Wheatley URC Safeguarding Policy

1. Aim and purpose of this policy
The aim of this policy is to ensure that protecting people from abuse, harm or neglect is central to our culture.

It provides 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.

Who this policy applies to

This policy is approved and endorsed by the Elders and applies to:

  • All members of our church
  • All those who attend and serve our church/place of worship and its services
  • Our Trustees and Elders
  • Paid staff (both internal and external eg contractors or consultants)
  • Volunteers.

Principles underpinning the policy


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

The term ‘adult at risk’ refers to any adult aged 18 or over who, by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation, are permanently, or for time being, unable to take care of themselves, or to protect themselves against significant harm, abuse or exploitation.

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

2. Creating a safer culture
We are committed to creating a safer culture in our church which will help us to prevent harm from occurring and provide an environment in which all can flourish.

In line with Chapter two of URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’, we will:
• Appoint a Church Safeguarding Coordinator and ensure contact details are available for anyone to report a concern

  • Have a safeguarding policy which is reviewed annually and updated when necessary
  • Practise safer recruitment procedures for paid and volunteer roles
  • Ensure all those working with children and/or adults at risk are given copies of relevant Codes of Conduct
  • Follow the requirements of the training framework
  • Comply with legal requirements in respect of data protection
  • Complete the Annual Church Safeguarding Return
  • Ensure safeguarding is a regular agenda item for church and Elders’ meetings.

3. Ensuring safer activities
Whilst it is not possible to guard against every eventuality, we are committed to providing as safe an environment as possible for activities both on and off church premises.

In line with Chapter three of URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’, we will:

  • Ensure appropriate insurance is in place for buildings and activities
  • Consider the implications of data protection and health and safety requirements for specific activities
  • Carry out risk assessments for relevant activities or events
  • Ensure adequate staffing for activities and that leaders have suitable training, are aware of relevant guidance and agree to follow relevant Codes of Conduct
  • Ensure the hirer’s agreement is in place for other organisations using church premises
  • Seek advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer for complex or sensitive risks.

4. Recognising and responding to concerns
We acknowledge that, although promoting Safer Culture and Safer Activities will help to protect all those in contact with the church, some concerns will inevitably arise and we are committed to responding well in such circumstances.

In line with Chapter four of URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’, we will:

  • Promote awareness of different kinds of abuse, other vulnerabilities and types of safeguarding concern
  • Seek to create a ‘listening culture’ and help people develop listening skills to respond appropriately in situations where sensitive information is disclosed
  • Inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer as a minimum of any situations where involvement from statutory services is/may be required
  • Share information with statutory services as appropriate and co-operate with them during any investigations
  • Report any serious safeguarding incident to the Charity Commission and notify the Synod
    Safeguarding Officer.

5. Managing allegations and people who may pose a risk to others Where allegations are made against individuals within the Church, we are committed to following all required investigative and regulatory procedures. We will work in collaboration with the Synod, wider Church staff, statutory agencies and other relevant organisations.

In line with Chapter five of URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’, we will:

  • Co-operate fully with any investigative or disciplinary procedures
  • Inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer immediately on becoming aware of anyone in the church who may present a risk to others
  • Work with the Synod Safeguarding Officer and contribute relevant information for risk assessments
  • Alert the Synod Safeguarding Officer or statutory agencies to known breaches of a safeguarding agreement.

6. Supporting victims and survivors
The key principle underpinning our policy and practice in this area is that all those who have experienced abuse, whether recently or in the past ‘will be listened to and offered the pastoral care and support they deem appropriate and relevant, irrespective of type of abuse, context, or when this occurred’ (General Assembly policy statement 2021).

In line with Chapter six of URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’, we will:

  • Recognise that the Elders’ meeting has responsibility for provision of pastoral care
  • Be aware of local support services that people can be referred or directed to
  • Ensure those in relevant roles attend appropriate training
  • Seek advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer about provision of appropriate support when necessary.

7. Review
This policy will be reviewed annually, updated as required and adopted by the church meeting.

Wheatley URC takes safeguarding seriously. We will to the best of our ability comply with relevant legal and regulatory requirements and be guided by the URC guidance on safeguarding ‘Good Practice 6’ available online.

Wheatley URC safeguarding policy is available for download here.