The United Area safeguarding policy, revised May 2023

Next Revision May 2024  


Statement of Safeguarding Principles

Every person has a value and dignity, which comes directly from the creation of humans in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.


We are committed to:

  • the care and nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young people and adults
  • safeguarding and protecting all children, young people and adults when they are vulnerable
  • establishing safe, caring communities, which provide a loving environment where there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.

We will carefully select and train all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with safer recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures and registration with[1] the relevant vetting and barring schemes.

We will respond without delay to every safeguarding concern, which suggests that a child, young person or adult may have been harmed, working in partnership with the police and local authority in any investigation.

We will seek to work with anyone who has suffered abuse, developing with them an appropriate ministry of informed pastoral care.

We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust.

Working with the District Safeguarding Officer, we will support risk assessment of those who present a safeguarding risk within a church environment.  We will ensure appropriate pastoral care is offered and measures are taken to address identified risks including referral to statutory agencies, suspension and the use of safeguarding contracts.We will recognise and apply the restrictions to appointment laid down in Standing Order 010 of the Constitutional Practice and Discipline of the Methodist Church.

In all these principles, we will follow legislation, guidance and recognised good practice.


Although we have United Reformed Churches as well as Methodist Churches in our Area we have agreed to follow the Methodist Churches Safeguarding Policies and Training.

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Wiltshire United Area

This policy was agreed at the Area Meeting held on 22 / 05 / 2023

It will be reviewed on 05 / 2024

1. The Policy

The Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation of humans in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.

The Wiltshire United Area is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children and of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.

The Wiltshire United Area recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by reduction in capacities or by their situation. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and our wish to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people. This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe, supportive and caring community for children, young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.

The Wiltshire United Area fully agrees with the statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007: As the people of the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages.

The Wiltshire United Area recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media, child sexual exploitation or human trafficking (slavery). It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development, including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.

The Wiltshire United Area commits itself to:

1. RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, whether in the Church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust. It commits itself to providing informed pastoral care to those in need, including the supervision of those who have committed criminal offences.

2. IMPLEMENT the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance, government legislation and guidance to achieve safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.

3. The PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.

 4. AFFIRM and give thanks for the work of those who are workers with children and vulnerable adults and acknowledge the shared responsibility of us all for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults on our premises.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this safeguarding policy is to ensure that procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises. It is to be read in conjunction with the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance (2020). The full implementation of these policies should ensure that:

  • The Church (and all associated activities) is a safer place for everyone.
  • Communities we serve have confidence that children and vulnerable adults are as safe as possible and that their wellbeing is enhanced in the life of the Church.
  • People in the church are alert to unsafe practices and are able to challenge them.
  • Office holders are safely recruited, trained for their roles and are accountable for their activities.
  • People who have experienced abuse are accepted, empowered and supported in maintaining control over their lives and making informed choices without coercion.
  • People who abuse are held accountable to the law and the risk they pose is managed while they are supported and challenged to address their motivations and behaviour.

3. Roles and Responsibilities

3.1. Area Meeting

It is the responsibility of the Area Meeting to appoint an Area Safeguarding Officer and there should be no gaps in this crucial provision. It is not appropriate for a minister in pastoral charge, circuit superintendent or Area Chair to fill any gap, because of the potential conflict of roles but an individual safeguarding officer may cover the role in more than one location. The role will usually be undertaken on a voluntary basis, although expenses should be met. Ultimate responsibility for safeguarding within the Area lies with the Area Meeting. The Area safeguarding officer should be a member of the Area Meeting or have the right to attend at least annually to report on implementation of the safeguarding policy. Where an individual holds the role in more than one location, they must be able to cover the activities identified in the relevant role outline and be facilitated to attend meetings to report on safeguarding in each location.

The Wiltshire United Area appoints Jan Sayers as Area safeguarding officer supports her in her role.

