Tom Lochhead will be commissioned as the new Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator at All Saints Church during the 9.30am morning service on Sunday 1 July. Tom brings to the role his considerable gifts of Christian discernment, as well as his skill and experience from his professional life in social work. Tom will be working with the other All Saints Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator, Judi Arnold, who is also the Children’s Advocate for the church.
Tom’s appointment follows after previous Safeguarding Co-ordinator, David Chapman, moved house to Herefordshire a few weeks ago.
The Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator is a role which every Church of England parish must have. It is generally filled by a volunteer member of the church with appropriate gifts, experience, and a sense of calling to the role. The Safeguarding Co-ordinator is responsible to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) for implementing the Diocesan policy in the parish and is the link between the parish and the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers. Areas of responsibility include overseeing the process for new appointments including all volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults to ensure safe recruitment, that all documents and references are provided and checks carried out. The Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator is also the person who may receive, with the incumbent, any concerns about children or adults in the parish and who makes sure that proper advice is sought and proper referrals made. (This role does not remove the right of any parishioner themselves to report concerns they have directly to social services or the police.) It is also the Safeguarding Co-ordinator’s role to notify the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser of any ex-offenders against children and vulnerable adults known to be in the church community. The role includes the duty to ensure any allegations against church workers of misconduct against children or adults are notified to the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and as necessary to the Local Authority Designated Officer or Adult Protection team. The Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator makes an annual report to the PCC on the implementation of the policy in the parish.
Another important role of the Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator is to ensure the provision of regular training in safeguarding for both volunteers and paid staff of the church.
The Rector, Canon David Hodgson said; “I am very pleased to be welcoming Tom as our new Parish Safeguarding Co-ordinator working with Judi. A parish of this size needs a strong safeguarding team and we now have that in place. It is a great blessing that Tom was able to take over seamlessly from David Chapman. I ask everyone to pray for Tom in the coming weeks as he gets to know the procedures and catches up with the current status of our safeguarding policies”.