Latest News

Growing range of Zoom scams to be aware of.

Thursday 03 July

The range of Zoom scams in operation is growing and churches are urged to be aware so that they are able to protect those that may be vulnerable to such scams.

One scam that is being experienced is explained below:

 

Did you know Zoom had voicemail - apparently it does. 

 

BUT... If you receive a text message saying you have a Zoom voicemail be careful. This is likely to be something like:

 

"you have a Zoom voicemail from..." and giving a name i.e. 'Janet44'.  

 

If you are told to ring a telephone number starting with "09” do not do it - '09' means that you will pay exorbitant charges per minute.

 

Given the increase of people using Zoom to access church activities, please ensure those who are more vulnerable or not as 'tech savvy' are aware and not conned into dialling an 09 number.

New guidelines on sexual harassment issued by the Methodist Church

Thursday 18 June

The Methodist Church has worked with Director of Place for Hope, Ruth Harvey, to publish a set of good practice guidelines for churches to raise awareness of sexual harassment, support victims, and bring about a change in culture to ensure all churches are caring communities, where people safely meet for worship, sharing and learning.

In the foreword to the guidelines and in a short film to go with it, the Revd Dr Barbara Glasson, President of the Conference, says:

“In these guidelines the Methodist Church is stepping forward to enable a safer worshipping and working environment for all associated with its work. More than this, it is aiming to initiate a change of mind-set and behaviours to take responsibility away from victims and bring those who harass to task.”

A Survey for Local Ecumenical Partnerships on safeguarding guidance

Tuesday 16 June

An ecumenical working group comprised of the Methodist Church, The Baptist Union and The United Reformed Church is currently reviewing safeguarding guidance available to Local Ecumenical Partnerships (LEPs). 

 

In the next few days a survey will be sent out to all of our Church Safeguarding officers in LEP’s asking them to complete a short survey, which will allow the group to gain a better understanding of local safeguarding arrangements and practice issues.  

 

The survey has been designed for completion by:

  • Designated Safeguarding LEP Lead

  • Church Safeguarding Coordinator

  • Church Safeguarding Officer

 

Those completing the survey will be asked to take the opportunity to discuss safeguarding with church officers and ministers prior to submission if required.

 

Due to the nature of LEP’s it may be that a church receives more than one request to complete the survey, only one response is required per church. The deadline for return is the 6th July 2020.

 

Responses will be collated by the Methodist Church Connexional Safeguarding Team on behalf of the working group to allow the provision of data to the group to support the review.   Individual responses will not be retained beyond the current activity.  

 

If you would like any further information on the work being undertaken, or would like to be involved please do not hesitate to contact Mel Argles in Connexion.

Promoting effective safeguarding practices coming out of lockdown - A Briefing

Tuesday 16 June

As churches start to plan their reopening, the Connexional Safeguarding Team have produced a briefing to support circuit and church safeguarding officers through this process. 

Temporary changes to Safeguarding Training Requirements

Tuesday 26 May

The following statement was issued by the Methodist Church in Britain:

Due to the travel and contact restrictions that have been imposed to cope with the spread of Covid 19, the Methodist Church has had to make many changes to its normal programmes and plans.

 

This has also had an impact for those members, officers and ministers who are required to undertake Foundation and Advanced Module safeguarding  training every four years, due to the cancellation of some training courses.

 

It has therefore been agreed that, for all those who have reached the four year point since they last undertook the relevant training, a temporary six month extension will be applied in order to allow for the current lockdown period and allow new training dates to be planned for in the Autumn.  

 

Jonathan Hustler, Secretary of Conference

Henry Lewis, Chair Safeguarding Committee

Dates for Foundation Level Facilitator Training Announced

Tuesday 12 May

We are very excited to provide you with two dates for Foundation Level Facilitator Training, which will be led by Becky Skinner (District Safeguarding Officer). The training will take place via Zoom. 

  • Wednesday 20 May | 1.30pm - 4pm | Registration commences at 1.15pm

Click here to register

  • Thursday 28 May | 5.45pm - 8.15pm | Registration commences at 5.30pm

Click here to register

Please note that in order to attend this course, participants must have completed the Foundation / Foundation Refresher Safeguarding course. Participants are also required to have basic knowledge of Zoom.

The purpose of this training is to ensure that all safeguarding trainers and would-be trainers across the District, are informed of the changes to the Foundation Level Safeguarding course since its revision earlier this year. 

There are 30 spaces available for each course. Please note that registration for each training closes at 11.30pm the day before the training is to take place. 

If you have difficulty registering, or have any questions,  please contact Martha

Working Online Safely - a training session

Tuesday 05 May

A further safeguarding training session on 'Working Online Safely' has been scheduled to take place on:

  • Thursday 07 May from 6pm - 8pm via Zoom

 

This online training session aims to explore how people within the church can continue to work effectively but safely; particularly in relation to working with young people and within the world of safeguarding, by looking at how we can keep those who support others safe.

