Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
This policy was agreed at Church Council held on 27 FEBRUARY 2018
The Methodist Church, along with the whole Christian community, believes each person has a value and dignity which comes directly from God’s creation in God’s own image and likeness.
Christians see this as fulfilled by God’s re-creation of us in Christ. Among other things, this implies a duty to value all people as bearing the image of God and therefore to protect them from harm.
Midge Hall Methodist Church is committed to the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults and affirms that the needs of children or of people when they are vulnerable and at risk are paramount.
Midge Hall Methodist Church recognises that it has a particular care for all who are vulnerable whether by disabilities or by reduction in capacities or by their situation. It is recognised that this increased vulnerability may be temporary or permanent and may be visible or invisible, but that it does not diminish our humanity and seeks to affirm the gifts and graces of all God’s people.
This policy addresses the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults. It is intended to be a dynamic policy. It is intended to support the Church in being a safe supportive and caring community for children, young people, vulnerable adults, for survivors of abuse, for communities and for those affected by abuse.
Midge Hall Methodist Church fully agrees with the Connexional statement reiterated in Creating Safer Space 2007:
As the people of the Methodist Church, we are concerned with the wholeness of each individual within God’s purpose for everyone. We seek to safeguard all members of the church community of all ages.
Midge Hall Methodist Church recognises the serious issue of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults and recognises that this may take the form of physical, emotional, sexual, financial, spiritual or institutional abuse or neglect. It acknowledges the effects these may have on people and their development including spiritual and religious development. It accepts its responsibility for ensuring that all people are safe in its care and that their dignity and right to be heard is maintained. It accepts its responsibility to support, listen to and work for healing with survivors, offenders, communities and those who care about them. It takes seriously the issues of promotion of welfare so that each of us can reach our full potential in God’s grace.
1. Midge Hall Methodist Church commits itself to RESPOND without delay to any allegation or cause for concern that a child or vulnerable adult may have been harmed, whether in the church or in another context. It commits itself to challenge the abuse of power of anyone in a position of trust.
2. Midge Hall Methodist Church commits itself to ensuring the IMPLEMENTATION of Connexional Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
3. Midge Hall Methodist Church commits itself to the PROVISION of support, advice and training for lay and ordained people that will ensure people are clear and confident about their roles and responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and adults who may be vulnerable.
4. Midge Hall Methodist Church AFFIRMS and gives thanks for the work of those who are workers with children and vulnerable adults and acknowledges the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding vulnerable adults who are on our premises.
Midge Hall Methodist Church appoints Mrs Ann Christine Stafford as Church Safeguarding Officer (Adults) and Church Safeguarding Officer (Children) and supports her in her role which is to:
i) support and advise the minister and the stewards in fulfilling their roles
ii) provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
iii) liaise with Circuit and District Safeguarding Officers
iv) promote safeguarding best practice within the local church with the support of circuit ministers
v) Ensure proper records are kept of all incidents/concerns according to Methodist policy and practice see Safeguarding Records: Joint Practice Guidance for the Church of England and the Methodist Church - Updated Jan 2015.
vi) Ensure that all safeguarding training which is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
vii) Attend training and meetings organised to support the role
viii) Oversee safeguarding throughout the whole life of the church e.g. lettings, groups property, etc.
ix) Report to the Church council annually
x) Ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for the church and all groups and lettings in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
xi) Ensure the church completes a risk assessment on each area of activity in the church and this is stored and reviewed at least annually. This should be made available if asked for
xii) Ensure that the church recruits safely for all posts
xiii) Ensure that the church has a safeguarding noticeboard with copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information.
The purposes of this safeguarding policy are to ensure procedures are in place and people are clear about roles and responsibilities for children, young people and vulnerable adults in our care and using our premises. It is to be read in conjunction with the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Guidance for the Methodist Church (2017).
b) Good Practice
We believe good practice means that:
i) All people are treated with respect and dignity.
ii) Those who act on behalf of the Church should not meet or work alone with a child or vulnerable adult where the activity cannot be seen unless this is necessary for pastoral reasons, in which case a written note of this will be made and kept noting date, time and place of visit.
iii) The church premises will be assessed by the Church Safeguarding Officer with the property steward and/or their representatives at least annually for safety for children and vulnerable adults and the Risk Assessment Report will be given annually to Church Council in written form. This will include fire safety procedures. Church Council will consider the extent to which the premises and equipment are suitable or should be made more suitable.
iv) Any church-organised transport of children or vulnerable adults will be checked to ensure the vehicle is suitable and insured and that the driver and escort are appropriate. An agreed record kept in the church file for each driver/car.
v) Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential. Church Council will actively consider the extent to which it is succeeding in this area.
These things are to safeguard those working with children, young people and those adults who may be vulnerable.
c) Appointment and training of workers
Workers will be appointed after a satisfactory DBS disclosure and following safer recruitment procedures of the Methodist Church. Each worker will have an identified supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the worker. A record of these meetings will be agreed and signed and the record kept. Each worker will be expected to undergo basic safeguarding training, within the first 6 months of appointment. The other training needs of each worker will be considered (e.g. food hygiene, first aid, lifting and handling, etc.) and each worker will have an annual review conducted by a named member of the Church Council and another worker within the organisation.
d) Pastoral visitors
In terms of safeguarding, Pastoral Visitors will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.
e) Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults
A leaflet will be produced and reviewed annually to be given to each worker with children, young people and vulnerable adults outlining good practice and systems. The leaflet will be reviewed annually with this
f) Ecumenical events
Where ecumenical events happen on church premises, safeguarding is the responsibility of Midge Hall Methodist Church Council.
