Safeguarding and Related Policies

The Community of Aidan and Hilda takes all safeguarding concerns seriously. You can view our policies by scrolling through this page, or download them by following the links below:

Safeguarding Policy Statement

As an ecumenical religious community acknowledged by the Anglican Church we adopt the following Safeguarding Policy Statement which is modelled on that used in the Diocese of London.

Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from their creation 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.

  1. We accept and endorse the principles of the Anglican House of Bishops’ Policy for safeguarding children, young people and adults in the Church of England (Promoting a Safer Church, 2017)
  2. We will seek to establish a safe, caring Community which provides a loving environment where victims of abuse can report or disclose abuse and where they can find support and best practice that contributes to the prevention of abuse
  3. We commit ourselves to nurture, protect and safeguard all our members, and those who are present or associated with community events, particularly children, young people and adults at risk
  4. We recognise that safeguarding is the responsibility of the whole Community
  5. We undertake to exercise proper care in the selection, appointment, training and support of those working in a paid or voluntary position with children or adults at risk and make appropriate referrals to the DBS authority
  6. We will respond without delay to concerns or allegations that a child or adult at risk may have been harmed, cooperating with the police and social care services in any investigation
  7. We will challenge any abuse of power by anyone in a position of trust.
  8. We will seek to offer pastoral care and support to anyone who has suffered abuse, offering them appropriate ministry, which recognises the importance of understanding the needs of those who have been abused, including their feelings of alienation and/or isolation. We will seek to do all within our capacity to protect survivors of abuse from the possibility of further harm and abuse
  9. We will seek to offer pastoral care and support, including supervision and referral to the proper authorities, to any member of our Community known to or alleged to have offended against a child, young person or adult at risk.

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

In the UK the designated Safeguarding person is:

Dr Ruth Booth
ruthbooth2012@hotmail.co.uk
Tel:01957 733380

The designated Safeguarding person will be responsible on a regular basis for safeguarding training, or for ensuring that those named persons, listed by the Caim Council as working for the Community in either a paid or voluntary capacity, receive this training elsewhere.

In a situation where further advice is required, the Safeguarding officer of Coventry diocese (the diocese of our Episcopal Visitor Bishop Christopher Cocksworth) can be contacted:

Carol Clarke
Cathedral and Diocesan Offices
1 Hill Top
Coventry
CV1 5AB
Office Phone: 024 7652 1345
Mobile: 07906 627052
Email: Carol.Clarke@CovCofE.org

Our formal complaints, bullying and harassment, and whistle blowing policies may be found in the Community Handbook

The Safeguarding Policy Statement will be read at each Annual Voyagers’ Meeting, readopted annually, and formally reviewed at least every 3 years

The U.K. Community of Aidan and Hilda recommends that this policy is adopted in other countries where the Community exists, taking into consideration the guidelines for safeguarding upheld within those countries


Whistle Blowing Policy

The Community of Aidan and Hilda seeks to act with probity in its behaviour and aims to help staff, office holders, members and volunteers to follow, and be seen to follow, the highest ethical and moral standards. Should there be a failure in this, the policy seeks to enable the organisation to be alerted to any potential problem or wrong doing reasonably believed to exist, without fear or negative reprisal in response to the revelation.

To fulfil their commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults, the Community must have a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children or adults to be addressed.

Whistle blowing may also apply to situations of unacceptable practice, performance or behaviour in situations unrelated to children or adults who may be vulnerable, and these same principles can be applied.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1988 gives workers legal protection against being dismissed or penalised as a result of publicly disclosing certain serious concerns. Whilst the Act does not provide the same protection for volunteers, The Community of Aidan and Hilda adopts the same approach in their protection.

The policy of Community of Aidan and Hilda is to safeguard the interests of any of its employees, office holders, members or volunteers when they act as alerters regarding any neglect or abuse, mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, sexual, racial/ethnic or financial of service users or any similar abuse of colleagues.

The Community of Aidan and Hilda accepts that it is bound by legislation in the Public Interests Disclosure Act 1998 and guarantees that procedures will be invoked in ways which do not prejudice the whistle-blower’s own position and prospects. The Community of Aidan and Hilda will protect the employee, Office holder, member or volunteer against victimisation and provide support through the investigation process.

