Safeguarding, Guidelines and Procedures for Children’s and Youth Work
- Core Values for the Care of Children and Young People
- Strategy for Children’s and Youth Work (0-18)
- Holding and discipling children from 0 through to adults at 18.
- Reaching the friends of those involved
- Reaching young people not previously connected to Church
- The four Circles strategy
- Strategy for Children’s and Youth Work (0-18)
- Children’s and Youth workers responsibilities.
- Leaders’ Values
- Equal Opportunities Policy
- Good Practice – Respecting Children & Young People
- Personal Boundaries / Space
- Physical Touch
- One to One Work
- Abuse of Trust
- Photographs and confidentiality
- Contact and Electronic Media
- Websites/ Social Media Accounts
- Good Practice – Safety
- Risk of intruder
- Fire Procedures
- Physical Games
- Parent/ Carer Involvement
- Good Practice – Discipline Guidance and Procedures
- Safeguarding – Policy and Practice.
- Procedure in the event of a child disclosing abuse
- Procedure in the event of an accusation
- Complaints and Grievance Procedure
- Procedure in the event of a suspicion that a child or young person is being abused?
- Activity Leader’s Guidelines
- Parent/carer Permission
- Offsite and Residential Activities
- Risk Assessment
- Information for parent/carers / guardians
- Responsibility at Camp
- Camp Safety
- Fire Regulations
- First Aid
- Camp Site
- Health and Hygiene
- Adventurous Activities
- Medical Consent Form
- Sleeping Arrangements
1. Core Values for the Care of Children and Young People
- We believe that all children and young people are created by God, made in His image, and are as precious to Him as any adult.
- We believe that all children and young people are sinners and that their greatest need is to hear and respond to the Gospel.
- We believe that children, with the help of the Holy Spirit, are able to understand the essence of the Gospel and come to faith in their earliest years.
- We believe that the teaching given to children and young people is of supreme importance for the spiritual development of the rest of their lives.
- We believe that work among children and young people is a vital part of the church’s ministry, and therefore must be treated as seriously as any other. Particularly we believe that we must be committed to supporting, supervising, resourcing and training those who work with our children and young people.
- We believe that ALL of our children and young people are of value to our church and can contribute young as they are, to its life and witness. Therefore, as well as fulfilling our responsibility to lead, teach and guide them, we will seek to include them in every appropriate way in our worship, learning and community life.
- We believe that it is the responsibility of each Church member to prevent physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children and young people and to respond appropriately to any abuse that is discovered.
- We believe that our work with children and young people is ultimately the responsibility of the whole church.
Strategy for Children’s and Youth Work (0-18)
Our overall vision for Church life is to … Make Sense (Be relevant), share the love of Jesus (demonstrate and proclaim the grace of God) and to do this by working together.
The Church has long valued the need for good youth and children’s work. This has meant a willingness to constantly adapt to the needs of the next generation. We explicitly believe in the good news of Jesus breaking down barriers of gender, race, class and age. We believe strongly in the integration of young people with adults, despite recognising that although Youth Churches may draw bigger numbers, we believe that an all age Church is more of a biblical counter culture to aspire to.
The vision we have is to create mature disciples able to reproduce other disciples. This will include
- An understanding of the Christian Faith
- A devotional life
- Willingness to Learn
- The fruit of the spirit
- A sharing faith
- A servant attitude
Our Vision has been built on a three fold strategy centred on relationships not simply programmes.
(i) Holding and discipling children from birth through to adults at 18.
Our youth work is dependent on vibrant children’s work and cannot exist without it. Teenagers can be discipled because we nurtured them as children. The Brigades have been the principle foundation for this strategy, providing on-going nurture and development of young people from inside and outside the Church. They seek to introduce young people, children and their families to the truth of Jesus, and the church community, in gentle ways, which can be developed by other organisations. Our Friday evening and Sunday morning activities aim to more overtly disciple young people who choose this. The Brigades and our other youth and children’s work are therefore dependent on each other and seek to work closely together. The Brigades provide an entry particularly as young children, and a way of holding those who are not yet ready to follow Jesus overtly, the Sunday and Friday groups provide a way of teaching and applying faith without needing to duplicate the social and physical programme needed to hold young people.
