Who we are
Our website address is: https://ascensionhallgreen.uk.
PARISH SAFEGUARDING POLICY AND PROCEDURES
The Parish Church Council of the Ascension, Hall Green, recognises the need to safeguard the children, young people and adults in our care and guard against the possibility of any form of abuse by persons who may be acting in the name of our parish. We aim to create a safe environment for the nurture and development of children, young people and adults, in order for them to feel valued and confident to ask for support and help. We will adopt and implement policies and procedures that uphold our responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults in our care.
The care and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in Church activities is the responsibility of the whole Church. Everyone who participates in the life of the Church has a role to play in promoting a safer Church for all.
This policy was reviewed by the Church of the Ascension at a Parochial Church Council meeting held on 11th November 2021.
Our Policy Commitments
- We commit to providing a safe physical environment for work with children, young people and adults.
- We commit ourselves to promoting safe practice by those in positions of trust.
- We recognize that everyone has different levels of vulnerability and that each of us may be regarded as vulnerable at some time in our lives.
- We commit ourselves to the safeguarding of people who may be vulnerable, ensuring their well-being in the life of this church.
- As members of this parish, we commit ourselves to respectful pastoral care for all adults to whom we minister.
- The parish commits itself to promoting the inclusion and empowerment of people who may be vulnerable.
- We commit to informing the whole church community about our safeguarding policy and procedures and recognise that it is the responsibility of each of us to prevent and report abuse that we discover or suspect
- We will ensure the children, young people and adults in our care know who they can talk to if they have any concerns.
- We recognise our responsibility to always respond to and report abuse in whatever context, inside or outside the church environment and will always listen to and take seriously any child, young person or adult who reports that they have been abused.
- We will always report allegations of abuse and concerns about a child, young person or an adult who is experiencing or at risk of abuse due to their, illness or disability in accordance with our procedures.
- We will always report all allegations of abuse against Church Officers to the appropriate statutory agency and to the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser and co-operate with any investigation.
- We will keep all records in relation to safeguarding concerns, allegations and the recruitment of volunteers and paid workers securely.
- We commit to the safe recruitment of all new and current Church Officers who have contact with children, young people and adults experiencing or at risk of abuse due to their, illness or disability.
- We will assess all new and current Church Officer roles and, in every case where the role is deemed to be eligible, apply for an appropriate level criminal record check every three years.
- We commit to providing every Church Officer with clear instructions and information in respect of their role, adequate resources and support and regular opportunities for review.
- We will ensure that all Church Officers working with children, young people and adults experiencing or at risk of abuse due to their age illness disability or are in a trusted role attend Church of England safeguarding training
every three yearsin accordance with the requirements in the Learning & Development Framework, 2021.
- We will inform the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser, and ensure appropriate supervision, of anyone who is known to have offended against a child, young person or an adult at risk of abuse due to their age, illness or disability who attends activities organised by the PCC of the Ascension, Hall Green and will follow all recommendations of the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser in this regard
- We require all hirers of our premises to have their own safeguarding policy and procedures and to provide us with an assurance that these are implemented. All regular hirers, who provide activities and/or services for children, young people and/or adults with care and support needs, are required to give the church a copy of their safeguarding policy and insurance certificate.
- The parish adopts the policy and practice guidance of The Church of England and The Church of England – Birmingham
- The policy will be reviewed each year to monitor the progress which has been achieved
- We will review our safeguarding policy annually to ensure that it meets all current legislation, House of Bishop’s and The CoE Birmingham policies and practice guidance
- Each person who works with vulnerable people will agree to abide by these commitments and the guidelines established by this church.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC)
- Reviews Parish Safeguarding Policy annually and ensures it is being implemented.
- Appoints PCC Safeguarding Lead, Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator(s), Children’s Advocate and Lead Person for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.
- Ensure that all concerns / allegations against church officers or relating to church activities are reported to the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser.
- Ensures insurance cover is adequate.
- Ensures premises are of an acceptable standard.
Vicar: Rev Nejib Boumenjel (07769 624598)
- Ensure that everyone who works with children, young people and vulnerable adults has been recruited safely, in accordance with Parish Procedures.
- Will raise any issues at PCC meetings regarding children, young people and vulnerable adults and represent their needs in regard to ministry, worship and pastoral care.
Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinators: Sarah Barnes (07506 062833) and Philippa Creswell (07714 746032)
- Provide support, advice and take action where necessary on concerns about a child, parent or vulnerable adult, in liaison with the Bishop’s Safeguarding Advisor.