 

The training session will be led by the District Safeguarding Officer, Becky Skinner, and features input from the Learning Network as well as the District Youth Coordinator. The session will also comprise of breakout rooms to allow for group work.

The session is open to all those with a safeguarding role within the church, and will be hosted via Zoom. Once registered, attendees will receive the Meeting ID and password via email.

Learning objectives include:

RISK – Understand who is most at risk and what those risks are, this will also include considering the disinhibition effect

REDUCE – Know how to reduce those risks, we will consider professional boundaries in this

RESPONSE – What action should be taken should concerns arise, i.e. inappropriate content, disclosures made, concerns over other colleagues, how to report and who to contact for support

Tickets for this training session are available via Eventbrite. Please click here to book your place.

IICSA announces update on Child Protection in religious Organisations and Settings public hearing

Thursday 16 April

The following information has been taken from the IICSA website.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has announced that following the suspension of the Child Protection in Religious Organisations and Settings public hearing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it hopes to resume the hearing via video conference at 10.30 am on 11 May 2020.  

Announcing her decision, the Chair of Inquiry, Prof Alexis Jay OBE said:

“The unprecedented impact of the pandemic and consequent national emergency has affected everyone in ways we could not have imagined.  We made the difficult decision to suspend our public hearing but have been exploring ways that we can resume in a virtual setting.

“The Inquiry is working hard to rearrange future public hearings in all our investigations, bearing in mind the difficulties that the current situation presents for all those involved. My thanks to Inquiry staff, core participants and their legal teams for working flexibly with us to ensure that these vital hearings will continue.” 

The public hearing into Child Sexual Exploitation in Organised Networks, which was due to be held on 20 April, has been postponed. The Inquiry is working with core participants so that it can reschedule this hearing in September.  

Creating Safer Space Training - An Update

Thursday 16 April

The following information was taken from an update from the Methodist Church in Britain and was released in late March. The District will announce plans for remote training in due course. 

During this incredibly difficult time our thoughts are with the most vulnerable in our communities and the need to ensure that we have the right safeguards in place to ensure that those who are most at risk are cared for.


The Methodist Church has published guidance to support congregations to consider how best to provide support for others, while balancing the risk to our volunteers and ensuring that church communities’ offers of support are as safe as possible. This guidance can be found here.


An important part of the church’s commitment to safeguarding is the ongoing training of all volunteers, staff and church leaders. However, in these unusual times we will need to take time to pause and reflect on the best way forward, and make pragmatic decisions at a local level.


Training delivery:
The recommendation from the Connexional office is that all safeguarding training is postponed until such time as clear government guidance is issued which indicates that it is appropriate to resume community activities and end social isolation. The Connexional office will look at the required timescales for completion of training and adjust this as appropriate to ensure that no one is disadvantaged by the current circumstances.


For those who have started a new role and are awaiting training as part of their safer recruitment, I would encourage them to access the safeguarding training handbooks whilst waiting for training to resume. These handbooks are available on the Methodist website and offer a helpful overview to understand abuse, what to look for and how to follow Methodist Safeguarding Policy. These can be found at:

  • Foundation (2020 Edition)

  • Advanced (2019 Edition)

 

Transition from Foundation (2016 Edition) to Foundation (2020 Edition)
The transition to the new Foundation Module had been forecast for Easter this year. Given the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in this deadline has been pushed back to the end of the Connexional year. However, this date will be held under review and work will be undertaken to ensure that no District or Circuit is disadvantaged by the new transition date, once clearer guidance from central Government is issued.


To support Districts with the delayed transition, Foundation (2016 Edition) material will continue to be available to order until 31st August from Methodist Publishing.


The Connexional safeguarding team remain committed to ensuring that good quality train the trainers sessions are provided prior to trainers delivering the course. To date, many districts have made good local arrangements and this training has already been delivered and in others they are now working on contingencies for training to take place once social isolation ends.

Working Online Safely - a training session

Wednesday 15 April

The coronavirus has led to many of us now working remotely, and this in turn has led to the question of how people within the church can continue to work effectively but safely; particularly in relation to working with young people and within the world of safeguarding. This online training session aims to explore just that by looking at how we can keep those who support others safe.

 

The training session will be led by the District Safeguarding Officer, Becky Skinner, and features input from the Learning Network as well as the District Youth Coordinator. The session will also comprise of breakout rooms to allow for group work.

This session is open to all who may have a role within safeguarding within the church.

The session will be run through Zoom. Once registered, attendees will receive the Meeting ID and password via email.

Learning objectives include:

RISK – Understand who is most at risk and what those risks are, this will also include considering the disinhibition effect

REDUCE – Know how to reduce those risks, we will consider professional boundaries in this

RESPONSE – What action should be taken should concerns arise, i.e. inappropriate content, disclosures made, concerns over other colleagues, how to report and who to contact for support

Tickets for this training session are available via Eventbrite. Click here to book your place.

Join the Safeguarding Team Virtual Office

Tuesday 31 March 

All those who share an interest in safeguarding within the church are invited to join this Microsoft Teams virtual office. This includes, but is not limited to, church safeguarding officers and youth leaders​.

