Safeguarding Policy and Procedures for working with children and young people

 

1 Introduction

1.1 PSALMS accepts the Gloucester Diocesan Policy on Working with Children and Young people. (http://www.gloucester.anglican.org/about-us/safeguarding/guidance-and-policies/)

1.2 PSALMS seeks to provide a caring, warm and consistent atmosphere and environment in which children and young people can develop, grow and learn in safety. Children and young people will be treated as individuals with equal rights.

1.3 PSALMS will therefore ensure that all their employees and volunteers involved in the care of children and young people are made aware of, and adhere to, the following procedures:

2 DBS requirements and checks

2.1 All employees and volunteers involved in either regular (eg weekly / monthly) or intense (eg overnight / weekend) care of children and young people will be required to apply for a DBS Disclosure in line with Board recruitment policy. DBS Disclosures should be renewed every 5 years. Employees and volunteers are also encouraged to register with the Update Service.

2.1.1 Partner churches (Anglican): To avoid unnecessary duplication, PSALMS has an agreement with Markel Insurance to accept DBS Disclosures processed through the Diocese of Gloucester. PSALMS volunteers from St George’s church, Nailsworth, and from churches in the Thameshead and Beacon Benefices who already have a DBS Disclosure from the Diocese are not required to make a further application via PSALMS.  DBS applications for PSALMS volunteers from other Anglican churches, including all applications from St Cyr’s, Stonehouse, are processed by Liz Farley through Thirty-one:eight (formerly CCPAS).

2.1.2 Partner churches (non-Anglican): All DBS applications will be processed by the PSALMS Safeguarding Officer through Thirty-one:eight..

2.1.3 PSALMS employees, Interns and University Placement students: All DBS applications will be processed by the PSALMS Safeguarding Officer through Thirty-one:eight.

2.1.4 Diocese-wide events: Safeguarding for such events is the responsibility of the party insuring the event. Where PSALMS is responsible, all volunteers requiring a DBS Disclosure will be processed by the PSALSM Safeguarding Officer through Thirty-one:eight.

2.1.5 Introducing new volunteers: A potential volunteer whose role requires a DBS Disclosure may only visit a children’s/young people’s PSALMS-led group for a limited period of time before a DBS check is carried out and other relevant paperwork is completed. This period may be agreed between the potential volunteer and the relevant PSALMS Minister before the first visit but should not exceed 4 visits.

3 New volunteers

3.1 All new volunteers, irrespective of their role, will complete the PSALMS Personal Volunteer Information form before attending any PSALMS-led groups beyond this agreed period. This can be managed either by the relevant PSALMS Minister or, if appropriate, by the Nominated Person of a local church. (See Appendices 1 & 2) The on-line DBS application, Self-Declaration form and an interview will be completed within one month of this time, during which the volunteer may attend the group under supervision.

3.2 Supervision will continue until the DBS Disclosure outcome and satisfactory references have been received. The relevant PSALMS Minister is responsible for ensuring that the paperwork has been received.

3.3 References: A minimum of one reference will be taken up for new volunteers whose role requires a DBS Disclosure. Where possible, this reference should come from a local church leader who has known the volunteer for at least six months. For volunteers who are new to the area, a reference will be sought from the leader of a church previously attended. For a volunteer who does not attend a church, a reference will be sought from an employer or other professional contact.

3.4 One-to-one work: No volunteer will undertake any one-to-one activities with children or young people (eg mentoring / discipleship training) until s/he has completed the PSALMS Volunteer Personal Information form, and a satisfactory Disclosure outcome and references have been received.

3.5 Job descriptions and accountability: Everyone involved in PSALMS activities will be clear about the nature of the work they have agreed to do and the name of the person to whom they are responsible.

4 Implementation

The Company Secretary and fellow Director, George Collins, will be responsible on PSALMS’ behalf for implementing and monitoring the Safeguarding policy.

5 Records will be held electronically and will be confidential to PSALMS and to the Diocese (Anglican volunteers). Names of all volunteers, areas of work/specific roles undertaken, date of current DBS check and renewal date (where appropriate) are all held securely on the PSALMS Team Site. PSALMS Ministers will have access to this information. Safeguarding records will be held for 50 years. They will include information on current and past volunteers and on any reported Safeguarding incidents.

6 Regular Safeguarding training is encouraged and provided by PSALMS. Training dates are recorded electronically and will be monitored by the Company Secretary and one other nominated Board member to ensure that training is updated every 3 years.

7 Safeguarding will be a standing agenda item at Board and LMG meetings. LMG Chairs are responsible for ensuring that the Safeguarding process is understood and implemented by the Nominated Person and the PSALMS Minister in the relevant area.

8 A copy of this policy will be made available to all Board members and employees, and to parents/guardians if requested.

9 The policy will be reviewed annually at the October Board meeting.

10 PSALMS has nominated Liz Farley (Company Secretary) and George Collins (Board member and Nominated Person for Thameshead Benefice) to be the people to whom any Safeguarding concerns and all cases of suspected or alleged abuse must be immediately reported.

