The Role of the Parish Rep

Role Title: Local Safeguarding Representative
(This role is subject to an Enhanced DBS with a check against child & adult workforce.  This role should not be taken up until the volunteer has completed the DBS process, and a letter of appointment has been received from the Safeguarding Dept.)
 
 
Responsible to: Parish Priest
 
          Role Purpose: Responsibility for ensuring that parishes and local communities are    
           aware of the importance of protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults, and what is involved in promoting good practice, which will include basic concepts of appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.
 
Main Responsibilities:
 
1.     To develop good communication links throughout the parish, and become familiar with the various activities in which volunteers are involved.
2.     With the local parish priest/parish administrator, and in conjunction with the Safeguarding Department, ensure that the safe recruitment process is rigorously followed for Parish volunteers working with children, young people and vulnerable adults, including the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check, in line with national policy and procedures.
3.     A willingness to be involved from time to time in support, development and     training groups and to pass on information and learning from those groups.
4.     Be familiar with national policies and procedures and be willing to be part of a pastoral area, working to promote their implementation locally.
5.     Act as central point for concerns to be shared, recorded confidentially; to report concerns to statutory authorities and pass on details immediately to the Safeguarding Department.
6.     To ensure that access to the parish representative is easily accessible by children, young people & vulnerable adults.  To ensure that information about Helplines and Safeguarding policies are readily available. Where there are activities with children; such information should be presented in ‘child friendly’ language using appropriate child-centred illustrations.
7.     To complete the e-learning training provided by EduCare within 3 months of taking up role.
8.     To access regular training opportunities to keep you informed of developments in your role.
 
Person Specification:
 
a)     A responsibility for promoting good practice in all activities involving children, 
young people and vulnerable adults.
 
b)     The appointed person will be a person with integrity; they will be respected in their parish and will be able to maintain appropriate confidentiality.
 
SUPPORT FOR PARISH SAFEGUARDING REPRESENTATIVES
 
It is important to have support processes in place in order to help Parish Safeguarding Representatives to carry out the responsibilities of their role. By “support” we mean the provision of information, advice and guidance, and guaranteed access to a named person responsible for this. It also means providing a listening ear when necessary.
 
It is important that people carrying out safeguarding roles in the Church have access to regular support to help them to perform their role well and to reduce any risk of stress. It is also necessary to be proactive in making support available; this means that representatives should know when they can expect to see or hear from people who are responsible for supporting them and that they feel able to ask for help when they need it without feeling that they shouldn’t be bothering anyone.
 
Support for Parish Safeguarding Representatives will be provided by Safeguarding Coordinator, Safeguarding Advisor, Safeguarding Administrators, Parish Priests, other Parish Safeguarding Representatives and possibly Commission members.
 
Support is frequently provided in groups, at Pastoral meetings or training events, or by telephone or email contact, or through newsletters. What is important is that safeguarding representatives can rely on support and know what to expect. Clear local support arrangements will be established that are appropriate for the individuals concerned, sensitive to local conditions and approved by the relevant Commission.
 
If a Parish Safeguarding Representative is encountering difficulties with the responsibility of their role, they will be able to discuss any problems with the Safeguarding Coordinator, Safeguarding Advisor or Safeguarding Administrator. 
 
Parish Safeguarding Representatives will have a contact details for their Safeguarding Coordinator, Safeguarding Advisor and Safeguarding Administrators. They will be asked to attend a minimum of one pastoral meeting a year for training and support purposes.
They also will be invited to attend a yearly meeting for informal networking with other Parish Safeguarding Representatives; and will be informed of important changes in practice, policy and procedure that affect their role through pastoral meetings, newsletters, and diocesan websites.
  
EXPECTATIONS OF PARISH SAFEGUARDING REPRESENTATIVE

Parish Safeguarding Representatives should... This knowledge will be gained by...
Be familiar with the values and principles that underpin work with children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church
 
 Accessing diocesan/CSAS website Discussion with  Safeguarding Department and other parish representatives
Understand the role of the Parish safeguarding representative in the context of diocesan and parish safeguarding structures
 
 Reading a copy of the role description & induction pack.  Attending an induction meeting
Have a working knowledge of relevant safeguarding policies and procedures for children and vulnerable adults including how to respond to concerns/allegations received in the parish
 
 Accessing diocesan/CSAS website. Discussion with  Safeguarding Department and other parish representatives
Receive written information on who’s who and what’s what in the parish which includes local groups and activities
 
 Discussion with parish priest and or parish administrator
Attend Safeguarding  face to face training event
at least once a year.
 
