A lot has been happening in the world of safeguarding over the last year. We thought it would be helpful to share some of it with you.
Following our initial audit in June 2022, (which was part of a pilot project by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency), the Diocese achieved an overall compliance grading of ‘Early Progress’ against the eight national standards set by CSSA. More information about the eight standards and the audit process can be found here: https://catholicsafeguarding.org.uk/resources/the-eight-national-safeguarding-standards
The audit highlighted many strengths in each of the standards, which clearly demonstrates the good work being done by the team. However, as is the expected outcome of an audit, there were some areas identified as requiring development and a number of recommendations were made.
We have been working tirelessly during the last year to implement the recommendations and our second audit is due to take place in February 2024. We hope to have made significant improvements in the areas where further work was required and achieve a higher overall compliance grade. Updates will be available after the audit has taken place.
Parish Safeguarding Representatives
The role of the Parish Safeguarding Rep is to help promote a culture of safeguarding, where the parish community is aware of safeguarding issues, and to help ensure that safeguarding is understood as an essential part of the life and ministry of the Church.
They act as a point of contact for anyone who has concerns about safeguarding or may wish to speak to someone confidentially, and together with the parish priest ensure that any concerns or issues are brought to the safeguarding office to be dealt with.
If you are interested in finding out more about the role then please contact the safeguarding office on 0114 2566453.
CSSA National Learning Portal – Online Training
The Catholic Church has developed its own learning portal offering national safeguarding training for parishioners and volunteers. The training is available for you to learn the importance of safeguarding in relation to your ministry or role within the parish.
The free training can be completed by anyone who may wish to obtain a certificate in safeguarding. It has now been made a mandatory requirement for all volunteers working in roles with children and adults who may be vulnerable, to complete Level 2 as the national requirement.
You can access the portal by typing the following link into your web browser: https://training.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk/
Hexham & Newcastle Safeguarding Review
You may/may not be aware that Hexham & Newcastle Diocese have recently been subject to a safeguarding review by the CSSA, (the independent regulatory body), as commissioned by the Apostolic Administrator, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, after concerns were raised since the resignation of Bishop Byrne in December 2022.
The investigation and the purpose of why it took place was reported in the local media in Newcastle and surrounding areas.
The full report into the investigation and the executive summary can be found here: https://catholicsafeguarding.org.uk/audits-and-reports/cssa-audit-reports/
The investigation highlighted huge failings in safeguarding practices and as a result, all Dioceses in England and Wales were briefed on the findings and required to review their own policies and practices to ensure the same failings are not repeated throughout our churches and parishes.
Catherine Bailey (Diocesan Trustee and Chair of the Hallam Safeguarding Committee) has delivered a number of presentations to Staff, Clergy and Parish Safeguarding Reps on the review, and areas for learning for us. This has resulted in us reflecting on and changing some of our own practice and processes. Jo Pearson
The safeguarding office can be contacted on 0114 2566453 or via email: [email protected]