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Governance

 

The Constitutional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church (CPD)

The written constitution of the Methodist Church is prepared at the direction of the Methodist Conference by the Law and Polity Committed of the Methodist Church. The CPD comprises two volumes and outlines the legal framework by which the Methodist Church is governed. 

 

Download Volume 1 (PDF)

 

Download Volume 2 (PDF)

 

The Local Churches (part six) describes how individual churches are organised and governed in this circuit.

 

Local governance documents and guidance

 

Safeguarding

Dear One and All,

 

 

The Bude and Holsworthy Methodist Circuit is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and vulnerable adults. The circuit recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and maintains a stringent and robust safeguarding policy which is reviewed and updated annually.

 

Read our safeguarding policy by clicking here.

 

If you have any suspicions or concerns regarding the safety of any child or vulnerable person please contact the police on 111 or in the case of emergency the 999 system should be used.

 

The Circuit Safeguarding Officer for Adults and Children, Mr Christopher Smith or the Superintendent minister, Revd Simon H Leigh should always be informed when a referral is made to police, social services or other safeguarding agency. The  Plymouth and Exeter District Safeguarding Officer, Mrs Chrissie Slaney is also available for consultation.

 

The circuit safeguarding policy is available on the circuit web page.

 

For additional guidance on safeguarding please follow this link to the National Safeguarding Policy of the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

 

Useful contacts:

 

Bude and Holsworthy Safeguarding Team:BandH2411safeguarding@gmail.com

Mr Christopher Smith: 01409 254457.

Revd Simon H Leigh: Mobile= 07814027354/Home = 01409691065.

Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District Safeguarding: safeguarding@pemd.org.uk

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH /Devon): 0345 155 1071 Email: mashsecure@devon.gov.org.

Multi Agency Referral Unit(MERU/ Cornwall) 0300 123 1116.

Devon and Cornwall Police: 999 or 111 (Non emergency)

 

 

As ever,

 

The Circuit Safeguarding Team.

Model Policy Key Points for External User Groups of Premises - Checklist

 

Pro

 

Note a safer environment and culture

  • have a safeguarding children and adults policy in place with evidence of/process for annual review and update

  • named safeguarding person/point of contact

  • acknowledgment that safeguarding is a shared responsibility

  • evidence the policy is based on statutory guidance and good practice

  • statement that all people are treated with respect and dignity

  • the property should be kept safe and checked at the beginning and end of any session for issues, and these reported to the appropriate person

  • any transport of children or vulnerable adults will need to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort are safely recruited. An agreed record to be kept for each driver/car.

 

Safely recruit and support all those with any responsibility related to children and adults at risk of harm

  • evidence that staff and volunteers are clear about their roles and responsibilities

  • safeguarding training at the appropriate level to be in place for all staff and volunteers

  • staff and volunteers are not to work alone or meet alone with a child or vulnerable adult

  • all staff and volunteers to be safely recruited with DBS checks completed for all eligible roles and a process in place to assess the appropriateness of anyone who has a blemished DBS.

 

Respond promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation

  • a process in place to deal with safeguarding concerns without delay

  • a process to deal with allegations about staff and volunteers

  • a process in place to deal with complaints.

Organisations may have separate policies for social media/electronic communication; photography and video, off-site events. They may also have safer working guidance about adult child ratios, touch and a code of conduct for individual workers.

 

Users and hirers of Methodist premises

Church Councils are required to ensure that those who use their premises under licence (or who hire the premises for regular or occasional use) are given a copy of the local church safeguarding policy and declare their willingness to comply with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance of the Methodist Church or comparable equivalent guidelines and procedures (such as Scouting and Guiding national safeguarding policy).

Code of Safer Working Practice with Children and Young People

 

The code outlines the conduct that is expected of anyone undertaking duties with children and young people within the Methodist Church.  The content of this code forms part of the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church which are therefore required practice. The code applies to volunteers, paid staff, clergy, students on work placement, members and non-members working in a Methodist context. By complying with this code, you will help the Church to protect children from abuse and mistreatment and minimise the likelihood of unfounded allegations against those who are involved in youth work.

If you become aware of any breaches of this code within the Methodist Church, you must report them to your group leader, safeguarding officer or minister in pastoral charge as soon as possible.

