Updated: Jan 22, 2019
Well, happy new year and here we are again.
It seems that we carry on where we left off with vicious stabbings and consequent family tragedies. So much for the period of goodwill to all people; and we may well ask where is our glimmer of light in the darkness? But hopefully many of us will have personal good memories of a Christmas well spent with friends and relatives to keep us optimistic in the dark January days. Having a January birthday I do however, rather resent the fact that one year an academic calculated that the most depressing day of the year was my actual birth date.
We often try to turn over a new leaf or make a fresh start at the beginning of the new year. We may be well-intentioned to do things differently, and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in our own personal organisation. Getting our own houses in order through better filing, knowing where things are, not procrastinating, doing things on time, and feeling generally more efficient is a worthy goal; and I would suggest this is also the time to get our safeguarding houses in order as well. Getting that DBS check done, recording that a piece of training has been completed, checking that every post holder has a simple job description, would be timely ambitions; especially after we make our commitment to callings and duties at our annual covenant services.
Ministers, local church leaders and safeguarding officers all have a part to play here, but this is also a reminder that keeping the task simple is the key to successful execution.
So let's start with a quick spring clean of the safer recruitment records. Where are they? Who looks after them? Are they up to date? Is every post holder included on your local church schedule? Who needs a DBS and in some cases are they still valid? Has everyone who has a job in the church got a job description that describes what they do in 4 or 5 key lines or uses the Connexional templates ? Has everyone signed a self declaration? Why not make this your January plan of action and you can get advice about best practice here on the national safeguarding website https://www.methodist.org.uk/for-ministers-and-office-holders/safeguarding/recruitment-dbspvg-forms-etc/.
Next month why not tackle training records and in March, updating policies and reviewing safe practice through updated risk assessments?
If you try to do it all at once it can be pretty overwhelming! So break it down and take a measured approach!
For me the start of this year means a new role but I'm now aiming to deliver a weekly blog that will go out not only across London. but to Beds Essex and Herts and Northampton Districts as well. I guess I'll start to look out for geographic and other reference points from these areas to pepper future blogs.
Whatever the new year brings I hope it's a happy one for you.