Critical to this foundational strategy is the joined up co-ordination between age groups and, crucially different activities within age groups. Consequently all our Youth and Children’s work is affiliated to the Brigades and all 11-14s is Fusion and all 14-18s is Ignite. Thus all workers for each age group work as one team,
(ii) Reaching the friends of those involved
We seek to grow young people who are sufficiently committed to following Jesus, that they want to see their friends find faith, and are sufficiently mature to be able to do that. To achieve these aims we need to give quality attention to discipling, but also our activities have to be welcoming and attractive to others. Our teenage work needs to both be accessible to non-Christian young people, who have not been with us as children but have been invited by friends, and also take young people who are hungry to know more of God and go on further in their relationship with Him. One evening cannot achieve both these aims so we have a range of activities for the teenage age groups that have different objectives. There can appear to be too much going on, but in order to be appropriate for all young people in the various stages of spiritual development that exist, we need the range.
(iii) Reaching young people not previously connected to Church
This is the hardest form of outreach and is dependant on having the other two strategies in place. The “Venue” in partnership with the GAP has been effective in making contacts in this area. Befriending those who our own young people do not naturally befriend, is a challenging work that requires adults who have time and patience as well as gifting and wisdom. Also in conjunction with the GAP we seek to be involved in local schools; mentoring, taking lessons and assemblies, or supporting Christian Unions as required.
The four Circles strategy
The circles represent the way we organise the youth and children’s work. Each activity that is organized fits in to one of the four levels based on it target audience and purpose.
Level 1 represents children or young people who we have social contact with but are unconvinced about Christ. Level 1 events. The major goal is contact. These activities are designed to attract new contacts and consolidate old ones. Level 1 activity’s are usually social/fun activities and have no Christian content or message. Any evangelism is sublime, happening through leaders and young people modelling their faith. (Boys & Girls Brigade, Schools Work & Gap Venue Sessions)
Level 2 represents those who have had enough contact with the group to have confidence to regularly attend social activities that have an evangelistic edge. Level 2 events. The major goal is relationship. The purposes of these activities are to develop deeper relationship with young people and to develop an awareness of the Christian faith. Level 2 activities are generally relational and informal. (Fridays, Boys & Girls Brigade)
Level 3 represent those that who have heard the gospel message and are genuinely interested in finding out more. Level 3 events. The major goal is evangelism. The purpose of these events is to explain the Christian faith. Level 3 activities can be a fun program with, say, 15 minutes of significant evangelistic input. The important thing is that these activities are consistent and regular in the presentation of the gospel. Consistent and long-term exposure is more effective than one-off occasional. Level 3 events are target at those that have been through level 1 & 2. (Sundays mornings , Courses, Fridays, Sunday Evening Service)
Level 4 represents those who have made a commitment and living out their faith. These are what you would call the ‘core group’. Level 4 events. The major goal is discipleship. These are the core group events and they serve the dual purpose of nurturing new and young
2. Children’s and Youth workers responsibilities.
Children’s and Youth workers in SCBC must:
- Have a genuine love for the young people with whom they work, recognising their legitimate place in God’s purposes.
- Always be aware of the impact they can have, for good or ill, on the life of a child or young person. Therefore they must be especially careful that they do not betray Christianity by unbiblical attitudes or actions.
- Recognise that their greatest calling is to model the life and love of Jesus in all their actions and deeds.
- Be humble, and resist the temptation to misuse their advantages of age and experience.
- Be willing to act sacrificially in terms of time, energy, and prayer for the benefit of the young people.
- Be consistent in attendance and reliable at all times.
- Be submissive and respectful to those who have been appointed as leaders in each department.
3. Leaders’ Values
All Children’s and young people’s workers are considered leaders by the Church. A leader of a Church activity is representative of God and the Church. This means that others will be judging the Christian faith and our Church by their behaviour. This is a responsibility, that requires us to take seriously our behaviour, but equally we are conscious of a leader’s frail humanity, weakness and sinfulness, which makes moral perfection impossible as a permanent state. Because of this tension we have found it helpful to clarify our expectations of those who take on a leadership role, so that leaders know what is expected of them ethically.
