Specific issues Further information

Section 2: Further Information

Section two contains further information about a range of specific issues and reflects situations that may arise from time to time.

If you have any suggestions for topics you would like to see covered in this section, contact Rebecca Boswell rebecca.boswell@elydiocese.org or Sarah King sarah.king@elydiocese.org  

This page contains a lot of information but the following content list highlights some of the key sections within it that hyperlink to the correct section of the page.

Contents

  1. Safer recruitment of those whose work involves children and adults who may be vulnerable
  2. Appointment of volunteers and employees and youth workers: special considerations
  3. The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)
  4. Introduction of two types of Enhanced Check
  5. Barred Lists – Test for Regulated Activity
  6. How the DBS process works in the Diocese of Ely
  7. Frequency and ‘Portability’ in DBS checks
  8. Storing Information and Data Protection Legislation
  9. Implementing your safeguarding policy and the role of the parish safeguarding co-ordinator
  10. Checklist for annual PCC Safeguarding Policy Review
  11. Ministering to known offenders and those who pose a risk to vulnerable people
  12. Raising the alarm (whistle blowing) and complaints about the handling of safeguarding concerns
  13. Sarah’s Law (the Keeping Children Safe Disclosure Scheme) & Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme)

 

 

Safer recruitment of those whose work involves children and adults who may be vulnerable

This safer recruitment guidance includes all the following people, paid or voluntary, where their roles involve work with young children, teenagers or adults who may be vulnerable:

  • all clergy who have the freehold, hold the Bishop’s Licence or permission to officiate

  • all ordinands before they are presented to a Bishops’ Advisory Panel

  • all accredited lay workers and readers who hold the Bishop’s Licence or permission to officiate

  • any other leaders in the Church whose office of trust gives them the opportunity or the expectation that they might have regular or unsupervised contact

  • those people whose jobs involve supervising work as above

  • the parish safeguarding co-ordinator(s)

  • all people employed by the Diocese, Cathedral or any parish whose work may involve regular and direct contact

  • all volunteers whose work or activities may involve regular and direct contact, including leaders of mixed age activities such as bell-ringers, choirs, servers

  • members of religious communities and similar bodies whose ministry is likely to involve contact

 Appointment of volunteers and employees

  • Careful selection, induction and supervision procedures should apply to all Church appointments, whether they are for paid staff or volunteers.

  • Applicants should complete an application form and have an appropriate interview or focused conversation with the incumbent or leader about the role being taken on, and the individual’s suitability for it.

  • Along with the application form, applicants should be asked to fill in the Diocese of Ely’s confidential declaration form. This asks for two referees, one of whom should, if possible, be the current employer or someone in a managerial or supervisory role outside the church who can comment on suitability.

  • ALWAYS check references rigorously and carefully.

  • If the decision is made to appoint, the appointment should be confirmed in writing. All appointments are subject to a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) disclosure and a probationary period.

  • A written letter of appointment should make this clear, whether the role is paid or voluntary. Until a response is received from the DBS, the successful candidate should not begin work.

  • Once a satisfactory disclosure has been obtained from the DBS, the candidate should be formally commissioned and may start work. S/he should be issued with a copy of the parish safeguarding policy and guidelines for working with vulnerable groups.

  • Further Information can be found in the House of Bishops’ Policy, ‘Protecting All God’s Children’ (4th edition, 2010)

Appointment of youth workers: special considerations

  • The fluid and informal nature of a lot of successful youth work is recognized and appreciated. This advice note is not intended to cause alarm.

  • However, young or inexperienced youth workers, if recruitment and supervision procedures are not carefully followed, can find themselves in a situation where their naivety costs them a career with children and youth and a blemished DBS.

  • It is not advisable to appoint young men or women under the age of 21 to be youth leaders with youth groups of 14+ years.

  • The appointment of any youth worker under the age of 21, and the proposed induction and supervision arrangements, should be discussed with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

  • Where the age of the youth leader is quite close to the youth with whom s/he works, it can become difficult for the youth leader to maintain the professional distance that is essential to the work.

  • This becomes especially problematic in cases where a relationship begins to develop between the youth leader and one of the youth group members.

  • A gap of at least five years between the ages of the youth worker and the oldest child in the youth group is strongly recommended.

  • There are two criminal offences in law to note in work with teenagers. It is a criminal offence for any adult to 'groom' a young person under 16 with the intention of developing a friendship or professional duty of care into a sexual relationship.

  • It is important for all those who work with teenagers, including youth workers, to take care that their relationships with youth are kept within professional boundaries and that their behaviour does not give cause for concern in the families or community around young people in their care.

  • Where someone is employed in a position of trust, as defined by the current legislation, it is also a criminal offence to groom for, or engage in, a sexual relationship with teenagers aged 16 - 18 in his/her care, even though they are over the age of consent.

