Being confident about your role as a church or circuit safeguarding officer is a real asset, as you may be the key person whose job it is to convince others in the church about the value and benefits of operating a robust safeguarding policy. It’s a bit like delivering a successful sales and marketing strategy, which convinces you about a product and its quality, why you need it both now and in the future and the wide ranging benefits that will accrue as a consequence.
I spent last weekend in Spain with two old school friends. We had not been together for 31 years and it was great catching up with all that had happened to each of us. Both my friends are former senior international marketing managers and on a Sunday morning ramble high above the Mediterranean I asked them each for one key piece of advice that they would give to those trying to sell products. One immediately said about believing in yourself and the product, whilst the other spoke about an approach that emphasised future benefits to potential consumers. This caused me to reflect on how we strive locally to make sure that the leaders in all our churches really get the benefits for all that are derived from good practice and widely accepted and understood policy. Perhaps, then, there is something we can learn from marketing theory that we can apply to make sure the safeguarding product is understood.
So how can we enhance our own belief in good safeguarding practice, and convince others that this is something they can’t do without? The Past Cases Review showed us the historic consequence of not getting things right in the past, and so provides evidence of the path we want to avoid. Our new policies are the tools we have at our disposal. The stories of survivors and how some churches have taken positive steps to address concerns they have identified can be the inspiration that reminds us of the importance and privilege of what we do.
We are not about selling baked beans or luxury cars. We are however about taking pride in what we do to keep our churches safe, letting everyone else know that in the long run safeguarding is a product we can all trust to bring benefits to all.