A church leader is someone who organises or leads a Church activity or service, they will be perceived by the attendees as having responsibility. Leaders will normally be members, but in addition to holding to the values of the Church as a member, they will also have a greater expectation of resonance between belief and action. James 3:1 and other passages make this clear.
To avoid confusion and misunderstanding, we take the criteria for leadership from 2 passages in the Bible which define the behaviour of a church leader; 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9, in addition to the assumptions of the 10 commandments as found in Exodus 20. These passages talk of being above reproach in a number of areas, that is, safe from the accusation of hypocrisy.
Combining and summarising the themes in these passages a leader will therefore be:
- Seeking to serve Jesus as their Lord and Saviour
- Current on-going prayerful relationship with God
- A regular worshipper at Church services, in good relationship with the Leadership of the Church
- Part of the Church for at least a year
- Devoted to and respected by own family
- Even tempered – not violent or aggressive in any walk of life
- Abstaining from sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage
- Self controlled – free from any addictive behaviour or habit
- Of good speech free from gossip and foul language
- Honest and truthful
- Having financial integrity – including not gambling
- Sober – not an abuser of any drug, solvent or drink
- Dress in a way that cannot be construed as sexually distracting to others
- Welcoming, friendly and loving
- Forgiving and merciful
- Servant hearted
Should a person holding responsibility be struggling to practice a Christian lifestyle in the above areas, the Leadership Team may seek that person’s resignation from that post until such time as their lifestyle has become more stable.
Equal Opportunities Policy
- As a Christian we believe that people are of equal worth whatever their race, culture, ability, gender, social class or religion. This does not mean all people are the same and we respect and value their differences.
- We are determined to make all efforts to prevent discrimination against staff, workers, families and children whatever their race, religion, nationality, marital status, colour, gender, or ability. We aim to be sensitive to ethnic and cultural diversity, and disability or special educational needs.
- We are committed to making all activities accessible to all children and families and meeting the needs of all children
- Discriminatory remarks or behaviour are unacceptable. Any incident of the above will be challenged and our policy reinforced. We will support the victim and help those responsible to understand and overcome their prejudice.
- Our buildings have disabled access and toilets and we will ensure any outside venues we use are accessible to all*. The lower rooms are accessible via a lift.
* The Way Inn is not accessible by those in wheelchairs, but where necessary other accommodation for a church led youth activity can be provided on site.
4. Good Practice - Respecting Children & Young People
All children and young people are to be treated with respect and dignity, befitting their age. The workers should watch their language, tone of voice and use of their body. They should not make sexually suggestive comments about or to a young person, even in “fun”. They shouldn’t engage in inappropriate and intrusive touching of any form. Tickling is not permitted and horse-play should be avoided. They should not scapegoat, ridicule or reject a child or young person. They should not use foul or abusive language, shouting may be used to be give instructions above noise, but not as an expression of anger.
Under no circumstances should children be controlled by using physical punishment.
Leaders and workers should not permit ridiculing or bullying, and should investigate fully any suspicion of such activity. Children should be encouraged to feel able to approach an adult they trust if they have a problem.
Personal Boundaries / Space
Workers should discourage and remove themselves from excessive physical or sexual attention from a child or young person. They should report any incidents to their activity leader immediately.
Where possible, the worker should not invade the privacy of a child/young person showering or toileting. Where children are of an age where they may need help with the toilet, general parent/carer permission needs to be given. Where a child or young person has soiled their underclothes and needs to be washed, then, where possible, a parent/carer or second adult should be present.
An adult should not to be alone in a car with a child or young person. Where this is unavoidable, it should be for short journeys, and the child/young person should be seated in the back of the car. Seat belts must be worn, and cars and mini-buses cannot be overloaded. Workers who regularly drive young people in their own cars must have cleared this with their insurers in writing.
Touch is important. Without it, children die inside. If we end up with a ‘no touch technique’ like a nurse with disposable gloves and forceps we’ve lost the plot. What we have to ensure is that touch is never abusive or intrusive. This is what Churches Child Protection Advisory Service says:
- Keep everything public. A hug in the context of a group is very different from a hug behind closed doors.
- Team members should monitor one another in the area of physical contact. They should be free to help each other by constructively challenging anything which could be misunderstood or misconstrued
- Touch should be related to the child’s needs, not the worker’s.