  • While the criminal penalty does not, under current legislation, cover those in volunteer posts, this is likely to change. In any case, the Diocese adopts the statutory agency standards in its expectations of those representing the Church.

  • For further information, see also the guidelines for work with children and teenagers in Section 1.

The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)

  • The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.

  • It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The DBS is an executive non-departmental public body of the Home Office.

  • The implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 introduced changes, in line with the Government’s intention to reduce the need for criminal records checks and to scale them back to what they describe as ‘common sense levels’.

  • Government changes implemented so far include:

    • New Guideline for checking an applicant’s identity.  Further information can be found in Section 3 Forms and Templates or from the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.

    • An emphasis on supervision.  The definition of supervision is an activity where the supervisor (who has him / herself been safely recruited) is always able to see the supervised worker’s actions during his / her work. Supervision must be on-going eg not for a few weeks during a probationary period and then tailing off. If you are uncertain whether this level of monitoring can be maintained continuously – for example, providing cover for all holidays and sickness absence by the supervisor - then the role is not a supervised position and a DBS check is necessary.

  • It is important to note that supervised roles can still put volunteers in a position of trust.

Introduction of two types of Enhanced Check:

  • The ‘Enhanced without barred list’ check is for positions that meet the threshold, frequently quoted by the Government, where the level of contact is greater than the sort of casual contact a person might have with, say, a local shop keeper

  • The ‘Enhanced with barred list’ check is for those positions where a worker has a significant level of involvement with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Note

  • People with roles within the church, supervised or unsupervised, are often seen as trustworthy, being in positions of trust. 

  • It is acknowledged that roles within the church can often change from being casual, with little contact with children and vulnerable adults, to a role of significant contact due to illness, holiday cover or changes in the number of volunteers. 

  • Therefore, the Diocese of Ely will always carry out ‘Enhanced with barred list’ checks – unless it can be clearly shown that would not be suitable for a particular role.

Single Certificate

  • Disclosure Certificates will now be sent only to the applicant

  • Enhanced DBS certificates will include details of convictions and cautions (including youth cautions, reprimands and warnings) recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC).

  • In addition to information from the PNC, an Enhanced certificate may also include information taken from police records that a chief officer of a police force considers relevant to the application and/or details of whether an individual is included on one or both of the two lists barring people from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Tighter relevancy test for information held locally by police

  • ‘Additional Information’ will no longer automatically be sent to the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer as part of the Enhanced DBS application process.

  • This is the information from police that is not shown on the applicant’s copy disclosure but is sent separately, where applicable, to the counter-signatory.

  • The police still retain the right to share information under their common law powers, but the test for whether information will be shared has changed from ‘might be relevant’ to ‘reasonably believed to be relevant’.

Barred Lists – Test for Regulated Activity

  • Under changes to legislation the DBS can only bar a person who is or has been, or may in future be, engaged in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults.

  • Without this connection to regulated activity the DBS is unable to place a person on a barred list.

  • It is still a criminal offence for a barred person to seek work with children and/or vulnerable adults and it is also a criminal offence for an employer or voluntary organization to employ, or use as a volunteer, someone who appears on one or both of these barred lists.

  • This makes the careful use of DBS checks a vital part of any activity offered by churches or local voluntary groups.

  • The House of Bishops regards the DBS check as a compulsory part of the recruitment process; DBS checks have been adopted in the Diocese of Ely as a necessary requirement for certain posts involving work with children or vulnerable adults.

  • A DBS check must be completed in the following circumstances:

    • Where contact with a child or children (U18) meets the frequency test of once a week, 4 days in a 30 day period or overnight and/or is substantial or 1:1 or unsupervised;

    • Where contact with a vulnerable adult involves helping with washing, dressing, eating, drinking, toileting, or teaching someone to do one of these tasks; helping with cash, bills or shopping; helping with day-to-day affairs (eg power of attorney) for a non relative/friend, where help is needed because of age, illness or disability;

    • Driving someone to receive health personal or social care as part of a service provided by church.

  • None of these activities are subject to the frequency test; they can be ‘one-off’ events.

Please note that any adult could suffer a temporary period of vulnerability and therefore anyone who works in a pastoral support/counselling role is required to complete a DBS check.

  • If you are not sure whether or not a particular role involves a DBS check and why, information can be found in the safeguarding co-ordinators’ pack.

  • All safeguarding co-ordinators will receive a copy of the coordinators’ pack upon registration with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer

  • Positions that qualify for a DBS check are exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

  • This means that the DBS check could uncover ALL criminal convictions, whether or not they involve children and vulnerable adults, from a caution upwards, regardless of how long ago they happened.

  • Only fixed penalties, such as speeding tickets, will be left off.

  • The check may also reveal dealings with police/social workers from years ago, if it is felt to be relevant to the post being applied for.

  • For this reason, those filling out the DBS forms should be advised ALWAYS to tell the priest who checks the form about anything that might come up on the search.

