Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Some people are great at keeping their personal and professional records in good order, whilst others, like me, struggle to find that important piece of paper that we put somewhere safe just the other day. We can get in an awful tizz with ourselves until we find it, and then when we find it the relief is palpable.
It’s not just knowing where something is that’s important but what is written on the piece of paper, or electronic file, is equally important or even more so. It’s the information on it that will make the difference and enable us to confirm something or enable us to progress an issue. When we hold information about someone else though this take us into a new and much wider realm of data protection and its appropriate use.
Like all other organisations that hold information about people, the Church is going to be strongly impacted by the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into force on May 25th. The Church as a whole is taking steps to ensure that it is compliant in all things from membership and pastoral lists to prayer requests. Each church and circuit will no doubt be taking steps just now to be ready.
In safeguarding we not only hold biographical data, but also sensitive personal information about behaviour, concerns or complaints which in turn means that we will have to give considerable care and attention to what information we hold, why we hold it, whether the person who it concerns is aware that we hold this information and how we store it. There is no space in this blog to go into the detail of what this new regulation means for us as safeguarders at every level in the church, but over the coming weeks we will be posting items on the website about not only best practice, but required practice so as to avoid the significant sanctions that can be applied for non-compliance.
So now is a good time for a spring clean of your church safeguarding records – are they up to date, are they ‘neat and tidy’, are they stored safely and who has access? Getting all our papers in order will greatly help the Church to be re-assured about its readiness for GDPR.