PCC members and trustees have a responsibility to ensure that serious incidents are reported to the Charity Commission, and the Church of England guidance on how to do this is changing.
What are the reporting changes?
Safeguarding serious incidents
There are significant changes to the guidance on how Safeguarding serious incidentsshould be reported:
- PCCs are encouraged to delegate the reporting of Safeguarding Serious Incidents to the Diocesan General Secretary. Templates to simplify this process are available including a template form for use within the Diocese of London.
- Any Safeguarding Serious Incidents are then reported to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. Guidance and templates are available.
- The Diocesan General Secretary will then collate all reports received and report them to the Charity Commission.
Non-Safeguarding Serious Incidents (eg finance related) should continue to be reported by the PCC directly to the Charity Commission. New guidance and reporting templates have been issued.
Why are these changes happening?
The Charity Commission and the House of Bishops have approved the new Church of England guidance to enhance the safety of children and vulnerable adults. Although the reporting is separate from the processes by which incidents are investigated and handled, having this centrally co-ordinated system is designed to increase reporting and to give opportunities for trends to be identified sooner than has been the case.
Who needs to know?
You need to know about this if you:
- are a trustee because you’re a PCC member (especially a churchwarden or PCC secretary)
- serve on the Board (trustee body) of a religious community (the guidance is slightly different for Bishop’s Mission Orders, cathedrals and new worshipping communities)
- are an Incumbent
- are a safeguarding officer for a parish or other community.
Are there changes to how serious incidents are dealt with?
No, the serious incidents themselves, whether safeguarding, financial, HR or Prevent-related should be handled as they have been. These changes are to the way that incidents are reported to the Charity Commission.
When are the changes happening?
The national church introduced the new guidance from January 2019. In the Diocese of London, with our 500+ parishes and worshipping communities, we are implementing the changes from June 2019 onwards. This is to give trustees time to prepare and to give the Diocese time to set up the necessary new systems.
How can I find out more?
Please make use of london.anglican.org/safeguarding where there are links to all the guidance documents and the reporting templates, as well as contact details for the diocesan safeguarding helpline. We recently ran a series of information roadshow events, from which you are welcome to read and use the briefing presentation – please feel free to amend it for your local context but do not change any of the core information.