  • A criminal record does not necessarily prevent the applicant taking up the post (see ‘Clear and Blemished Disclosures’ below).

How the DBS process works in the Diocese of Ely – Launch of on-line paperless DBS Checks in 2015

  • The Diocese of Ely, after running a pilot for on-line DBS checks for 3 months, made the decision to totally switch to this paperless system in 2015 using the services of Access Personal Check Service (APCS).

  • APCS is a registered body with the DBS and it administers the online system, giving the diocese access to on-line application and external validation for when an applicant is unable to provide sufficient proof of ID or their current address.

  • Each parish/benefice will be registered with APCS, identifying ID Checkers who will administer the system.

  • Each ID checker will be given a range of unique numbers to be given to applicants needing a DBS check.

  • For information on how to register your parish and ID checkers contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.

A brief overview of how the new system works

  • If you are offered a paid or voluntary position with children or vulnerable adults in the Diocese of Ely, the offer will be made subject to a DBS check.

  • You will be asked to fill in a ‘confidential declaration’ form (see information below), for church use and to complete an on-line DBS application.

  • You will be given a User ID number and the website address.  The list of documents you will need to have at hand for this process can found in Section 3 Forms and Templates. 

  • Once you have logged into the system, completed the form and clicked ‘submit’ the application is received by APCS. 

  • APCS will then send an e-mail to your ID checker to inform them that an ID check is now required and giving a link to this section of the application form.

  • The ID check is carried out and information added to the on-line application. (An ID checking form can also be found in Section 3 Forms and Templates). 

  • Once the ID checker has submitted their part of the application it goes to APCS for checking and then on to the DBS for processing. 

  • Once the DBS has run the application through the Police National Computer (PNC) and carried out local police checks they will issue you with a DBS certificate.

  • The DBS also contacts APCS with the result of the check, indicating whether the certificate is clean or blemished (contains information regarding possible convictions, cautions, warning’s etc). It will, however, NOT indicate what the blemish is. 

  • APCS will forward confirmation to the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer that the checking process has been completed and whether the certificate is clean or blemished – again there will be no blemish information provided.

  • If the certificate is clean the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer will e-mail the ID checker to confirm the process had successfully completed and that the appointment may go ahead.

Blemished Disclosures

  • If the certificate is blemished the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer will contact the ID checker and ask them to view the certificate, to record the blemish on the single certificate form (which can be found in the co-ordinators pack) and to provide the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer with the blemish information.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will be informed. She will need to decide whether the information suggests the applicant may be unable to take up the post.

  • Any discussion will usually involve the parish priest, the applicant and the Adviser, but may also involve outside agencies.

  • Confidentiality is a high priority at all times in these discussions. The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, with help from other safeguarding professionals if necessary, will make a decision about whether or not the post can still be offered to the applicant.

  • Minor offences and/or convictions from years ago, for example, will not carry as much weight as serious violence and/or more recent convictions.

  • If the appointment cannot be offered, the reasons will be explained to the applicant, and s/he will be able to talk the situation over with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

  • If the applicant believes the information held by the DBS is inaccurate, s/he has the right to challenge the DBS directly, but the parish or diocese cannot do this on an applicant’s behalf.

  • NB Anyone refusing to share the information on their disclosure certificate with the safeguarding co-ordinator or Diocesan Safeguarding Officer will not be able to take up a role in the parish/diocese.  

How Much Does a DBS Check Cost?

  • The total cost of a DBS check for a paid employee is £47.99 (DBS fee £44 plus APCS admin fee £3.99).

  • However, for volunteers the cost is only £3.99 as the DBS check is free.

  • The Diocesan Board of Finance has agreed to meet the £3.99 admin fee for all applications processed during 2015 and will continue to meet the cost for all clergy applications. 

  • As in previous years, parishes will be asked to reimburse the £44 for applications processed for any parish workers (employees) receiving payment.

  • For the purposes of definition, anyone receiving payment for a position, other than reimbursement of expenses, is regarded as ‘employed’.

Confidential Declaration form

  • Every applicant will be asked to complete a confidential declaration form which is a self-declaration form for use by the church.

  • The confidential declaration form asks for two referees who have known the applicant for two years or more. At least one of these should be the employer, if s/he is employed.

  • The applicant should not ask a close friend or relative for a reference. 

  • For lay workers and volunteers, the confidential declaration form and the references are kept securely by the church offering the post.

Frequency and ‘Portability’ in DBS checks

  • Disclosure information is only accurate on the day it is issued.The older the disclosure, the less it can be relied upon.

  • The Diocese of Ely has adopted good practice guidance in renewing DBS checks for existing posts every five years.

  • The Diocesan Office will inform all clergy when a new DBS check is due; the parish safeguarding co-ordinator is responsible for keeping the DBS checks for lay people up-to-date.

