Promoting a Safer Church
Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Prestbury Methodist Church
This policy was agreed at a Church Council held on 4th March, 2020*
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.
Prestbury Methodist 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 paramount.
Prestbury Methodist Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by 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 seeks 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 be a dynamic policy. 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 abuse.
Prestbury Methodist Church fully agrees with the statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007:
As the people of the Methodist Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages.
Prestbury Methodist 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 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 issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
The Prestbury Methodist Church commits itself to:
RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of Connexional Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
The PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.
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 vulnerable adults who are on our premises.
Prestbury Methodist Church
It is the responsibility of each Church Council to appoint a Church Safeguarding Officer and there should be no gaps in this crucial provision. It is not appropriate for the minister to fill any gap, because of the potential conflict of roles. The role will usually be undertaken on a voluntary basis although expenses should be met.
Christine Leach as church Safeguarding Officer (Adults) and Christine Leach as church Safeguarding Officer (Children). The Church supports her in her role, which is to:
i) support and advise the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles
ii) provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
iii) liaise with circuit and district safeguarding officers
iv) promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of circuit ministers
v) ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to Methodist policy and practice (see Safeguarding Records: Joint Practice Guidance for the Church of England and the Methodist Church - Updated Jan 2015)
vi) ensure that all safeguarding training which is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
vii) attend training and meetings organised to support the role
viii) oversee safeguarding throughout the whole life of the church (eg lettings, groups, property etc)
ix) report to the Church Council annually
x) ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for the church and all groups and lettings in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
xi) ensure the church completes a risk assessment on each area of activity in the church; that this is stored and reviewed at least annually, and that it is readily available on request
xii) ensure that the church recruits safely for all posts
xiii) ensure that the church has a safeguarding noticeboard with a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information.
The purposes of this safeguarding policy are to ensure procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises. It is to be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church (2017).
b) Good practice
We believe that good practice means:
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 note of this 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 the risk assessment report will be given annually to the Church Council in written form. 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 suitable.
iv) Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort are appropriate. An agreed record to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
v) 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.
Appointment and training of Workers will be made after a satisfactory DBS disclosure and following safe 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 basic safeguarding training within the first 6 months (agreed by Methodist Conference in 2011 -Creating Safer Space Report) of appointment. The other training needs of each worker will be considered (eg food hygiene, first aid, lifting and handling, etc).
d) Pastoral visitors
In terms of safeguarding, pastoral visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.
e) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
A leaflet outlining good practice and systems will be produced and given to everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults. This leaflet will be reviewed annually. Church Councils may produce their own material or use appropriate connexional leaflets (eg the Quick Reference Guide or Code of Safer Working Practice).
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 to 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, David Lee
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 person signing the letting agreement (www.tmcp.org.uk/property/letting-property-and-third-party-use) will be given a copy of the church safeguarding policy and the appropriate leaflet. The lettings secretary will consider the various users of the building in making lettings. All lettings will be notified to the church safeguarding officer who will keep the records and take advice as appropriate from both the District Safeguarding Officer and Circuit Safeguarding Officer.
i) Complaints procedure
It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation. However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, then it is very important that your DSO is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed. A complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Church Council and who is currently Revd Graham Edwards. If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Revd Graham Edwards.who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is regarding this person or a member of their family it will be referred to the minister.
If the complaint relates to the minister it will be referred to the superintendent minister. If the complaint cannot be resolved, consideration will be given to invoking the complaints system of the Methodist Church which will involve initially speaking with the local complaints officer, who is Revd Graham Edwards who is the superintendent minister.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council. The date of the next review is: March 2021
k) Key concepts and definitions
i) A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.
ii) Vulnerable Adults: Any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
iii) Safeguarding and 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, in a community and in 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 harm.
Dated 18th March, 2020
Signed Revd Helen Byrne, Chair of Church Council
[* revised policy discussed at this meeting (4th March, 2020), and subsequently accepted by Council Members by e-mail (9 Members accepted / No Members not accepting)]
 Such as the code of safer working practice leaflet in the appendices or the quick reference guide https://www.methodistpublishing.org.uk/books/pe750-sg-16/safeguarding .
Addendum to Current Safeguarding Policy during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Key principles remain the same:
This addendum is intended to reinforce current Methodist Church safeguarding procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the foreseeable future, the Methodist Church has closed all its church buildings for worship and regular activities and any offering essential social outreach continue to do so within robust Government guidelines.
However, all children, young people and vulnerable adults are now even more vulnerable than before because there are fewer opportunities for others in their lives to identify and respond to safeguarding concerns and issues.
Changes to our ways of working, such as contacting by phone and by video calling, may bring new information, and new concern, to light about their home situation.
Families may also experience new challenges during the pandemic, such as income loss, mental health problems, family conflict and difficulty getting food.
There is a challenge in maintaining contact with vulnerable individuals whilst observing social distancing guidelines and in ensuring they have someone to talk to if they’re worried about anything.
Supporting Guidance Available
The welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults remains paramount.
If you have any concern follow the Methodist Safeguarding Policy and speak with your Minister Church Safeguarding Officer, Circuit Safeguarding Officer or District Safeguarding Officer.
Continue to follow Safer Recruitment practices for all roles, some of which may be new or temporary.
Online technology is invaluable for enabling children and young people to continue their learning, and everyone to keep in touch with family and friends and feel connected with the outside world.
However, changes in online behaviour can put anyone at risk of online abuse, and the fraudsters have been finding new ways of exploiting this global emergency at this time.
Without adhering to guidance, workers and volunteers may unintentionally place themselves at risk
Creating safe virtual communities with children and young people: guidance on how to approach meeting with children and young people, specifically those under 16
Keeping children safe online
Beware fraud and scams during Covid-19 pandemic fraud
During this intense period of social distancing where families are spending more time together, we need to be aware of the heightened risk of domestic abuse and continue to support and respond appropriately.
Advice and guidance for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Coronavirus (COVID-19), lockdown and domestic abuse
Get help and advice about domestic abuse
We must be alert to the risk that the mental health of many within our communities may suffer during the pandemic
Children's mental health
Help and advice for parents and families dealing with mental health problems in everyday life and during the coronavirus pandemic
Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
For all guidance relating to Methodist activity during the period please see:
For all guidance from the NSPCC relating to keeping children safe during the period please see:
For guidance relating to supporting Manchester’s most vulnerable people during the period please see:
Coronavirus - Supporting you during the Covid-19 outbreak from Cheshire East Council:
View the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus from Derbyshire County Council