Terminology used in this code:

the word ‘child’ refers to anyone under the age of 18.

the term ‘group leader’ is used to refer to the person with overall responsibility for a group or activity, who is answerable to the Church Council/Circuit Meeting.

For guidance and good practice support resources and free downloadable forms for work with children, visit:

https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-work/children-youth-family-ministry/the-well-learning-hub-equipping-and-supporting-workers/

Required practice for anyone working with children and young people

You should:

  • be aware of and understand the local safeguarding policy

    • treat all children and young people fairly and without prejudice, discrimination or favouritism

    • respect differences in gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, disability and faith and challenge behaviour that demonstrates discrimination, prejudice

    • ensure that your own language, tone of voice and body language is respectful

    • always aim to work with or within sight and hearing of another adult

    • ensure that another adult is informed if a child needs to be taken to the toilet (toilet breaks should be organised for young children)

    • ensure that children and young people know who they can talk to or contact if they need to speak to someone about a personal concern and encourage them to speak out if they feel uncomfortable or concerned. They should be made aware of organisations that can provide support.

    • respond warmly to a child who needs comforting but this should not involve physical comfort e.g. cuddles.

    • advise children, young people and their parent/carers/guardians in advance if any activity requires physical contact and provide an opportunity to opt out or agree alternative activities.

    • administer any necessary first aid with others around

    • obtain consent for any photographs/videos to be taken, shown or displayed via any medium. This should be from the parent, carer or guardian and the young person if 12 years or over. Images should not be taken or stored on personal devices.

    • record any incidents that concern you or make you feel uncomfortable and give the information to your group leader in the first instance.  Although you must also contact the church, circuit or district safeguarding officer immediately if you believe you have acted in a way which others may have interpreted as inappropriate or if a child has acted inappropriately towards you. Records must be signed and dated.

    • always share concerns about a child or the behaviour of another worker with your group leader and/or the safeguarding officer.

 

You should not:

  • initiate physical contact and if this is initiated by the child, do not pull away abruptly but do so gently, so physical contact is for the minimum amount of time.

  • invade a child’s privacy whilst they are washing or toileting

  • play rough physical or sexually provocative games

  • use any form of physical punishment

  • be sexually suggestive in the presence of or to a child, even as a joke

  • touch a child inappropriately or forcefully

  • scapegoat, ridicule, reject or ignore a child, group or adult

  • allow abusive peer activities (e.g. initiation ceremonies, ridiculing or bullying)

  • show favouritism to any one child or group

  • allow a child or young person to involve you in excessive attention seeking that is clearly physical or sexual in nature

  • give lifts to children or young people on their own or on your own

  • smoke any substance, vape or consume alcohol in the presence of children or when responsible for them

  • provide personal contact details to a child or young person such as mobile number, email or social media contact

  • share sleeping accommodation with children

  • arrange social occasions with children or invite them to your home outside of organised group occasions (other than with the consent of parent, carers or guardians and where at least one other adult is present)

  • allow unknown adults access to children (visitors should always be accompanied by a known person)

  • allow strangers and those who are not authorised to give children lifts.

 

Dress

You should dress appropriately when working with children and not wear anything revealing or that is not practical for carrying out the tasks as part of your role.

 

Gifts

There may be occasions when children give you gifts.  It is polite to accept a gift but your group leader should be informed.  If you receive any gift of significant value e.g. more than £15.00, you should talk with your group leader about whether it is appropriate to accept it.  As a general rule, expensive gifts should not be accepted.

 

Whistleblowing

Speak out if you think any adult is or has behaved inappropriately towards a child. Speak to the group leader in the first instance if appropriate or alternatively a church, circuit or district safeguarding officer or statutory services.

 

Responding to child protection concerns

Do not try to deal with any child protection concern on your own. Always tell your group leader and/or safeguarding officer. Agree between you who will take what action and when. If you are not sure if abuse of a child is involved, or if you have concerns about a child and you need someone to talk things over with, then again you should contact your group leader or church, circuit or district safeguarding officer. The local authority Children’s Services Duty/Referral team are also a source of advice and support 24 hours a day.