- Acts as a link between the parish and diocese in terms of information sharing and training opportunities.
- Ensure safeguarding records are being maintained and kept securely.
- Ensure safeguarding information is treated sensitively and confidentiality is maintained.
- Advocacy at the PCC and other meetings (in the church and the community) with regard to the concerns of those who are vulnerable.
- Listening to concerns about their care raised by adults and children who are vulnerable. Being a point of contact with the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser where there are concerns about care.
Children’s Advocate: Jon Meadows (0121 778 6367)
- First point of contact for children & parents to report worries or concerns. If he is unavailable, the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinators are the nominated deputies.
- Report allegations and concerns about a child to the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser and, where appropriate, social services.
Lead Parish Identity Verifier: Sarah Barnes (07506 062833)
- Verify the identity of those applying for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in accordance with DBS guidelines.
PARISH SAFEGUARDING PROCEDURES
Recruitment and Creating a Safe Environment:
The Vicar and the PCC have overall responsibility for the recruitment of paid workers and volunteers and for creating a safe environment
- We will assess all new and current volunteer and paid worker roles and, where the role is deemed to be eligible, apply for an appropriate level criminal record check.
- In the event of the disclosure check revealing previous offences, this will be referred to the Diocese in accordance with Diocesan policy.
- We will keep a Parish Information log of Disclosure and Barring Applications and renew application every 3 years.
- We will ensure that all activities that the PCC is responsible for are risk assessed, adequately ensured, take place in premises that are suitable for the activity and that employees and volunteers are adequately trained and, where appropriate, supervised.
- A minimum of 2 adults should be present with a group of children or young people.
- We will ensure appropriate supervision of anyone known to have offended against a child or young person who attends activities organised by us.
Leaders and regular helpers that work with children and young people or vulnerable adults will:
- Complete an application form and confidential declaration.
- Name 2 referees, one of whom should ideally be from a current or recent employer or previous church.
- Complete a disclosure if required.
- Have an appropriate interview.
- Be open to support and review.
- Attend safeguarding training at a level appropriate to their role on appointment and attend a refresher at least every 3 years.
- Receive supervision and support in their role.
- Inform the vicar of any relevant change in circumstances.
Responding to Safeguarding Concerns, Allegations and Disclosures about Domestic Abuse:
- If a child reveals they are being abused, staff / volunteers should reassure them and tell them that they were right to reveal the abuse. They should not promise to keep it secret.
- Staff and volunteers are responsible for reporting suspected cases of abuse to the child advocate or the Parish Safeguarding Coordinators. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF STAFF OR VOLUNTEERS TO INVESTIGATE SUSPECTED ABUSE.
- The child advocate or the Parish Safeguarding Coordinators will report safeguarding concerns, allegations, and disclosures about domestic abuse to the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser and, where appropriate, social care services.
- In an emergency, call emergency services on 999 and inform the Parish Safeguarding Coordinator as soon as practicable who will inform the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser.
- If the Parish Safeguarding Coordinator receives an allegation of abuse and they believe that the child / adult is in immediate danger will contact the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser on 07342 993 844, or the Police on 999.
- If the Parish Safeguarding Coordinator receives an allegation of abuse, but the child / adult is not in immediate danger they should contact the Bishop’s Safeguarding Adviser on 07342 993 844 without delay, and in all circumstances within 24 hours.
- If there are concerns about a volunteer, or an allegation has been made against that individual, the volunteer will cease to act in that role until the results of the investigation are made clear.
- We commit to providing appropriate support to any individual within our church community who is accused of causing harm to someone in our care.
- We commit to the support of adult and child survivors of abuse.
- Records relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults should be kept securely and for the period set out in guidance.
- All accidents involving staff or volunteers or participants will be recorded in the accident book immediately or as soon as practicably possible.
- Staff and volunteers are responsible for familiarising themselves with building safety issues, such as fire procedures, location of emergency exits and first aid equipment.
- Permission should be obtained for use of any images of children or young people.
- Even if permission has been granted, children must not be identified. Images must not be displayed on the Internet (e.g. the Church’s website or Facebook Page) without explicit separate approval from parents.
Use of Social Media:
- Any use of social media on behalf of the Church should be in accordance with the social media Policy and follow the Social Media Guidelines.
Incumbent: Rev Nejib Boumenjel
Churchwarden: Pauline Price
Reviewed: 10th November 2022 Next Review: November 2023
 A ‘Church Officer’ is anyone appointed by on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid.