Data Protection and Safeguarding
It is important that all churches embarking upon a project with the Growing the Rural Church (GtRC) Project consider the implications around data protection and safeguarding, and take the necessary actions to comply with practice guidance and legislation.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in the UK from May 2018. All organisations and charities (including PCCs) must comply with the legislation, and there are implications around what data is held, why it is held and how it is stored. Consideration of such issues will be important when churches come to gather information via community consultation as part of their work with GtRC. Further information on the requirements of GDPR, including the Diocese’s Data Privacy Notice and a list of Frequently Asked Questions, can be found here. There is also a designated diocesan e-mail address for queries about data protection.
All parishes must have appropriate safeguarding arrangements in place. Please see the Safeguarding Team’s webpages for information and guidance.
It is sometimes the case that community consultation and work with the GtRC team leads to the formation of a church Friends Group or similar organisation. If this group operates under the auspices of the PCC, it should adhere to the PCC’s safeguarding arrangements. If, however, an emergent group stands apart from the PCC under its own governance, it should – as a minimum – undertake the following with regard to safeguarding:
- The group should appoint a designated safeguarding link person to liaise with the PCC around matters of safeguarding. This individual should complete the Church of England C0 online training course (speak to the parish safeguarding representative for further information).
- Members of the group should be provided with a copy of the Parish Safeguarding Policy (and any subsequent updates), and should be required to read and adhere to it.
- The group should formally adopt the PCC’s safeguarding policy. Adherence should be reviewed and recorded in writing each year, in the minutes of a meeting or in a policy statement.
- Members should know who the parish safeguarding representative is, and how to contact them.
The above will suffice for groups undertaking general community fundraising events. If, however, a group is organising events aimed specifically at children, young people or adults who may be vulnerable, there may be additional measures required. Please contact your local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) for advice.