Seeking to know Jesus and make Him known in Stevenage

Groups: Good Practic Guidance

Part of our Safeguarding Policy

8.1: On site groups (e.g. S Club)

8.1.1: Promoting positive behaviour

As a place of worship working with children, young people and adults who have care and support needs we operate and promote good working practice. This enables workers to run activities safely, develop good relationships and minimise the risk of false accusation.

Relating safely to children, young people and adults who have care and support needs

We will treat all children, young people and adults who have care and support needs with respect and dignity befitting their age, taking care that our language, methods of communication, tone of voice and “body language” are all appropriate.

We will adhere to the following practices to ensure the safety of all:

  • Leaders and those with pastoral oversight will take opportunities to observe those for whom they are responsible as they work with children, young people or adults who have care and support needs. Adult and young helpers should not be given overall responsibility for any activity or meeting.
  • Be aware of using circumstances in which any person is shown special attention either by being highly favoured or treated unduly harshly. Control and discipline will not involve using physical punishment. Ensure another adult is present if, for example, a young child has soiled their underclothes and needs to be thoroughly washed.

If there are incidents, e.g. fighting, in which injuries occur, one of the leaders present should write and sign a report that day, and a second leader present should sign it that day also. This should be given to the Incumbent to keep on file in case required.

We will not engage in any of the following:

  • Invading the privacy of children, young people or adults who have care and support needs when they are toileting.
  • Any form of game that may appear to be sexually provocative.
  • Making sexually suggestive comments about or to a child, young person or adult who has care and support needs, even in “fun”.
  • Inappropriate and intrusive touching of any form.
  • Any ridiculing, scapegoating or rejecting of a child, young person or adult who has care and support needs.

8.1.2: Ratio of staff to children in groups

Children agedStaff
0-2 years old1 member of staff to 3 children
2-3 years old1 member of staff to 4 children
3-8 years old1 member of staff to 8 children
Over 8 years old1 member of staff for the first 8 children
1 extra person for every extra 12 children

The minimum number of adults should always be two and it is recommended that a gender balance be maintained if possible. Groups must not run without the minimum number of approved adults.

8.1.3: Health, safety & risk

  • The room should be well lit, and there should be adequate heating, lighting and ventilation in the venue.
  • The location of fire-fighting equipment and exits should be known.
  • The premises should be checked for any hazards, e.g. piles of chairs that might fall over, equipment with sharp edges, unprotected heaters – and action taken to reduce the chance of an accident.
  • Food and drink should be prepared hygienically and carefully.
  • Toilets should be hygienic.
  • Volunteers/helpers/workers must keep their eyes on the children’s whereabouts and be open to seeing risks.
  • The Church wardens are responsible for maintaining the two first-aid kits on behalf of all the groups using them. They must be informed when any items from the kit are used.
  • An Accident File is kept, in which any accidents should be recorded. The date, a brief account of what happened, the action taken and the names of the individuals involved should be recorded and parents informed immediately.
  • No adult will work alone with children or young people.This may mean leaving doors open or two groups working in the same room.
  • A weekly register should be kept of all in the group, including leaders and helpers in attendance. The incumbent will have an overall list.
  • At the end of an event, leaders must ensure that children and young people are being collected by someone with actual or delegated parental responsibility, or they are old enough to make their own way and this is agreed by parents. For more clarity on transportation, see the section on off-site events.

8.1.4: Audio and visual (still or moving) recordings and livestreaming

We have notices in the church asking people NOT to take photographs of children during church activities.

At some events it is socially acceptable for anyone to take pictures or videos (weddings and baptisms etc.). In these situations, and in others, we cannot take any responsibility for pictures taken of children by others in church.

The leadership will authorise a photographer at times. Photographs that are taken in church will:

  • Be stored safely.
  • Be stored without personal identity.
  • Not be shared.
  • Not be used in any way without the parent’s specific written consent, which will be sought by the leadership in line with the above.
  • Will gain permission from those with parental responsibility which sets out the required boundaries for use and sharing.

All services are now being live streamed. We ask that parents ensure that children are not filmed to help ensure their safety.

If children are to take part in an activity that is to be filmed, broadcast live or recorded, audio or still, please ensure that the consent form below is completed fully and signed by the parent/guardian.

8.1.5: Social Media

Children 13 years and under

  • Leaders and helpers will not be friends or linked with any child from church on Facebook or any other social media.
  • Leaders and helpers will not communicate with any child by email or any other form of messaging (such as SMS). Communication will be with those with parental responsibility.

Young People 14 to 18 years

  • With permission from those with parental responsibility, leaders may communicate with a young person by email, SMS or other messaging services where parental consent has been given. Social media will not be used.

8.1.6: S.Club forms (for leaders)

8.2: Off Site Events

8.2.1: Health and Safety Risk Assessments and Parental Consent

For ALL off-site events, a risk assessment MUST be carried out. This will include things like:

  • Contact details
  • Adult / Child ratios
  • Parental consent
  • Risk of injury
  • Back up plans
  • etc.

Additional parental permission must be gained for any meetings or activities arranged away from church premises.

For good guidance and forms, please refer to the Diocesan templates which can be found here

8.2.2: Transportation to/from events

St Nicholas Church does not provide transport under any circumstances. Transportation for children, young people and adults is always a voluntary activity undertaken by church family members under their own personal auspices and insurance. The Pastoral Team may put people in touch with each other so attendance at events is possible, but the activity of lifts or driving is not the responsibility of the church.

8.3: Managing risk

8.3.1: Support and safety where there are known perpetrators

When someone attending our church is known to have abused children, or is known to be a risk to adults who have care and support needs the Leadership will supervise the individual concerned, following advice from the Diocesan Officer, and offer pastoral care, but in its safeguarding commitment to the protection of children and adults who have care and support needs, set boundaries for that person which they will be expected to keep. 

If a known abuser or perpetrator of any form of abuse (against children, young people, or adults) turns up at church, one of the leadership team (safeguarding officer, church warden etc) will sit with the person, explain they are welcome, but must meet with the Rector and others to agree a safety plan regarding their attendance and membership of the church and hat (if any) activities they would be excluded from.

If a known abuser or perpetrator of any form of abuse who has or had a safety plan with another church, leaves that church and seeks to come to St Nicks, a meeting with the Rector and safeguarding leads of both churches will be held to ensure a smooth transition.

8.3.2: Working in Partnership

The diversity of organisations and settings means there can be great variation in practice when it comes to safeguarding children, young people and adults who have care and support needs. This can be because of cultural tradition, belief and religious practice or understanding, for example, of what constitutes abuse.

Therefore, any organisation using our premises, as part of the letting agreement must have their own policy that meets the safeguarding standards of our church and those of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Board for Children.