diocesan roles and responsibilities
As the successor of the Apostles the Bishop has overall pastoral responsibility for his Diocese and all the faithful within it. Through the Trustees he delegates the implementation of national safeguarding polices to the Safeguarding Commission which does this in his name. He seeks the advice of the Commission on all safeguarding issues in particular when allegations have been made against a person who exercises a ministry within the Church.
Appointed by the Diocesan Bishop and acting on his and the Diocesan Trustees’ behalf the Commission has advisory and supportive functions. The Commission receives all national policies and through the Co-ordinator implements/updates them across the Diocese in a timely fashion. The Commission also acts upon new reports of allegations/concerns of abuse of children, young people and vulnerable adults that have occurred within a Church environment and works with the statutory agencies accordingly. Existing cases are reviewed regularly. The Commission also regularly updates the Bishop on all safeguarding matters and advises him accordingly. This is often delegated to the Co-ordinator. The Chair of the Commission also meets with the Bishop on a regular basis. Annual reports are made to the Trustees and Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service. The Commission provides the same level of support to the Provincials of those Religious Orders which are aligned to them.
In conjunction with the Safeguarding Commission the Parish Priest has responsibility for the pastoral care of the community with special regard for those most vulnerable. The Priest is assisted in this responsibility by nominating a Safeguarding Representative or Safeguarding Team who are recruited by the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
Clergy Safeguarding Advisor
In order for safeguarding to be successfully implemented and promoted within the Catholic Church a contextual awareness and understanding is vital. The Advisor for Safeguarding, as a member of the Clergy or Religious, is able to provide the Co-ordinator and the Safeguarding Commission with this experience and contextual understanding. They also promote safeguarding amongst their fellow Clergy or Religious.
The Co-ordinator is appointed by the Diocesan Bishop on the advice of the Commission. The Co-ordinator has the delegated responsibility of creating examples of best practice in safeguarding. The Co-ordinator develops and launches the policies across the Diocese bringing the Commission up to date at the same time. The Co-ordinator co-ordinates, plans and monitors all safeguarding work both within the Diocese and in liaison with Religious Safeguarding Leads, within all those Orders aligned with their Safeguarding Commission to standards set and monitored by the Commission. On behalf of the Commission the Co-ordinator ensures that the Bishop and Trustees are kept up to date with all safeguarding matters. It is the remit of the Co-ordinator to organise the Commission meetings. The Co-ordinator is not a member of the Commission.
Safeguarding Support Officer
The Safeguarding Support Officer has responsibility for actioning paperwork that is linked with Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Applications, maintaining databases and filing systems. They provide support to both the parishes and the Safeguarding Representatives and Religious Safeguarding Leads. The Safeguarding Support Officer delivers training to Safeguarding Representatives and Religious Safeguarding Leads and takes minutes at the Commission’s meetings.
Safeguarding Representatives and Religious Safeguarding Leads
The Safeguarding Representative and Religious Safeguarding Lead has special responsibility for promoting good and safe practices in all activities involving children, young people and vulnerable adults within the parish. The Safeguarding Representative and Religious Safeguarding Lead is the link between the parish and the Diocese and as such is in regular contact with the Co-Ordinator and Safeguarding Support Officer. The Safeguarding Representative and Religious Safeguarding Lead attends training sessions and has a sound knowledge of the policies and procedures and also who to contact. The Safeguarding Representative and Religious Safeguarding Lead is involved in the recruitment of people to roles within the parish and has the responsibility for facilitating the DBS Disclosure procedure at parish level and ensuring that everybody who is required to go through the procedure does so.