The Community of Aidan and Hilda is committed to ensuring that employees, office holders, members and volunteers:

  • Have knowledge and understanding of protection procedures
  • Are committed to emphasising that harassment is unacceptable
  • Are enabled to identify oppressive abuse when it occurs
  • Are informed regarding their individual duty to act to protect service users
  • Are made aware of measures to safeguard their interests if they act as whistle blowers
  • Are made aware of their rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.

The overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation is with the Caim Council

This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required.

Whitelblowing Procedure

The Community of Aidan and Hilda encourages employees, office holders, members and volunteers to regard it as their duty to the Community to raise legitimate concerns about suspected misconduct by colleagues, office holders or those with whom they have contact or with whom they work.

The Community of Aidan and Hilda sees its employees, office holders, members and volunteers in the role of alerters to promote the safeguarding of the rights of others, to log any concerns and report such concerns to one of the following:

  • Ruth Booth (community Safeguarding officer)
  • One of the 3 guardians- Simon Reed, Penny Warren or Graham Booth
  • Geoff Holt- Chair of Trustees
  • Carol Clarke (Safeguarding Advisor for Coventry Diocese)

Alerters are not being asked to verify or prove that concerns are true. The Community of Aidan and Hilda seeks to protect its employees, office holders, members and volunteers from victimisation when they act as alerters.

Anybody who is concerned about any malpractice but unsure whether to blow the whistle or to stay silent or are unclear how to go about blowing the whistle may obtain free expert help from the independent charity:

Public concern at Work
CAN Mezzanine
7-14 Great Dover Street
London SE1 4YR
Whistle-blowing Advice Line: 0207404 6609
Whistle-blowing Advice Email: whistle@pcaw.org.uk
Website: www.pcaw.org.uk


Complaints Policy

The Community of Aidan and Hilda views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person that has made the complaint. Our policy is to:

  • Provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
  • Publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
  • Make sure everyone in The Community of Aidan and Hilda knows what to do if a complaint is received
  • Make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
  • Make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and relationships are repaired and reconciliation explored
  • Gather information which helps us to improve what we do

Definition of a complaint

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of the Community of Aidan and Hilda.

Where complaints come from

Complaints may come from a:

  • Person who is dissatisfied with the service that they have received from a member of staff, either employed or in a voluntary capacity, by the Community of Aidan and Hilda
  • Concern relating to policies for running the Community of Aidan and Hilda or decisions taken by Guardians, Caim council or Trustees
  • Person who is dissatisfied with the behaviour of a member (explorer or voyager, or friend in a specific voluntary or employed role) of the Community of Aidan and Hilda

A formal complaint can be received by e-mail or in writing. It is our policy that we will not investigate anonymous complaints. This policy does not cover matters relating to safeguarding which should be referred directly to the Community Safeguarding officer.

If other complaints processes apply, for example bullying and harassment, the person complaining will be directed and helped to access them.

Confidentiality

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

Who to tell

Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation is with the Caim Council. Written complaints may be sent to one of the three Guardians listed on our Main Contacts page

Receiving complaints

Complaints may arrive in writing to one of the Guardians. Complaints received by telephone or in person need to be recorded. The person who receives a complaint by telephone or in person should:

  1. Write down the facts of the complaint
  2. Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
  3. Note down the relationship of the complainant to the Community of Aidan and Hilda
  4. Tell the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
  5. Tell the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take.
  6. Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by e-mail so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.

Resolving Complaints

Informal approach

In many cases a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate.

If following the informal process is not followed, or does not resolve the problem, then the formal procedure should be followed.

Formal Stage

If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved, they can escalate the complaint to the formal process. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Guardian who is chair of Caim, or if they have been already involved then the Chair of Trustees.

Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within a week. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.

A suitably senior person may be appointed to investigate the facts of the case. This may involve reviewing the paperwork of the case and speaking with anyone who may have been involved with the complaint at the informal stage.

If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given an opportunity to respond. The person who dealt with the original complaint at the informal stage should be kept informed of what is happening where this is appropriate.

Ideally complainants should receive a definitive reply within 28 days. If this is not possible, because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report should be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given.

Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant should describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint. Where disciplinary action is deemed appropriate, the reply to the complainant will not include details relating to individual staff member’s employment record.

It should be recognised that in some instances people will take positions where the matter cannot be resolved. However, the aim should be to ensure that the process respects those involved and is just in providing an active concern to those who are vulnerable, marginalised or oppressed.

The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Community of Aidan and Hilda decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.

External Stage

The complainant can complain to the Charity Commission at any stage. The Commission’s involvement in looking at complaints is limited to issues that pose a serious risk of significant harm to a charity’s beneficiaries, assets, services or reputation. Information about the kind of complaints the Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website

Variation of the Complaints procedure

The Community of Aidan and Hilda may vary the procedure for good reason. This may be necessary to avoid a conflict of interest, for example, a complaint about the Chair of Caim or of Trustees should not also have the Chair of Caim or of Trustees as the person leading the formal process.


Social Media Policy

This social media policy is to be followed by all Community of Aidan and Hilda office holders and staff, whether paid or in a voluntary role.

  1. Be a good ambassador for Christ, the Community and your part in it
  2. Know and follow the Community’s safeguarding policy
  3. Users are personally responsible for the content they publish online, whether in a blog, social networking site, or any other form of user-generated media. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for an indefinite period of time. Protect your privacy and take care to understand a site’s terms of service
  4. Identify yourself by name and, when relevant, role in the Community. If you discuss the Community or the wider church, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the Community or another Christian body, unless you are specifically authorised to do so
  5. Respect the law, including copyright, libel and defamation laws
  6. Never break a confidence. Do not cite or reference individuals without their approval. If you are telling a story about a third party, ask yourself, 'is this my story to tell?'
  7. Don’t publish anything that might allow inferences to be drawn which could embarrass or damage an individual
  8. Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in a Christian environment or the Community of Aidan and Hilda
  9. Don’t pick fights! The internet is home to a lot of argumentative people. When posting, seek to generate light and not heat
  10. Be the first to correct your own mistakes
  11. Try to add value. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. The Community of Aidan and Hilda is best represented by its people and what you publish may reflect on not only the Community but also Christianity
  12. Social media entries may well attract wider media interest in you as an individual. Proceed with caution and remember that you are responsible for your online activities

These guidelines are adapted from those issued by the Diocese of London - https://www.london.anglican.org/kb/social-media/

Please also refer to the Methodist Church social media Guidelines which give other useful information and can be found at www.methodist.org.uk/socialmediaguidelines.


Safeguarding Advice for Volunteers

The Community of Aidan and Hilda takes the safety of everyone within the Community including guests or visitors very seriously and expects that everyone will work within the Community’s safeguarding policy. In particular, the Community expects anyone who becomes aware of a safeguarding risk or of actual abuse, to immediately report it.

Workers with children and/or adults who may be at risk should have a commitment to:

  • Treat individuals with respect
  • Recognise and respect their abilities and potential for development
  • Promote their rights to make their own decisions and choices, unless it is unsafe
  • Ensure their welfare and safety
  • The promotion of social justice, social responsibility and respect for others
  • Confidentiality, never passing on personal information, except to the person to whom you are responsible, unless there are safeguarding issues of concern (e.g. allegations of abuse). Safeguarding issues of concern must always be reported to the Police or Social Care services and Community Safeguarding officer or Coventry Diocese Safeguarding Adviser.

Responsibility for safeguarding and volunteers lies with the The Guardians, as listed on our Main Contact page, or their named representative, and through them the Caim Council.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities

Anyone working as a volunteer for the Community has a responsibility to:

  • Work with people at risk (children and adults who may be at risk) in a way that meets and develops their personal, spiritual and social needs, exercising active pastoral concern
  • Represent the needs and views of at risk people to the Caim or, where appropriate, enable them to do this for themselves
  • Maintain a link with parents and carers, where appropriate
  • Work in accordance with the Community’s policy on safeguarding
  • Undertake any other work that has been agreed and is seen to be appropriate

As a volunteer you can expect that we will do our best to ensure that we will provide a supportive, inclusive and positive environment that ensures you enjoy your volunteering and that you are treated with respect and courtesy and provided with training.

If you are a volunteer who regularly works with people who are at risk you may need a DBS check every five years