- Touch should be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child rather than the worker.
- Avoid any physical activity that is, or may be thought to be, sexually stimulating to the adult or the child.
- Be aware that for some children, touch is painful (associated with abuse) or confusing because home is a hug-free zone.
- Children are entitled to privacy to ensure personal dignity.
- Children have the right to decide how much physical contact they have with others, except in exceptional circumstances such as if they need medical attention.
- When giving first aid (or applying sun cream etc.), encourage the child to do what they can manage themselves, but consider the child’s best interests and give appropriate help where necessary.
Concerns about abuse should always be reported. (See below)
One to One Work
Workers should not be on their own with a child. One to one work with a child/young person should not happen alone in a building, and where possible doors should be left open to areas where there are other adults.
In a pastoral situation, where possible, another adult should be close by, and this should be known by the young person. Workers should seek not to counsel children or young people of the opposite sex, without someone of the child/young person’s gender present. Whenever a young person has to be invited alone to a leader’s house, they must ensure another person is in the house.
Children should be encouraged to feel able to approach an adult they trust if they have a problem, workers and leaders should regularly remind children of this opportunity
Abuse of Trust
Relationship between children and young people can taken many forms, but all of them can be described as ‘relationships of trust’. In every case, that relationship is not one of equal partners and there is the potential for the trust to be abused by the leader, who is in a position of power over the child or young person. As such the following areas must be made clear:
Please also note that a young person under our care is considered a minor in law up to the age of 18. It is therefore strictly prohibited for any youth worker in our church to have a relationship with any young person in our care below that age. If a leader forms any such relationship they will be immediately required to relinquish their leadership position and thus avoid any suggestion of a breach of their position of trust.
It is always wrong for a leader to enter into a sexual relationship with a young person even if they are over the age of consent.
Photographs and confidentiality
Photographs should not be taken at Church events without permission of those in the photograph and if they are under the age of 18, from their parent/carers/ carers/ guardians. Workers and leaders should not take personal photographs during the activity without permission from both the activity leader and the young person’s parent/carers. (Permissions and use restrictions are recorded on Church Suite for reference. It is good practice to check subjects are happy with individual photos if they are to be used for display.)
Photographs or comments about Church activities should not be used or made on social media without permission of those involved and a Team Leader.
Leaders should not use mobile phones during activities for personal purposes.
Contact and Electronic Media
For protection against accusation records of communication on church business should be kept. Therefore instant messaging is not permitted (e.g. Snapchat). Communicating with a young person under 18 should be done openly; parent/carers should be aware and give approval of the contact. Normally parent/carers should be copied-in and made aware of any arrangements to meet.
In exceptional circumstances the Church Team Leader may give permission for a leader to meet or communicate with a young person, outside of regular organised children/ youth activities, without the knowledge of their parent/carers/ guardians/ carers where there is clear evidence which would reasonably suggest the young person is or may be at risk of significant physical or emotional harm.
Parent/carers should be informed if a worker or leader is a ‘friend’ on Facebook or any other social networking site. Workers should not engage with a child or young person on a social media platform, that is not age permissible for that child/young person
Great care needs to be taken in commenting on Church events on a public site, individual names should not be mentioned and the Leadership of the Church reserves the right to ask comments to be removed.
Websites/ Social Media Accounts
The church will support one official website and one account of each approved social media channel. All other sites in the name of Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church must clearly indicate that they have no official relationship or oversight. Approved social media channels used by separate activities must be linked to the main church account, with administrator access given to the Admin Team Leader.
5. Good Practice - Safety
Workers should ensure at all times the safety of all children and young people.
Particular attention needs to be given to the risk of accident, fire or an intruder.
An activity leader must have easy access to a mobile phone for use in emergencies.
All workers must know where the first-aid kit and the fire extinguishers are. Equipment and facilities should be regularly checked. All emergency exits must be clear of obstructions and unlocked. Main doors may be secured/ locked for safety, but not deadlocked. A key-holder or code holder must be able to access from outside.
Any sharp objects, electrical appliances and cooking appliances must be carefully supervised.
A register should be taken on arrival young people/children in the building, and available immediately in the event of evacuation.