 

Always make notes about a possible child protection incident or disclosure as accurately as possible, as soon as possible. These should cover what has happened, in what context, and anything that seems particularly significant. Quote the child’s words exactly where possible. Take a note from the group records the child’s full name, age/date of birth, address, telephone number and GP. Remember to sign your notes and add your name, role, date of incident and date of the recording.

Ensure that all notes are kept in a safe and secure place.

If a child asks to talk in confidence do not promise confidentiality – you have a duty to refer a child/young person who is at risk to the statutory agencies. Always explain that you may have to get other people to help to make sure they are safe.

  • Try to stay calm and not appear shocked.

  • Listen to the child attentively.

  • Allow the child to talk but do not press for information or ask leading questions.

  • Tell the child that they are not to blame for anything that has happened.

  • Reassure the child that they were right to tell.

  • Let the child know that other people will have to be told and why.

  • Try to explain what will happen next in a way the child can understand.

  • Reassure the child that they will continue to receive support when a referral has been made.

 

Immediate risk

  • If you encounter a child in a situation where they are in imminent danger, you should act immediately to secure the safety of the child. Seek the assistance of the police and then make a referral to local authority Children’s Services.

  • If a child needs emergency medical attention, this should be sought immediately and directly from the emergency services. Parents/carers, if available, should be kept fully informed.

 

What to do if you suspect a child is at risk or has been abused

  • Agree with your group leader or safeguarding officer, who will make the referral.

  • Make an immediate telephone referral to the local authority Children’s Services. Make it clear from the first point of contact that you are making a child protection referral.

  • Describe the event or disclosure and give information about the child and family, e.g. the child’s name, date of birth, address, telephone number and GP.

  • Follow up your telephone call with a completed referral form (sometimes available on the local authority website) or letter. If there is no acknowledgement within 48 hours, contact them again until you receive a response.

  • Remember that the child and family should, wherever possible, be informed about and consent to the referral unless this would put the welfare of the child or another person at further risk. If you have serious concerns, the absence of consent should not prevent a referral. The duty social worker will give you advice on this if necessary.

  • Be prepared to have further discussions with the social work team or the police investigation team.

  • Say if you do not want your details disclosed to the family.

  • For out of hours referrals, call the emergency social work team or where urgent, the police.

  • You may need support for yourself when dealing with a safeguarding incident, so do speak to someone about this but remember to maintain appropriate confidentiality.

 

Children and young people who self-harm or who have mental health needs

Some children and young people self-harm to help them express their emotions.  Others may express thoughts of self-harm or suicidal intent.  If any child or young person expresses thoughts of suicide, advice should be sought immediately.  The group leader should be informed and discussions should take place about the need to inform parents/carers and involve other services.  If the situation is not urgent, consideration should still be given to contacting parents/carers and referring to appropriate agencies who can offer support.

 

Vulnerable Children and Young People

Some children and young people are more vulnerable than others to being victims or child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and modern day slavery.  If it is suspected that a child or young person is affected by any of these issues, the group leader should be informed and further advice sought from the DSO and statutory authorities.

 

Drug and Alcohol Use

Drugs and alcohol are strictly forbidden while participating in Methodist activities for young people.  This applies to staff, volunteers, visitors, children and young people.  If drug or alcohol use is suspected, the group leader must be informed and a discussion should take place about informing parents/carers.  Consideration should be given to the need to inform the police and for a referral to appropriate support services.

 

Additional guidelines for group leaders

In addition to the above the group leader should:

  • ensure that health and safety requirements are adhered to

  • undertake risk assessments, take appropriate action in response to any identified risks or situations and keep records of any circumstances of concern

  • keep the register and consent forms up to date

  • be aware, at all times, of what is taking place and who is present

  • create space for children to talk – either formally or informally

  • liaise with the safeguarding officer over good practice for safeguarding

  • always inform the safeguarding officer of any specific safeguarding concerns that arise (the safeguarding officer will liaise with the DSO)

  • liaise with the Church Council/Circuit Meeting.

 

Good practice guidelines for church-sponsored activities for children and young people

 

Special needs

Welcome children and young people with special needs to the group. Try to make the premises, toilets and access suitable for people with disabilities. Ask the parent/carer and the child or young person about how best to meet their needs, and do not see this as the responsibility only of the child’s parent/carer. Monitor how the child /young person is managing and review this if necessary with the parent/carer and child/young person. If premises are being designed or refurbished, take the opportunity to anticipate the possible special needs of future children and adults; advice is available. Disability and equality legislation requires organisations to take reasonable steps to meet the needs of disabled people and this includes children.

