The Parish Safeguarding Officer is a vital role in building a strong safeguarding culture within our parishes.
Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, but in line with the House of Bishops' policy, every parish must appoint a Parish Safeguarding Officer. This is a vital role and we are grateful for all those within the Diocese who step forward to take on this responsibility.
If you are a Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO), this page aims to help you understand your role, signpost you to key resources, and highlight other support available to help you carry out your responsibilities.
You will find sections on:
Your role as a Parish Safeguarding Officer
DBS requirements for PSOs
Safeguarding training requirements
Key Church of England and Diocesan guidance and resources
The Safeguarding e-manual
Parish Safeguarding Dashboard
Elsewhere on the website, you will find pages on:
Safeguarding help for parishes
Safeguarding training modules
Serious incident reporting
Frequently asked questions
Reports and reviews commissioned by or carried out on behalf of the Diocese in relation to safeguarding
The Parish Safeguarding Officer is the key link between the diocese and the parish/s, concerning safeguarding matters. You will have an overview of all church activities involving children, young people and vulnerable adults, and will seek to ensure the implementation of safeguarding policy. The role can be taken by one person or shared, for example with one person covering children the other, for vulnerable adults.
The key tasks of the parish safeguarding officer are to:
- Have an overview of all church activities involving children and vulnerable adults and keep a record of these activities.
- Be familiar with diocesan safeguarding guidance and ensure that leaders of activities are fully aware of, and are implementing, this guidance.
- Liaise with the incumbent over safeguarding issues.
- Keep in touch with the leaders of all activities and offer them advice and support over safeguarding matters.
- Liaise as necessary with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers. Report all concerns or allegations against church officers to the DSA.
- Attend diocesan safeguarding training offered for PSOs.
- Assist with safeguarding training in the parish as appropriate.
- Attend a meeting of the church leadership (PCC) at least annually to ensure safeguarding issues are discussed and that the church leadership adopt the annual Church Safeguarding Policy.
- Ensure that the Church Safeguarding Policy and contact details is displayed in all Church premises.
- Keep good records of any safeguarding concerns that may arise, and ensure that others do the same.
- Promote inclusiveness in places of worship and within church activities.
- Keep the church leadership informed of good safeguarding practice.
- Undertake a regular parish safeguarding self-assessment in the format offered by the Diocese.
- If a PSO is also a PCC trustee of a church that is a charity working with children or adults at risk an enhanced DBS is needed.
- If a PSO engages in either of the following as part of their roles and responsibilities:
- Overseeing/supervising/managing workers in Regulated Activity
- Carrying out Regulated Activity with children and/or adults
An enhanced DBS check with a check of the relevant barred list (children and/or adults) is needed. Please note in relation to regulated activity with adults and regulated activity with children (involving personal care) you only need to carry out or oversee/supervise/manage those who carry out this activity once to be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check of the relevant barred list.
- If a PSO is engaged in overseeing/supervising/managing workers who require an enhanced DBS check without a check of the barred list they too will be eligible for the same level check, enhanced DBS without barred list.
Please record which of the above requirements apply within any enhanced DBS application in the additional notes section.
To determine whether you work or supervise those in Regulated Activity with children and/or adults please refer to the decision-making flowcharts and additional notes below, which are provided by the Christian safeguarding charity, thirtyone:eight:
- Regulated activity adults flow chart
- Regulated activity children's flow chart
- Regulated activity flow chart notes
If you do not meet any of the criteria above you will not be eligible for an enhanced DBS with or without a check of the barred lists.
If you have any queries, please seek advice from the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers.
As a PSO you are required to complete the following safeguarding training:
- PSO Induction – New PSOs are required to complete the PSO induction and existing PSOs are recommended
- Core Pathways – Basic Awareness, Foundation, Leadership Pathway (refresh Leadership Pathway every three years)
- Raising Awareness of Domestic Abuse (Refresh every three years)
- Safer Recruitment and People Management (Refresh every three years)
Additional training (not mandatory)
- Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
For more information and details on how to book, please see the Safeguarding training webpage
Listed below are links to the key guidance and resources you will need to access as PSO:
Alongside the guidance listed above, The Church of England is developing a Safeguarding e-manual, which we explain more about below.
This Church of England's e-manual is a work in progress that aims to constitute in one place, all the House of Bishops Safeguarding guidance.
As of June 2021, the e-manual contains the following Chapters listed below, with the remaining guidance available on the Church of England's website and will be transferred to the e-manual in due course.
The chapters are:
- Safer Recruitment and People Management
- Safeguarding in Religious Communities
- Safeguarding Learning and Development Framework
- Responding Well to Victims and Survivors of Abuse
- Declaration of Conflict of Interest Policy
- Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults
Chapters are designed to be read online, but there is the option to download a PDF of specific sections or the entire guidance.
Access the Safeguarding e-manual
The Diocese has subscribed to the Parish Safeguarding Dashboard online tool to make it easier for our churches to manage their safeguarding requirements.
It is free for parishes to register, update and receive action plans on demand. The Dashboards also enable the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and senior clergy to ensure each parish is up to date with its safeguarding administration and offer support to those who may be struggling.
The Dashboard system has been adopted by 25 other dioceses and others are coming online all of the time. It has been developed by professionals within the church community with a view to helping churches easily know the state of play in regards to compliance with policy and also removes the need for time-consuming audits as well as producing action plans for PCC to identify areas for improvement.
Key features include:
- The Dashboard has been designed to display a clear and simple dashboard on a computer, mobile phone or tablet.
- Each dashboard can have one ‘owner’, who can update and amend it, and multiple ‘viewers’ who are able to see it’s progress.
- The dashboard overview page allows the owner and viewers to see the current status of compliance at a glance. A green light would mean all is well, amber would mean that action is needed and red would mean urgent action is required.
Parishes were initially contacted, inviting them to join. If you have not received an invite, or would now like to consider using the Dashboard in your parish, please contact Caroline Smith or Alison Jones.
If you need technical assistance with your Safeguarding Dashboard, please visit: www.safeguardingdashboards.org.uk
We know that those who take on positions like Parish Safeguarding Officer are volunteers, often balancing these responsibilities with other work and commitments. It can be hugely demanding.
Safeguarding can be particularly demanding. Thank you for all you do
The Diocesan Safeguarding Team is here to help and support you. Please don't hesitate to contact them if you need any help or guidance. You can find their details below.
Lead Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Get in touch
Safeguarding TrainerGet in touch