Risk of intruder
There must always be a welcoming worker at the door to great members, welcome new people, listen to parents and restrict access for inappropriate strangers.
When the activity begins doors are then locked, not deadlocked.
Any unknown persons on the premises should be challenged as to their reason for being there.
In the event of dangerous intruder, lock down in existing room, where possible, and contact emergency service.
In the event of a fire, all groups in the buildings must evacuate quickly and calmly and assemble in the top car park.
The emergency services should be contacted.
The register should be checked.
The emergency services should be notified of any person not assembled, and if possible their exact location.
In the event of evacuation from the building being instructed by emergency services, but not through Trinity Hill, we have an agreement that we can evacuate through the garden of the house adjoining the church, 1 Victoria Road. The Admin Team Leader or another Team Leader should be informed.
There should be at least one leader or worker competent in first aid. They should be consulted on any incident.
In the event of an accident or injury to a child, including bumps to the head, the parent/carer or guardian must be informed either immediately or at the end of the event. The Admin Team Leader should also be informed at the earliest opportunity. If a hospital visit is required an activity Leader must stay with the child/young person until their parent/carer or guardian has arrived. Unless there is clear prior consent from the parent of carer on a consent form, the leader cannot give consent for treatment but should be able to give an accurate account of the accident or illness. After any accident requiring treatment, the Activity Leader must fill in an Accident Form a copy of which is filed in the office. Serious ‘near misses’ should also be reported and documented, and this report it to be given by the activity leader to the Admin Team Leader. ‘Near Misses’ are recorded in Trustees’ minutes.
If a serious accident occurs involving more than one child/young person it may be necessary to close the activity early. If this occurs the parents will be contacted and asked to collect their children immediately. Any children whose parents cannot be contacted will remain with staff until the parent arrives. The supervising team leader will be consulted.
- Workers must not attend an activity if they have had diarrhoea, vomiting, or high temperature in the last 48 hours. .
- Workers should cover any cuts and open wounds on themselves
- If a child/young person has a known medical condition a health care plan will be completed by the parent and will be kept in the register folder.
- If a child/young person becomes unwell at an activity the leader will contact the parent. The child/young person will be removed from the main area and a member of staff allocated to look after them.
Individual workers may join in competitive physical games with children or young people, but great care must be taken not to be rough. The worker should not attempt to “win at any cost”. Workers should not join in games that could be considered as sexually provocative games.
Parent/ Carer Involvement
At the end of an activity, workers should ensure that children are returned to their parent/carers or nominated adult, and should wait until all have been collected. A worker should be on the door to welcome parents and ensure Children/young people leave with appointed adult
For 14-18s, workers must make reasonable effort to ensure that young people return to their adult. Every effort should be made to ensure that parent/carers know where their children are and what they are doing. If parent/carers assume their children are at an activity, and they aren’t, then the parent/carers should be informed
Training opportunities will be provide for volunteers and activity leaders throughout the year. All volunteers, where possible, should attend this training.
All leaders and workers must operate in accordance with the Church’s Safeguarding Policy. A record should be given to the Church Admin Team Leader of all safeguarding briefings and training, so that a central register can be maintained.
7. Good Practice - Discipline Guidance and Procedures
Discipline will be carried out in line with biblical principles of love, firmness and justice. Discipline includes nurture, instruction, teaching, chastisement, verbal rebuke and encouragement. Under NO circumstances must physical discipline be employed.
It is good practice at the beginning of each term for all young people to be reminded made aware of the rules and regulations of our youth groups.
Verbal & Physical Violence, bullying and name-calling
Violent and/or threatening language or behaviour towards another child, young person or leader is not tolerated. This includes name calling, racist remarks, or other language that causes offence.
Alcohol & Illegal Substances
Anyone under the influence of alcohol or illegal substance should be removed from the group, unless they are at risk from themselves or others.
The use of alcohol and illegal substance on the premises is forbidden. This includes smoking by or near young people in external areas of the premises. Car parks are part of the premises
Procedures for all workers
- Explanation of why behaviour is undesirable
- Checking understanding of explanation
- Encouragement of compliance – positive reward
- Verbal warning
In the event further discipline being required referral to the activity leader should be made
All further discipline is at the discretion of the activity leader and not any other worker/leader.
