District Safeguarding Compliance Policy

 

Introduction

The District remains committed to doing all it can to respond well to any help and support that people need, including keeping them safe and free from harm.

The Safeguarding policies and procedures of the Methodist church (2019) are implemented through the District Safeguarding Policy 2019, agreed at District Leadership Team in July 2019.

It is expected that everyone understands their need to support and engage with the commitment of those policies and procedures to main the highest standards in safeguarding and to make the District a strong witness in taking them seriously.

From time to time, individuals, groups or churches as a whole may need help in understanding why certain requirements, according to Policy, are needed.

It is important to stress:

  • Policies and Procedures of the Methodist church are written in the light not only of its own practices but of Governmental requirements which govern what all organisations have to put in place. The Methodist church does not act alone in establishing its policy framework;
  • They are the result of learning from past practices and especially significant times in the life of the Methodist church such as the Presidents Inquiry and the Past Cases Review. In addition, serious case reviews conducted as a requirement by Governmental policy continually identify lessons learned and areas for improved practice that can apply to all organisations, including faith communities;
  • Policies and procedures are for everyone’s safety;
  • More and more organisations of all kinds, including the Methodist Church, have to be accountable to a number of bodies to show they are compliant. For the District, that includes Methodist Insurance, The Charity Commission and more recently the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) who have now included the Methodist church in its review.

Compliance issues

The most common areas of safeguarding practice that may need attention are:

  • People’s lack of understanding about the need for a DBS;
  • People’s experience in other professional or voluntary roles with other organisations or groups which cause them to question the need for a further DBS or attendance at training within the church setting;
  • Confusion about whether to attend training given someone’s role or because they are less than active involvement in safeguarding;
  • Groups and churches who decide certain aspects of safeguarding don’t apply to them or they have their own methods which, however, may not be compliant with Methodist requirements;
  • Groups/Projects/Initiatives who set up without compliance with Methodist procedures, especially risk assessments, safer recruitment, appropriate training and appropriate DBS requirements

The Procedure for dealing with non-compliance.

Step One – matters to be discussed with the individual, group or church at a local level to ascertain the reasons for non-compliance. This may need to be dealt with pastorally and require discussions, support and care to understand and be sensitive to the reasons and context for any non-compliance.

It is expected that this would be the usual course of action and would, in most cases, resolve matters. The Superintendent of the Circuit is responsible for such action and it is likely that in most cases, no further action will be required.

However, if for some reason matters cannot be resolved at this stage or further help is needed:

Step Two – the District Safeguarding Officer should be informed by the appropriate person. Discussions will take place as to the reason already given. The DSO may give further advice on how to proceed or agree that he/she should make contact either by phone or face to face to explain further and/or answer any questions from a District/Connexional point of view.

If matters cannot be resolved at this stage:

Step Three – The District Safeguarding Officer will inform the Chair of District. A discussion will take place about the options:

  • Letter from the Chair to the individual to request a formal response to whether they are prepared to comply;
  • Suspension from role;
  • Asking the individual to stand down voluntarily;
  • Seek Connexional advice according to the role in question.

If it is clear that non-compliance continues and some of the action above is needed, Methodist Insurance will be contacted as well as the Charity Commission. The District Safeguarding Officer will advise how this should be done and who by.

Confidentiality, who needs to know and pastoral care.

It will be important to respect the sensitivity of such a situation and the individuals within it and ensure that pastoral care is in place for the individuals (s) involved as appropriate. Care will be need to be taken about who needs to know to ensure that information is not shared inappropriately so as to expose individuals and others who may be affected.

Depending on the role of the individual (s), where it is located and/or the nature of the group, the church council/and or CLT and/or District leadership team may need to be informed.

 

September 1st 2019