The United Reformed Church
Safeguarding Policy for local churches
Children and Adults at Risk
Mersey Synod
Safeguarding is taken seriously by


We acknowledge children’s and adults right to protection from abuse, regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. We consider that the welfare of children is paramount. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice in order to protect vulnerable people in our church.

We will seek to establish a caring environment in which there is an informed vigilance about the dangers of abuse.

We will implement, maintain and regularly review the procedures outlined in this policy, which are designed to prevent and to be alert to abuse.

We will appoint a Safeguarding Coordinator and where possible Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator, who will have specific responsibilities for safeguarding, although we recognise that safeguarding is a whole church responsibility. The Safeguarding Coordinator is the person to whom all concerns or allegations should be addressed. In the absence of the Safeguarding Coordinator, a deputy Safeguarding Coordinator should be contacted; (these could be drawn from the wider Synod as appropriate). Their contact details can be found in Key Contacts, P7.

We will organise activities in such a way as to promote a safe environment and minimise the risk of harm to children and adults.
We will follow a safe recruitment process for the selection and appointment of people to work with children or adults at risk, whether voluntary or paid, lay or ordained.

We are committed to providing support, supervision, resources and training to those who work with children and adults.

We will use rigorous and careful supervision to protect people from the risks associated with known offenders within the congregation, including implementing contracts with known offenders and those who have been assessed as posing a risk.

We believe that abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living and recognise that it can affect both adults and children.

All concerns and allegations of abuse will be responded to appropriately, including referring to the statutory authorities if necessary.

We will co-operate with the statutory authorities in any investigation, will follow multi-agency decisions and will maintain confidentiality of any investigations to those directly involved.

Our Safeguarding Policy Statement is attached as Appendix 1.
Aim and purpose of this policy
The aim of this policy is to provide procedures for promoting safeguarding, preventing abuse and protecting children, adults at risk and staff. This includes clear procedures for taking appropriate action when safeguarding concerns are raised involving children and adults within our church, or those who attend our activities and events.

Who this policy applies to
This policy is approved and endorsed by the Elders on behalf of the church meeting and applies to:
all those who attend our church
our trustees and staff (both paid and voluntary)
organisations who hire our building with the agreement to operate under the church
safeguarding policy

The policy and procedures should be interpreted in the light of the most recent URC good practice guidance. Children and parents/carers will be informed of this policy and our procedures.

The term ‘children’ refers to those under the age of 18 years.

Duty of care and confidentiality
We have a duty of care to all beneficiaries of the church, whether adults or children. We will maintain confidentiality at all times, except in circumstances where to do so would place the individual or another individual at risk of harm.

Preventing abuse
The church will appoint or identify a Safeguarding and Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator(s) for safeguarding children and adults. A description outlining who holds responsibility for managing safeguarding within the church is attached as Appendix 2.

Activities will be organised in accordance with URC good practice guidelines so as to promote a safe environment and healthy relationships, whilst minimising opportunities for harm, misunderstanding or false accusation. For each event, risk assessments (see Good Practice 4) will be carried out, appropriate consent forms will be used (for children’s activities), appropriate records will be kept and adequate insurance will be in place.

We are committed to safe recruitment and selection of all paid staff and volunteers and will ensure that these procedures are followed, which include:
asking new applicants to complete an application form
providing all workers with job descriptions, person specifications and a code of conduct
obtaining Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks wherever legally entitled to do so
taking up two references (not from family members)
interviewing candidates

Safeguarding training will be provided and volunteers and paid staff will be given support and supervision in their role.

All trustees, paid staff and volunteers will work within a code of conduct (code for workers, attached as Appendix 3) and understand that there may be action taken if this code is not followed, possibly involving suspension or termination of working with us.

If we become aware of someone within our congregation known to have harmed children or adults in the past, we will inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer and co-operate with them and the relevant statutory authorities to put in place a plan to minimise the risk of harm to children and adults.

Organisations wishing to hire our building for activities with children or adults must confirm in writing that they will follow the principles of this safeguarding policy as a condition of the letting agreement. If they have their own safeguarding policy, they will be asked to provide a copy and this should be approved by the church Safeguarding Coordinator(s) and Elders. If they do not have their own safeguarding policy, the church will encourage them to adopt one before agreeing to the hire, or may agree that they can follow the church safeguarding policy and procedures.

What are we protecting people from?
The definitions of abuse differ between children and adults. A copy of the definitions relating to children is attached to this policy at Appendix 4. The definitions of abuse in relation to adults is attached as Appendix 5.

How to recognise abuse
It is important to be aware of the possible signs and symptoms of abuse. Please see Appendix 6 for those relating to children and Appendix 7 for those relating to adults at risk. Some signs could be indicators of a number of different categories of abuse.

It is essential to note that these are only indicators of possible abuse. There may be other, innocent, reasons for these signs and/or behaviour. They will, however, be a guide to assist in assessing whether abuse of one form or another is a possible explanation for a child or adult’s behaviour.

What to do if there is a disclosure or allegation of abuse
If a child, young person or adult makes a disclosure that they are being abused and / or an allegation of abuse against someone, it is important that the person being told:
stays calm and listens carefully
reassures them that they have done the right thing in telling
does not investigate or ask leading questions
explains that they will need to tell someone else if anyone is at risk of harm, in order to help them
does not promise to keep secret what they have been told
informs the church Safeguarding Coordinator as soon as possible (if they are implicated in the allegation, informs the Deputy or the Synod Safeguarding Officer)
makes a written record of the allegation, disclosure or incident and signs and dates this record (using the template in Appendix 8). This should be given to the church
Safeguarding Coordinator and stored securely in a locked filing cabinet.

Procedure in the event of a concern of abuse
If there is an immediate threat of harm, the Police should be contacted without delay.

