Links to Documents and “stuff” referred to in the article
- Parish Dashboards: https://www.parishdashboards.org.uk/
- Church of England Safer Recruiting and People Management Guidance / E-manual
- Model Record Keeping Template (only to be opened if you are calm!)
- Safer Recruitment and People Management FAQs
- Safer Recruitment and People Management Assessment Tool
As part of my safeguarding commitment as Chaplain I sit on the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel and the DSAP subcommittee so that I get the latest news and information and, more importantly, so that Readers and Parish safeguarding officers have a voice in matters to do with training, policy and edicts from on high.
The latest deadline for things safeguarding is of course the safer recruiting strategy. The self assessment tool (called the Safer Recruitment Survey) and the adoption of the policy for Safer recruiting should be complete by January 4th which I can imagine could be a real struggle for many parishes.
The new Safeguarding Dashboard tool which is available for every church is really helpful although it does have one or two flaws and things that need some work but there is no such thing as a perfect tool or a one size fits all solution which is why the dialogue is important.
I came unstuck with the dashboard question on safer recruiting which asks, “Which sections of the new Guidance are being followed for ALL relevant roles?”
The simple solution here in the dashboard would be to put in a footnote explaining that the relevant roles this refers to are those that meet the threshold for hours worked with vulnerable adults in certain situations or children.
However, it doesn’t. (yet)
So I opened the Safer Recruitment self assessment tool and clicked on the E-Manual link. making sure that I clicked on the blue print in the right box otherwise as I discovered the other day you end up somewhere else! You do need to be connected to the Internet and to know how to use the CTRL key when you click the link. You can download chapters or sections but for the life of me I have no idea of the difference…. I was losing the will to live slowly.
At this point I read the explanations several times and then went to have a cup of tea and play ball with the dog. Maybe the frequently asked questions document would help.
So now I had the safer recruiting assessment tool open on my computer along with the Redruth Parish dashboard, the e-manual page and the frequently asked questions document. There was so much stuff and so many words written in convoluted legalese that I felt like a claustrophobic desperately seeking the way out of a maze of hedges that were narrowing as I walked!
I went to help my wife do some stuff for the craft market, or more honestly, I watched her do stuff and chatted…. then I tried again.
With a face full of grim determination I clicked a few things on the dashboard and clicked the button to have it send me an action plan….. after all an action plan would not be much use if one had done everything on it. That could go to the team council for the next meeting.
At this point I should say that I went to one of the safer recruitment drop-in sessions and at that session I had the impression that we should be following safer recruitment processes for all roles…. so what about the roles such as sacristan, flower arranger, member of the coffee after church rota or church cleaner? There is probably little opportunity for grooming the vulnerable but they will need to have certain parts of the guidance applied such as a risk assessment for lone working, perhaps something about using tools safely, maybe a food hygiene course if the coffee duties spill over into doing soup lunches in the flower festival.
Well in an ideal world where churches are overflowing with pew-dwelling volunteers, advertising every post, sending out application forms, taking up references, providing training and ticking the 11 other boxes in the policy might be possible, however, in the real world someone who wants to be on the flower rota is on the flower rota until they a) don’t want to be or b) they die or c) they do something to upset the other flower arrangers.
What should we do for volunteers who are not in roles where they are working with vulnerable adults and children (for the significant time)? Well I think it is about following the spirit of the recommendations and making sure that volunteers are:
- happy to do the role and can stop if they want to
- have access to some help if needed
- understand the about lone working if that is their practice
- only have a DBS check if it is relevant!
- have a look down the list and see if there is anything else that might be beneficial.
Of course, if our flower arranger starts doing a flower arranging club with children from the area then there are extra checks to be put in place. ah…. a problem… the flower arranger has suggested the club….. do we have to do an application process for the work they have offered to undertake or do we just have some sort of official chat, make sure the DBS is done at the right level and put something in place to monitor what is going on?
Wish me luck and send a few prayers for the Team Council at which I have to explain all this and adopt the policy for 5 churches from 3 PPCs. Good luck with yours!