After a long wait the Church of England has published new safeguarding procedures, and as a Diocese and Parish we are adopting them. They are going to make our processes considerably more onerous, and I know that there are those in the Parish who don’t see why we have to follow them, but if we look at the recent history of the church nationally it is imperative that we protect children and vulnerable adults in church
If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Yesterday I spoke about this at one of our churches, expecting some push back, and received very little. However, it is the church with the largest proportion of people in work, and of course safeguarding as we now know it has only been with us for fewer than 20 years, so for many in our other congregations safeguarding (and Health & Safety) has not formed a significant part of their working lives as it has for those still in work.
It will take us a while to work through all of our own procedures (what is done when and by whom) and it will no doubt impact how quickly we can do things, and some of the regular hirers of our halls. However, the choice we have is in how we implement the new procedures – not whether we do – and that is right and proper. There have been too many problems in the wider church to say that things were OK before, or that we can trust people.
We are still working out how this will all work, but if you have any concerns about this please do not hesitate to contact me.