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 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.
Lidgett Park 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.
Lidgett Park Methodist Church recognizes that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by 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 seeks 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.
Lidgett Park 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.
Lidgett Park 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 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, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
Lidgett Park Methodist Church commits itself to:
1. RESPOND without delay to any allegation or concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, 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. Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of Connexional Safeguarding Policy, government legislation and guidance, and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
3. The PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure 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 acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding vulnerable adults who are on our premises.
It is the responsibility of the Church Council of Lidgett Park Methodist Church to appoint a Church Safeguarding Officer and there should be no gaps in this crucial provision. It is not appropriate for the minister to fill any gap, because of the potential conflict of roles. The role will usually be undertaken on a voluntary basis although expenses should be met.
Lidgett Park Methodist Church appoints Margaret Farrar as Church Safeguarding Officer (Adults), and Peter Bennett and Judith Clinkard as Church Safeguarding Officers (Children) and supports them in their 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 Officers
iv) Promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of circuit ministers
v) Ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to Methodist policy and practice (see Safeguarding Records: Joint Practice Guidance for the Church of England and the Methodist Church – Updated Jan 2015)
vi) Ensure that all safeguarding training which is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
vii) Attend training and meetings organised to support the role
viii) Oversee safeguarding throughout the whole of the church (eg lettings, groups, property etc)
ix) Report to the Church Council annually
x) Ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for the church and all groups and lettings in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
xi) Ensure that the church recruits safely for all posts
xii) Ensure that the church has a safeguarding noticeboard with a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information
The purposes of this safeguarding policy are to ensure that procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises. It is to be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church (2019).
b) Good Practice
We believe that good practice means:
i) All people are treated with respect and dignity.
ii) 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 note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.
iii) The church premises will be assessed by a Church Safeguarding Officer with the property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and vulnerable adults and the risk assessment report will be given annually to the Church Council in written form. 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.
iv) Any church organised transport for children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure that the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver (and escort, if needed) are appropriate. An agreed record to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
v) 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
Workers will be appointed after a satisfactory DBS disclosure and following 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 basic 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 (eg food hygiene, first aid, lifting and handling, etc).
Post Holders who are volunteers will be appointed following safer recruitment procedures and, if required, a satisfactory DBS disclosure. If the post requires a DBS disclosure, post holders are expected to undergo basic safeguarding training as soon as possible after appointment.
The need for the renewal of DBS disclosures and attendance at further trainings needs will be communicated to Workers and Post Holders by a Church Safeguarding Officer.
d) Pastoral visitors
In terms of safeguarding, pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.
e) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
A Quick Reference Guide outlining good practice and systems will be given to everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This will be reviewed annually.
f) Ecumenical events
Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding in the responsibility of this Church Council.
g) Events with church groups off the premises
Organisers of events off church premises should have awareness of this Safeguarding Policy and seek guidance from one of the Safeguarding Officers as regards any potential issues that may be involved.
h) Other groups on church premises
Where the building is hired for outside use, the person signing the letting agreement will be given a copy of the Church Safeguarding Policy and the Quick Reference Guide leaflet. The lettings secretaries will consider the various users of the building in making lettings and will consult with the Church Safeguarding Officers as appropriate. District Safeguarding Officers and Circuit Safeguarding Officers will be consulted if necessary.
i) Complaints Procedure
It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation. However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, then it is very important that the District Safeguarding Officer is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed.
A complaint should be addressed to the superintendent minister, the Revd. Robert Creamer. If the complaint is made to another person it should be referred to him. Meetings will be arranged with the person making the complaint and, usually, the person against whom the complaint has been made, in an attempt to resolve it. If the complaint is against the superintendent minister, it should be sent to the District Chair, the Revd. Kerry Tankard at 38, Longlands, Bradford, BD10 9UG.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. The date of the next review is October 2020.
k) Key concepts and definitions
i) 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 a secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.
ii) Vulnerable Adults: Any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
iii) Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
iv) 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.
v) Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in 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.