1.2 - The Chaplaincy Council and the Incumbent
To access the House of Bishops' full key roles and responsibilities guidance document click here.
The Chaplaincy Council is the main decision maker of a chaplaincy. Its members are clergy, churchwardens and others elected at the Annual Meeting of the chaplaincy. The Chaplaincy Council and the incumbent have a duty of care to ensure the protection of the vulnerable in their church community.
In terms of safeguarding, the incumbent and the Chaplaincy Council will:
Adopt and implement
The Diocesan Safeguarding Policy, based upon the House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy ‘Promoting a Safer Church’ by adopting the Chaplaincy Safeguarding Policy. The Chaplaincy Safeguarding Policy Addendum (to be updated) can be used where there is a need to apply for an addendum to the statement with regard to the specific circumstances of your chaplaincy.
- An appropriately experienced, named local Safeguarding Officer to work with the incumbent and the Chaplaincy Council (see Model Safeguarding Officer Role Description).
- Advise the Diocesan Safeguarding Team when a Safeguarding Officer steps down and when a new Safeguarding Officer is appointed.
Safer recruitment, support and training
- Have a Safeguarding Policy Statement to ensure that all those responsible for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults are safely recruited, including mention of the recruitment of ex-offenders (see Section 5).
- Ensure all church officers are aware of the safeguarding policy/guidance and are trained appropriately for their roles (see Section 6).
- Where this is legal and available, provide appropriate insurance to cover all activities undertaken in the name of the Chaplaincy Council which involve children, young people and vulnerable adults.
- A formal statement of adoption of the Diocesan Safeguarding Policy, based upon the House of Bishops’ ‘Promoting a Safer Church’; ‘Safeguarding Policy Statement’. This should be signed on behalf of the Chaplaincy Council.
- Ensure information is displayed about how to contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Team, local Safeguarding Officer and how to get help outside the church with child and adult safeguarding issues.
- Ensure that safeguarding arrangements are clearly visible on the front page of the chaplaincy website. The minimum requirement is a link to a chaplaincy web page that shows more detailed policy and a link to a contact email address for the local Safeguarding Officer. The email can be generic (e.g. safeguarding@chaplaincy) or it can be the email address of a named individual. Where a link to a generic email can be accommodated on the front page, this is advisable. (Some chaplaincies do not have their own website. In this situation, the chaplaincy may want to offer some information on the A Church Near You website.)
- Have a procedure in place to deal promptly with safeguarding allegations or suspicions of abuse (see Section 7).
- Report all safeguarding concerns or allegations including those against church officers to the local Safeguarding Officer/incumbent and the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA) (see Section 7).
- Ensure that known offenders or others who may pose a risk to children and/or vulnerable adults are effectively managed and monitored in consultation with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA) (see Section 10).
- Comply with all data protection legislation, especially with regard to using (e.g. storing) information about any church officers and any safeguarding records.
- Ensure an Activity Risk Assessment is completed and reviewed regularly for each activity which is associated with either children or vulnerable adults and run in the name of the church (see Model Activity Risk Assessment Template).
Review and report progress
- Safeguarding should be a standing agenda item at each Chaplaincy Council meeting. The local Safeguarding Officer should regularly report on safeguarding in the chaplaincy to the Chaplaincy Council, at a minimum of two reports per year.
- At the Chaplaincy Annual Meeting, the Chaplaincy Council should provide an annual report in relation to safeguarding. In the Chaplaincy Council’s annual report will be a statement which reports on progress and a statement as to whether or not the Chaplaincy Council has complied with the duty to have “due regard” to the House of Bishops’ Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance: Church Representation Rules 9(2A).
- At the Chaplaincy Annual Meeting, adopt and reaffirm the Chaplaincy Safeguarding Policy, and Chaplaincy Safeguarding Policy Addendum (to follow) where required, which must be signed and returned, along with all other parts of the Chaplaincy Council Annual Return, to the Diocesan Office.
Hire out church premises
Ensure an addendum to a hire agreement is always used when any person/body hires church premises (i.e. a church building or a church hall) for activity that involves children, young people or vulnerable adults; for example, a preschool, youth group or mental health support group (see Hire of Church Premises Agreement - Safeguarding Provision) (to follow). This does not include hiring by private individuals for private events (e.g. a child’s birthday party).
Joint work with other churches
If working jointly with other churches, agree which denomination or organisation’s safeguarding policy to follow, including where to seek advice in urgent situations in line with the practice guidance. This decision should be ratified both by The Bishop and appropriate leaders of the other churches, and shared with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA); in the event of a specific safeguarding concern, ensure that all other churches are notified.
During a clergy vacancy (interregnum)
- The departing incumbent must hand over all safeguarding records and files to the local Safeguarding Officer who can pass the information on to the new incumbent when he/she takes up his/her new role.
- The Chaplaincy Council must, working with the churchwardens, ensure that all information about safeguarding matters is securely stored before passing the information on to the new incumbent (see Section 7.8).