Introduction to Safeguarding
St Mary's strives to be A Safe Church, not only as directed by The Diocese of Southwark, but as the prime duty of care to our congregation and church community. Being A Safe Church means that we follow Church of England Safeguarding Policies. By promoting welfare and a safe environment, creating a framework where risks of harm to welfare are minimised by taking action to address any concerns.
Practically, this means that the Parish Safeguarding Officers (PSO's) work together with the incumbents, church wardens, PCC, Hall Managers and Diocesan Employees, to ensure:
- Safe recruitment
- DBS checks
- Application and reference forms
- Risk Assessments of Buildings and Activities
- Adequate Insurance Cover
- Annual Safeguarding Audit: review of policies and procedures annually
- Management and monitoring of those who pose risk
- Handle complaints
- Communication; information sharing and record keeping
- Observation of confidentiality boundaries and consent
- Training and safeguarding education
DBS Application Procedures
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.
At St Mary's all employees and volunteers that work with children and/or potentially vulnerable adults are required to apply for a DBS certificate in the name of St Mary's. We work with The Diocese and Access Personal Checking Services Ltd (APCS) to process our applications.
If you are new to working with us or would like to volunteer at for example Sunday School, Creche, Rafters, Bell Ringing, Tuesday Lunch or other activities with children or potentially vulnerable adults please contact our PSO Pauline Bakker to apply for or renew a DBS certificate.
For assistance with online applications at APCS: criminalrecordchecks.co.uk or DBS Administrator Uzma Osinibi at The Diocesan Safeguarding Team .
Please note that without valid St Mary's DBS certificate we cannot allow anyone to volunteer working with vulnerable/children's groups.
Responsibilities and Form Templates
Best practice for safeguarding is prevention. There are specific responsibilities for certain roles within the church, please make sure that you are aware of and act by those.
Parish Safeguarding Officer:
- 'Eyes and ears'
- Communicate with officers, congregation, Diocese Safeguarding Advisor
- Report to PCC - prevention/protection
- Recruit Safely, including DBS checks
- Ensure volunteers and paid workers are trained
- Represent PCC
- Check Insurance
- Link with Health and Safety
- Complete Archdeacon's' Articles of Enquiry
- Implement Sound Practice (risk assessments, transport, attendance..)
- Listen to other workers
- Tell PSO/vicar of concerns
- Induct and train others
In order to aid a smooth process and comply with Diocesan Safeguarding Regulations each activity, building, outing, get together or event might need a risk assessment, attendance forms or similar. Template forms are available via the links on this page to support best practice, please use them in order to keep us all safe!
Template form for:
- Risk Assessment Form
- Registration Form for Activities
- Transport of children and vulnerable adults in private cars - Undertaking by Voluntary Driver
- Transport of children and vulnerable adults in private cars - Passenger’s Consent for Transport
- Consent Form for Taking Photographs of Children
- Consent Form for Taking Photographs of adults who may be vulnerable
- Form for Regular Hirers of Church Buildings
A Safe Church – Diocesan Handbook
For any queries you may have with regards to safeguarding policies and guidelines there is a copy of 'A Safe Church' handbook available in the Church Office. An electronic copy is available on the Diocesan website.
Training and Courses run by the Diocese of Southwark
The Diocese has dedicated safeguarding training department. We intend to periodically invite the Diocese training team to host appropriate training sessions at St Mary's. If you are in a role which requires you to attend training and keep up to date with your training levels, you can book your course directly at http://southwark.anglican.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-training-events/.
Safeguarding Contact Information and Advice
Whenever you need guidance or advice on safeguarding matters, please contact your Parish Safeguarding Officer:
St Mary's PSO
In urgent situations, or when the PSO is not available please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team:
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Tel for both 020 7939 9423
Out of hours/urgent 07982 279713
When responding to specific situations or circumstances:
- Listen - and keep listening
- Don't ask questions
- Don't promise confidentiality
- Accept what you hear without passing judgement
- Don't investigate yourself
- Inform individual what you are going to do
- Make careful notes as soon as you can (circumstances, what was said). Include date/time of the incident and keep safely
- Contact the PSO/Incumbent
- Don't talk to others
- In an emergency contact Police/Children's Services