It may involve depending on the seriousness of the incident:
- Temporary exclusion from an activity within the event
- Informing parent/carers at end of event
- Discuss strategies with parent/carers
- Written warning/explanation to Parent/carers
(After consultation with supervising Team Leader)
- Immediate removal from current activity and contact with parent/carers
(Supervising Team Leader to be informed)
Ban from next event (After consultation with supervising Team Leader)
- Fixed Short-term ban from certain activities or group (Up to one Month)
(After consultation with supervising Team Leader)
- Fixed long-term ban from certain activities or groups (Up to one Term)
(After consultation with supervising Team Leader)
- A permanent ban (after consultation with the Church Team Leader and Leadership Team)
NB: Where an illegal offence has been committed the Police should be informed.
In all Church activities, there should be a suitable ratio of adult volunteers to children and young people. The Baptist Union recommended ratios are as follows:
Age 0-2 years 1:3
2-3 years 1:4
3-8 years 1:8
8 & Over 2:20 (male & female) plus 1 extra adult for every 10 children
Age 0-2 years 1:3
2-3 years 1:4
3-8 years 1:6
8 -13 years 2:15 (male & female) plus 1 extra adult for every 8 children
13 & Over 2:20 (male & female) plus 1 extra adult for every 10 children
Note: There should always be a minimum of two volunteers however many children or young people you have.
8. Safeguarding – Policy and Practice.
Procedure in the event of a child disclosing abuse
We have an agreed procedure in the event of a child or young person disclosing to an adult that they are the victim of abuse.
- The child/young person should be listened to, respected and taken seriously. The worker should be supportive, prayerful and confidential.
- Under no circumstances can you promise confidentially ahead of hearing information
- Look at the child/young person directly
- Accept what the child/young person says
- Be aware that the child/young person may have been threatened
- Tell the child/young person they are not to blame
- Do not ask leading questions or make suggestions regarding responsibility (e.g. ‘Was it mummy?’, or ‘Daddy did it, didn’t he..?’)
- We are a supportive service, not a frontline service, so it is important to ascertain whether the Child/young person has told anyone else before, is seeking help and whether any action has or is already being taken.
- Ascertain whether there is another responsible adult (E.g. parent, teacher or minister) the child/young person would like help from, who you could enable that conversation to happen with.
- Reassure the child/young person that they are right to tell and that you believe them.
- Finish on a positive note e.g. pray
If it is the case that, the child/young person is at risk, or an illegal act has or may happen and the Child/Young person has not told anyone else, and cannot nominate an adult to tell then…
- The Church Team Leader should be informed as soon as possible, or, if not available, a Team Leader, or Safeguarding trustee
- The Church Team Leader will refer the matter to the appropriate experts, usually the duty Social Worker. Guidance from them will be received on informing parent/carers.
- The child/young person should be informed of all developments, and where possible, be in agreement.
- The Church’s role will be to provide continuing support to all involved.
At all times, the worker should be supportive, prayerful and confidential. If that which has been confided is difficult for the worker to hear, even though being dealt with by other persons, the worker should be encouraged to speak to the Church Team Leader or Safeguarding trustee or any Team Leader for support.
It should be noted that it is a legal requirement for us to notify the authorities. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
If you suspect a child/young person is being abused, you should keep detailed notes of what you have seen and when you saw it, and then inform the Church Team Leader.
If you see another member of our youth work acting in ways which might be misconstrued, or is inappropriate, speak to them or your activity Leader /or supervising Team Leader about your concerns.
Procedure in the event of an accusation
We have an agreed procedure in the event of a child or young person making an accusation against a volunteer or staff member.
Please note that we are legally obliged to immediately report any allegations of abuse against our workers to the authorities. We will, under no circumstances, vary this practice. It will then be the decision of those authorities as to how the allegation is dealt with.
The volunteer will be asked to step down from serving until the allegations have been resolved.
The church will seek where possible to offer pastoral care to both the volunteer and the child.
- Do all you can to conduct yourself in a way that prevents abuse from arising or being alleged against you. Do all you can to avoid being alone with a child or young person where you cannot be seen and comply with all guidelines in this document
- Be aware of what to do if you suspect abuse or if an allegation is reported to you.