g) Events with church groups off the premises
Adequate staffing, a risk assessment and notification of the event to be given to the Church Safeguarding Officer PRIOR to the agreement for any event or off site activity. Notification of the event will be given to Ann Christine Stafford .The Church Safeguarding Officer will forward it immediately to the Circuit Safeguarding Officer in order that an appropriate response can be made. The District Safeguarding Officer and District Safeguarding Group will need to be informed of all off site events.
h) Other groups on church premises
Where the building is hired for outside use, the person signing the letting agreement will be given a copy of this policy and the leaflet. The lettings secretary will consider the various users of the building in making lettings. All lettings will be notified to the Church Safeguarding Officer who will keep the records and take advice as appropriate from both the DSO and CSO.
i) Complaints procedure
It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisations. However, a complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Church Council and who is currently the Church Safeguarding Officer Ann Christine Stafford .If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Ann Christine Stafford who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint cannot be resolved, consideration will be given to invoking the complaints system of the Methodist Church which will involve initially speaking with the Local Complaints Officer who is Rev. Andrew Mashiter.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Church Council at the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 24 April 2019
k) Key concepts and definitions
i) Vulnerable Adults: Any adult aged 18 or over who, due to disability, mental function, age or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves.
ii) Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.
iii) Adult/child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect children/specific adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm, including neglect.
iv) Abuse and neglect may occur in a family, in a community and in an institution. It may be perpetrated by a person or persons known to the child or vulnerable adult or by strangers; by an adult or by a child. It may be an infliction of harm or a failure to prevent harm.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
Midge Hall Methodist Church is fully committed to the promotion of equality of opportunity, valuing and embracing diversity and ensuring a holistic and inclusive approach in all fields of its activity. The Church adheres to The Equality Act 2010 which recognises the following specific protected characteristics: gender, gender reassignment, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership and pregnancy & maternity.
Equality, diversity and inclusion is central to the mission of the Methodist Church.
In accordance with the Church’s commitment to issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion all its lay employees and ministers, as well as volunteers, consultants, suppliers, contractors and agency workers, have a duty to act in accordance with this Policy, creating an environment free from discrimination.
The aim of this policy is to provide a framework of equality, diversity and inclusion in the Midge Hall Methodist Church's values:
To ensure equality, diversity and inclusion are fully reflected in its employment practices and procedures.
To ensure that it is compliant with the statutory employment duties under the Equality Act 2010.
To ensure employment policies and procedures are monitored and reviewed so that they do not operate against its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
To ensure it attracts and retains a diverse workforce through appropriate recruitment and selection methods except in a matter of:
Occupational Requirement - in the light of the Methodist Church’s Christian purpose and ethos it reserves the right to exercise legal exemptions under the Equality Act 2010 where it is declared that a Christian faith is integral to the work and requires membership of the Methodist Church or another recognised church;
Offending background - in any case where the criminal record history relates to the requirements of the post.
(a) 'Direct Discrimination' is where a person is treated less favourably than another not on the merits of the case but on grounds of a protected characteristic.
(b) ‘Discrimination by association’ occurs where a person is directly discriminated against by association with another individual who has a protected characteristic.
(c) ‘Discrimination by perception’ is where a person is directly discriminated against based on a perception that the person has a particular protected characteristic even if the person does not actually possess that protected characteristic.
(d) 'Indirect Discrimination' occurs when a provision, practice or a criterion that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic. Although equally applicable to all possible applicants, this may nevertheless be discriminatory because:
(i) The number of persons of the same personal status who can comply with the requirement is considerably smaller than the number who cannot; and
(ii) The requirement cannot be shown to be justifiable.
‘Harassment’ is unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic which has the effect of violating an individual’s dignity. There are three types:
Harassment related to a protected characteristic
Less favourable treatment of a worker because they submit to or reject sexual harassment or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment
‘Victimisation’ occurs when an individual is treated badly or has suffered a detriment because they have made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILIITES
All employees and ministers are responsible for promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and conducting themselves in accordance with this policy. Particular responsibility lies with the Line Manager and senior officers within the employing body.
The senior officers within Midge Hall Methodist Church (the employing body) will:
Ensure that its commitment is communicated to all employees and ministers fairly and responsibly including potential employees and ministers, users of its services, and all those working for, or on behalf of, or providing a service to the District/Circuit/Church including consultants, volunteers, interns, agency workers and those on work experience placements.
Lead by example, encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion internally and externally.
Be responsible for creating a climate where the differences that individuals bring are valued.
Embed equality, diversity and inclusion in decision making processes.
Line Managers / Supervisors will:
Foster good relations between all employees and ministers, service users/providers.
Ensure that their direct reports attend equality, diversity and inclusion workshops periodically.
Be responsible for the selection, management and promotion of employees and ministers and be given information and / or training to enable them to minimise the risk of discrimination.
All employees and ministers will:
Ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is taken into account in undertaking their work to serve the District/Circuit/Church.
Be aware of their responsibilities and report inappropriate behaviour/s and raise any incident/s that breach this policy and procedure with their line manager.
Familiarise themselves with this policy and procedure, ensuring that their practices are consistent with its contents.
Undertake equality, diversity & inclusion training.
RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION
The principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are embedded within the Church’s recruitment and selection procedures.
BREACHES OF THIS POLICY
If any employee or minister believes that he/she has been subject to discrimination under this Policy, then he/she is encouraged to raise the matter with his/her Superintendent Minister.
Allegations regarding potential breaches of this Policy will be treated in the strictest confidence and investigated in accordance with the Grievance procedure. Employees or ministers who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under the Disciplinary procedure.
Any employee who is found to have committed an act of discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, may result in summary dismissal. The District/Circuit/Church takes a strict approach to serious breaches of this policy.
For ministers serving within the Church
The Complaints and Discipline process as set out in Part 11 of Standing Orders applies to all ministers.
Date last reviewed 09 August 2017
Next Review due 09 August 2019