Are all your ducks in a row?
With Parishes and Churches becoming more open and active and as we continue to work through the COVID-19 pandemic this is a good opportunity to review your safeguarding processes and practices to make sure you get all your ‘ducks in a row’. The following provides a checklist of things that you can do to help make your church as safe a place as possible:
- Make sure that all church officers have undertaken the appropriate level of safeguarding training for the role they undertake. Information about this can be obtained from the Diocese of Canterbury’s safeguarding training webpage: https://www.canterburydiocese.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-training/
- Ensure that the Church of England’s Safer Recruitment Policy which can be found here is being implemented for everyone appointed as a church officer.
- Properly assess lone working arrangements to ensure that you, your staff and those that you are supporting are kept safe at all times: for those involved in working with children and young people or vulnerable adults, ensure that no church officer is left on their own with at least one other adult close to observe what is happening and offer support if need be.
Report any concerns that you have (however small) to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers in order to seek advice – if in doubt seek DSA advice.
New Safer Recruitment policy - implementation from January 2022
You will all now be aware of the new Safer Recruitment Policy which can be found here. There are couple of significant changes to note within the policy with the main ones highlighted below:
- DBS checks to be undertaken every 3 years. This is a change from the previous renewal timeframe of 5 years. DBS checks undertaken from 2019 onwards should have the new timescales applied to them and you will need to review your records at parish level to ensure that you are fully compliant with the 3 yearly renewal by the end of 2023. Please see Section 9 of the guidance found here for further information.
- A Confidential Declaration must be completed for any roles that have contact with children and vulnerable adults and are subject to Enhanced DBS check. Please see Section 5 of the guidance found here for more information.
- Details of the new C of E Safer Recruitment e-manual are here: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-e-manual. With effect from Jan 2022 the Church of England is authorising all Parish Disclosure officers to update their parish DBS checks every 3 years
- While having hard copies can be easier to use, please note that hard copies will not be issued and any updates will come out on the Church of England Safeguarding E-Manual found here.
Just to be clear : Any existing DBS checks issued after the 01/01/2019 will need the next check date amended from 5 years from the issue date to 3 years. So those checked in the year 2019 will need to be renewed in 2022. Those checked in 2020 will be renewed in 2023. Those checked in 2021 will be renewed in 2024 etc.
Also all new DBS checks issued from Jan 2022 will need to be checked again after 3 years.
Please refer to the following link for further information: Section 9 - Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) | The Church of England and FAQs here: Safer Recruitment and People Management FAQs | The Church of England
If you need help, please contact Diocesan Safeguarding Administrator (DBS) Karen Carolan-Evans via firstname.lastname@example.org.
DBS Identity checking guidelines (wef March 2020)
In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, guidance and changes that were introduced in March 2020 continue. Please see the published information on the DBS website here. We would like to remind you that you can start DBS renewals 3 months prior to their expiry date. To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS ID checking guidance will continue for a temporary period only.
Please do your best to prevent DBS renewals from lapsing but discourage anyone with underlying heath conditions from coming out in line with government health advice. If anyone is in post and does not have a clear DBS they will have to stop their duties immediately until a DBS certificate has been received unblemished. The ID checking process will go back to normal at some stage. We will keep you all informed.