 Completing the e-learning training provided by EduCare  within 3 months of taking up role and
 attending appropriate training courses
Have a basic understanding of the signs and symptoms of child and vulnerable adult abuse  Reading Induction Pack
Have a clear understanding of confidentiality and how it is maintained in a parish setting  Reading the induction pack. Discussion with other  representatives and Safeguarding Department. Reading &  signing Confidential agreement
Receive clear information about the nature and level of support available from the Safeguarding Department
 
 Referring to induction pack. Newsletter, regular meeting &  training events. Discussion with Safeguarding Department
Be given clear information about meetings and training events that they are expected to attend
 
 Through receipt of information from Safeguarding  Department via newsletter & website.
Understand the process for recruiting/ appointing people in the parish to positions that bring them into contact with children/vulnerable adults.
Be instructed on how to keep records.
Receive information on how to claim expenses, and how costs will be met, e.g. postage, photocopying
 
 
 
 
 By following the diocesan procedure, to be found in the  induction pack and on diocesan website & discussion with  Parish Priest & or parish administrator
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
SAFE RECRUITMENT
 
Over the years we have been blessed by the huge number of dedicated and talented volunteers and employed people – parents and single people, priests and religious – who have given a tremendous amount to the children, young people and the vulnerable in our parishes. Our churches and parish organisations are helping people every day.
 
Very few parishes have professionally qualified paid workers. We rely more and more on willing and conscientious volunteers to nurture and lead our young and care for our vulnerable people. We know from experience that it’s not always easy to find volunteers. When we have people who will readily volunteer and can find the time to do so, we tend to assume they are trustworthy – and the vast majority are. Regrettably, we know that child sex offenders and individuals who wish to have access to children, young people or vulnerable adults for their own purposes will seek to operate in organisations, including church communities, where they believe their behaviour will not be identified. 
 
Sadly, it is simplistic to assume that everyone shares the same high values or has appropriate respect for individuals. We have to recognise, that safeguards we naturally assume and take for granted, need to be deliberately put in place and checked – otherwise we may not be protecting the most easily influenced in our communities as effectively as we think we are. Sadly, even in the best run organisations, it has been known for children, young people or vulnerable adults to be physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abused.
 
Therefore, conscious of the need for safe recruitment, supervision and support of workers and for developing best practice for direct work with children, young people and vulnerable adults, the following principles are in place.
 
Any person seeking an appointment to a post that involves contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults, must comply fully with the appointment procedures, these are:-
 
Treat all volunteers as job applicants
 
Anyone who is asked or wishes to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults, must as a first step complete a “Volunteer Application Form”, a copy of which is in the Safeguarding Resource Pack (and this induction pack).
 
The application must include:
 
  • A statement of personal details, full name, date of birth and address together with the applicant’s signature.
  • An original of a formal document that confirms the personal details. For example a passport or driving licence.
  • A resumé of previous experience of relevant work, if any.
  • Permission to contact in writing or in person, two named referees.
  • A signed agreement to undertake a disclosure enquiry with the Disclosure & Barring Services, in the event that the person is to be offered the appointment.
 
Obtain references from people who have knowledge of the person’s experience
 
In normal practice two written references should be taken up from two adults who know the applicant well. At least one of these references should be from an adult who has experienced the applicant working with children/young people/vulnerable adults. The Parish Priest, the Parish Safeguarding Representative or any other person involved in the interviewing and appointing of the applicant may not be a referee, nor should they be a member of the group the person is applying to join.
 
  • When requesting references it is important to state explicitly that the role is with children, young people or vulnerable adults and the referee must be asked to comment specifically on the applicant’s suitability for such work.
  • If anything in the references gives rise to doubts about the applicant’s suitability for work with children/young people/vulnerable adults, albeit in vague or ambiguous terms. The concern should be passed to the Safeguarding Department.
 
Explore the applicant’s experience of working with or contact with children, young people or vulnerable adults in an interview
 
All applicants for paid and voluntary work with children/young people/vulnerable adults must be interviewed before being appointed. The interview might normally be conducted by the Parish Priest, Group Leader and the Parish Safeguarding Representative. As to the degree of formality of the interview, the interviewers should bear in mind the nature of the role, the level of responsibility it carries, whether the post is paid or not and the maturity and experience of the applicant.    
  
The interviewers should explore and discuss the applicant’s previous work experience, if any, with children/young people/vulnerable adults; that the applicant understands their role in safeguarding practice and their commitment to it. Any responses that give cause for concern must be explored further until there is no doubt as to the applicant’s suitability.
 