  • As a general rule, the Diocese of Ely does not accept ‘portability’ of DBS disclosures that an applicant brings from another post, because of the very strict rules governing the sharing of any sensitive information provided by the police (as explained above).

For clergy and paid employees of the Diocese, portability is rarely an option, and a new DBS must be obtained.

  • However, in exceptional circumstances an existing DBS clearance may be accepted temporarily for volunteers eg where a person is stepping in at short notice to replace someone who is sick, or an event is threatened without an extra number of volunteers.

  • You must contact either the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser OR Diocesan Safeguarding Officer if you have pressing reasons for wishing to accept portability of a DBS disclosure.

  • You will be asked to provide confirmation (which will be logged) that the requirements for portability have been met:

    • The worker has been known in the church where s/he will work for at least 6 months

    • The current DBS certificate is less than 12 months old;

    • The check was undertaken for the same or similar role, and for the same target group (e.g. a DBS will not be portable from children to vulnerable adult work, or from a youth club to an Under Fives group);

    • The DBS check was an ‘enhanced check’, not a ‘standard’ one

    • The check was completely clear;

    • The subject of the check still works for the same employer who initiated the original check;

    • The applicant’s identity is verified.

    • The employer who initiated the check is providing a reference;

    • A Confidential Declaration has been completed

    • You have seen the original DBS disclosure (NOT a copy) and have the date it was issued and the number.

  • The agreement to accept portability will be logged, with relevant names, dates and details, on file at the Diocesan Office.

Please note: references must always be taken up (whether or not you are considering portability). The reference request letter must include a specific reference to the work involved (see Section 3 for a sample reference request letter).

  • If the portability requirements are not met, you will have to make sure that the person is properly supervised by someone who does have an acceptable DBS check.

DBS Update Service

  • The DBS launched the Update Service in June 2013.

  • For a small annual subscription of just £13 (free for volunteers), applicants can have their DBS certificate kept up-to-date and take it with them from role to role, where the same type and level of check is required.

  • For further information please go to the DBS website

  • An ID and current address check will still need to be carried out and the original certificate seen prior to using this service.  A form for this purpose can be found in the co-ordinators pack

Storing Information and Data Protection Legislation

  • Records that deal with safeguarding matters have an exemption under the Data Protection Act 1998 and should NOT be destroyed.

  • The information should be kept on a confidential file, with a note of the outcome, and securely stored. Usually, only the incumbent and/or the parish safeguarding co-ordinator would have access to the file.

  • The information should be kept even if the case was judged to be malicious, unsubstantiated or unfounded.

  • This must be done in order to provide accurate information for any bona fide enquiries in the future, or in connection with a reference; it will also show that the allegation has been properly considered, should it re-surface, and this can be an important protection for someone who has been mistakenly or maliciously accused.

NB any allegation against a paid or volunteer worker in the church, or a regular worshipping member, which involves the possible risk of harm to a child or a vulnerable adult must be referred to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (as well as to the police, if it is alleged a crime has been committed).

  • Non-safeguarding information may sometimes be sensitive, even where there is no reason to believe someone is at risk, and it is important to know when it is, and when it is not, appropriate to keep personal information about someone on file.

  • The Data Protection Act 1998 requires that any personal data, whatever its purpose, should be:

    • ‘Processed fairly and lawfully’ (get consent in advance wherever possible)

    • ‘Obtained and used for specific purposes’ (eg to refer someone to Social Care or other services)

    • ‘Adequate, relevant and not excessive’ (write a factual account, with reasoned opinion based on the facts where appropriate)

    • ‘Accurate’(make clear who saw what, and when; if your record contains ‘hearsay’ information, identify it)

    • Kept for as long as necessary (Any information relating to the DBS application process should be shredded after 6 months BUT sensitive safeguarding information should be kept indefinitely, even if the subject of the information dies)

    • Processed in line with a person’s rights (there should be openness and confidentiality, EXCEPT in safeguarding cases, where information does not always have to be shared)

    • Held and stored securely (agree where the information will be stored, and in what form; agree who has access to the information; use a locked, secure cabinet)

    • Not transferred to countries outside the UK without adequate protection (always consult the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer before doing this)

What to do with confidential files during a vacancy or inter-regnum

  • Confidential safeguarding files should never be destroyed when an incumbent or safeguarding co-ordinator leaves post.

  • The safeguarding co-ordinator should hand all files to the incumbent, who can keep them securely until a new co-ordinator is appointed.

  • If the incumbent is leaving and there is no safeguarding co-ordinator in post, all safeguarding files should be handed over to the Diocesan Office for safekeeping.

  • Where possible, the files should be hand delivered; otherwise, a signed-for postal service should be used.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Officer will pass on any current concerns to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser to manage during the inter-regnum, and all files will be handed back to the parish once the new incumbent is installed.

