The United Reformed Church

Safeguarding Policy


1- Aim and purpose of this policy

The aim of this policy is to ensure that protecting people from abuse, harm or neglect is central to our culture. It provides procedures for promoting safeguarding, preventing abuse and protecting children, adults at risk and staff. This includes clear procedures for taking appropriate action when safeguarding concerns are raised.

Who this policy applies to

This policy is approved and endorsed by the Elders and applies to:

  • All members of our church
  • All those who attend and serve our church/place of worship and its services
  • Our Trustees and Elders
  • Paid staff (both internal and external eg contractors or consultants)
  • Volunteers
  • Organisations and groups which hire our building with written agreement to operate under the church safeguarding policy.

Principles underpinning the policy

  • Our theology and values
  • Our commitment to put the welfare of children and adults at risk first
  • A willingness to be open and listen
  • A commitment to comply with relevant legal and regulatory


The term ‘children’ refers to those under the age of 18 years.

The term ‘adult at risk’ refers to any adult aged 18 or over who, by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation, are permanently, or for time being, unable to take care of themselves, or to protect themselves against significant harm, abuse or exploitation.

Duty of care and confidentiality

We have a duty of care to all beneficiaries of the church, whether children or adults.

We will always maintain confidentiality, except in circumstances where to do so would place the individual or another individual at risk of harm or abuse.

Sections 2-6 below follow the structure of Good Practice 6 and each section lists the ‘key responsibilities’ for local churches outlined in the corresponding chapter of GP6.


2- Creating a safer culture

We are committed to creating a safer culture in our church which will help us to prevent harm from occurring and provide an environment in which all can flourish.

In line with Chapter two of Good Practice 6, we will:

  • Appoint a Church Safeguarding Coordinator and ensure contact details are available for anyone to report a concern
  • Have a safeguarding policy which is reviewed annually and updated when necessary
  • Practice safer recruitment procedures for paid and volunteer roles
  • Ensure all those working with children and/or adults at risk are given copies of relevant Codes of Conduct
  • Follow the requirements of the training framework
  • Comply with legal requirements in respect of data protection
  • Complete the Annual Church Safeguarding Return
  • Ensure safeguarding is a regular agenda item for church and Elders’


3- Ensuring safer activities

Whilst it is not possible to guard against every eventuality, we are committed to providing as safe an environment as possible for activities both on and off church premises.

In line with Chapter three of Good Practice 6, we will:

  • Ensure appropriate insurance is in place for buildings and activities
  • Consider the implications of data protection and health and safety requirements for specific activities
  • Carry out risk assessments for relevant activities or events
  • Ensure adequate staffing for activities and that leaders have suitable training, are aware of relevant guidance and agree to follow relevant Codes of Conduct
  • Ensure the hirer’s agreement is in place for other organisations using church premises
  • Seek advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer for complex or sensitive


4- Recognising and responding to concerns

We acknowledge that, although promoting Safer Culture and Safer Activities will help to protect all those in contact with the church, some concerns will inevitably arise and we are committed to responding well in such circumstances.

In line with Chapter four of Good Practice 6, we will:

  • Promote awareness of different kinds of abuse, other vulnerabilities and types of safeguarding concern.
  • Seek to create a ‘listening culture’ and help people develop listening skills to respond appropriately in situations where sensitive information is disclosed
  • Inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer as a minimum of any situations where involvement from statutory services is/may be required
  • Share information with statutory services as appropriate and co-operate with them during any investigations
  • Report any serious safeguarding incident to the Charity Commission and notify the Synod Safeguarding Officer.


5- Managing allegations and people who may pose a risk to others

Where allegations are made against individuals within the Church, we are committed to following all required investigative and regulatory procedures. We will work in collaboration with the Synod, wider Church staff, statutory agencies and other relevant organisations.

In line with Chapter five of Good Practice 6, we will:

  • Co-operate fully with any investigative or disciplinary procedures
  • Inform the Synod Safeguarding Officer immediately on becoming aware of anyone in the church who may present a risk to others
  • Work with the Synod Safeguarding Officer and contribute relevant information for risk assessments
  • Alert the Synod Safeguarding Officer or statutory agencies to known breaches of a safeguarding agreement.


6- Supporting victims and survivors

The key principle underpinning our policy and practice in this area is that all those who have experienced abuse, whether recently or in the past ‘will be listened to and offered the pastoral care and support they deem appropriate and relevant, irrespective of type of abuse, context, or when this occurred’ (General Assembly policy statement 2021).

In line with Chapter six of Good Practice 6, we will:

  • Recognise that the Elders’ meeting has responsibility for provision of pastoral care
  • Be aware of local support services that people can be referred or directed to
  • Ensure those in relevant roles attend appropriate training
  • Seek advice from the Synod Safeguarding Officer about provision of appropriate support when necessary.


7- Key contacts

Church Safeguarding Coordinator: Ruth Maddison 07773335443

Deputy Church Safeguarding Coordinator: Rev Solomon Ayree-Brown 07521265061

Synod Safeguarding Officer: Ben Twelves 07935991545

URC Safeguarding Office (This should only be used if you are unable to contact your Synod Safeguarding Office)



Local statutory services: Children

Head of Safeguarding John Matravers

Head of Children’s Services  Ailsa Barr

MASH Multi Agency Safeguarding (Children) Hub 0115 876 4800

8.30 -5 Mon-Thur  8.30- 4.30 Fri 0300 500 8080

Out of Hours – use 0115 876 4800 only in emergency. Nottinghamshire’s out of hours 0300 456 4546

Local statutory services: Adults

Adult Social Care 0115 876 3330


8- Review

This policy will be reviewed annually, updated as required and adopted by the church meeting.

Date of most recent review: April 2024

Date of next review: April 2025

Signed by: Meeting of Elders 08/04/2024


9- Details of other organisations and support services

See Resource L1 for relevant sources of support nationally that you may want to include here.

URC Safeguarding team – for any other safeguarding queries: 020 7520 2729

Thirtyone: Eight 24-hour helpline: 0303 003 1111

Due Diligence Checking (DDC) – for enquiries relating to criminal record checks (DBS/PVG) 
Email address: Telephone: 0845 644 3298 or 01162 603055

To ensure eligibility for DBS checks:

URC Ministries team – for enquiries relating to criminal records checks for ministers / Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers:
Email address:
Telephone: 0207 916 8634

24-hour helpline: 0800 1111

Age UK
8am to 7pm, every day of the year: 0800169 6565

Action on Elder Abuse
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Helpline: 0800 808 8141

Women’s Aid
24-hour Domestic Violence helpline: 0808 2000 247

Victim Support
24-hour helpline for those affected by crime: 0808 1689 111


Good Practice 6 (Resource P1) Page updated 09/04/2024 by DD