Thinking Anglicans

Church of England Safeguarding Standards Published

The Church of England has today published a set of National Safeguarding Standards and an accompanying press release which is copied below. The approved version of the standards can be downloaded here.

Safeguarding standards published
17/10/2023

Church of England safeguarding standards published

The Church of England has today published a set of National Safeguarding Standards, an essential benchmark to understand the quality and the impact of its safeguarding activity at a local and national level. The Standards will enable Church bodies to identify both their strengths and areas for development, which will in turn inform their strategic planning in respect of safeguarding.

Along with an accompanying Quality Assurance Framework these Standards have been developed over a three-year period in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders including victims and survivors. They build on existing policies and procedures including the previous Promoting a Safer Church statement. The five standards aim to cover the breadth of safeguarding activity in the Church.

  • Standard One: Culture, Leadership and Capacity
  • Standard Two: Prevention
  • Standard Three: Recognising, Assessing and Managing Risk
  • Standard Four: Victims and Survivors
  • Standard Five: Learning, Supervision and Support

Each Standard contains:

  • A statement of the Standard itself.
  • An explanation of why it is important.
  • A series of ‘What Good Looks Like’ Indicators – these are detailed criteria that show how well a Standard is being achieved.
  • Details of relevant House of Bishops’ Guidance and Code, training, resources and tools that can be used to help gather data relevant to the indicators. These are important as they will equip Church bodies with the means to undertake quality assurance work locally, but also in a way that is consistent across other bodies.

The standards will also inform the second round of independent audits of dioceses and cathedrals, to begin in 2024 and announced in August. It is not expected that every Church body will be able to meet every indicator immediately and the auditors are aware that those dioceses and cathedrals in the early audit phase will have had less time to embed these standards.

The National Safeguarding Team is also entering a partnership with the parish Safeguarding Dashboard. This will enable the dashboard to become fully integrated with the new standards, thus making it easier for thousands of parishes to explore the standards.

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, Joanne Grenfell, said: ‘All organisations, including the Church, must be able to demonstrate how well they are fulfilling their safeguarding responsibilities. The standards published today are part of a vital quality assurance framework aimed at making the Church a safer place for all and build on work already developed. I know they will be welcomed by all those involved in their local church as an important part of ensuring that our safeguarding activity is making a difference to people’s lives. It will also help the Church to be accountable to all its key stakeholders particularly survivors and victims of abuse.

Notes

There are a range of resources for parishes including:

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Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
7 months ago

Oh good. Now apply them to the shabby treatment by Archbishops’ Council of the many dozens of survivors abandoned after the closure of the ISB. Many will be scanning these, looking for how to hold to account unsafe Bishops known to have historically behaved badly.

Trevor
Trevor
Reply to  Martin Sewell
7 months ago

They ignored all their previous rules. What guarantee have we that they will follow these? I see this as mere propaganda and definitely not believable.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
7 months ago

I wonder how many here will agree with the intention in the standards document for independent audit only every 5 years?

That apart, when I was a management consultant this is the sort of document I might have given to a client as a freebie in the initial pitch meeting. Without concrete actions tying it into specific processes, in my opinion it’s rather vacuous.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
7 months ago

The penultimate paragraph of this announcement starts
‘The National Safeguarding Team is also entering a partnership with the Parish Safeguarding Dashboard’
Oh goody! Presumably a lot of dashboards need safeguarding??
This must mean something to the NST, but is there any wonder there are ongoing severe problems with safeguarding if this if the level of gobbledegook which informs thinking at this level?

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
7 months ago

Without being funny, a dashboard to me is something on a car. Should it have said something like ‘Panel’, ‘Committee’ or ‘Officer’?

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  John Davies
7 months ago

A “dashboard” is used to mean a quick summary display of a number of different items. That’s a pretty common modern usage and is recorded by the OED from as far back as 1990. Originally a dashboard was, I think, a piece of wood at the front of a carriage to help prevent dirt being thrown in off the horses’ hooves. So the car-related sense is already at one remove from the original meaning.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
7 months ago

In an organisation as diverse as the Church of England and with many older volunteers who probably don’t know the modern meaning of the word, I think it’s a valid criticism.

