Safe Guarding Policy

Woodingdean Methodist Church, The Ridgway, Brighton BN2 6PA
Statement of Safeguarding Principles
It is the Methodist Church’s intention to value every human being as part of God’s creation and
the whole people of God. At the heart of the Methodist community is a deep sense of the place of
welcome, hospitality and openness, which demonstrates the nature of God’s grace and love for
Our church communities are called to be places where the transformational love of God is
embodied and life in all its fullness is a gift, which is offered to all people.
Safeguarding is about the action the Church takes to promote a safer culture. This means we will:
• promote the welfare of children, young people and adults
• work to prevent abuse from occurring
• seek to protect and respond well to those that have been abused.
We are committed to:
• the care and nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young
people and adults
• safeguarding and protecting all children, young people and adults when they are
• establishing safe, caring communities, which provide a loving environment where
there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.
We will carefully select and train all those with any responsibility within the church, in line with
safer recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records checks through the Disclosure
and Barring Service (DBS).
We will respond without delay to every safeguarding concern, which suggests that a child, young
person or adult may have been harmed, working in partnership with the police and social services
in any investigation.
We will seek to work with anyone who has suffered abuse, developing with them an appropriate
ministry of informed pastoral care.
We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust.
Working with the Church Safeguarding Officer, we will support risk assessment of those who
present a safeguarding risk within a church environment. We will ensure appropriate pastoral
care is offered and measures are taken to address identified risks including referral to statutory
agencies, suspension and the use of safeguarding contracts.
In all these principles, we will follow legislation, guidance and recognised good practice.
Woodingdean Methodist Church, Brighton BN2 6PA
Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy
This policy was agreed at Woodingdean Methodist Church Council held on 17th February 2023.
The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a
value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation in God’s own image and likeness.
Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies
a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
This Church is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and
adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are
This Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether as a result
of disabilities or reduction in capacities or by their situation. It is recognised that this increased
vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not
diminish our humanity and our wish to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is
intended to support the church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children,
young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by
This church recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and
recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual,
discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media, child sexual
exploitation or human trafficking (slavery). It acknowledges the effects these may have on people
and their development, including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility
for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is
maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors,
offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the promotion of
welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
The people of Woodingdean Methodist Church are committed to:

  1. RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable
    adult may have been harmed or may suffer harm, whether in the church or in another
    context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
  2. IMPLEMENT the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, government legislation and
    guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
  3. PROVIDE support, advice and training for lay and ordained people to ensure that people are
    clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the
    welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.
  4. AFFIRM and give thanks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults and also
    acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding children and vulnerable
    adults who are on our premises.
    Church Council
    Legal responsibility for safeguarding rests with the members of the Church Council. The
    safeguarding officer should be a member of the Church Council or have the right to attend
    at least annually to report on implementation of the safeguarding policy. Where an
    individual covers the role in more than one location, they must be able to cover the
    activities identified in the relevant role outline and be facilitated to attend meetings to
    report on safeguarding in each location.1
    Woodingdean Methodist Church appoints
    Revd Deborah Cornish as Church Safeguarding Officer (Adults & Children)
    and supports them in their role, which is to:
    • provide support and advice to the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles with
    regard to safeguarding.
    • ensure that a suitable, signed church safeguarding policy is available at all times in the
    church, along with names of current safeguarding officers, national helplines and other
    suitable information. This must be renewed annually.
    • record all safeguarding issues that are reported to the church safeguarding officer,
    according to Methodist safeguarding policy.
    • promote appropriate routes for reporting of concerns
    • identify and inform those who are required to attend safeguarding training and maintain
    records of attendance. Work with the Circuit Safeguarding Officer and Church
    Safeguarding Officer to arrange training.
    • attend training and meetings relating to the role
    • work in partnership with others including stewards and user groups to promote good
    safeguarding practice on church premises. This may include gaining written confirmation
    that hirers of church premises are aware of the church safeguarding policy or are using an
    appropriate policy of their own.
    • check that safeguarding is included as an agenda item at all Church Council meetings and
    report to the Church Council annually.
    • inform all those with responsibility for recruitment, whether paid or voluntary, of their
    obligation to follow safer recruitment procedures.