If you see another member of our youth work acting in ways which might be misconstrued, be prepared to speak to them or your activity Leader /or supervising Team Leader about your concerns. It may be a difficult thing to do, but in the long term it could prevent far more serious consequences.
Complaints and Grievance Procedure
Our aim is to provide high-quality activities, programmes, services and support which meet needs and surpass your expectations. After all, without support, we would not be able to continue to carry out the work we do, often dramatically changing people’s lives. We set ourselves high standards but, being human, we know there will be times when we fall short of those high standards. When we do, we want you to be free to tell us (hopefully before you tell everyone else) and give us a chance to put things right and learn lessons for the future.
If you are not happy with us, please begin by contacting the relevant staff member, leader or a trustee.
If you are not happy with an individual, it’s usually best to tell him or her directly in a supportive and polite manner. If you are not able to do this or you feel it’s inappropriate, contact a member of the church’s leadership team or a trustee.
If your initial contact fails to resolve the issue, then we want you to be free to escalate the matter by contacting us at a higher level. Please feel free to write to the Church Team Leader or Trustees Group with your comments and your concerns. We will take your complaint seriously and see it as an opportunity to develop. Therefore, we are glad to hear from people who are willing to take the time to tell us where they feel we have let them down.
We will acknowledge your contact within 3 working days, and we will tell you who is dealing with your complaint. We aim to get a detailed response to you within 10 working days. If it takes longer than this, for example if we need to conduct an investigation, we will let you know.
We will work hard to find out what has happened, and if something went wrong we’ll aim to fix the problem and address your concerns. When you contact us, please feel free to offer your own suggestions on how you feel it can be resolved. We will always treat you with courtesy and respect, listen to what you say, and keep you informed of progress. We will advise you of your options if you want to take it to the next stage.
Our Trustees will consider the complaint if you are not happy with the initial response, or if it is deemed complex and needs an in depth investigation. If you are not happy with the outcome of this, you may appeal to a specially convened panel of ex-elders of the church may consider the matter. This is not a legal process, but it is a genuine and serious attempt to ensure that all complaints are given the attention they deserve. You appeal should set out: your grounds of appeal; and what you consider would resolve your concerns.
Procedure in the event of a suspicion that a child or young person is being abused?
The most important principle is that you must not act alone.
- If your suspicions arise because you become aware of what may be some signs of abuse, then you must inform Supervising Team Leader or the Church Team Leader.
These signs may indicate abuse. It is very important, however, not to jump to conclusions. There could easily be other explanations for all these indicators.
Unexplained or hidden injuries, lack of medical attention.
Uncharacteristic and/or unexplained/implausible explanation by carers for reverting to younger behaviour, nervousness, sudden underachievement, attention seeking, running away, stealing, lying.
Preoccupation with sexual matters evident in words, play, drawings; being sexually provocative with adults; disturbed sleep, nightmares, bed wetting; secretive relationships with adults or children; tummy pains with no apparent/carer cause.
Uncharacteristic and/or unexplained/implausible explanation by carers, looking ill-cared for and unhappy, being withdrawn or aggressive, having lingering injuries or health problems.
None of these signs are conclusive. However, if any of the above become pronounced or persist over a period of time you must speak to your Activity Leader or Supervising Team Leader.
As soon as possible afterwards make notes of exactly what the child/young person said, did or showed you along with the date and time.
9. ACTIVITY LEADER’S GUIDELINES
Each group must keep ChurchSuite up-to-date with details of addresses and dates of birth for each child/young person who attends. This is for security and safety purposes as well as for facilitating the smooth transition of individuals between groups. These records should be given to the Admin Team Leader once a term so that the main database can be up date.
There must be an accurate record of attendance kept at all events, including those on our own church premises. This for fire safety as well as a protection against any individual going missing on a trip / outing.
An authorised driver of the church’s minibus must be over 25 years old and have the appropriate license categories. To become an authorised driver please see the Admin Team Leader. Any endorsements to a driver’s licence must be reported to the Admin Team Leader.
In addition to the driver there must be an appropriate adult responsible for supervising the passengers.