 

Appendix 1

Responsibilities for the Nominated Person in a PSALMS partner church

The Nominated Person is required to:

  1. Be familiar with the contents of the PSALMS Safeguarding policy and other PSALMS guidelines relating to Safeguarding. S/he is jointly responsible with the minister or leader of the local church for the implementation of the contents of these documents.
  1. Take all possible steps, together with the minister or leader of the local church, to ensure the protection of the children and young people who come into the care of the church.
  1. Take an active interest in the church’s work with children and young people, get to know the children, young people and their leaders, and to be familiar with the activities undertaken by children’s and youth groups in the context of the church.
  1. Be alert to any unusual behaviour or inappropriate relationship on the part of any church member with a child or young person.
  1. Keep a record of the names of those who work with children or young people in the context of the church and provide that information, if requested, to the PSALMS Board.
  1. Carry out a DBS Disclosure check (Anglican partner churches) for volunteers whose role requires a Disclosure and to communicate the outcome to the relevant PSALMS Minister.
  1. Store securely all paperwork relating to the recruitment of PSALMS volunteers from the church. This will include Volunteer Personal Information forms, references, DBS Disclosure outcome information and Self-Declaration forms.
  1. Seek advice from the Diocese of Gloucester (Anglican churches) or from Thirty-one:eight (non-Anglican churches) in the event of suspected or alleged abuse. If necessary, s/he should inform the Safeguarding Children Service: 01452 583636.

Appendix 3 provides details of PSALMS partner churches and the Nominated Person in each church.

 

Appendix 2

Responsibilities for PSALMS Ministers

Recruiting volunteers: The majority of PSALMS volunteers will be recruited through local churches. It is the responsibility of the PSALMS Minister to:

  1. Ensure that all new volunteers complete a Volunteer Personal Information form.
  1. Discuss the contents of the completed form in an informal interview with individual volunteers.
  1. Take up references.
  1. Identify, with help from the Safeguarding Officer if needed, those volunteers who require a DBS Disclosure.
  1. Make arrangements with either the Nominated Person (Anglican partner churches) or with the Safeguarding Officer (all other churches) for an on-line application for a DBS Disclosure to be made by the volunteer.
  1. Ensure that the applicant has completed a Self-Declaration form.
  1. Pass all completed forms and references to the Nominated Person in the local church for secure storage.

Working guidelines: Those who lead the individual children’s and youth groups, whether these are volunteers from within the church or PSALMS Ministers, are responsible for ensuring that all volunteers are suitably trained and understand the PSALMS Safeguarding procedures. Children’s and youth workers, pastoral visitors and church leaders will be offered, and encouraged to take up, Safeguarding training in addition to more general training relating to work with children and young people.

The following working practices should be observed:

  1. All activities will be organised so that an adult is not left alone with a child or young person, or with a group of children or young people, in a place that cannot easily be observed by others. This is to avoid the risks that may arise because of fire or other types of hazard, as well as to meet broader Safeguarding standards.
  1. No worker with children or young people will arrange to meet a child or young person off site (ie away from the group’s normal meeting place) without parental consent or another adult being present. Godparent Mentors should follow the Godparent guidelines for meeting young people and sharing information appropriately as specified in the Godparent Policy and Procedures and the relevant Risk Assessment.
  1. No group will be taken off site with fewer than two adults. Where children and young people have to be transported by car or minibus, the route should be arranged so that there are two adults in the vehicle or, if there is only one child passenger in addition to the driver, that this is for the shortest possible length of time. For further guidance, see the Diocesan policy: Transporting Children.
  1. Volunteer drivers should complete a form to confirm that they have a valid current driving licence and MOT certificate for their vehicle. They should also confirm that they have checked with their insurance company that their policy covers them to transport children and young people on behalf of PSALMS. This form is to be renewed every five years.
  1. Residentials should follow the Diocesan guidelines for sleeping arrangements. Adults will not sleep in the same room as children and young people unless there is the risk of an incident if the children and young people are not more closely supervised, eg if sleeping in tents.
  1. Sleeping arrangements for any young person with gender dysphoria should follow the guidelines provided by Thirty-one:eight, namely that a young person who is still biologically and legally female should sleep with girls and a young person who is still biologically and legally male should sleep with boys. Thirty-one:eight states that “It would not be suitable to place someone in a position where they are physically exposing themselves to peers of the opposite physical gender”.
  1. It is recommended that a volunteer is known to the church for 6-12 months before s/he takes on an active role in helping with children’s or young people’s activities. This period may be shorter if the volunteer has been recommended by his/her previous church.
  1. An adult volunteer may help in a children’s/youth group as a one-off without going through the PSALMS procedure for new volunteers (Volunteer Personal Information form, DBS Disclosure, references etc) if they are personally known to the leader of the activity. They may not lead the group or be left on their own with the children or young people.
  1. In exceptional circumstances, a volunteer whose role requires a DBS Disclosure may begin helping with a group whilst their Disclosure check is in progress. They may not lead the group or be left on their own with the children or young people until such time as a satisfactory outcome to the check has been received.
  1. Ideally, two references should be provided for each volunteer: one from the volunteer’s church leader and the second from an employer, if appropriate. These may be received electronically if both volunteer and referee are known personally to the PSALMS Minister making the request. Where a volunteer has attended the church for less than a year, an additional reference from the previous church attended should be requested. The current church leader should always be informed when a church member volunteers with PSALMS.
  1. PSALMS Ministers and volunteers should observe the recommended ratios of adults to children when supervising specific indoor/outdoor activities or holiday events. For children under the age of 8 years, these are:

