Updated: Nov 14, 2018
To see an amazing selection of medieval manuscripts head to the British Library's exhibition entitled 'Anglo- Saxon Kingdoms; Art, Word and War'. It's on until February 19th so still plenty of time to catch it. Featuring the Lindisfarne Gospels, the Domesday Book and various of Bede's ecclesiastical histories among a large selection of richly decorated manuscripts, it's a remarkable collection of texts which tell the story of the years 700-1080 along with bibles, key religious texts and monastic guides. This was the era when English kings and scholars began to recognise the need to write things down for the benefit of both the times they lived in and the future.
If you visit, be prepared for cathedral like solemnity as people read with care what's written about each item.
I think you will probably see where this blogpost is going! The Anglo-Saxons saw the advantage of writing things down, telling stories about who, what, when, how and why. The Domesday book is quite precise and geographic and spells out who owned what land and on what basis. So if the Anglo-Saxons got it and took time to write down what they saw and understood about their world, then our task as safeguarders is equally clear. It's worth repeating that accurate and timely record keeping is the basis for good governance in safeguarding. Knowing who is a volunteer and office holder, that they were recruited safely and that they have completed the necessary training is the bedrock of sound preventive practice.
Likewise, when we have a concern brought to our attention, its equally important to keep an accurate record of the facts of the matter - who was involved, when was it, what actually happened and crucially what's going to happen next. There is guidance on the Connexional Safeguarding website that will help you to do this to a good standard. Keeping the records safe and secure, but also accessible, is also an important aspect of this process. These Anglo-Saxon manuscripts have been kept safe in some cases for over 1,300 years, so we too need to think with care about how and where we preserve our records, and for how long. Whether Bede or Asser, King Alfred's biographer, intended that their work should last for a millennium is a moot point, but others since recognised their value, kept them safe and so they are now available for us to see and study.
We would do well to think about our safeguarding records being good enough to stand the test of time. We may never know when we may need to reference them in the future.