The consultation carried out on our behalf by the NSPCC has now been completed and we have the draft report.
There was a high level of response to the surveys – 1432 people – a high number of which (71%) were from female clergy/parishioners/volunteers. The key issues identified so far include: training, vulnerable adults, use of consistent language, children’s ministry, children’s advocates and cultural differences.
Dedicated Safeguarding Phone Line
You will already have seen in Ministry Matters that the dedicated phone line for the Diocese provided by the NSPCC is up and running – the number is 0800 731 9256 (this can be found on the safeguarding page on the website). It is intended that this is used for concerns that arise outside office hours or when someone would prefer advice from someone outside the Diocese.
Training for Safeguarding
The content of our training programme is currently being reviewed. It is envisaged that there will be relevant safeguarding training aimed at: clergy, children’s advocates, children/youth workers and possibly also churchwardens.
Four clergy sessions have already been arranged; two for this year which will take place here at Diocesan House in October (4th and 16th) and two for 2013 in May (23rd) and October (15th) also here at Diocesan House – these are aimed at those newly appointed clergy within the Diocese.
There will be further sessions arranged both for established clergy (safeguarding training should be attended at regular intervals!) and for the other groups mentioned above. All dates will be published in Ministry Matters and on the Safeguarding page of the Diocesan website.
Our current policy ‘Children in the Diocese of London’ is being updated for inclusion as part of our new Safeguarding Policy and will be with us for amendment and final approval by the end of June. The new policy will also encompass vulnerable adults and there will be supporting guidance/documents that will run alongside. Although it is the intention to have printed copies of this in all parishes, this will also be available on the Diocesan web site.
Our (Ex) Offender agreement has been updated in line with the national policy and a protocol provided to guide clergy and others through the process. This is currently being reviewed by the Diocese but will be available on the web site by the end of June. We are also developing an agreement for use with those who cause concern in the parish but do not have a conviction.
Safeguarding web page
The Safeguarding web page has been updated to provide up-to-date contact information for anyone wishing to discuss a safeguarding concern. As further information/policies become available, details will be added on this page. The web page can be accessed here.
An enhanced CRB disclosure is a small but essential part of the safer recruitment procedure. There are going to be changes introduced throughout the remainder of this year, some as a result of the Protection of Freedoms Act and evidence checkers for each parish will have received a newsletter via email or post outlining the first of these (changes to the verification of identity).
Child Protection Policies
As a lot of parishes will have had their APCMs by now, just a reminder that every parish should have safeguarding as a topic on their first PCC agenda after the APCM and as part of this discussion the Child Protection Policy naming your children’s advocate should be signed by the incumbent and church wardens. One copy should then be displayed prominently in church and another sent to your Archdeacons office.