    • advise the Circuit Safeguarding Officer and/or Church Safeguarding Officer of any issues
    with compliance with safeguarding training, policy or safer recruitment requirements and
    respond promptly to any request from them about audit of safeguarding activities.
    a) Purpose
    The purpose of the church safeguarding policy is to check that procedures are in place and
    provide clarity about the roles and responsibilities of those trusted with promoting the church
    as a safe space for all its users.
    b) Good Practice
    We believe that good practice means:
    It is not appropriate for the minister in pastoral charge to hold the Church Safeguarding Officer role because of the potential
    conflict with their own responsibilities.
    i) All people are treated with respect and dignity.
    ii) Those who act on behalf of the church should not meet or work alone with a child or
    vulnerable adult where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral
    reasons, in which case a written record will be made and kept noting date, time and place
    of visit.
    iii) The church premises will be assessed by the Church Safeguarding Officer with the
    property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and
    vulnerable adults and a written risk assessment report will be given annually to the
    Church Council. This will include fire safety procedures. The Church Council will consider
    the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more
    iv) Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure
    that the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort (where required)
    are appropriate. A record should be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
    v) Activity risk assessments will be undertaken before any activity takes place to minimise
    the risk of harm to those involved. Approval will be obtained from the event
    leader/minister. A written record of the assessment will be retained securely.
    vi) Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable
    all God’s people to reach their full potential. The Church Council will actively consider the
    extent to which it is succeeding in this area.
    These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who
    may be vulnerable.
    c) Appointment and training of workers
    Workers will be appointed after a satisfactory criminal records check and following the safer
    recruitment procedures of the Methodist Church. Each worker will have an identified
    supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the worker. A record of these meetings will
    be agreed and signed and the record kept. Each worker will be expected to undergo
    safeguarding training, within the first 6 months of appointment. The other training needs of
    each worker will be considered (such as food hygiene, first aid and lifting and handling).
    d) Pastoral visitors
    Pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of safeguarding training upon
    appointment. If they are undertaking tasks for which a criminal records check would be
    required, this will be undertaken prior to appointment.
    e) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
    A leaflet outlining good practice and systems should be given to everyone who works with
    children, young people and vulnerable adults. This leaflet should be reviewed annually.
    f) Ecumenical events
    Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of this
    Church Council.
    g) Events with church groups off the premises
    Adequate staffing, a risk assessment and notification of the event will be given to the church
    safeguarding officer prior to the agreement for any event or off site activity. Notification of the
    event will be given to the church council secretary: Mr Terry Hammond.
    If the activity is unusual or considered to be high risk the Church Safeguarding Officer will
    contact the Circuit Safeguarding Officer in order that it can be ratified or any queries raised.
    h) Other groups on church premises
    Where the building is hired for outside use, the Church Safeguarding Officer should be
    informed. The Church Safeguarding Officer will keep the records and take advice as appropriate
    from the Circuit Safeguarding Officer.
    i) Complaints procedure
    There is a formal complaints procedure within the Methodist Church, which allows concerns to
    be raised about actions or behaviour by a member or officer of the Church. In addition,
    employed staff will be subject to relevant contractual procedures. All complaints will be
    responded to with care, diligence and impartiality.
    A complaint should be addressed to the superintendent minister, the Revd Andy Lowe. If a
    complaint is made to another person it should be referred to them. Meetings will be arranged
    with the person making the complaint and, usually, the person against whom the complaint has
    been made, in an attempt to resolve it. If the complaint is against the superintendent, it should
    be sent to the District Chair, the Revd Dr David Hinchliffe at District Office, Unit 4B, Basepoint
    Business Centre, Metcalf Way, Crawley RH11 7XX.
    Safeguarding officers must be informed of any complaint or issue relating to the potential
    abuse of children or adults who may be vulnerable. They will support prompt action to respond
    to the circumstances of any safeguarding concern, whether or not any party involved wishes to
    make a formal complaint through the Methodist Church.
    j) Review
    This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. The date of the next review will
    be Spring 2024.
    k) Key concepts and definitions
    i) A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday.
    ii) Vulnerable adults: any adult aged 18 or over who, owing to disability, mental function,
    age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect
    iii) Safeguarding: protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing
    impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
    iv) Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the
    activity, which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are
    at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
    v) Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, a community or an institution. It may be
    perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by
    strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent
    Chair of Church Council Dated: 17th February 2023