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Safeguarding practice is recognised by the Church of England as central to the mission and ministry of the church and integral to creating communities of wholeness with Christ at the centre.
Our shared aim is to ensure that children and vulnerable adults are safe in our churches and that all those who are survivors of abuse are listened to, valued and supported. As such the role of Parish Safeguarding Officer is key to ensuring that we all meet our safeguarding responsibilities in all of the work that we do.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Team are available to answer questions and queries related to safeguarding and can provide contact details for a wide range of Christian and secular organisations that can provide advice or support across a range of needs.
Information regarding a variety of organisations and sources of support can be found here: Safeguarding Resources.
It is important that new Parish Safeguarding Officers (PSO) make contact with the Diocesan Safeguarding Team so that they can receive welcome information and be provided with induction details. If you are changing the PSO within your parish find out about what needs to happen here: How to induct a new Parish Safeguarding Officer.
A Parish Safeguarding Dashboard service is avaliable to all parishes free of charge. Find out more about this tool and how it can support your parish here.
Serious Incident Reporting - information regarding what to do when you need to report a serious safeguarding incident to the Charity Commission.
All of the Diocese of Bristol safeguarding policy, procedures and practice guidance can be found on the Safeguarding Policy and Procedure page. Parishes are required to have their own, local Policy and Procedures. Below are some examples to help you set this up and further Safeguarding advice documentation:
Parish Safeguarding Handbook (published by the Church of England)
- Parish Safeguarding Handbook Addendum November 2019 this addendum reflects recent changes in the Training and Development Framework published in July 2019.
Sample Parish Safeguarding Policy and Procedures - REVISED January 2023 - This document is an example safeguarding policy and procedures and incorporates a revised Policy statement taken from Promoting a Safer Church and additional information relating to those in a ‘position of trust’. If this example is used the PCC must ensure that it is adapted to fit the church context, that local information is inserted and most importantly that the policy is implemented and used.
Sample Parish Policy for the Recruitment of ex-Offenders
Safeguarding Policy Statement and Code of Conduct for Church members - REVISED March 2022 - this is the Policy Statement taken from Promoting a Safer Church.
Parish Domestic Abuse Policy Statement - Template - July 2017!
Parish Safeguarding Responsibilities - August 2017
- Safeguarding Responsibilities: Churchwardens - May 2021
- Safeguarding Responsibilities: PCC Members - November 2017
Good Practice Guidance working with adults - August 2017
Good Practice guidance working with children - August 2017
Guidance Unaccompanied and Uncollected children at Church Services and Activities and on Church Premises - October 2017
Safeguarding referrals and accessing advice
Parish Safeguarding Recording Form - NEW 2018 - form that parishes can use to keep records relating to safeguarding incidents and concerns.
Safer Recruitment Toolkit and Guidance
Model forms and templates to use when undertaking safer recruitment for volunteer roles.
Model Role Descriptions
These are sample of possible role descriptions for some roles you may have in your church or parish. They are not exhaustive or in any way prescriptive. You may wish to edit and add or amend certain responsibilities as these will differ between parishes. If you need a role description for a role that is not listed there is a generic form and you can ask for assistance form the Diocese Safeguarding Team.
Model Role Description: Basic Template
- Children's Worker
- Flower Arranger
- Holy Communion Assistant
- Lunch Club Helper
- Pastoral Visitor
Model Volunteer Application Form
Activities eligible for a criminal records check - tool to assist you in deciding if a role is eligible for a DBS check (if you are not sure then please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team).
Model Interview - Discussion Form
Confidential Declaration form Privacy Notice Template
Model Volunteer Appointment Letter
DBS Update Service
In some cases volunteers or paid employees will have obtained a DBS Certificate via another organisation which they have then registered with the 'Update Service'. In some cases it will be possible to use this DBS Certificate for the role they have applied to do in the Parish. In some instances it will not be possible. In order to assist Parishes to determine if this is the case we have issued the following guidance and a record form:
DBS Checks: How to Use the Update Service