Colin and Cuthbert caterpillars are at daggers drawn in court. Their respective owners, Marks and Spencer and Aldi, are in a legal battle about whose chocolate log, beloved at children’s parties, is the real thing. There is a price differential and so M&S are concerned that people might visit Aldi and pick up a cheaper alternative, believing it to be of similar quality. I’m not sure why Tesco’s Curly and Waitrose’s Cecil are not included in the legal action, and personally I feel ill-equipped to make any judgement as I am not really meant to eat any sugary confections at all.
So getting to and appreciating the real deal is important. M&S clearly think there is potential reputational damage at stake here and people may be short-changed if the texture and taste is not as good as a similar appearance might suggest.
Which is why the safeguarding audit programme developed and now being rolled out by the London District Safeguarding Team is so important. It’s a vital means of checking whether policy and practice at church and circuit level is the real deal. Do our local safeguarding arrangements have the depth of understanding and practical application that mean they have more than a skin deep appearance? Are we confident that the words we use and the images we project are matched by what we actually do? There is only one way to find out and that’s by testing and tasting.
If you are involved in safeguarding in any way at your local church, please look out for the audit tool, help to complete it and play your part in making sure your church offers the real safeguarding deal. Our Advanced Module course has a section in it about ‘disguised compliance’ which is concerned with helping people who oversee individual safeguarding contracts reflect on behaviour that gives the appearance of compliance to determine if it is in fact the real thing. The audit programme is about enabling churches to get below the presenting surface to examine how well they are really doing.
In Colin and Cuthbert’s case, this is as much about trademarks and profits as about reputation. If the church’s glossy safeguarding appearance masks poor practice then it won’t just be our reputation at stake. Someone may get hurt.