Calling to mind our safeguarding responsibilities as charity trustees, and as we approach the new year season of church councils, a timely reminder of these had been provided by colleagues at Farrers’, a London law firm that has a specialist child protection unit.
Although there is good evidence that safeguarding is now included on most church council agendas, we may not always recall that the Charity Commission has high expectations of churches’ compliance with all our various policies and commitment to safe recruitment. It’s a report published by the Charity Commissioners into a recent case that is referenced in Farrers’ bulletin which can be accessed here.
Charity Commissioners have statutory powers to investigate organisations where there are concerns about poor safeguarding practice, so making sure that individual church councils have a real sense of their obligations in this area of our work and mission is a an ongoing priority for the District. This is also a prompt to trustees that taking care of safeguarding is not just a practice matter for the local church safeguarding officer working with the minister, but an organisational requirement to ensure charitable status is maintained.
The Charity Commissioners’ Safeguarding Strategy is a very accessible document that describes the range of issues that may concern it, and reminds charities such as churches of their reporting obligations. It’s recommended reading for all church trustees and is available here.