The ethos behind the structure of the Methodist Church remains true to the original values of its founder, John Wesley: valuing consultation, shared decision-making and responsibility across the Connexion.
In line with the values of cooperation and consultation, all members, employees, office holders and volunteer workers at all levels of church life play a significant role in implementing safeguarding procedures.
The Charity Commission and companies insuring the Church require all local bodies to have a safeguarding policy in place. Each district, circuit and local church will produce a Safeguarding policy, related to work with both children and adults. These should be reviewed annually and displayed.
It is important to recognise that it is people who protect – not just procedures. The aim is to create a culture of informed vigilance at all levels in the Church. The Methodist Church as a connexion has an obligation to support churches and those working with children and adults in exercising their primary responsibility for those entrusted to them. Based on the foundations above, the Methodist Church commits to the following key safeguarding roles and responsibilities:
In the model Church Safeguarding Policy, under the section entitled 'Good Practice' we read that the:
By completing the District Review, churches can confirm that they have done as expected.
The Superintendent Minister and the Circuit Safeguarding Officer are tasked to provide support and oversight for local churches and ministers in implementing safeguarding as stated above and ensure that activities with children and adults, both within the circuit and local churches, are provided according to good practice and safeguarding procedures.
The District Safeguarding Group is required to ensure 'the quality of Safeguarding practice across the District is consistent with both Connexional Safeguarding Policy and Practice and relevant government guidance and legislation.' In addition, the District Safeguarding officer is required to 'oversee church, circuit and district compliance with the Methodist Church's safeguarding procedures'.
It therefore makes sense to have one end-of-year review, which collects the information, people at all levels, need. This information then helps us all make plans for the next Connexional year – it gives us a firm foundation to build on.
Safeguarding expectations are difference at all levels, therefore churches and circuits have different forms to complete. Please follow the links below as appropriate.