EALING TRINITY CIRCUIT
KINGSDOWN METHODIST CHURCH
POLICY and PROCEDURES REGARDING THE SAFEGUARDING OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of male and female in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this 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 Methodist Church recognises that at some time or another we are all vulnerable but that there is a particular care for those whose vulnerability is increased by situations, by disabilities or by reduction in capacities. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity, and the church seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or maybe unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
It is the responsibility of each person to protect children, young people, and vulnerable adults from the four categories of abuse:
- physical abuse
- sexual abuse
- emotional abuse
and to affirm, encourage and support those working with them.
This policy was agreed at a Church Council held on 3 November 2011.
Kingsdown Methodist Church seeks to safeguard people of all ages involved in church events and activities and to encourage churches actively to promote policies to ensure that all are safeguarded in the day to day life of the church.
Kingsdown Methodist Church appoints Sybil Corbin as the Safeguarding Children & Vulnerable Adults Coordinator (known as the Safeguarding Co-ordinator) and supports them in their role which is to:-
- support and advise the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles;
- keep their own safeguarding training up to date in order to provide a point of reference to advice on safeguarding issues;
- liaise with circuit and district safeguarding coordinators;
- promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of the ministers;
- ensure people working with children and vulnerable adults attend relevant training within one year of starting their work.
Good Practice and Procedures
We believe good practice means that:
- All people are treated with respect and dignity. Children and young people with disabilities will not be regarded in a different way within the church context when abuse is suspected. In the case of any person with specific special needs, advice should be sought from the relevant agencies.
- Copies of the church safeguarding policy and the phone numbers for confidential children’s services should be displayed prominently in those parts of the premises where young people’s activities take place.
- Any church-organised transport for children or vulnerable adults should be checked to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escorts are appropriate.
- Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential. The church council will actively consider the extent to which the church is succeeding in this area.
- Nobody acting on behalf of the church is to meet or work alone with a child or young person where the activity cannot be seen, unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons. In such cases a written note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of meeting.
- The church premises will have been assessed for the safety of children within the Health & Safety Risk Assessment for Schedule A and the written report given annually to the church council. This will include fire safety procedures. The church council will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.
- Adults should not make arrangements to meet children or young people off church premises without the agreement of the parent or carer.
- When events take place off the premises, adequate staffing will be ensured for such events, together with parental consent. Notification of the event will be given to the Church Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
Appointment of people who work with children and young people in a voluntary or paid capacity.
- New workers must agree to an Enhanced CRB disclosure.
- No person who has been convicted of or has received a simple or conditional caution from the police concerning an offence mentioned in the First Schedule of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1993 shall undertake work with children or young persons in the life of the church.
- No person who has been convicted of or has received a simple or conditional caution from the police concerning sexual offences against children shall be appointed to any office, post or responsibility or engaged under any contract to which this sub-clause applies unless authority for the appointment or employment has been obtained under S.O 010(5).
- Officers of organisations which undertake their own CRB registration should confirm to the church Safeguarding Coordinator when this has been completed, and a record kept by the Safeguarding Coordinator of the names of those with an enhanced disclosure.
- Appointments are subject to interview by persons experienced in working with children and young people.
- Adequate references from appropriate sources for childcare work will be taken up.
- All workers should have completed Safeguarding Form A (Appendix 4)
- All workers with children must agree to take basic child protection training within the first year of appointment.
- Training in working with children, i.e. the Core Skills programme or equivalent should be undertaken and any other training seen as necessary.
- The Church Safeguarding Coordinator must ensure that the above things are done and the records are kept up to date, and are safely stored.
Appointment of pastoral visitors and others whose role brings them into sole contact with vulnerable adults
All pastoral visitors should attend training to make themselves aware of their safeguarding responsibilities when working with vulnerable adults. This will help pastoral visitors to protect themselves as well as the vulnerable adult. People who undertake home visits as part of their church work should also be CRB checked and complete Safeguarding Form C.
Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
- A leaflet will be produced and reviewed annually to be given to each worker with vulnerable adults outlining good practice and systems. The leaflet will be reviewed annually with this policy. [Church Councils may produce their own material or use appropriate Connexional leaflets].
- Each worker with children and young people should be given a copy of the circuit policy. Other registered church officers should have access to the policy and procedures and be made aware of its contents.
- Declaration Safeguarding Forms C and D for key holders should be signed by all holders of office in churches, that is :-
- Those with lone access to church premises
- Members of the Church Council
- Those with duties as representatives of the church, i.e. mini bus drivers
- Worship leaders
- Organist, pianists and choir leaders
- Pastoral visitors and class leaders
Recognition of and dealing with suspected abusive situations
- Anyone suspecting abuse must report it to the church’s Safeguarding Coordinator, or to the minister, unless an allegation concerns that person, in which case it must be reported to their superior. If in doubt, speak to the circuit safeguarding coordinator.
- The person receiving the report will decide whether it needs to be referred to the statutory services, i.e. Social Care and / or the police.
- The superintendent minister must be advised that a referral has been made.
Recording and Confidentiality
- Workers must report and record any incidents concerning the welfare of a child or young person or vulnerable adult. A sample form is attached to this policy. See appendix 4.
- It is important to record all information received, which should be taken seriously. Workers must not themselves investigate cases of suspected abuse. The duty of a person working with children, young people or vulnerable adults is to prevent abuse and to report any abuse discovered or suspected.
- The normal rules applicable to confidentiality should be waived in the best interests of the child, young person or vulnerable adult, although matters should only be discussed on a need to know basis. See Conference Report ‘With Integrity and Skill’.
- It must be explained to anyone disclosing abuse that absolute confidentiality cannot be maintained – that there are some secrets that must be shared with those who need to know.
- Careful consideration should be given and advice sought on what information relating to child protection issues it is appropriate to pass on when families move to other churches, both the data protection act and the human rights act should be observed. A detailed procedure for the exchange of information between agencies regarding Schedule 1 offenders already exists (persons who have been convicted of certain offences against a child or young person).
Health and Safety requirements
- All leaders of activities with children should take the safety of both children and adult helpers into account when doing the risk assessment for that activity.
- Following the assessment, leaders must ensure that physical hazards are minimized. This would include ensuring that furniture and equipment are safely stored.
- The behaviour of children and young people must be supervised so they do not endanger themselves and others. Therefore it is important to have the right adult to child ratio.
- For every activity involving children and young people, whether on or off the church premises, there must be at least two adult workers with each group.
- Parents and carers must be responsible for the arrangements for children and young people to attend and leave an activity on church premises. For activities off the premises, use the’ Ealing Trinity Residential Events, Day Camps etc away from Home’ form (see appendix 4) to give details of arrangements to parents about where and when adult workers will take up and cease responsibility for the children and young people. The attention of parents should be drawn to travel arrangements that involve a lone adult worker driving children and young people. Parents must give their consent to these arrangements.
- Sound Health & Safety arrangements; written information for parents and carers; appropriate consent forms; all these aspects of good practice in leading youth groups will assist in reducing the risk of child abuse. Examples of suitable forms are included in this document in appendix 4.
Requirements by the church as landlord for users of Methodist premises.
- Attention must be drawn to those hiring the church premises for any activity, to the ‘Methodist Church Policy on Safeguarding’, and the appropriate declaration form signed by the hirer and kept with other safeguarding records.
- Groups who work directly with children must produce their own Safeguarding Policy and Training Logs. Copies of these should be kept by the church’s Safeguarding Coordinator.
updated August 2014