 

Consent

Consent to participate in activities needs to be from a parent or person with parental responsibility.  In addition to this, where consent to take, store or use images is sought, any young person who is 12 years or older should be asked for their consent, in addition to the person with parental responsibility. You should record who has given consent for any specific activity and retain any consent forms.  Please refer to the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church 6.7.1.1 in relation to images consent for 16-17 year olds.)

 

Records

As part of initial registration for an activity, the following details should be obtained and updated annually:

  • name and address

  • date of birth

  • emergency contact details

  • medical information

  • any special needs including activities in which the child is unable to take part

  • consent for emergency medical treatment

  • separate consent should be obtained for one-off events and activities (e.g. swimming) and also for outings, weekends away, etc.

  • all personal details and consent forms must be stored securely and not shared with other children or adults unless it is legally permissible to do so.  There is further information about when you can share information in the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church.

  • consent for photography, video or film should be confirmed by completing the relevant form.

 

Any group that includes children under the age of eight that meets for more than two hours a day in England must register with Ofsted unless they are exempt, as detailed in Annex A of the Early Years and Childcare Registration Handbook https://www.gov.uk/guidance/childminders-and-childcare-providers-register-with-ofsted. It is an offence to provide such childcare without being registered or on premises that have not been approved.

 

Register

For all children and young people’s activities, a register must be taken of those attending on each occasion.  This should include:

  • the date of the activity

  • the type of activity

  • a list of adults present

  • a list of children/young people present.

 

The register should be retained securely for a period until all children and young people contained within the document reach the age of 21.If this is unknown, a standard retention period of 20 years from the creation of the document may be applied.

 

Required staffing levels

It is the responsibility of the group leader to consider individual circumstances and […] arrange sufficient supervision to ensure the safety and effective management of all activities. The needs of the group, age, location, nature of activity and experience of staff should all be considered.  Further information is available in Section 6 of the Safeguarding Policies, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church.

 

Required Adult to Child Ratios (as recommended by the NSPCC)

0 – 2 years

1 adult to 3 children

1:3

2 – 3 years

1 adult to 4 children

1:4

4 – 8 years

1 adult to 6 children

1:6

9 – 12 years

1 adult to 8 children

1:8

13 – 18 years

1 adult to 10 children

1:10

 

  • Each group must have at least two adults and it is recommended that there should be at least one male and one female.

  • If small groups are in the same room or adjoining rooms with open access between them then it is possible to have only one adult per group, dependent on the nature of the activity.

  • Young people who are being encouraged to develop their leadership skills through helping, should always be overseen by an appointed worker who will be responsible for ensuring that good practice and safeguarding procedures are followed and the work they are doing is appropriate to both their age and understanding. They should not be included in staff numbers for ratios unless they are over 18.

  • Adults who assist on one or two occasions must be responsible to an appointed worker. Thereafter they should become part of the team and be properly appointed through the normal recruitment process.

 

Safe environment

Display, in a prominent place where children and young people can see it, both the ChildLine telephone number (0800 1111) and, for parents, the Family Lives number (0808 800 2222).

Undertake a risk assessment for each activity and in greater detail for an unusual activity or when away from the usual location.

Insurance, first aid kits and fire precautions should be checked and a health and safety check should be completed regularly with reference to the following minimum standards.

 

Venue

  • Meeting places should be warm, well lit and well ventilated. They should be kept clean and free of clutter.

  • Fire exits should be checked regularly and clearly marked.  The fire exits should not be blocked or obstructed.

  • Electric socket covers must never be used as they present a safety hazard.

  • Toilets and hand basins with hygienic drying facilities should be easily available.

  • Appropriate space and equipment should be available for any intended activity.

  • If food is regularly prepared for children on the premises, the facilities will need to be checked by an Environmental Health officer and a food handling and hygiene certificate acquired.

  • Children’s packed lunches should be kept refrigerated. Drinks should always be available.

  • Groups must have access to a phone in order to call for help if necessary.

  • Adults should be aware of the fire procedures. Fire extinguishers should be regularly checked and smoke detectors fitted throughout the premises. A fire drill should be carried out regularly.

