Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement

The PCC of St Michaels Elmwood Road accepts the House of Bishops policy position that parishes need to display information about their safeguarding arrangements. The policy we are following is Roles and Responsibilities 2017, Section 3, issued in October 2017 as follows

3. The Parish Roles and Responsibilities
3.1. Parochial Church Council (PCC) and the Incumbent41
The PCC is the main decision maker of a parish. Its members are clergy, churchwardens and others elected by the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM) of the parish. Its powers and duties are defined by legislation and can principally be found in the Parochial Church Councils (Powers) Measure 1956.
It has the responsibility, along with the incumbent to promote the mission of God in its parish.
Legally, the PCC is responsible for the finances of the parish. It also has ultimate responsibility for the care and maintenance of all church buildings and their contents. Although these responsibilities are executed by the churchwardens, all PCC members must share in the oversight. It has a voice in the forms of Service used by the church and may make representations to the bishop on matters that affect the welfare of the parish.
All PCCs are charities, most do not the need to register with the Charity Commission, except those with an annual income of more than £100,000. Therefore, every member of a PCC is also a charity trustee. If a PCC is a charity it must comply with the Charity Commission guidance and legislation in relation to charities.

The incumbent’s role is to provide leadership concerning safeguarding, and to encourage everyone to promote a safer church.

The PCC and the incumbent have a duty of care to ensure the protection of the vulnerable in their church community. In terms of safeguarding, with the incumbent the PCC will:

  • Promote a safer church for all in the church community, and ensure there is a plan in place to raise awareness of, promote training and ensure that safeguarding is taken seriously by all those in the church community;

Adopt:

  • The House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement;42’
  • The House of Bishops’ and diocesan safeguarding policies and practice guidance, while being responsive to local parish requirements;

Appoint:

  • At least one appropriately experienced designated parish safeguarding officer (PSO)

  • to work with the incumbent and PCC. This PSO should be a lay person. It cannot be the incumbent. The PSO may also be the DBS administrator for church officers who work with children or vulnerable adults but if not, the PCC should appoint another individual.

  • The PSO should be supported, trained and given a copy of the parish safeguarding policy and procedures;

  • The incumbent may be called the vicar, rector, parson and for the purposes of this document will also include a priest-in –charge.

  • House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement’

  • The requirement is to have a named PSO. If appropriate, in rural parishes or parishes held in plurality, consider joining together to share a PSO while remembering that legal responsibility will continue to rest with the individual parishes.

  • It is noted that some dioceses will use electronic DBS systems and therefore this role may not be required.

  • Additional safeguarding roles, as required. These roles are optional. They will be dependent on local need and available resources. They may also be fulfilled by the same people. Any additional roles are left to local determination

Safer Recruit, Support and Train:

  • Ensure that all church officers who work with children, young people and/or vulnerable adults are:
    1. recruited following the House of Bishops’ Safer Recruitment practice guidance;
    2. aware of and work to House of Bishops’ safeguarding guidance (includes both policies and practice guidance);
    3.attend diocesan safeguarding training at least every three years;
  • Provide appropriate insurance to cover for all activities undertaken in the name of the PCC which involve children and vulnerable adults;
    Display:
  • A formal statement of adoption of the House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church; safeguarding policy statement’. This should be signed on behalf of the PCC;
  • Contact details of the PSO, churchwarden and any other local leaders;
  • Information about where to get help with child and adult safeguarding issues e.g. local authority contact details, domestic abuse and key helplines e.g. ChildLine (see Appendix 5 for Model ‘safeguarding in parishes-who’s who’);
  • Provide access to a safeguarding handbook;
  • Create an environment, which is welcoming and respectful and enables safeguarding concerns to be raised and responded to openly, promptly and consistently;
  • Have a procedure in place to deal promptly with safeguarding allegations or suspicions of abuse in accordance with the relevant policy and practice guidance and in consultation with the diocesan safeguarding adviser;
  • Report all safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers to the diocesan safeguarding adviser;
  • Ensure that known offenders or others who may pose a risk to children and/or vulnerable adults are effectively managed and monitored in consultation with the diocesan safeguarding adviser;
  • Comply with all data protection legislation especially in regard to storing information about any paid and unpaid workers and any safeguarding records;
  • Ensure that an “activity risk assessment” is completed and reviewed regularly for each activity, which is associated with either children or vulnerable adults, and run in the name of the Church.
    Review and Report Progress:
  • The PSO should regularly report on safeguarding in the parish.
  • Safeguarding should be a standing agenda item at each PCC meeting.
  • At the APCM the PCC should provide an annual report in relation to safeguarding.
  • In the PCC’s annual report will be a statement which reports on progress and a statement as to whether

