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Safeguarding Update

The main page has been updated, with some guidance notes from our Safeguarding Officer.

Comments are welcomed (you need to register on our site to do so) here.

Also see this document from the Central Council of Church Bellringers

3 thoughts on “Safeguarding Update”

  1. As a ringing master at my own tower and as a District ringing master for the DDA, I don’t think it is practical for a ringing master to be responsible for safeguarding.

    At the tower where I am the ringing master we have a tower captain who is responsible for all matters to do with health and safety and safeguarding and dealing with the PCC etc leaving me to do my job which is to run ringing.

    Being a ringing master and running any kind of practice whether at tower, district or association level, is an extremely challenging job if it is done correctly. The ringing master needs to know the abilities of all the ringers present, and place bands accordingly to enable ringers to make progress with suitable bands around them, to stand beside learner ringers and help guide them through new methods, to ensure that the ringing is of an acceptable standard particularly when ringing in other towers and on open bells rather than a simulator. While one touch is being attempted the ringing master needs to be planning what the next touch will be, who it will benefit and mentally decide on band placement and line people up ready to ring in the next piece of ringing whilst ensuring that all the above is happening and that there isn’t a learner floundering to control a bell etc.

    The ringing master is not a police man to ensure that people behave in the tower or that anyone in a known list is not present.

    For example I ran a 10/12 bell practice at Melbourne and we had about 40 ringers attending it. It is a ground floor ring which means people can wander off into other areas of the church body where I can’t see them from the ringing area. It took my utmost concentration to ensure that everyone got to ring and ring what they wanted to and what was useful. I certainly couldn’t keep an eye on the 28 people who weren’t holding ropes.

    I think it makes sense to DBS check District ringing masters so we can stand beside young and vulnerable ringers to help them make progress. However as far as I’m concerned safeguarding is everybody’s responsibility but I certainly wouldn’t wish to be held accountable for any incident which occurred at a practice I was running as I don’t believe I can give running the practice and safeguarding my full attention at the same time. For district events I feel we would do better to create a new position of District safeguarding Officers or safeguarding assistants with suitable training whose job it is to maintain records of attendance and be present at all district events to deal with any issues which may arise.

    In the event that the district ringing Master is to be held responsible for safeguarding in addition to running the ringing, then I would feel I’d have to resign as a ringing master.

  2. I agree with Andrew.

    Other comments:
    If I am reading this correctly, I understand that according to CCCBR Guidance No 3 legally the requirement is that those actually physically ‘teaching young juniors’ on a regular basis are the only ones who need to be DBS checked, however I agree that anyone who is regularly teaching should be checked, for their own protection. I also feel we need to remember that as soon as the check is completed it could be out of date, so ongoing vigilance is important.

    What do we mean by regularly teaching? Is this just whilst the recruit is learning / mastering basic bell handling, or more? Without upsetting anyone I know basic handling can be taught to variable standards, so may need additional input from a second person.

    I believe that most tower captains / other ringers present keep a watchfully eye on everyone who is attending the ringing event, so in practice all ringers supervise / monitor each other, especially where children / those covered by DBS requirements are present. So do we therefore need to record everyone present, including visitors, (regular or not), individually by name? We are a tower that has lots of non regular visitors, it’s the only way we can ring.

    Surely it should be the parents / carers responsibility to deliver / collect the person under their care to / from ringing events, or if they can not / is an emergency situation they can be contacted and permission for alternative arrangements, (where possible written), obtained from them?

    Having two accredited DBS ringers is not possible at my own tower, due to there not being the same two adults attending regularly who are prepared to go through the process as they feel this is unnecessary and an infringement on their privacy: they have taught ringing for many years without any problems, etc, etc. I personally believe it is my responsibility to look after the welfare of all others whilst at the practice, meeting, service ringing etc. until there are no longer in my care / responsibility. Having 3 /4 people DBS checked would be lovely …. if only.

    Why does the flow chart need to be displayed in the tower? We have stone walls, which are difficult to fix things to, plus there is the danger it may be forgotten when changes occur. Can it not just be readily accessible? I know in my own church every ringer will pass such a notice before they enter the ringing room, hence aware.

    What happens if the parent / career doesn’t wish to sign the consent form, do we refuse to teach that child, until they are eighteen (an adult)? Surely we can use some judgement on if it ‘safe’, for us to continue to teach especially for older children?

    Training: I agreed this needs further discussion / investigation.

    I know I’ve tried to book on events only to be told they are full, (before they have even appeared on the website!)

    In today’s society, ringers still work shift work, evenings, internet access is sometimes variable etc. which is why there needs to be events at different times, dates and in accessible locations. We possibly also need to look at other ways of booking on to courses.

    What happened to the website on line training that has been mentioned in the past – I still can’t find it.

    For those who undertake regular Safeguarding training, e.g as part of their job, do they really need to have DDA training as well? If they can prove they have undergone some form of training?

    What happens if we can not attend training events on a rolling three year basis?

    Sorry if there are lots of questions, but having spoken to other ringers we would like these issues raised / answered.

  3. I’m not sure about the need for Association Officers to have a DBS check (or how this is going to be sponsored). I would have thought responsibility would be better placed with those who bring them (as happens, for example, at RSCM events).

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