  • Unaccompanied children and young people should be discouraged from walking along dark or badly lit paths in or outside of the premises.

 

First aid kits and accident books

  • A first aid kit and accident book should be available on the premises. The contents of the first aid kit should be stored in a waterproof container and be clearly marked. Each group should designate one worker to check the contents at prescribed intervals.

  • All staff and volunteer workers should be encouraged to have some first aid knowledge and the church or circuit should encourage access to first aid training.  There should be an adequate number of qualified first aiders and a list of first aiders should be compiled and kept available.

  • All accidents should be recorded in an accident book.

 

E-safety

  • Ensure that all electronic communications are appropriate and professional.

  • If using e-technology as a group activity, ensure that an adult worker knows and understands what is happening within the group.

  • Do not make any relationship with a child (other than family members) through a social networking site.

  • Maintain a log of all electronic contact with individuals or groups including messaging and texting.

  • Ensure that parents or carers are aware of what their children or young people are doing and have given their written permission in advance.

  • When demonstrations are being given, plan beforehand to ensure that all websites visited have material that is appropriate for the age group taking part.

  • Where children and young people are given access to undertake their own searches on the Internet, search engines are recommended by the Department for Education and Skills (see section 6.5.8.1).  

  • Children and young people should be regularly informed and reminded of safe Internet use and accessing social media. If they have any concerns or fears, they must be encouraged to access websites such as NSPCC or ChildLine or talk to an adult.

 

Transporting children on behalf of the church

 

Drivers

  • All those who drive children on church-organised activities should have held a full and clean driving licence for over two years.

  • Drivers who are not children’s workers should be recruited for the task through the normal recruitment process.

  • Any driver who has an endorsement of six points or more on their licence should inform the group leader and the church/circuit safeguarding officer.

  • Any driver who has an unspent conviction for any serious road traffic offence should not transport children for the Church.

  • Drivers must always be in a fit state (i.e. not overtired, not under the influence of alcohol, not taking illegal substances and not under the influence of medicine, which may induce drowsiness).

  • Drivers of church-owned vehicles should provide a copy of their driving licence on an annual basis or provide consent and relevant details for a check to be made via the government website.

 

Private cars

  • Children and young people should not be transported in a private car without the prior consent of their parents or carers. This also applies to formally arranged lifts to and from a church activity.

  • All vehicles that carry children to church activities must be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy for both private and business use.  They should have up-to-date road tax and where applicable, MOT.

  • The insured person should make sure that their insurance covers the giving of lifts relating to church-sponsored activities.

    • All cars that carry children must be in a roadworthy condition.

    • All children must wear suitable seat belts and use appropriate booster seats. If there are insufficient seat belts, additional children should not be carried.

    • At no time should the number of children in a car exceed the usual passenger number.

    • There should be a non-driving adult escort as well as the driver. If in an emergency a driver has to transport one child on his or her own, the child must sit in the back of the car. A signed and dated record must be kept of the reasons for this.

 

Minibuses/coaches

  • Before using a minibus, ensure you know the most up-to-date regulations for its use and have had a trial drive.

  • Check your licence covers the vehicle group you are intending to drive.

    • Workers/helpers should sit amongst the group and not together.

    • If noise or behaviour appears to be getting out of control, stop the vehicle when safe to do so, until calm is restored.

 

Important telephone numbers

(Please write in your local numbers)

Local agencies

Police (all non-emergency enquiries)

 

Local police Child/Family Protection Unit

 

Local council Children’s Services/Social Care

 

Local Emergency Social Work Team

 

Local general hospital

 

 

Support and Advice Organisations

ChildLine

0800 1111

Family Lives (helpline for parents)

0808 800 2222

YoungMinds (parents helpline, mental health)

0808 802 5544

Hopeline (suicide support for young people)

0800 068 4141

FRANK (drug and alcohol support)

0300 123 6600

 

Telephone Numbers for Staff

District Contacts

DSO

 

LN Regional Coordinator (Training)

 

 

 

Church and circuit contacts (please write in your local numbers):

Name

Role

Phone

 

Superintendent Minister

 

 

Minister

 

 

Circuit Safeguarding

Officer (Children)

 

 

Church Safeguarding

Officer (Children)