The Area meeting holds the following responsibilities, which may be delegated to the Area Safeguarding Officer, if appropriate:

  1. Support and advice to the Area Superintendent, Area Chair and Area Officers regarding safeguarding matters.
  2. With the support of the Area Superintendent and Area Chair, prompt recording and reporting of any safeguarding concerns of which they are made aware. This will include appropriate referral to statutory agencies and DSOs, as required by Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
  3. Making appropriate arrangements for the secure storage, retention and appropriate sharing of safeguarding information held by the Area.
  4. Promoting the safety and well-being of all children and vulnerable adults within the Area.
  5. Presenting a report to each Area meeting about safeguarding events (noting the need for confidentiality regarding specific cases) and reminding relevant parties (where necessary) that safeguarding should be a standing item on the Area Meeting agenda
  6. Receiving and reviewing church risk assessments and training schedules for each church in the Area and sharing with the Area meeting annually.
  7. Attending the Area staff meeting as necessary to discuss concerns brought to their attention.
  8. Liaising with individual church safeguarding officers to offer guidance and check they are complying with Methodist Church Safeguarding Policies, Procedures and Guidance. This should include at least one annual meeting.
  9. Working with the superintendent minister, Area Chair, ministers and the DSO regarding safeguarding concerns.
  10. Attending and active participation at safeguarding training, district safeguarding events and meetings.
  11. Work with local ecumenical partners and their safeguarding representatives.
  12. Reviewing safeguarding policies for each church in the Area prior to presentation to the Area Meeting.
  13. Supporting the Area superintendent and Area Chair with the annual review of the Area safeguarding policy and sending a copy to the DSO.
  14. Maintaining of a record of all people within the Area who have received Foundation Module, Foundation Refresher Module (prior to 2020), together with dates of attendance.
  15. Ensuring that training is offered to those working with children and vulnerable adults, holding an office of responsibility, or are in other applicable roles as defined in the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
  16. Overseeing timely delivery of appropriate training, in liaison with the Church Safeguarding Officers and accredited Area Trainers
  17. Advising all churches in the Area of the requirement to adopt a safer recruitment policy and to carry out required procedures when appointing staff or volunteers
  18. DBS verification on behalf of the circuit. 19. Retaining records of names of those at circuit level who have DBS checks.
  19. Providing reminders to church safeguarding officers about the need to apply or reapply for checks in accordance with the Methodist Church policy (for updates, the period is currently every five years).
  20. Assisting the DSO with setting up Monitoring and Support Groups for those subject to safeguarding contracts and reminding the chairs of groups when reviews are due.
  21. Maintaining a directory of useful names and contact details.

3.2. Superintendent Minister and Area Chair

  1. Ensure that all churches have appropriate and up-to-date safeguarding policies in place.
  2. Support those in pastoral charge in exercising responsibility for the implementation of safeguarding policy and practice.
  3. Ensure the provision of pastoral support for those involved in issues of abuse and in the management of those who present a safeguarding risk.
  4. Ensure that training opportunities are in place for all workers with children, vulnerable adults, for staff of the Area and for members of the local churches in the circuit, in accordance with Appendix III of the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
  5. Ensure that the Area Meeting appoints an Area safeguarding officer/s and that the details of each person are passed to the district office.
  6. Ensure that the Area Meeting reviews this policy annually.
  7. Support the Area safeguarding officer in their work, providing access to resources to enable them to fulfil their functions.

Area Officers

The Area Officers must ensure that agreed procedures are in place for Area and ecumenical events that involve children or vulnerable adults.

Procedures for Area events involving children, young people or vulnerable adults

It is essential that Area events that involve children or vulnerable adults do not slip through the net because they are not owned by one church. Area events mustbe notified to the DSO prior to final agreement with the event organiser to ensure that all permissions, risk assessments and good practice guidelines are in place.

Responsibility for those planning and leading the event

All those involved in leading and running the event must be aware of the procedure.

The event should have been planned effectively and attention given to the following issues:

  1. Risk assessment and suitability of the activity and the premises
    1. The appointment of a team to take charge of the event, including safeguarding and first aid personnel (particular health or ability needs should be taken into account)
    1. Numbers of children, young people or vulnerable adults involved
    1. Transportation following good practice guidelines.

This information is to be sent to the DSO for approval PRIOR to the event being agreed.

Key concepts and definitions

  1. A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.
  2. Vulnerable adults: any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
  3. Safeguarding: protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
  4. Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
  5. Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.

Dated …………………………………………………………………………….

Signed …………………………………………………………………………… Chair of Area Meeting