be vulnerable. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the PCC to ensure that coordinator’s / leaders and helpers have the opportunity to feedback about their work and identify any training needs.
Twice a year (January & July) the PSO’s will attend the Youth Team Meeting and ask for feedback and training needs. The Supervision Form will be completed so that a record of the meeting is kept in the PSO’s Safeguarding records.
The Parish Safeguarding Officers (Jan Parry & Karen Wilmott) will review this policy and related procedures at least once annually to ensure their continuing effectiveness. The PCC will be responsible for approving the policy in January each year.
After each review, the new policy will be uploaded to the Church Website. All Activity Leaders will be advised to review the policy and make the necessary changes to ensure that the activities being run are compliant with the new policy and procedures. If there are any problems in implementing the changes then the Activity Leaders will advise the PSO’s.
All ‘Safeguarding’ training records are updated and maintained by the PSO (Karen Wilmot) in accordance with the ‘Safeguarding’ Training Framework. The PSO (Karen Wilmot will highlight to the PCC where training is due /overdue.
With regards to the training requirements, these again can be found in the ‘Safeguarding’ Training Framework. However:
The PSO (Karen Wilmot) will publicise training to staff and volunteers, identify who needs to complete which course, log when the courses have been completed and identify the date that refresher is due. N.B. The Church of England ‘Safeguarding’ training framework sets required levels of training for all from March 2016. The PSO will also advise the PCC when further safeguarding training is available from the local authorities as this offers the opportunity to meet others involved in safeguarding locally.
Managing Safeguarding Allegations: against anyone with an official role in the Church
The Church of England has issued Practice Guidance “Responding to a serious Safeguarding Situation 2015”. This guidance must be complied with by all Diocese’.
However, there is a simplified version of the national guidance, deigned to be accessible and usable by all in the Diocese of Bristol. This can be found on the Website under ‘Allegations Management Procedures. Where additional detail is required, refer to the national guidance.
The procedure applies where a Church Officer has allegedly:
A Church Officer is anyone appointed by or on behalf of the Church to a role or post, whether they are ordained, lay, paid or unpaid.
This procedure may additionally be used where a safeguarding concern or incident has arisen on church premises or during a church activity.
It may be more appropriate to use the relevant complaints process where any allegation or concern relates to a practice issue and no harm or risk of harm has been presented to a child or adult who may be vulnerable.
People with Convictions
If it becomes known that any person in the congregation or attending any activity which is known to have a caution or conviction in their history that suggests that they may be a risk to others then the Diocesan guidance “Ministering to those that may present a risk” must be adhered to.
The PSO and the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser must be made aware of this information and the individual will be invited to enter into an ‘agreement’ with the church that they attend. If they attend more than one church more than one agreement may be needed.