National Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance

The Church of England website has a wide range of documentation to help support parishes and our church communities. 

All the policy and practice guidance on the Church of England Safeguarding pages has been approved by the House of Bishops and must, where relevant, be followed by all Church Bodies* and Church Officers**.

To have 'due regard'

Please note under Section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016*** all authorised clergy, bishops, archdeacons, licensed readers and lay workers, churchwardens and PCCs must have 'due regard' to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops (this will include both policy and practice guidance).

A duty to have 'due regard' to guidance means that the person under the duty is not free to disregard it but is required to follow it unless there are cogent reasons for not doing so. ('Cogent' for this purpose means clear, logical and convincing.) Failure by clergy to comply with the duty imposed by the 2016 Measure may result in disciplinary action.

  • Please read the explanatory note on 'due regard' on this page for further information
  • The Commencement Order for the Safeguarding (Code of Practice) Measure 2021 is now available clicking here.
  • The substantive provisions of the Measure came into force on 1 March, but the transitional provisions in the Order mean that existing statutory guidance will continue to be subject to the old “have due regard” requirement until it is replaced by Code provision. A Factsheet to support implementation is available here

Quick links

Safeguarding e-manual

This e-manual (click here) constitutes the House of Bishops Safeguarding Guidance. Each specific piece of guidance comprises a Chapter of the e-manual.

As of June 2021, the e-manual contains the following Chapters, the remaining guidance can be found on their website and will transfer to the e-manual in due course.

Policy Statements

  • Everyone who participates in the life of the Church has a role to play in promoting a Safer Church for all.
  • The Policy document, "Promoting a Safer Church; House of Bishops policy statement (2017)" sets out the safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults’ policy of the Church of England.
  • It has been informed by the Joint Safeguarding Statement between the Church of England and the Methodist Church, with whom the Church of England work jointly on many aspects of safeguarding policy on a covenant basis.

Practice Guidance

The Safeguarding Practice Guidance sets out how the Church of England and its communities will deliver the House of Bishops Policy Statement: Promoting a Safer Church.

The Guidance is being moved to the e-manual, but a number of guidance documents (as of April 2022) continue to be hosted on the Practice Guidance pages of the Church of England website accessed by clicking here.

As well as the material on the  e-manual, practice guidance on the Church of England website includes documentation on the following areas.

Templates and Resources

For templates and resources relating to safeguarding policy and practice guidance, including those referenced in the Parish Safeguarding Handbook and Safer Working Practice, please see here


*Church Bodies includes PCCs, diocesan bodies, cathedrals, religious communities, theological training institutions and the National Church Institutions. This policy will apply to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications). There is also an expectation that the policy will apply to the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man unless there is specific local legislation in a jurisdiction that would prevent adoption.

**A "Church Officer" is anyone appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid.

***The Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 applies to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications), with the exception of the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man. In order to extend the 2016 Measure to the Channel Islands or Sodor and Man legislation will need to be passed by the relevant island jurisdictions in accordance with section 12 of that Measure.

National Safeguarding Standards

The Church of England has been in the process of developing a set of National Safeguarding Standards and an accompanying Quality Assurance Framework since 2020. The aim was to create a mechanism for answering the question "How good is our safeguarding activity?" This page tells you more.

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