Parish Toolkit for Safeguarding

Parish Toolkit for Safeguarding

The Parish Safeguarding Toolkit aims to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for parishes seeking to implement and carrying out their safeguarding responsibilities. Most of the useful items you will need to get started can be found here, with links to other sections of the Safeguarding Resources pages as required.

Registering/Changing your Parish Safeguarding Representative:

Parish Safeguarding Representatives undertake some key responsibilities so it’s important you keep us updated whenever your parish appoints a new person to this role so we can make contact, welcome and keep in touch with them.

Please complete the Change of Parish Safeguarding Representative Form then email it to us. We will then contact the new rep with information about their role and the ways they can utilise our support. Please also provide your new Parish Safeguarding Rep with a role description so they are prepared for this key role.

Registering/Changing your Parish DBS Evidence Checker:

Parish DBS Evidence Checkers are integral to your Safer Recruitment procedures and processes and more information about their role can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) page. They will facilitate DBS checks in your parish by establishing which roles require DBS checks, inviting those who need them to commence the online process, checking each applicants ID and completing the DBS application before the application is forwarded to our DBS e-bulk provider, Thirtyone:eight.

New Parish DBS Evidence Checkers will need to be registered both with the Diocese and Thirtyone:eight before they can start undertaking DBS checks. Please complete the Exeter Evidence Checker Recruiter Registration Form to commence this process and email it to us. Please also provide the new Parish DBS Evidence Checker with a role description (see below). Detailed information for Parish DBS Evidence checkers can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) page and should be accessed prior to commencing DBS checks.

Accessing your Parish Safeguarding Dashboard:

The Parish Safeguarding Dashboard online tool has been designed to make it easier for our churches to manage their safeguarding requirements. It is free for parishes to register, update and receive action plans on demand. The Parish Safeguarding Dashboard also enables the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and senior clergy to make sure that each parish is up to date with its safeguarding administration and offer support to those who may be struggling.

To register your parish to use the Safeguarding Dashboard, just email us with the name, role title and email address of the people being nominated as the owner or viewers of your parish’s dashboard, including the name of the parish dashboard you need access to. Further information about the Safeguarding Dashboard can be found in the Parish Safeguarding Dashboard webpage.

Essential Parish Safeguarding Guidance:

The following three Church of England policy and guidance documents have been approved by the House of Bishops and must, where relevant, be followed by all Church Bodies and Church Officers. More national policy and guidance can be found in the Safeguarding Policies and Guidance section of the Safeguarding webpages.

Essential Parish Safeguarding Documents:

  • Parish Safeguarding Policy Statement template: Your parish is advised to adopt this template policy statement based on the House of Bishops safeguarding policy.
  • Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Sample Parish Policy: The Church of England’s practice guidance on Safer Recruitment requires that all parishes have a written policy statement on the recruitment of ex-offenders.
  • Parish Safeguarding Contacts Poster: This helpful poster has space for the name of your Parish Safeguarding Representative and includes the contact details for the Diocesan Safeguarding Team as well as Local Authority contact information which can be adapted (pages 2, 3 & 4) for your specific local area.
  • Safeguarding Checklist for Parishes: This checklist can be used as a basic audit tool to evaluate how well your parish is doing in meeting it’s safeguarding responsibilities. However, please note that this is not an exhaustive tool and to provide a fuller overview your parish should register with the Parish Safeguarding dashboards and use the ‘Action Plan’ function within your parishes page.
  • Procedure for Parish Responding to Safeguarding Allegations or Concerns Template: Under House of Bishops guidance, every PCC must have a procedure in place to deal promptly with safeguarding allegations or concerns. This procedure template localises the national and diocesan guidance so that church officers are aware of how to respond properly in their local context when they become aware of a safeguarding concern.

Additional Helpful Documents:

  • Examples of Risk Assessments: These assessment templates are not suitable for use without editing, but are a starting point for you to tailor to fit your local context. Risk assessments are an expectation prior to any activity being undertaken in your church.
  • Model Registration Form – Activities and Trips: A registration form must be completed for every child or young person who attends groups or activities in your church and should include up-to-date information on parents’ contact numbers, medical information (e.g. allergies) and any special needs. The form should be updated whenever there is a relevant change for the attending child/young person or annually, whichever comes first.
  • Church Building Lettings Safeguarding Statement: This is  an addendum to add to lettings forms to cover safeguarding responsibility when church premises are hired.
  • Parish Social Media Policy Template: This policy template can be adapted with your church/parish details and should guide you as you seek to ensure online and mobile communications within the work of the church remain safe.
  • Guidance on safeguarding whilst using videoconferencing platforms for ministry: This guidance was issued at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic when video conferencing became the primary way of continuing social contact in most settings. Video conferencing continues to be utilised either in replacement of, or supplementary to, face to face contact.
  • PCC Use of photographs of children policy (template): Policy for the Safe Use of Children’s Photographs.