                                                       Adult    :     Children

  • 2 years and under                     1        :           3
  • 3 years                                         1        :           4
  • 4 – 8 years                                   1        :           8

There is no official guidance on ratios for the supervision of children over 8 years. A suggested ratio is two adults (preferably one of each gender) for up to 20 children, with one additional leader for every additional 10 children. Depending upon the outcome of the relevant risk assessment, the number of adults may need to be increased for outdoor activities, particularly if that activity is considered high risk or dangerous, or if children with disabilities or special needs will be taking part.

For additional information and advice when taking children and young people out on visits, PSALMS Ministers should refer to the section on supervision in the Diocesan policy “Working with Children and Young People”.

  1. If intending to show a film to a group of children or young people, PSALMS leaders should ensure that they are aware of its contents and are confident of its suitability for those who will view the film. If there is a concern, parental permission should be sought prior to showing the film. Recommended ages are:

U         Universal. Suitable for all ages

PG       Some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children; best restricted to
secondary school age (11+) unless parental permission has been obtained.

12        Restricted to 12 years and older

12A     Restricted to 12 years and older unless parental permission has been obtained
for younger children to view

15        Restricted to 15 years and older

 

Appendix 3

PSALMS Partner Churches 2019-2020

Church Area and Steering Group Chair Nominated Person PSALMS Minister
Stonehouse Baptist Church Stonehouse

John Thompson

PSALMS Emily Twigg
St Cyr’s (Stonehouse) Stonehouse

John Thompson

PSALMS Emily Twigg
St Joseph’s
(Stonehouse)
Stonehouse

John Thompson

PSALMS Emily Twigg
Stonehouse Methodist Stonehouse

John Thompson

PSALMS Emily Twigg
St Marys

(Painswick)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
St James the Great

(Cranham)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
St John the Apostle

(Sheepscombe)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
St John the Baptist

(Edge)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
St John the Baptist

(Harescombe)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
St John the Baptist

(Pitchcombe)

Beacon

Ian Marsh

Margaret Radway Nathan Youlton
All Saints

(Kemble)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Matthew

(Coates)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Peter

(Rodmarton)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Kenelm (Sapperton) Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Luke

(Frampton Mansell)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Osmund

(Tarlton)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
St Michael

(Poole Keynes)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
All Saints

(Somerford Keynes)

Thameshead

Trevor Kemp

George Collins Ben Fudge
Christ Church
(Nailsworth)
Nailsworth

Malcolm Brown

PSALMS Dave Moller
St George’s
(Nailsworth)
Nailsworth

Malcolm Brown

Karen Wheeler Dave Moller
Diocese-wide projects led/insured by PSALMS Liz Farley Rob French / Nathan Youlton
Diocese-wide projects led / insured by local churches /SU Local Church /SU

 

Appendix 4

Working alone with young people

There are several situations in which members of staff or volunteers may find themselves working alone with one or more young people. These include, but are not limited to, mentoring, training and counselling.

All PSALMS staff and volunteers should ensure that:

  • there is a clear and valid reason why each decision has been made to work alone with an individual or group of young people.
  • consent is obtained from a parent or responsible body (e.g. school) for any lone working with a young person, and specifically for situations in which the young person will be transported in the staff’s own vehicle and/or meetings will take place off site.
  • when meeting on site, as far as is practicably possible, appointments to meet are made when other workers are also on site.

The following guidelines should also be observed when meeting alone with a child or young person:

  • Doors to rooms should be left open (unless there is a window) so that occupants are visible.
  • Other workers/parents/volunteers should be within hailing distance and should be informed that the appointment is taking place and with whom.
  • The young person should be made aware that there are other workers nearby; they should be told who and where they are, and that they can call them at any time.
  • Meetings with a young person off site should take place in a public venue that is appropriate for the age and background of the young person.
  • When transporting a young person, collection and drop-off points should be in a public and visible place.
  • If visiting a young person in his/her own home, staff should never enter their bedroom or other private space without parental consent and, where practicable, with a parent present.
  • Working alone with a young person should be an agreed PSALMS activity e.g. mentoring. In the case of mentoring, parents should be informed that the meeting is taking place in advance and details emailed to mentoring@psalms.uk.net after the event to confirm where and when the meeting took place.

DOCUMENT CONTROL

Original date October 2012
Origin / Author PSALMS / Diocese of Gloucester
Current version 2019
Date of last review January 2020
Date of next review January 2021
Board lead Safeguarding Officer