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 Church and the Central Council (2019) (select the ‘Tower Operation’ tab) . 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. “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: Diocesan Safeguarding Information
Link to Church of England Parish Safeguarding Handbook
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 CO (online) C1 and C2) if required.
Any ringer doing hands on teaching needs to be DBS checked, C0 and C1 trained and supervised by the Tower Captain.
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 Officer.
SAFEGUARDING OFFICER’S REPORT – TDGR AGM 18th May 2019
I am pleased to report that during the last 12 months there have been no safeguarding issues brought to our attention. However, there has been a change in guidance and this is a timely reminder for Tower Captains to renew your DBS check if it is coming up to three years. It will definitely need rechecking if it’s over and you should also consider attending safeguarding training.
The Diocese runs efficient training in several parts of the county during the day and at evenings so there should be some that’s convenient for most people. Ideally, there will be two people trained in every tower. The website has clear guidance on this. As we know, compliance with safeguarding was the responsibility of the PCC and since last October the responsibility for safeguarding is now on our Guild. We must also be aware that safeguarding still needs to be considered whether there are children or young people ringing or not, vulnerabilities are not restricted to the young. 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.