Implementing your safeguarding policy and the role of the parish safeguarding co-ordinator

  • The parochial church council (PCC) carries the legal liability for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in the church.

  • The PCC should adopt the Diocese of Ely policy, but the policy can be adapted or amended to make it more relevant to the needs of the local church and community.

  • Where substantial changes are considered, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser should be consulted.

  • Each PCC or benefice should appoint a safeguarding co-ordinator who will take responsibility for policy implementation.The safeguarding co-ordinator has an essential role in safeguarding.

  • S/he should be a lay person who has an interest in working with children and/or vulnerable adults and who has the appropriate skills to advise and support those who work with them.

  • Ideally, s/he should have some experience from a professional or voluntary background and be prepared to attend regular safeguarding training as provided by the Diocese, if training is not already undertaken as part of other employment.

  • Where there are separate co-ordinators for children and vulnerable adults, there must be an established arrangement for regular meeting and sharing of information, as there is often an overlap in the work.

The safeguarding co-ordinator role

  • The safeguarding co-ordinator is responsible to the incumbent and the PCC; the co-ordinator and the incumbent should work together to implement and monitor the parish safeguarding policy.

  • It is not usually recommended for the incumbent to take on the role of safeguarding co-ordinator.

  • As the co-ordinator is the first point of contact for all safeguarding concerns, it is important that s/he has a sound knowledge of the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy, the appropriate boundaries of confidentiality, and how to make and keep safeguarding records.

  • S/he should also be willing to keep up to date with changing requirements in legislation and policy, and take responsibility for ensuring that the updates and amendments to the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy that will be sent out from time to time are incorporated into the parish policy.

  • The safeguarding co-ordinator is supported by the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and Diocesan Safeguarding Officer.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Officer is the first point of contact for advice and support on any issue arising from the co-ordinator’s work.

  • Upon appointment, the co-ordinator should register with the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, who will provide a safeguarding co-ordinator’s pack that will guide him/her through the responsibilities of the post and the support and training available from the Diocese.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Officer will keep the names and contact details of the co-ordinator(s), at the Diocesan Office on a data base. She should be notified of any changes to the contact information supplied.

The co-ordinator is expected to attend the annual ‘coffee camp’ update session for co-ordinators and this should be made clear when the post is accepted.

  • Other training opportunities designed especially for safeguarding co-ordinators will be offered from time to time and co-ordinators should be encouraged and supported in attending the training.

  • They are also encouraged, if possible, to accompany the incumbent to the clergy training courses at Level 1 and Level 2.

  • The responsibilities for children and vulnerable adults could be split between two co-ordinators working together, or a single co-ordinator could be appointed for both roles.

  • The co-ordinator must be a member of, or be required to report annually to, the PCC.

  • The annual report should include an outline of safeguarding work, but not the confidential details of individuals involved.

  • For example, the co-ordinator may report that x number of child or vulnerable adult concerns have been reported to the appropriate agency, but not the names of the people referred or details of alleged abuses.

  • The co-ordinator should give a summary of the issue and say who was consulted for advice.

The church’s policy should be reviewed regularly, at least every two years. The policy must be in accord with the Diocesan Safeguarding Procedures. A specimen policy for adaptation and use in the parish is provided in the co-ordinator’s pack.

Checklist for annual PCC Safeguarding Policy Review

  • A copy of the church’s policy, dated and signed on behalf of the PCC, is easily available to anyone who asks to see it

  • The name and contact details of the safeguarding co-ordinator is displayed in a prominent position in the church

  • All those involved in pastoral care to children and vulnerable adults have been offered appropriate support and training, upon appointment and then every three years. (A regular programme of training is offered by the Diocese, but training may also be undertaken via employment or with another organisation e.g. the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board which offers a range of free training opportunities for volunteers

  • The safeguarding co-ordinator has been registered onto the diocesan database and has received the Diocese of Ely safeguarding co-ordinator’s pack: (contact Sarah King: 01353 652735 or sarah.king@elydiocese.org).

Ministering to known offenders and those who pose a risk to vulnerable people

  • The Church has a duty to minister to all people regardless of their background and to support their life in faith. But we must balance the duty to minister to those who pose a risk of harm with the duty to protect vulnerable people.

  • Where there is a known record, or a reasonable cause to suspect that someone in the church community poses a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser must be informed.

  • She will follow the appropriate procedure for dealing with the situation, working with the alleged risk and those affected by it and advising and supporting the incumbent and other identified people on a need-to-know basis. This is done in co-operation with statutory agencies.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser may put in place an agreement between the church and the person concerned, or request a multi-agency strategy meeting to identify and contain the risk.

  • Where an offender is known, befriended and helped to lead a fulfilled life without direct contact with children or vulnerable adults, the chances of re-offending can be significantly reduced and vulnerable people are better protected. This gives the Church an important role in the prevention of abuse.