Where it is judged that there is no immediate threat of harm, the following will occur:
The concern should be passed to the church Safeguarding Coordinator who will discuss it with the Synod safeguarding officer and a decision made as to whether the concern warrants a referral to the statutory authorities (see Key Contacts, P7 for the relevant statutory contacts)
A confidential record will be made of the conversation and the circumstances surrounding it using the template at Appendix 8. This record will be kept securely and a copy passed to statutory authorities if a referral is made.
The person about whom the allegation is made must not be informed by anyone in the church if it is judged that to do so could place a child or adult at increased risk. If the statutory authorities are involved, they should be consulted beforehand.
The Synod Safeguarding Officer should be kept informed of any serious concerns.

If someone in the church is alleged or known to have
harmed children or adults

We will inform the Church Safeguarding officer or their deputy who will inform and liaise with Synod Safeguarding Officer so that they can offer advice and support, and we will contact the relevant statutory authority.

If the allegation concerns a church staff member or volunteer

For any concerns relating to children, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be contacted, (the Church and Synod Safeguarding officers should discuss and identify who would be the best person to undertake this on a case by case basis). The timing and method of any action to be taken will be discussed and agreed with the LADO. This will cover communication with the worker, suspension, investigation and possible strategy meetings. A decision will be taken by the LADO about when to inform the worker and the church will follow this advice. For LADO contact details, see Key Contacts, P8.
For concerns relating to adults, Adult Social Care will be contacted. See Key Contacts, P8 for details.
In accordance with the law, a referral will be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) if the church withdraws permission for an individual to engage in work with children / adults at risk OR would have done so had that individual not resigned, retired, been made redundant or been transferred to a different position because the employer believes that the individual has engaged in relevant conduct, satisfied the harm test, or committed an offence that would lead to automatic inclusion on a barred list.
In such cases, a report will also be made to the Charity Commission, as they deem such a referral to be a ‘serious incident’ and therefore require notification.

Name of Church ……Formby United Reformed Church

This policy was formally adopted at the Church Meeting on ……20th November 2016
Signed: (on behalf of the church meeting) ……M Williams

The Elders will review this policy annually, amending and updating it as required, and informing the Church Meeting that this has been done.

Date of the most recent review: ……December 2017

Date of the next review: ………December 2018

Signed (on behalf of the Church Elders) …M Williams

Key Contacts: Sources of advice and support
The church Safeguarding Coordinator is the person to whom all concerns or allegations should be addressed:

Name………………Mrs Diane Vernon

Telephone No…… 01704 831678


In the absence of the Safeguarding Coordinator, the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator can be contacted:

Name………………Mr Campbell Davidson

Telephone No…… 01704 874654


Synod Safeguarding Officer

Name                      Julie Rafferty…………………

Telephone No         07964981262………(Synod office    0151 722 6590)

Email             ………………………………………

Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) (This should only be used for urgent advice if you are unable to contact your Synod Safeguarding Officer)
24 hour helpline: 0845 120 4550

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

Name…………………Vicky Buchanan (Head of Children’s Social Care, Sefton)

Telephone No…………………………………………………………………………………………


Statutory contact in the case of a child
[Please insert contact details for your local Children’s Social Care Department, including out of hours number]
                             Sefton Council       0345 140 0845
                                                           0151 920 8234 (out of office hours)

Statutory contact in the case of an adult at risk
[Please insert contact details for your local Adult Social Care Department, including out of hours number]
                                                           0150 934 3748
                                                           0151 920 8234 (out of office hours)

Safeguarding Policy Statement

The following statement has been agreed by the leadership of Formby United Reformed

This church is committed to the safeguarding of children and adults at risk, and to
ensuring their well-being.

We believe that all children and adults at risk should know that they are valued within  the church and safely enjoy and have access to every aspect of the life of our  church.

We respect the personal dignity and rights of children and adults at risk and will ensure that our policies and procedures reflect this.

We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect of children under 18 years of age.

We recognise that we all have a responsibility to help prevent the physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial, discriminatory abuse and neglect of adults at risk.

We recognise that domestic abuse affects both adults and children and believe that  abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living.

We will report any abuse of children or adults at risk that we discover or suspect.

Where an allegation suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed, the police will be contacted as a matter of urgency.

We recognise that Children’s Services has responsibility for investigating all allegations or suspicions of abuse where there are concerns about a child, and that Adult Services do so for adults at risk.

We acknowledge that Local Authority Designated Officers (LADOs) have responsibility for dealing with all allegations and concerns about people working with children, whether paid or voluntary workers, lay or ordained.

We recognise that safeguarding is a whole church responsibility.

    Name: Maureen Williams
      (on behalf of the church leadership)

      Signed …MWilliams

      Date:      20th November 2016

We are committed to:
The establishment of a loving environment, which is safe and caring, and where there is an informed vigilance about the dangers of abuse.

Following the relevant legislation, statutory, denominational and specialist guidelines in relation to safeguarding children and adults at risk.

Ensuring that we keep up to date with national and local developments relating to safeguarding.

Building constructive links with the relevant Voluntary and Statutory Authorities.

Taking all reasonable steps to ensure that as a church, everyone works within the agreed procedures of our safeguarding policies.

Supporting the Eldership/Safeguarding group/Safeguarding Coordinator and Deputy (Delete as appropriate) in their work and in any action they may need to take in order to protect children and adults at risk.

Following safe recruitment principles in the appointment and selection of all those who work with children and adults at risk, be they volunteer or paid staff, lay or ordained.

Supporting, supervising, resourcing and training all those who undertake work with children and adults at risk.

Ensuring that the children and adults we have contact with know that they are valued and feel empowered to tell us if they are suffering harm.

Reporting any abuse of children or adults at risk that we discover or suspect.