The Church of England has been in the process of developing a set of National Safeguarding Standards and accompanying Quality Assurance Framework, since 2020.
You can read more and access some Church of England resources and tools on the safeguarding standards web page here.
The approved version of the National Safeguarding Standards can be downloaded here.
The Standards and Quality Assurance Framework are essential for the Church to understand the quality and, most importantly, the impact of its safeguarding activity. In addition, the Standards provide a simple construct which integrates the complexity of all safeguarding activity in the Church. All such activities, at all levels across the Church, will relate to at least one Standard. Thus, the Standards provide a means of connecting and integrating what might otherwise be experienced as disconnected activities and also enable the Church to easily communicate its commitment to safeguarding.
The Five Standards are:
- Culture, Leadership and Capacity: Church bodies have safe and healthy cultures, effective leadership, resourcing and scrutiny arrangements necessary to deliver high-quality safeguarding practices and outcomes.
- Prevention: Church bodies have in place a planned range of measures which together are effective in preventing abuse in their context.
- Recognising, Assessing and Managing Risk: Risk assessments, safety plans and associated processes are of a high quality and result in positive outcomes. The assessment and management of risk is underpinned by effective partnership working.
- Victims and Survivors: Victims and survivors experience the timeliness and quality of Church bodies’ responses to disclosures, and their subsequent support, as positively meeting their needs, including their search for justice and helping their healing process.
- Learning, Supervision and Support: All those engaged in safeguarding-related activity in Church bodies receive the type and level of learning, professional development, support and supervision necessary to respond to safeguarding situations, victims and survivors, and respondents, effectively.
Each Standard contains:
- A statement of the Standard itself.
- An explanation of why it is important.
- A series of ‘What Good Looks Like’ Indicators – these are detailed criteria that show how well a Standard is being achieved.
- Details of relevant House of Bishops’ Guidance and Code, training, resources and tools that can be used to help gather data relevant to the indicators. These are important as they will equip Church bodies with the means to undertake quality assurance work locally, but also in a way that is consistent across other bodies.
It is not expected that every Church body will be able to meet every indicator overnight. The Standards set out the direction of travel and will enable Church bodies to identify both their strengths and areas for development, which will in turn inform their strategic planning in respect of safeguarding.