For 2021 this has been a key year for national Church changes in safeguarding; from IICSA outcomes, and new House of Bishop guidance, along with new legislative preparations; the diocese completed our PCR2 project work; our team worked from home and is developing really good ways of working in a hybrid way; our diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel met both in person and on Zoom to track progress against all our safeguarding business plans and activities.
These final few months of the year have seen positive changes in the team which will enable us to respond to national Church needs, to adapt, change and support a new year of building safeguarding awareness; and to continue to build safeguarding capacity across all our worshipping communities.
In Safeguarding Team news
This Autumn, Becca Faal moved to take on a role that will be the strategic lead for all our diocesan training and learning – this key new role will link all the new national requirements, with a calendar of activities, events and safeguarding ‘spotlight’ subjects and help embed learning and awareness that will support all our communities being as safe as they can be.
There is some training information further in this update, but you will also be hearing more from Becca in January. She is currently ensuring that our new and updated website pages contain lots of information for all things training and learning, and Laura Evans our receptionist is working closely with Becca for bookings, queries and sending out information; please don’t hesitate to get in touch with them. Becca’s new email is ku.gr1696022854o.coi1696022854dsolg1696022854@laaf1696022854acceb1696022854.
In September we warmly welcomed Mel Biscoe as our new Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser; working with Brett Riches who now leads all our safeguarding casework and advice and guidance. Please do continue to email ku.gr1696022854o.coi1696022854dsolg1696022854@gnid1696022854rauge1696022854fas1696022854 with all your enquiries or concerns or give them a call.
Those of you who have called out of hours in recent months may have been directed to the thirtyone:eight helpline. Going forward, a member of the safeguarding team will be on call on weekday evenings, and thirtyone:eight will be taking our calls over weekends. The team will always follow up any calls made to thirtyone:eight to ensure the right level of local support.
Alice Clark continues to support the Cathedral will all their HR advice and will link up with us to support our HR advice for parishes in the diocese where her time allows.
From a Training and learning perspective across 2021, we were able to move to the new national Leadership training module and deliver this by Zoom; we started to deliver the new national module for PTO clergy; and we shared our new 3-year diocesan training strategy that sets out all the new learning ‘pathways` for curates, incumbents, PTO clergy, Readers, employees, volunteers and PCCs across the diocese; as well as introducing some new roles and opportunities for some to be involved in safeguarding in different ways.
Looking ahead to 2022
New national training modules
There are specific new e-learning/online modules to bring to everyone’s attention, and these can be accessed through the national safeguarding training portal. These are below for everyone.
- A module for Safer Recruitment and People Management
- A module that focuses on Domestic Abuse.
- A new module for Parish Safeguarding Officers (PSOs).
Please note that all incumbents and everyone involved in recruiting to roles for children, young people or vulnerable adults will be required to have completed the Safer Recruitment and People Management e-learning module. People who have undertaken this training module will be able to have a follow-up workshop with Judith and Kate. The workshop will have HR elements of how this fits in with parish employee and volunteer issues.
Linked to safer recruitment there are some changes to the DBS processes too. Kate gets more post than pretty much anyone else in our Church House offices! This is set to continue into 2022 when we begin to introduce the new national Church DBS requirements moving from 5-year refresher checks to a new 3-year process for all roles requiring a DBS. (Centrally Kate will continue to link with all clergy, PTO and Readers; and PSOs and PCCs will need to ensure changes to 3-year DBS checks at the parish level. We’ll be doing a key update for PSOs and PCCs separately about this and there will be workshops in 2022 to help answer any questions you all have!)
The Domestic Abuse training module is online and should be completed by everyone who holds a bishop’s license including Clergy PTO, Readers and LLMs; and by all Bishop’s Visitors and Pastoral Visitors; and all PCC members and PSOs.
Parish Safeguarding Officers (PSOs)
Supporting all our PSOs with all that is required remains a key commitment for the team; and along with the new training module for PSOs we will be running bimonthly Zoom workshops in 2022 where PSOs can meet with the Safeguarding Team, get an update on a particular area of safeguarding, learn more about the dashboard; and ask any questions relating to training, policy, record keeping, and casework.
As you can see there are a number of national changes coming in in 2022 for dioceses and parishes and to make sure everyone is aware of all these, and in particular, the training modules that will need to be undertaken and by whom across the year, we will have put an easy guide on our website through this link to help everyone be aware of what is required.
It will be important that PSOs and PCCs are able to keep a clear checklist of who has done what and when any refreshers might be needed so please do ensure good communications and support in the parish!
(The diocesan safeguarding team will be in touch with all clergy directly, and the Warden of Readers will be in touch with all Readers directly and we’ll keep those records centrally in line with national guidance).
There is a lot to take in here! Becca’s update in January will have a clear training focus so may be a good starting point for you – and as always, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions.
Supporting survivors and victims of abuse
The new national Church core training modules, as well as our own activities, are all developed having input from those who have experienced abuse. The national Responding Well that will come into play in April next year will help every diocese and community think through how we respond to those coming forward. We will have a special section in one of the April diocesan Weekly Bulletins about this and there will be wider communications with clergy and PSOs.
Safeguarding e-manual and national requirements
It is always helpful to check out the national Church of England safeguarding website pages as they contain a wide range of practice guidance and policies that we link to on our own pages. National developments have created a new national Safeguarding e-manual and key here is that PSOs and others can download particular electronic sections of policies and guidance documents that are easy to navigate.
Safeguarding Advisory Panel
We will say a fond farewell to Simon Atkinson at the February Diocesan Synod in 2022. Simon is standing down as our Independent Chair after working with us since 2017. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be much missed, we are incredibly grateful for all his support and challenge, and we are in the process of seeking a new Chair to join us in the Spring.
Bulletins and communications in 2022
The Diocesan Bulletin in January and February will contain further details from Becca; in March an edition will follow up on safer recruitment, and in April one of the Bulletins will reflect on Responding Well. We will always ensure that any bulletin information that can reach our widest audiences are also sent directly to incumbents and PSOs along with other specific updates that may be helpful and useful.
The team couldn’t end this final Bulletin of 2021 without a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved with safeguarding over the past year and all its challenges.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us with any questions you have at any time, or to report any concerns or seek advice and guidance. We are aware there are just a few of us, and many more of you! We will work to keep our website pages and information up to date so do check that all out in the new year but of course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions!
From the team, we wish you all a very safe, happy and peaceful Christmas and look forward to working with you all in 2022.