Total Safeguarding in Faith Communities, and the Role of Reporting

Safeguarding and child protection guidance means that All faith-based groups and organisations that come into contact with children should have a Safeguarding and child protection policy. In this blog we discuss the role of reporting and record-keeping and the safeguarding issues facing faith groups today.

Safeguarding in an Out-of-School Setting (OoSS)

The Department for Education defines OOSS as ‘Organisations or individuals that provide tuition, training, instruction or activities to children in England without their parents’ or carers’ supervision, but are not schools, colleges, 16-19 academies, or providers caring for children that are registered with Ofsted or a childminder agency. OOSS generally provide tuition, training, instruction or activities outside normal school hours, such as in the evenings or at weekends, although some OOSS are run part-time during school hours to help meet the needs of those in-home education.’

Children are taught from a young age that places of worship are safe spaces run by trust-worthy adults who are often seen as an extension to the family. They’re told that they can confide in their faith leaders and some faiths offer confidential spaces in which to confide. While most faith organisations support and protect children, there have been historic and public cases of abuses linked to several organisations, including faith, the most recent of which were detailed in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Report. The IICSA Report explored the extent of the issue and the global cover-up that followed and highlighted concerns that in some organisations even basic child protection procedures are missing.

“Almost all the well-known safeguarding failures have not just involved allegations about the individual but also allegations of wider cultural blind spots and weaknesses: powerful leaders not open to challenge, weak trustees, cultures of secrecy and a priority given to “protecting the network”. - Adam McRae-Taylor, Senior associate Moore Barlow

The report listed 20 recommendations which National Governments should follow, including the need for mandatory reporting, a single core data set and a redress scheme for victims. Safeguarding is the responsibility of all adults who encounter children and it's crucial when discussing reporting that all adults know how to report a safeguarding concern, who to report a concern to and what qualifies as a safeguarding concern. While larger concerns may seem obvious, it’s crucial that niggling doubts, self-referrals and all low-level concerns are reported as frequent seemingly small concerns can escalate into, and be a product of, something bigger. Our free poster ‘What are low-level concerns’ is available to download for all faith organisations.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s business. For faith-based organisations and communities, getting this right can be challenging but it must be at the heart of everything they do. Recognising the risks and understanding that abusers can hide in plain sight is more than a tick-box exercise, it’s about culture and behaviour”. Paul Burstow, Chair, Social Care Institute for Excellence

Good Record Keeping

“Recognising abuse is important. Acting on concerns is vital. But it’s just as important that you keep a record of all safeguarding concerns in your organisation.” – The Ann Craft Trust

Across all settings, the professional practice of safeguarding starts with good record keeping and the need to preserve evidence of right-doing. Using an electronic case management system helps to protect those at risk by allowing early intervention using a trusted, secure and intuitive platform. It also provides safeguarding leads with the peace of mind by meeting the statutory, legal and moral obligations they have to those in their care.

Total Safeguarding

At The Safeguarding Company we have developed the concept of Total Safeguarding which combines the practice of safeguarding with the very best technology - each is necessary, as individually they are unlikely to meet the current safeguarding challenge. We can support yours to be a world-class safeguarding organisation – one that protects children and adults and supports them to have the best outcomes in learning, in work and in life.

We believe that successfully achieving high standards of professional safeguarding practice is founded on eight core principles that come together to create Total Safeguarding:

- Strong leadership and management
- A clear focus on harm prevention and reduction
- Efficient recording and case management of concerns
- Effective team working within and between individuals and organisations
- Managing and sharing information securely, lawfully, and pro-actively
- Securing professional and emotional support for your people, your teams and yourself
- Being able to see the rich picture – understanding your data and developing insight
- Learning lessons from your own professional practice and that of others.

What’s the solution?

Our suite of safeguarding solutions to support Faith Organisations is ever-growing, so we can help with your safeguarding processes in a number of ways. From our award-winning MyConcern, which offers a secure, centralised system for the management of all categories of safeguarding vulnerable adults and child protection, to Sentryour safer recruitment and personal vetting solution that acts as your single central record andConfide, our solution for managing allegations and 'low-level' concerns about staff, sensitively and securely.

Introducing MYVOICE™

Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility - MyVoice is a brand-new open access reporting system that will empower anyone associated with your setting to report a safeguarding concern. Users can be anyone from across your network, including school pupils, students, parents and members of the faith organisation. We believe that by providing secure, anonymous access for reporting safeguarding concerns, it will assist early intervention, embed an open culture of safeguarding in your organisation and will provide better support for anyone who needs it.

Talk to us about safeguarding in your faith setting, and find out which of our solutions would best support your total safeguarding set-up and help develop your safeguarding culture.

Join our free community

There are almost 5,000 safeguarding leads communicating together in The Safeguarding Company Community, many of whom are faith leaders and members of churches and faith organisations. Our FREE community, for anyone involved in safeguarding, is a safe place to ask for and offer support, share resources and best practice and generally talk to those who know how challenging safeguarding can be.

Posted Date

6th February 2023

Rosie Eastwood
Marketing Content Manager

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