Whether the PSO is a member of the PCC is up to local determination. At a minimum they should report regularly to it.or not the PCC has complied with the duty to have “due regard” to the House of Bishops’ guidance in relation to safeguarding.

Hire out church premises:

  • Any hire agreement (see Appendix 6) with any person/body wishing to hire church premises:
  • must contain a provision whereby the person/body hiring the premises agrees to comply with the relevant safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops and the diocese.
  • The hire agreement should also contain a provision whereby all those hiring church premises are required to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are protected at all times, relevant staff have had appropriate DBS checks and that all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent injury, illness, loss or damage occurring.
  • Ensure all those hiring church premises carry full public liability insurance for this, or be covered through the church insurance (for example hire for a children’s party).
    Working in an LEP:
  • If working within Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs), agree which denomination or organisation’s safeguarding policy to follow, including where to seek advice in urgent situations in line with the practice guidance.
  • This decision should be ratified both by the bishop and other appropriate church leaders in the partnership and shared with the DSA; in the event of a specific safeguarding concern, ensure that all the LEP partners are notified.
    During a clergy vacancy
  • During an interregnum the PCC must, working with the churchwardens, ensure that all information about safeguarding matters is securely stored before passing the information on to the new incumbent. The departing incumbent must give the safeguarding information to the parish safeguarding officer who can pass the information on to the new incumbent when he/she takes up his new role.
    See Appendix 7 for ‘Safeguarding in the Parish Checklist’.

The Full document with all appendixes can be downloaded HERE

The PCC has agreed and accepted their responsibilities under this

Our declared individuals for you to contact with any questions or concerns regarding safeguarding of adults or children are:

By post
Rev Martine Oborne
St Michael's Church,
60 Elmwood Road
London W4 3DZ

By telephone
Please call Churchwardens, Sue White, on 079741 359880

By email
Safeguarding Officers are Peter Wickstead and Rotimi Adegoke
Click here to E mail Safeguarding officers via the churchwardens

Click here to E mail Vicar Rev Martine Oborne

Click here to E mail The Church Administrators office

Click here to E mail Churchwardens

Click here to E mail Centre booking enquiries

There are support and advice and action lines locally in Hounslow as follows

Police
Emergency telephone: 999
Non-emergencies telephone: 101
CLICK HERE TO REPORT ONLINE TO THE POLICE

Report Domestic Violence - Hounslow Housing
Phone: 020 8583 4000 from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday

National Domestic Violence Helpline
For 24/7 confidential support and information call 0808 2000 247
website: National Domestic Violence website
email: helpline@womensaid.org.uk

The helpline is answered by fully trained female helpline support workers and volunteers who will answer your call in confidence. All calls to the helpline are free from mobiles and landlines.

NSPCC
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact NSPCC 24/7 for help, advice and support on 0808 800 5000.

Victim Support
Victim Support can help you if you have experienced domestic violence. Their services are confidential and free. They can help you regardless of whether you’ve told the police or anyone else about the abuse.

Call Supportline for free on 0808 168 9111 (open Monday to Friday 8pm-8am and 24 hours on the weekend).

If English is not your first language and you would like some support, call Supportline and let them know which language you speak. They will call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible.