Archdeacon Peter Bradley: Parishes need to get Safeguarding right

We spoke to Peter Bradley in the light of changes made to Safeguarding arrangements and on the impact of the report into Chichester Diocese.

Parishes must get Safeguarding right. That’s the call from Archdeacon Peter Bradley following recent changes to the government’s system on providing Safeguarding checks and the damning report on arrangements within the Diocese of Chichester.

“Safeguarding has a very high priority in our diocese” Peter commented, adding that “There are lessons we can learn and things we can do better” as he reflected on the report about Child Protection in Chichester.

Stating that as a diocese, Liverpool has a good track record it is clear that the Bishops and Archdeacons do not want to get into a position of complacency. One way of avoiding that complacency is through training and Peter added “It may be we want to recommend further mandatory training for everyone holding a Bishop’s licence on Child Protection”

The Archdeacon was interviewed as parishes are being sent further information and guidance on changes to the CRB Checking System under a new service known as the Disclosure and Barring Service. The changes mean that PCCs will not be able to rely on CRB checks and will need to be more vigilant in the safer recruitment of volunteers and staff. The guidance sent to parishes contains all the details, including forms that can be used and guides to working with children and also with vulnerable adults.

It contains useful advice and practical forms to help PCCs fulfil their Safeguarding duties. Peter is clear in who has the responsibility “The PCC is the key body. We will have less reliance on CRBs and far more will be required from PCC’s in the form of safe recruitment” he said.

He urged parishes to keep on top of processes, make sure they have a well thought out role description, interview people and take up references – preferably from outside the parish church setting. Commenting that we often know people we are recruiting Peter still urges caution.

Peter recognises that this seems a big task for parishes but he reminds us g that help is available. But he warns “The consequences of not doing that is the PCC leaves itself very vulnerable should there be an allegation, issue or crisis.”

And his final piece of advice “Be very keen, and rigorous in terms of Safer Recruitment. Even though it may be a friend and we’re desperate for volunteers we need to be rigorous for their sake as well as ours.”