The safeguarding of children in our Church is paramount.
This clear statement of our Church's commitment was reaffirmed at the Synod of the Diocese in Europe at its meeting in Cologne, from 11 to 15 June, when an updated policy on Safeguarding (formerly known as “child protection”) was introduced and explained.
Chris Lees, the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer together with the Diocesan Communications Officer, Paul Needle, highlighted the major new element in the updated policy, which is a procedure for the safe recruiting of volunteers who may have regular contact with children and vulnerable adults. Up to now, robust procedures for the safe recruitment of licensed workers (clergy and readers) are in place, but not for general volunteers who may hold positions of trust in our congregations, such as teaching Sunday School. All new volunteers recruited for such positions must now have the normal background checks completed. The procedure for the safe recruitment of volunteers is outlined in the updated Diocesan Policy.
Bishop Geoffrey and I, in our foreward to the policy, expressed our hope that it may be “an instrument to help our communities be places of security, care, love and mutual responsibility. These are values of the Kingdom of God which we seek to live out in our lives, both personally and as a Church”.
The clergy and safeguarding officers of our parishes should be aware of these new standards. Any questions can be directed to the Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, Mr Chris Lees, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are aware that in a complex and international diocese such as ours, there may be times when advice on how to comply with the policy may be needed. Chris is the person to consult with on such occasions, and he can provide appropriate and sensitive professional advice.
The updated diocesan policy can be accessed here. The Church of England's general policy is contained in the document Protecting All God's Children which can be obtained here.