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Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy

This policy was agreed at a Church Council held on 19 October 2020.

The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation 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 Winchombe Methodist Church is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.

The Winchombe Methodist Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether as a result of disabilities or reduction in capacities or by their situation. 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 our wish to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.

This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.

The Winchombe Methodist Church fully agrees with the statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007:

"As the people of the Methodist Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages."

The Winchombe Methodist Church recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media, child sexual exploitation or human trafficking (slavery). It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development, including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, communities and those who care about them. It recognises that offenders also have needs and will work with them sensitively and respectfully. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God's grace.

The Winchombe Methodist Church commits itself to:

  1. RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed or may suffer harm, whether in the church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
  2. IMPLEMENT the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
  3. PROVIDE support, advice and training for lay and ordained people to ensure that people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.
  4. AFFIRM and give thanks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults and also acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults who are on our premises.

Safeguarding Appointments

The Winchcombe Methodist Church appoints Brian Maggs as Church Safeguarding Adults Representative and Church Safeguarding Children Coordinator and supports him in his role which is to:

i) support and advise the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles
ii) provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
iii) liaise with Circuit and District Safeguarding Coordinators
iv) promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of circuit ministers.

a) Purpose

The purpose of the church safeguarding policy is to check that procedures are in place and provide clarity about the roles and responsibilities of those trusted with promoting the church as a safe space for all its users. It is to be read in conjunction with the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance (2020).

B) Good practice

We believe that good practice means that:

  1. All people are treated with respect and dignity.
  2. Those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or vulnerable adult where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written record will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.
  3. The church premises will be assessed by the church safeguarding officer with the property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and vulnerable adults and a written risk assessment report will be 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.
  4. Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure that the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort (where required) are appropriate. (See 6.10.7.1 of the Safeguarding Policies, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church). A record to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
  5. Activity risk assessments will be undertaken before any activity takes place to minimise the risk of harm to those involved. Approval will be obtained from the event leader/minister. A written record of the assessment will be retained securely.
  6. 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 it is succeeding in this area.

These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who may be vulnerable.

c) Appointment and training of workers in the church

Workers will be appointed after a satisfactory DBS disclosure and following the safer recruitment procedures of the Methodist Church. Each worker will have an identified supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the worker. A record of these meetings will be agreed and signed and the record kept. Each worker will be expected to undergo Foundation Module (2020 Edition) safeguarding training, within the first 6 months (agreed by Methodist Conference in 2011 -Creating Safer Space Report) of appointment. The other training needs of each worker will be considered (such as food hygiene, first aid and lifting and handling).

D) Pastoral visitors

Pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of Foundation Module (2020 Edition) safeguarding training upon appointment. If they are undertaking tasks for which a DBS would be required, this will be undertaken prior to appointment.

E) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults

A leaflet outlining good practice and systems should be given to everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This leaflet will be reviewed annually.

F) Ecumenical events

Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of this Church Council. Chill Out is under the auspices/responsibility of St Peter's Church.

G) Events with church groups off the premises

Adequate staffing will be ensured for such events. Notification of the event will be given to Brian Maggs.

H) Other groups on church premises

Where the building is hired for outside use, the person signing the letting agreement ( which should include Safeguarding Form E), will be given a copy of this policy and leaflet. The lettings secretary will consider the various users of the building in making lettings.

I) Complaints procedure

It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisations. However, a complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Church Council and who is currently Geoff Onions. If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Geoff Onions.who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved, consideration will be given to invoking the complaints system of the Methodist Church which will involve initially speaking with the Local Complaints Officer who is Peter Gardner.

J) Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. The date of the next review is October 2021.

K) Key concepts and definitions

  • A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change their status or entitlements to services or protection.
  • Vulnerable adults: any adult aged 18 or over who, owing to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
  • Safeguarding: protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
  • Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity, which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
  • Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, a community or an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.

Signed Revd Jayne Webb Chair of Church Council

Dated 10th October 2020.