At the beginning of each year, Activity Leaders working with children under 18 must hand out a “General Information And Consent Form” which must be returned to them ASAP. Included in this consent form are all the health issues that they must be aware of for children attending our groups. If a child/young person joins part way through a year then they must be given this form to take home in their first week. The Activity Leaders are responsible for issuing these and for promptly returning them to the church office for processing.
For any other special activity and/or day visits young people must be issued a separate form. The Activity Leaders are responsible for issuing these.
10. Offsite and Residential Activities
A full risk assessment must be completed in advance, at the planning stage, and discussed with the Admin Team Leader. This should follow OEC guidance available from the Admin Team Leader, or the specific guidance for GB and BB. An electronic copy must be given to the Admin Team Leader before the activity departs.
Information for parent/carers / guardians
An initial letter must be sent to all parent/carers of children and/or young people under 18. This letter should include: Name of the camp, location, dates of the camp and appropriate consent form.
A second letter must be sent to the parent/carers including: The full name, address and telephone number of the camp/residence, the full name and contact number for the camp leader, A full and extensive kit list.
Responsibility at Camp
The designated Camp Leader(s) will be fully responsible for the running and oversight of the camp. He/She/They have responsibility to action matters of discipline in accordance with the Church’s discipline Policy. The supervising Team Leader should be consulted on any decision to send home a child or young person, and informed in the event of any accident requiring hospitalisation or any incident requiring parent/carer involvement
Camps should be staffed with people who already work within the existing youth work of the church. In the event of more staff being needed for a ‘once off’ basis they must be cleared by the Church Team Leader.
Taking care of children who are away from home involves taking responsibility for their well-being at all times, being prepared for every eventuality, and anticipating situations where there is harm and taking steps to minimise the risks. Thus:
It is the responsibility of all workers to know the whereabouts of all children and young people who are on Camp.
The supervision ratio of workers to children (see section 5) must be observed at all times.
All significant incidents and accidents must be recorded in the ‘Accident & Incident Form’.
Everyone on camp should be warned of the danger of fire. If the camp is in a building then everyone will be made aware of the fire exits. A fire drill will be practiced on the first day of camp.
Best practice dictates that there should be at least one worker qualified in first aid. The First Aider should ensure that on the camp:
- First Aid boxes are available and their location known.
- That the First Aid kit is fully kitted out.
- They should record all accidents and injuries.
- That the location and telephone numbers of the nearest doctor and hospital is readily available.
- Medical consent forms are always to hand
- Any medical conditions are known
The safety of the building, chalets or tents needs to be considered and rules applied as appropriate (e.g. no running round tents due to the risk of injury from tripping over guy lines). Leaders should ensure that equipment has been inspected (e.g. PAT) and should report any defects or concerns to the site owners.
Health and Hygiene
Those with responsibility for food should possess the Basic Food Hygiene Certificate and be aware of food safety (preparation, handling and storage, disposal of waste, etc).
No adventurous activities will be engaged in without the written consent of the parent/carer/guardian. The camp organisers will ensure that the staff engaged in such activities are properly trained and qualified and that the correct ratio of staff to children is met. If use is made of an activity centre or organisation whose own staff undertake all instructions then the Camp Organisers will ensure that the premises are licensed, if the activities come within the scope of the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 1996.
Medical Consent Form
The “Camps And Residential Holidays Health Information And Consent Form” must be signed by parent/carers and/or guardians for all overnight events, and camps. The Activity Leaders are responsible for issuing these.
Medical Consent forms must be returned to the camp organiser no more than two weeks before date of camp. Every Child/young person must have a complete form to come on camp. Medical Consent form must be taken with you to camp and remain with you if you take children on offsite activities. The Leader should be familiar with any conditions that young people may have before camp and make two copies of the consent form, one to be keep on site at all times and other to take out on activities.
The Camp Organisers will ensure that all drivers have adequate car insurance if they are transporting children on a camp, unless they are transporting their own child.
Ascertain the type of insurance you will require such as personal accident (for death, disablement), personal property (items which are lost or stolen), personal liability. If you are staying at a centre, check to see if they have Public Liability Insurance.
If sleeping in dormitories, then there must be at least 2 workers sleeping as nearby. Under no circumstances is a worker to sleep by themselves with young people.