The United Area safeguarding policy, revised May 2022.  


Wiltshire United Area
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.
This policy was agreed at the Area Meeting held on 19 / 05 / 2022
It will be reviewed in May / 2023

  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 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:
  2. 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.
  3. IMPLEMENT the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance,
    government legislation and guidance to achieve safe practice in the circuit and in the
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
    ● 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.
  7. Roles and Responsibilities
    3.1. Area Meeting
    It is the responsibility of each 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 or circuit superintendent/ 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 (Adults) and (Children), and supports her in their role.
    The area meeting holds the following responsibilities, which may be delegated to the Area
    Safeguarding Officer, if appropriate:
  8. Support and advice to the Area Superintendent, chair and the Area Executive Officers
    regarding safeguarding matters.
  9. With the support of the area superintendent and 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.
  10. Making appropriate arrangements for the secure storage, retention and appropriate sharing of
    safeguarding information held by the Area
  11. Promoting the safety and well-being of all children and vulnerable adults within the Area.
  12. 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
  13. Receiving and reviewing church risk assessments and training schedules for each church in
    the Area and sharing with the area meeting annually.
  14. Attending the Area staff meeting as necessary to discuss concerns brought to their attention.
  15. 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.
  16. Working with the superintendent minister, chair, ministers and the DSO regarding
    safeguarding concerns.
  17. Attending and active participation at safeguarding training, district safeguarding events and
  18. Work with local ecumenical partners and their safeguarding representatives.
  19. Reviewing safeguarding policies for each church in the Area prior to presentation to the Area
  20. Supporting the Area superintendent and chair with the annual review of the Area
    safeguarding policy and sending a copy to the DSO.
  21. 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
  22. 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 Appendix III of the
    Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
  23. Overseeing timely delivery of appropriate training, in liaison with the Church Safeguarding
    Officers and accredited Area Trainers
  24. 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
  25. DBS verification on behalf of the Area.
  26. Retaining records of names of those at Area level who have DBS checks.
  27. 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).
  28. 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.
  29. Maintaining a directory of useful names and contact details.
    Where an Area safeguarding officer carries out the above activities, there is a requirement for
    supervisory oversight, which will be arranged by the superintendent minister and chair and carried out
    by them or a nominated substitute. Records of oversight meetings will be signed and agreed.
    Supervision will include consideration of wellbeing and discussions of the areas of activity included
    within the role on a regular basis.
    3.2. Superintendent Minister and Area Chair
  30. Ensure that all churches have appropriate and up-to-date safeguarding policies in place.
  31. Support those in pastoral charge in exercising responsibility for the implementation of
    safeguarding policy and practice.
  32. Ensure the provision of pastoral support for those involved in issues of abuse and in the
    management of those who present a safeguarding risk.
  33. 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 area, in accordance with
    Appendix III of the Methodist Church Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance.
  34. Ensure that the Area Meeting appoints an Area safeguarding officer/s and that the details of
    each person are passed to the district office.
  35. Ensure that the Area Meeting reviews this policy annually.
  36. Support the area safeguarding officer (Adults) and the area safeguarding officer (Children)
    in their work, providing access to resources to enable them to fulfil their functions.
    Members of the Area Lay Executive
    The Area Lay Executive 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 must be 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:
  37. Risk assessment and suitability of the activity and the premises
  38. 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)
  39. Numbers of children, young people or vulnerable adults involved
  40. 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
    i) 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.
    ii) 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.
    iii) Safeguarding: protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing
    impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
    iv) 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.
    v) 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 ………19th May 2022
    Signed ………………….. ………. Chair of Area Meetin


These are the contact details for the Methodist District Safeguarding Officer: 

Kevin Maidment, District Safeguarding Officer
Bristol District of the Methodist Church
Tel. 07925 894649