Safeguarding is an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church. The Diocese of London is committed to the ‘whole church’ approach to safeguarding adopted by the Church of England which aims to ensure a consistent approach as we work to create a safer culture. Everyone involved in church activities across the Diocese and who may come into contact with children, young people and adults has a role to play as we take steps to maintain a safer environment for all.
Our vision is to support the Diocese in a programme of culture change, making it the safest that it can be for those who worship, work, volunteer or participate in activities in worshipping communities in the Diocese of London, promoting the welfare of and protecting from harm those children and vulnerable adults/adults at risk who come into contact with the Church, its volunteers, paid clergy or other staff.
Safeguarding activity is undertaken within the context of the House of Bishops Safeguarding Policy and Practice Guidance, with Diocesan Safeguarding Advisors, Church Safeguarding Officers (largely volunteers) and clergy as appropriate, liaising with professional service providers from local authorities.
Following on from initiatives led by the National Church Institutions and National Safeguarding team, we are currently working to implement new arrangements to support trustee bodies within the Diocese of London to report serious safeguarding incidents to the Charity Commissioners. We are also contributing to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and in particular we are providing case studies and witness statements for the third Church of England Public Hearing in July.
Whilst policy and practice have improved significantly in recent years there is still significant improvement work to be undertaken. Our varied work programme over the next two years includes an updated Past Cases Review (alongside other Church of England dioceses) and a project to look at how we might better include stakeholder groups and their views (including victims and survivors) in our governance and policy development.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Steering Group is integral to ensuring robust and independent scrutiny of our safeguarding arrangements within the Diocese. Led by an Independent Chair, it comprises of clergy, members of the safeguarding team and other independent professionals.
The purpose of the Diocesan Safeguarding Steering Group is to:
1. Ensure the development, monitoring and review of the Diocese of London’s strategy and policy for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults/adults at risk.
2. Ensure the ownership and implementation of the safeguarding plan throughout the Diocese.
3. Quality assure safeguarding practice and ensure continual learning and reflection upon the efficacy of safeguarding practice in the Diocese, making recommendations for improvement.
4. Be a source of independent safeguarding advice to the Diocesan Bishop and the Diocesan Safeguarding Team.