Diocese of Chichester Safeguarding

The role of the Parish Safeguarding Officer is a vital lay leadership role within parishes, to assist other clergy and lay leadership in the parish to achieve good safeguarding standards and, if necessary, respond to any concerns. The PSO is a voluntary role; the degree of committment required will vary according to the size of the church and how many activities are undertaken.

Some further guidance about what the role entails can be found by clicking on this link

For many small parishes, this is a relatively undemanding role; the main focus will be on a small amount of administration around 'safer recruitment' (e.g. ensuring DBS checks are done for parish personnel, and that training is up-to-date), and working with clergy and PCC members to ensure that the parish has the 20 items from 'Simple Quality Protects' in place. 

In larger parishes there will, inevitably, be more to do, particularly where there are many activities with children, young people, and vulnerable adults. These parishes may wish to recruit more than one Parish Safeguarding Officer (some parishes, for instance, have one to lead for Child Protection, and another to lead for Adult Protection). 

There is no reason why the Parish Safeguarding Officer has to undertake the role of Lead Recruiter. It is often the case that both roles are undertaken by the same person, but this is not a requirement, and - again, especially in larger parishes - separating the two roles is one way of making both of them more manageable for volunteers. 

Most parishes try and find someone with a relevant professional background to be their Parish Safeguarding Officer, e.g. social work, police, probation, teaching, and so on. This is ideal but, again, not a requirement. The PSO should be someone who understands the need for parishes to comply with a clear practice framework as set out in Church of England safeguarding practice guidance. We have found, for instance, that people with a background in financial services can make excellent Parish Safeguarding Officers!