  • If the offender and victim attend the same church, the offender should be supported in identifying and moving to another congregation, where the safeguarding procedures should be followed and a safeguarding agreement sought.

  • Support for the victim within the church should be put in place at the earliest opportunity.

  • Offenders should not accept any role or office in the church that gives them access to U18s or vulnerable adults without a risk assessment at an appropriate level being completed.

  • In addition, the House of Bishops policy requires that those with a background of offences against children and/or vulnerable adults should not take on any role that affords status and authority on behalf of the Church, e.g. churchwarden or member of the PCC, which could be manipulated to gain access to vulnerable groups.

  • A frank discussion should be held with the person who is entering into the agreement, explaining that a small group from the congregation will need to know the facts in order to help create a safe environment for him/her and for children and vulnerable adults.

Where possible, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will seek to agree the membership of the group with the person concerned, but the Adviser has the final say.

  • The group is likely to include the incumbent, the safeguarding co-ordinator and any befriending volunteers, where these are being provided.

  • If there are leaders in specific areas of work with vulnerable groups, they will need to be informed that an agreement is in place and that this person should not be approached to volunteer for such work.

  • The details of the offences do not need to be given.

  • The supervising group should offer support and friendship as well as supervision.

  • They should endeavour to create and keep open good channels of communication.

  • The highest levels of confidentiality should be maintained.

  • It will be necessary to establish clear and specific boundaries, both for the protection of vulnerable people and to protect the person from misunderstandings and allegations that might arise if his/her background becomes known (in the case of convicted offenders, their offences will be public record and can easily be found on public information sites).

The agreement will be prepared by the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser.

  • Working with the incumbent, the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will identify which services, activities and groups in the church can be made available without posing a likely risk to vulnerable people.

  • All those involved in the agreement should be asked to sign it, and the agreement should be carefully and strictly supervised.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser will contact all parties to the agreement to review it at regular intervals to ensure that it is still being followed.

  • Any party to the agreement can request an earlier review if it is felt something in the agreement needs to be changed.

  • The safeguarding agreement remains in place as long as the person is a part of the congregation, whether or not his/her name appears on the Sex Offenders Register.

  • If the agreement is broken, seek advice from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, who will assess the risk arising from the breach.

  • The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser may, in co-operation with other agencies, disclose confidential information, in order to protect a vulnerable child or adult who may be at risk.

  • In some cases, offences only come to light after many years; these are called historical cases, and there is more about this situation in Section 1.

  • In such situations great sensitivity will be required – but remember that there may still be a substantial risk to children and an agreement will still be appropriate in most cases.

Further information can be found in ‘Protecting All God’s Children’ (HoB policy, 2010) p36;

The ‘Stop It Now’ helpline provides free, confidential advice to potential perpetrators of abuse and those concerned for them. Google the website or call 0808 1000 900

Whistleblowing Policy

  • The Diocese of Ely is committed to the highest possible standards of integrity and recognises that clergy, lay staff and volunteers are often the first to become aware of or identify serious concerns. When such concerns arise, barriers to coming forward could be in relation to misplaced loyalty to colleagues or the Church, or fear of harassment or victimisation.
  • The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (the ‘Act’) protects workers who raise concerns from victimisation or harassment. In accordance with the Act, the Diocese of Ely welcomes staff members who have serious concerns about any aspect of the Diocese’s work to come forward and voice those concerns, in confidence, within the Diocese
  • The Church of England and Diocese of Ely rely heavily upon the contribution of volunteers and recognise that they are in an important position to recognise and report concerns. While voluntary roles are not included within the Act, The Diocese of Ely encourages volunteers to use this process with the relevant principles of protection applied to them.
  • This policy is in place to ensure that an internal process is available to encourage and enable workers and volunteers to raise serious concerns which would not meet the criteria for a complaint in confidence and without fear of reprisals, to ensure that the Diocese of Ely continues to provide the highest standards of integrity and accountability.

 

Principles

This policy is based on the following fundamental principles:

 

  • All Office Holders, lay staff and volunteers have the right to raise concerns about perceived unacceptable practice or behaviour.
  • All Office Holders and lay staff are responsible for raising concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour, safeguarding concerns and any health and safety risks. We also invite volunteers to raise these matters.
  • The Diocese of Ely does not tolerate victimisation or harassment and will take action to protect Office Holders, lay staff and volunteers when they raise a concern in good faith.
  • The Diocese of Ely will endeavour to protect the identity of any individual who raises a whistleblowing concern and wishes to remain anonymous. However, in certain circumstances, such as any inquiry arising from the concern, the individual may be required to provide a signed statement. In certain circumstances the Diocese may have to disclose the identity of the individual without their consent, for example where there is risk to others involved. The reasons for this will be discussed with the individual.
  • Office Holders, lay staff and volunteers who raise concerns will be given appropriate advice and support and kept informed in relation to the progress and outcome of any inquiries.
  • Any malicious or vexatious allegations made my clergy or lay staff may lead to a disciplinary process for the individual concerned.

