The return of responsibility to chaplaincies for the Safeguarding Checks of lay chaplaincy roles

Please see the below Q&A which will give you further information about the return of responsibility to chaplaincies for the Safeguarding Checks of lay chaplaincy roles.

When will the Chaplaincy assume responsibility for lay chaplaincy Safeguarding Checks?

In alignment with the launch of the revised Safeguarding Policy, chaplaincies now assume responsibility for the Safeguarding Checks of lay chaplaincy roles.  With understanding that a period of transition is essential, the Diocesan Safeguarding Team will continue to accept Confidential Declaration Forms for lay chaplaincy roles until 30th November 2019.  From 1st December 2019, the Diocesan Safeguarding Team will still be available to support and assist with specific cases when required.

What is the rationale for these changes?

The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Committee (DSAC) made the decision to return the responsibility to chaplaincies for numerous reasons, including:

  • Safeguarding Officers have a better understanding of their own chaplaincy and volunteers.
  • GDPR; keeping the need for information-sharing to a minimum.
  • ensuring that the Diocesan Safeguarding Team can remain focused on the other priority areas for Safeguarding work in the Diocese.

Who will the Diocesan Safeguarding Team complete Safeguarding Checks for?

Clergy, Readers, Postulants, Ordinands, Churchwardens and Safeguarding Officers.

Who will the Chaplaincy complete Safeguarding Checks for?

All other lay roles within the chaplaincy which require a person to have responsibility for children and vulnerable adults.  As each chaplaincy varies in the requirements of a specific role, it is impossible to provide a complete list, but chaplaincy lay roles include Sunday School Teachers/Leaders/Helpers, Youth Workers/Leaders/Helpers, Choir Masters/Leaders/Helpers, Bell Ringing Captains, Congregational Worship Leaders, Assistant Safeguarding Officers.

Where will I find further guidance?

New Safeguarding Officer Guidance went live on the Diocesan website today, alongside the new Diocesan Safeguarding Policy and Guidance, which will be added to and updated regularly.  It is recommended that you take the time to familiarise yourselves with these.

A ‘Safeguarding Dashboard’ is in the pipeline, which will assist with understanding expectations for Safeguarding in the chaplaincies.

What do Safeguarding Officers need to do in preparation?

All current Safeguarding Officers must have initiated (or preferably completed) their Safeguarding Check before 1st December 2019.

Please ensure that the Diocesan Safeguarding Team are advised of the appointment of any new Safeguarding Officers so that their Safeguarding Checks can be initiated.

Safeguarding Officers must have completed a full Safeguarding Check to be authorised to deal with any Safeguarding allegations or concerns, and to verify documents/certificates, otherwise this responsibility will fall to either their Chaplain or those of their Churchwarden(s) who have completed the full Safeguarding Check.

How will the Diocesan Safeguarding Team support the chaplaincies during the transition?

Katherine Harris (Diocesan Safeguarding Liaison Officer) is holding an additional weekly Safeguarding Clinic on Wednesdays from 11am to 2pm UK-time, starting from Wednesday 23rd October 2019.  Please telephone Katherine directly on 0044 (0)7827 187 083 at any time during the weekly timeslot, or you can send her an email to arrange an appointment for her to call you: katherine.harris@churchofengland.org.

You can also contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 5pm UK-time on 0044 (0)20 7898 1150.