In 2016 there were significant changes in respect of Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults. Some towers may still not be compliant. It is the responsibility of the Incumbent and the PCC to ensure safeguarding in their church activities. Ringers will obviously wish to be helpful in this regard, if only for their own protection.
Tower Captains will need to familiarise themselves with the Guidance & Procedures of both the Central Council and the Church. Please note, these procedures are a requirement of the Church, supported by both the Diocese and Central Council so they must be followed.
Perhaps the most significant change was that anyone involved in directly caring for and/or teaching a child (a child is anyone under the age of 18) will be required to be DBS checked, whether they are supervised or not. This applies also for transporting children as part of a formal arrangement, irrespective of frequency. The same rules apply with vulnerable adults. Visiting tutors are required to show their DBS but visiting groups are responsible for their own checks. Although it is nowhere clearly stated, the implication of this is that other than in a one-off situation the presence of a parent is not sufficient and all tutors (but not helpers) need to be DBS checked. This procedure is now supposed to be fairly quick online and is free for volunteers.
It is a requirement of the Church that responsible posts, such as Tower Captain, have a proper job description, are recruited via a Confidential Declaration of suitability, that references and DBS checks are requested as appropriate and that Safeguarding training (only half a day) be undertaken and updated every 3 years. A suggested job description is available on this site. Please go “Guild “and then to “Role Descriptions.”
Safeguarding Guidance should be available in all towers (ie printed off and on the notice board or similar) and, where children are expected, a signed attendance register kept.
This may all sound rather onerous but I don’t think it needs to be. The most important issue that needs addressing now is for anyone involved (or potentially involved) in the direct teaching or care of young people should be DBS checked and undergo some basic training. Even where there are no young ringers at present it is still recommended that TCs and their Deputies be DBS checked now in order to cover any eventuality, including the fact that adult vulnerability is not always obvious.
For local arrangements and the training program go to: http://www.trurodiocese.org.uk/about-us/safeguarding-children-and-vulnerable-adults/
Print off the Guidance from the CCCBR website and display it in the tower. Ask your Parish Safeguarding Officer to arrange any outstanding DBS checks, given the changes outlined above.
Where there are young ringers (or the potential for young ringers) the TC should book themselves in for Foundation & Leadership Training (now called C1 and C2) if required.
Any ringer doing hands on teaching needs to be DBS checked, C1 trained and supervised by the TC.
Initiate a signed register (this may need a tactful introduction).
Liaise with PCC over job description and recruitment procedures.
Ensure Risk Assessment is displayed in tower and reviewed annually.
Any queries to Parish Safeguarding Officers or the Guild via Annie Holland, Guild President whilst this post is in vacancy.
SAFEGUARDING OFFICER’S REPORT – TDGR AGM 14TH APRIL 2018
I am pleased to report that during the last 12 months I have had a few enquiries about safeguarding procedures and at least two were from new tower captains. I have updated the guidance on the website. As we know, compliance with safeguarding is the responsibility of the PCC who are also volunteers and would probably welcome our help and support. Morally, of course, safeguarding is all our responsibility and it is in own interest to ensure our towers are compliant so that ringing can continue.
Last October the diocese was inspected by SCIE, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, and received a reasonably good report. In brief, it was recognised the diocese is working towards full compliance and has appropriate systems in place. They noted as evidence of commitment to safeguarding that Bishop Chris had refused to renew a Permission to Officiate to a retired clergyman who did not want to do the training. The implications of this for ringers are obvious.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel meets quarterly and I have attended 3 out of the 4 meetings so far. I volunteered myself on to the DSAP partly for information gathering and also to demonstrate that ringers are committed to protecting young people and vulnerable adults.
I am not currently aware of any significant safeguarding issues in the guild. I am happy to continue in role and I am grateful to President Annie for her help and support.
10th April 2018