 

How to raise a concern

The Diocese of Ely recognises the difficulties in raising a concern about the behaviour of a colleague. However, raising the concern at an early stage may protect others, prevent the problem getting worse, and prevent individuals themselves becoming implicated

 Office Holders, lay staff and volunteers are encouraged to raise concerns in cases where:

  • the law may have been broken
  • Diocesan policies and procedures may have been breached
  • there are concerns of a safeguarding nature

Special Note: Safeguarding

  • The Diocese of Ely is committed to safeguarding the welfare and protection of children and adults at risk of harm. Concerns about the welfare of children and adults at risk of harm should be raised without delay to prevent any ongoing risk of harm.
  • If the individual who has a concern does not feel confident to report the matter within the diocese they are encouraged to refer directly to Cambridgeshire County Council or Cambridgeshire Police.

 See further information in the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance:

Who to tell:

Office holders, lay staff and volunteers should raise concerns initially with their incumbent, Archdeacon, line manager, volunteer co-ordinator or Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator, safeguarding co-ordinator or Bishop.

Of course this is dependent upon the nature of the concerns and who might be involved.

Alternatively, clergy staff and volunteers may approach the following:

 Clergy staff and volunteers can call, write to or arrange to meet with either of the above. In the case of a meeting the individual raising the concern may wish to invite a supporter.

Written concerns should:

  • identify that it is a whistleblowing disclosure;
  • detail the background and history of the concerns;
  • give names, dates and places (where possible); and
  • note the reasons why the individual is particularly concerned about the situation. 

What could happen?

This will be dependent upon the nature of the concern. The matter may be:

  • investigated internally
  • referred to the Police and / or other statutory agencies;
  • independently  investigated
  • referred for consideration under the Clergy Discipline Measure

or

  • a combination of the above

Anonymous Allegations

The Diocese of Ely encourages staff, Office Holders and volunteers to identify themselves when reporting a concern. However any anonymous concerns will be investigated as far as reasonably possible based upon the information provided. 

Or contact: 

  • Cambridgeshire Police
    • dial 101 or 999 in an emergency
  • Independent, free, expert help and advice in relation to whistleblowing is also available from Public Concern at Work

Safeguarding complaints policy and procedure

The Diocese of Ely takes complaints about our work and quality of service in all aspects of safeguarding seriously. We view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve the support that we offer to parishes. If you are not satisfied with the service you have received, please follow the process below.

Our aims are:

  • to provide a fair procedure which is clear and easy to use
  • to be open about how we will deal with complaints
  • to ensure that all complaints are investigated in an equitable and timely way
  • to resolve complaints as near to the point of service delivery as possible
  • to learn from the process and thereby improve our service. 

For the purpose of these procedures, a complaint is any formal expression of dissatisfaction, either verbal or written, about any aspect of the safeguarding service provided to you at a diocesan level.  These procedures apply in relation to all safeguarding issues involving children or adults at risk of harm.

All information will be handled sensitively, sharing information on a ‘need to know’ basis and in accordance with the diocesan data sharing and confidentiality policy and procedure.

Overall responsibility for this procedure and its implementation lies with the Diocese of Ely through the Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group (DSMG). This policy will be reviewed periodically as required.

Complaints procedure

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with our service, whether justified or not, which calls for a response. The complainant must be the person directly affected by the issue and not a third party.

In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue that is being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, we expect that all reasonable efforts will have been made to resolve it swiftly if possible and appropriate (informal resolution). However we appreciate that this isn’t always possible or appropriate and therefore have the following three step process in order to deal with all such cases. 

Stage One 

Initially, the complaint should be made to the Diocesan Secretary. This should be in writing.  Any subsequent telephone conversations will be recorded in writing and shared with the complainant to ensure accuracy and transparency. The complaint will be acknowledged and responded to within two working weeks (i.e. 10 working days) and a copy of this complaints procedure will be supplied.

 Within this timescale, the Diocesan Secretary will do the following:

  • make all necessary and appropriate enquiries to establish the substance of the complaint and any attempts already made to resolve the matter informally
  • form a view and decide who the best person to respond to the complaint would be
  • initiate discussions or meetings with the complainant to fully understand their issue, seek clarity and be clear on what would constitute a resolution for them
  • arrange any necessary mediation between the parties and any necessary, subsequent action(s). 

It is hoped that an acceptable resolution can be found and the complaint can be concluded to the complainant’s satisfaction at this level. However if this is not the case, the complainant must inform the Diocesan Secretary within two working weeks (i.e. 10 working days) of his/her wish to initiate Stage Two. Stage Two will only be initiated by mutual agreement but, if this remains disputed, the Diocesan Secretary has the final word.