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  Kate Keates
7 months ago

Older volunteers like me have often been school governors, and will be well acquainted with dashboards! In any case the documentation does explain it.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Kate Keates
7 months ago

I am reminded of the story of the 1960s judge who allegedly had to ask one of the lawyers “Who are the Beatles?” receiving the reply “A popular beat combo, m’lud”. But this (‘dashboard’) is usage recorded over 30 years ago so it’s not particularly recent.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
7 months ago

Oh dear… As, among other things , an ancient local government officer and school governor I have been subjected to discussions about many a dashboard- though I didn’t know the derivation- thank- you Simon Kershaw. So I did realise it has been part of popular management speak for a jolly long time. But I’ve never seen one solve difficult problems by itself – though I’m sure others probably swear by them What I was trying to send up was the statement that the NST with all its recent issues , should want to become a partner with a dashboard –… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
7 months ago

I hope I haven’t lived my 82 years in a total vacuum, but until today (like the people Kate Keates had in mind) I had never heard this meaning attributed to a ‘dashboard’.

Like T Pott I assume that the 1960s’ judge might have heard of the Beetles, but I can affirm from personal knowledge that rules of evidence were far more strictly observed in those days, especially in criminal trials: everything had to be proved, even the existence and identity of a famous pop group if they figured in any way in the evidence.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
7 months ago

I suspect the judge may have been thinking of the jury. But still, how does a Team enter a partnership with a Dashboard? What does that even mean? Has the Dashboard and the Team hitherto had no co-operation?

NJW
NJW
Reply to  John Davies
7 months ago

The Parish Safeguarding Dashboard is a tool that are recommended to parishes in many dioceses to try to help make appropriate levels of compliance easier to achieve and manage.
https://www.safeguardingdashboards.org.uk/my-dashboard/
I imagine that most PSOs and parish clergy should know about them, even if they don’t use them.

Martin
Martin
7 months ago

Worthless drivel. More words, but no action. Nothing for victims or survivors. The NST and Lead Safeguarding Bishop have amassed a heap-load of empty phrases. An utterly pathetic waste of time and money, designed to look like some worthy attempts at reform. This stuff is not worth the paper it is written on.

robert
robert
7 months ago

From the PSO leaflet “Ensures church officers ensure are up to date with their safeguarding learning and development requirements.” Did no-one proof read this bit, if you’re going to keep the 2 ensures then “Ensures that church officers ensure that they are up to date…”

David Exham
David Exham
Reply to  robert
7 months ago

Like you, I spotted the obvious error, and wondered why proofreading didn’t pick it up. Your proposal is grammatically correct – hurray! – but I don’t think that can be what is meant. The responsibility for ensuring must fall on the PCC/PSO. Shouldn’t it read: “Ensures that church officers are up to date…”?

Adrian
Adrian
7 months ago

This may, one day, link to the new clergy conduct measure and clergy professional standards; might it be mapped to misconduct or gross misconduct?
Since such a mapping would need to focus on the institutional failures I doubt it will be effective.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Adrian
7 months ago

Maybe it should be possible to cut through some of the verbiage ?
Standards, what good looks like? Dancing with dashboards??
To me what good looks like is we need a system where there is an obvious route for raising complaints which very quickly involves independent oversight by other statutory agencies where necessary.
That the upper echelons of power like the AC are prepared to believe that a small minority of church employees can abuse the vulnerable and will move as fast as possible to deal with the abuser and compensate their victim
Dissolution of the Circumlocution office …

Anne Lee
Anne Lee
7 months ago

Simon, the link for the parish poster doesn’t work. best wishes, Anne

T Pott
T Pott
7 months ago

I wonder whether the House of Bishops might commend a rite by which Teams and Dashoards might contract a partnership.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  T Pott
7 months ago

Only as long as they are of different genders …..

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