Initially the idea around this is to provide a network of support, but as we move forward this will become a useful hub of information, a place to share good working practices, ideas and general queries (no specific cases please).

Documents can be posted and 'pinned', video/telephone meetings can be held and potentially mini training sessions (this is still being explored).

Please read through the privacy policy as it will be Microsoft that 'owns' the data you input and not the District. There will be a link with the privacy policy when you go through the joining process.

Please note that the email address used to join will be visible to other members of the 'virtual office' who may be in a different circuit to your own. If you have recently joined and do not wish for your email address to be visible, please remove yourself from the group as there are no settings to counteract this.

If you feel this may be of interest to you, please email the Becky Skinner (District Safeguarding Officer).

Government announcement on changes to standard and enhanced ID checking guidelines (DBS)

Tuesday 24 March

Due to current measures that have been put in place as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re aware that organisations are having difficulty following the DBS ID checking guidance.

 

Currently, when validating ID documents, it is best practice to carry the examination out face-to-face with a live video link as an alternative method. Under the current guidance, the ID checker must be in physical possession of the original documents so they can be checked for indicators of fraud.

As the public is being advised to work from home where possible, this is causing difficulties in receiving the physical documents and is delaying applications, and in some cases, preventing applications from being submitted.

 

To ensure that the necessary DBS checks can still be carried out, the DBS standard and enhanced ID checking guidance will be changed for a temporary period. The change will enable:

  • ID documents to be viewed over video link

  • scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted

The applicant will be required to present the original versions of these documents when they first attend their employment or volunteering role.

The change came into effect on 19 March 2020.

Please ensure that you follow the advice on GOV.UK around checking identity documents for indicators of fraud, which can be found here.

 

The full announcement is available gov.uk website.

Coronavirus guidance for Monitoring Support Groups 

Thursday 19 March

Connexion have received a few queries about meetings of MSG groups and their most recent guidance states in terms of church business, all face to face meetings should be cancelled. We urge you to consider alternative methods for holding MSG meetings, such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Please make a clear note on records so it can be seen why events or meetings have been delayed or amended.​

 

Because of restrictions on travel and advice for social distancing, there will be a need to consider how Safeguarding Contracts for those who pose a risk can be monitored.  ​

 

If your church is considering prayer stations, and monitoring cannot be effectively applied, it would be acceptable to put in place a temporary restriction on the subject being able to attend any unmonitored activities and this should be put in writing to the subject. Remember to record all decisions made. If you feel this applies to your group, please come back to your District Safeguarding Officer.​

 

Wishing you all well in these difficult times.

District Safeguarding Conference and the Coronavirus - An Update:

Thursday 12 March

In light of growing concerns surrounding the speed by which the virus is spreading, the District has taken the time to carefully consider the options and whether the conference should indeed be going ahead.

After much thoughtful deliberation, the decision has been made to postpone the conference until October / November of this year.

We have not come to this decision lightly and it is with regret that we make this announcement. However, due to the nature of the conference and the level of physical interaction between attendees, we do not feel that it would be appropriate for the conference to take place. I’m sure you will agree that a safeguarding conference where the organisers do not consider safeguarding the attendees would be quite a thing indeed!

It goes without saying that the health and wellbeing of our attendees as well as their extended circle of families and friends, is of great importance to us. Whilst we do not wish to be alarmist about the current situation we feel strongly that this will be the best and most prudent course of action.

Please note that all training sessions and meetings that the District is due to facilitate, will be considered on an individual basis.

We are in the process of securing an alternative date for this conference to take place and will release this information as soon as possible. Please do keep a look out in the Weekly Update and on the Safeguarding News section of the website for further updates.

With kindest regards.

Foundation Level Facilitator Training 

Tuesday 14 January

Do you run facilitate the Foundation Level Safeguarding Training Course? Would you like to be able to deliver this training in your church or circuit? If so, this is for you.

The Methodist Church has recently revised it's Foundation Level Safeguarding Training and to ensure that all trainers and would be trainers, are aware of the changes, the London District will be hosting a Facilitator Training Session.

Delivering the training will be District Safeguarding Officer, Becky Skinner.

There are 30 places available. The closing date for registration is 11.59pm on Sunday 23 February.

 

Click here to book your place

Safeguarding Conference 2020 - Through the Looking Glass - Professional Curiosity and Disguised Compliance.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

It is with great excitement that we invite you to the annual Safeguarding Conference ​that will take place at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster on Saturday 14 March 2020 from 10am - 4pm.

 

Our theme this year will be 'Professional Curiosity and Disguised Compliance'.

 

We are thrilled to be joined by Marcus Erooga an Independent Safeguarding Consultant, widely renowned for his work and research into child sexual abuse. 

 

We are sure that it will be a stimulating event, and one that will help provide relevant advice and guidance to churches, on both a local and circuit level.

 

Registration for the conference opens at 9am on Wednesday 11 December via Eventbrite.

 

Click here to book your place 

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