Stage Two 

At stage two, the details of the complaint and actions taken at stage one will be passed to the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Management Group (DSMG).

 The Independent Chair will: 

  • acknowledge receipt of the stage two complaint and that s/he is reviewing details within two working weeks (i.e. ten working days)
  • make it clear when a response can be expected. The aim will be for complainants to receive a definitive reply within four working weeks (i.e. 20 working days). If this is not possible because, for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a further communication will be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.
  • review all documentation and the actions taken so far and discuss with the complainant the situation from their perspective and why resolution has not yet been reached. All conversations will be recorded in writing and shared with the complainant for accuracy and transparency
  • discuss the same with the Diocesan Secretary and other Safeguarding professionals, if appropriate, and consider what, within the framework of diocesan policy and if necessary, the law, could be a way forward to resolve the issue at hand
  • where necessary, take advice from the Diocesan Registrar in order to formulate a response for the complainant and any necessary action. 

The reply (within 20 working days where possible) to the complainant will inform them of the action(s) taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.

Again, hopefully the complaint can be resolved at this level, but if not then the complainant must notify the Independent Chair of the DSMG within two working weeks (i.e. 10 working days) that s/he wishes to make a formal appeal against the outcomes, i.e. initiate Stage Three. 

Stage Three – Appeal 

If the complainant remains dissatisfied after the stage two process has been completed, they have the right to advise the Independent Chair of their desire to appeal to the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) as the independent appeal body. CCPAS work with the Diocese in an independent advisory capacity and will hear the appeal. 

Once the Independent Chair of the DSMG has notified CCPAS of the need for stage three to be initiated, CCPAS will acknowledge the request for appeal within two working weeks (i.e. 10 working days). The process and actions undertaken at stages one and two will be reviewed and the appeal chair may choose to talk to / meet with the parties concerned to gain clarification on the issues. 

A final decision and any action deemed necessary will be communicated to the complainant and the Diocese within six working weeks (i.e. 30 working days). 

Statistical monitoring and learning from complaints 

The number and outcome of any complaints will be reported at least twice each year to the DSMG to identify any trends which may indicate a need to take further action. 

Recording complaints 

We will log all complaints we receive so that we can monitor the types of problems, the best way to sort them out and how long we are taking to deal with them. This also helps us to take a closer look at how we can improve our own service delivery. 

We will handle your information in line with data protection legislation.

‘Sarah’s Law’: the Keeping Children Safe Disclosure Scheme

  • In July 2000, eight year old Sarah Payne was murdered by Roy Whiting, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • It was revealed that Whiting already had a conviction for abducting and indecently assaulting an eight year old girl. The case led to a high profile campaign, spearheaded by The News of the World and Sarah’s parents.

  • Its aim was to persuade the Government to allow controlled access to information about sex offenders living in the community, so that parents could be made aware of an offender in their local area. Sarah’s parents were certain that such a law would have saved their daughter’s life.

  • After trials in four pilot areas (including Cambridgeshire) as the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, approval was given for national use.

  • This procedure is now properly called the Keeping Children Safe Disclosure Scheme, but it is known informally as ‘Sarah’s Law’, in memory of Sarah Payne.

How the scheme works

  • The vast majority of sexual abuse comes from people who are well known to the victim.

  • The Keeping Children Safe Disclosure allows parents, other family members, carers or any other interested parties to request information about an individual who has contact with the child/ren.

  • For example, a single mother may want to be reassured about a new partner, or parents may wish to check out a neighbour who is taking an interest in their family.

  • Anyone can make an application to the police for information. However, if there is something on record, the information will only be disclosed to the person who is best placed to protect the child – not necessarily the same person who started the process.

  • For example, a friend, or neighbour, or grandparents may apply for disclosure of information under the scheme, but any information to be shared would be more likely to go to the parent(s), and would not be shared more widely.

  • The scheme is accessed by contacting the police. You can go into a local police station or you can telephone 101 and ask to be put through to the Keeping Children Safe Disclosure team. A police officer will guide you through the process.

  • For further information. ‘Keeping Children Safe – Your Right to Ask’ can be downloaded from the Home Office website. It contains details of the scheme, describes the process and gives some example scenarios.

Clare’s Law (the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme)

  • This disclosure scheme operates in a similar way to Sarah’s Law and came into effect nationally in March 2014.

  • It was a response to the murder of Clare Wood by her partner George Appleton after it was revealed that he had a history of domestic violence that was unknown to Clare’s family.

  • The ‘Clare’s Law’ leaflet can be downloaded from the Cambridgeshire Police website.

 

Call 101 or go into your local police station if you wish to speak to the Domestic Violence Disclosure team.


Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser - Rebecca Boswell  01353 652731 rebecca.boswell@elydiocese.org

Diocesan Safeguarding Office - Sarah King 01353 652735 sarah.king@elydiocese.org