Applicants should be told clearly that the position is an exception to the normal workings of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
 
Normally offences are “spent” after a period of time; therefore the ex-offender can state lawfully that they have no criminal record. There are many exceptions to this, including those who seek to work and have contact with people who are under 18 years old. In this situation ALL previous convictions, reprimands and cautions must be disclosed voluntarily whether the post is paid or voluntary via a safeguarding confidential declaration form. (*Please see notes on filtering of old, minor convictions and cautions – appendix 1) 
 
  • When the Parish Priest and the Parish Safeguarding Representative wish to appoint a person to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults, there must be a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check. The following procedure must be followed in all cases:  See flowchart (fig 2)
  • The applicant must complete the DBS Application Form. The Parish Priest or Parish Safeguarding Representative may assist the applicant if that is required.
  • Original acceptable forms of identity must be produced.
  • After the Safeguarding Counter Signatory has signed the Disclosure & Barring Service Application Form wil be submited to the DBS.
  • The results of the DBS check will only be sent to the applicant.
  • The Safeguarding Department  will inform the Parish Safeguarding Representative that the applicant has been cleared for appointment.
  • The number and date of issue of the DBS Certificate will be recorded onto the CSAS National Database.
 
Post Appointment
 
Vigilance does not end with the appointment. Therefore all appointments should be subject to continued monitoring and three months probation.
 
Ensure all volunteers receive training in the risk of abuse
 
All those working with children and vulnerable adults must receive appropriate training in awareness and best practice. The Liverpool Safeguarding Department undertakes to facilitate appropriate training. The level of training required will vary depending upon the level of responsibility of the role undertaken.
 
Ensure all volunteers are aware of the guidelines regarding allegations of abuse
 
A summary of the procedures on how to respond to a specific allegation or suspicion of abuse are found in the Parish Safeguarding Resource Pack (and in this induction pack). It is essential that all who work with children and vulnerable adults have a sound knowledge of these procedures. This must form part of the ongoing awareness training and supervision of those who are appointed to work with children and vulnerable adults.
  
 PROCESS OF RECRUITMENT FOR NEW VOLUNTEERS
 
The safeguarding rep along with the leader of the group should –
Invite the volunteer to an interview.
Give a clear description of the role.
Give a brief overview of the safeguarding policy & procedures.
Interview questions: designed to ascertain the volunteer’s attitude to children/vulnerable adults & their motivation to work with vulnerable groups.
 
Safeguarding Representative to issue volunteer with:
 
Cover Sheet – Understanding Safer Recruitment Forms
Policy Statement on Recruitment of Ex-Offenders
Volunteer Application
Safeguarding Self Declaration (Confidential) Form
Confirmation of Identity (ID) Form

 
Completed Volunteer application Form to be reviewed and retained in parish office.
 
Safeguarding Representative to apply for references named on the Volunteer Application Form using the Reference Letter form. A stamped addressed envelope should be provided to each referee to enable the references to be returned to the parish office. References are retained in the parish office.
 
(A minimum of two references should be obtained)
Safeguarding Representative to send completed Self Declaration form (SDF) to Safeguarding Office; on receipt of the SDF the Safeguarding Department will issue a DBS application form to the Safeguarding Representative to issue to the volunteer together with Online Update Subscription Guidance and EduCare Information Leaflet.
 
The completed DBS application form should be sent to the Safeguarding Department, along with the Confirmation of Identity form and copies of the identity verified by the Safeguarding Representative.
 
When the Safeguarding Department receives notification of a clear DBS Disclosure they will write to the Safeguarding Representative to inform them so that a Written Agreement can be completed and a copy supplied to the applicant together with a copy of the Code of Conduct Card and the Safeguarding leaflet. The original Written Agreement is to be kept in the parish office.
 
PROCESS OF RECRUITMENT FOR EXISTING VOLUNTEERS
 
Safeguarding Representative to issue volunteer with:
Policy Statement on Recruitment of Ex-Offenders
Safeguarding Self Declaration (Confidential) Form
Confirmation of Identity (ID) Form
 
Safeguarding Representative to send completed Self Declaration form (SDF) to Safeguarding Office; on receipt of the SDF the Safeguarding Department will issue a DBS application form to the Safeguarding Representative to issue to the volunteer together with Online Update Subscription Guidance and EduCare Information Leaflet.
 
The completed DBS application form should be sent to the Safeguarding Department, along with the Confirmation of Identity form and copies of the identity verified by the Safeguarding Representative.
 
When the Safeguarding Department receives notification of a clear DBS Disclosure they will write to the Safeguarding Representative to inform them so that a Written Agreement can be completed and a copy supplied to the applicant together with a copy of the Code of Conduct Card and the Safeguarding leaflet. The original Written Agreement is to be kept in the parish office.