Diocese of Chichester Safeguarding

The Code of Safer Working Practice is a simple way to make clear what is expected of all who minister to children and vulnerable adults in church. They are also very useful for communicating your church’s values regarding how people should be treated. Full guidance from the Church of England on this topic can be accessed by clicking on this link

A copy of the Code can be accessed by clicking on his link

Using the Code of Safer Working Practice: Inducting new staff and volunteers.

The Code of Safer Working Practice should be part of the ‘induction’ process for all new staff and volunteers. Depending on the size of the church, ‘induction’ may be quite formal or it may simply be a meeting with the incumbent and/or parish safeguarding officer before someone takes up their responsibilities. Either way, best practice is to provide two copies, both signed and dated by the individual, with one copy kept by them and another retained by the activity leader (or in the personal file of an employee). In the event of a breach of the code of practice, this allows the activity leader to reinforce expectations by simply reminding the person that in signing the contract, they agreed to comply with it.

Using the Code of Safer Working Practice: empowering parents, children and vulnerable adults.

Codes of Practice should be used to make clear to staff and volunteers how to behave, but can also be given to parents, children and vulnerable adults so that they know what to expect, and most importantly what behaviours are ‘out of bounds’. Parents, older children and many vulnerable adults can be given the same document that staff and volunteers are provided with; younger children should be given age-appropriate versions.

Using Codes of Safer Working Practice: reinforcing messages through training.

The Code of Safer Working Practice can be used in training your staff and volunteers. This can be by way of a simple monthly team meeting, perhaps by discussing how the code is being observed and whether team members feel that things could be improved. The Code of Safer Working Practice can also be used in more formal training sessions, perhaps when delivering the ‘Foundation’ safeguarding training course in a local church setting. The point is that using the code allows a church to regularly reinforce expectations of how people should behave.

Using Codes of Safer Working Practice: addressing low-level concerns.

By incorporating the code into the induction process for new staff and volunteers, your church will give itself a simple way of addressing low-level concerns about people’s behaviour. As your people will have signed to say they will abide by the code, a low level breach can be addressed by simply reminding them of how they agreed to behave. Addressing safeguarding concerns can be very difficult and emotive, both for the people doing it and for the person being confronted. Referring to their agreement to abide by the code allows the focus to be purely on behaviour rather than on accusations regarding intent, which are likely to be highly inflammatory when dealing with low-level concerns.