Safeguarding Policy & Practice

If you have a safeguarding concern or complaint regarding Inclusive Gathering Birmingham, please contact our Interim Named Safeguarding Contacts Naomi Bennett-Steele and Ben Whitehouse via

Every person has a value and dignity which comes directly from the creation of humans in God’s own image and likeness. Christians see this potential 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.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham Statement of safeguarding principles

We are committed to:

  • the care and nurture of, and respectful pastoral ministry with, all children, young people and adults
  • the safeguarding and protection of all children, young people and adults when they are vulnerable
  • the establishing of safe, caring communities which provide a loving environment where there is informed vigilance as to the dangers of abuse.

We will carefully select and train all those with any responsibility within the Church, in line with safer recruitment principles, including the use of criminal records disclosures (for roles where this is deemed necessary) and registration with[1] the relevant vetting and barring schemes.

We will respond without delay to every complaint made which suggests that a child, young person or adult may have been harmed, cooperating with the police and local authority in any investigation.

We will seek to work with anyone who has suffered abuse, developing with them an appropriate ministry of informed pastoral care.

We will seek to challenge any abuse of power, especially by anyone in a position of trust.

We will seek to offer pastoral care and support, including supervision and referral to the proper authorities, to any member of our Church community known to have offended against a child, young person or vulnerable adult.

In all these principles we will follow legislation, guidance and recognised good practice.

IGB’s current Risk Assessment for our activities can be viewed here.

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults Policy for Inclusive Gathering Birmingham

Inclusive Gathering fully agrees with the following statement:

‘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’.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham 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.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham 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.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham fully agrees with the 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.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham 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, discriminatory, domestic or institutional abuse or neglect, abuse using social media or human trafficking (slavery). 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.

Inclusive Gathering Birmingham 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.
  • Ensure the IMPLEMENTATION of Methodist Connexional Safeguarding Policy; government legislation and guidance and safe practice in the circuit and in the churches.
  • 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.
  • AFFIRM and give thanks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults and also acknowledge the shared responsibility of all of us for safeguarding vulnerable adults who attend worship gatherings, small group meetings, and other events organised and run by Inclusive Gathering.

Naomi Bennett-Steele and Ben Whitehouse (members of IGB Core Leadership Team) are currently the Interim Named Safeguarding contacts for Inclusive Gathering Birmingham (for Adults and Children). They can be contacted directly by emailing This email address can only be accessed by the Interim Named Safeguarding contacts as the Safeguarding Officer role is under review. (UPDATED 31-01-2024).

The Church Safeguarding officer position is part of the IGB Core Leadership which supports their role, which is to:

  1. support and advise the pastor, Leadership Community and other volunteers in fulfilling their roles
  2. provide a point of reference to advise on safeguarding issues
  3. liaise with circuit and district safeguarding officers
  4. promote safeguarding best practice
  5. 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)
  6. ensure that all safeguarding training which is required is undertaken by those in post and appropriate records kept and made available
  7. attend training and meetings organised to support the role
  8. oversee safeguarding throughout the whole life of the church (e.g. events, small groups, etc
  9. report to the Leadership Community annually, and to the Birmingham Methodist District as required.
  10. ensure the church completes a yearly audit/monitoring on safeguarding confirming that policies are in place for all groups in the church and that these have been annually reviewed
  11. ensure the church completes a risk assessment on each area of activity in the church; that this is stored and reviewed at least annually, and that it is readily available on request
  12. ensure that the church recruits safely for all posts
  13. ensure that the church has available at every worship event, a folder with a copy of the current, signed safeguarding policy, contact numbers for local and national helplines and other suitable information

1.           Purpose

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 (2018).

2.           Good practice

We believe that good practice means:

  • All people are treated with respect and dignity.
  • 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.
  • 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 to be kept in the church file for each driver/car.
  • Promotion of safeguarding is recognised to include undertaking those tasks which enable all God’s people to reach their full potential. They 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.

3.           Appointment and training of volunteer leaders

Volunteer Leaders will be appointed following the safer recruitment procedures of the Methodist Church and include appropriate applications, disclosures and/ or DBS checks, depending on what is appropriate to the role. Each volunteer will have a clear role description and an identified supervisor who will meet at regular intervals with the volunteer (including individual and group meetings). Each volunteer will be expected to undergo basic safeguarding training or equivalent, within the first 6 months (agreed by Methodist Conference in 2011 –Creating Safer Space Report) of appointment. Dependent on role, some will be asked to undergo Advanced Safeguarding Training (ie, those who work with children). The other training needs of each worker will be considered (e.g. food hygiene, first aid, lifting and handling, etc).

Specific role descriptions, expectations and requirements for member of IGB’s Leadership Community and Core Leadership Team can be viewed here. [Link to be included]

4.         Pastoral meetings and small group leaders

In terms of safeguarding, those undertaking pastoral support work and/ or small group leadership will be supported in their role with the provision of basic safeguarding training upon appointment.

All small group gatherings (online or in person) will be led by a minimum of 2 approved, safely recruited IGB leaders.  All participants in the group should be made aware of confidentiality and safeguarding procedure. Behaviour expectations should be repeated by leaders at regular intervals for the protection of all those involved.

5.         Guidelines for working with children, young people and vulnerable adults

The Kids Club at IGB is for children under 10 years old. The primary purpose of IGB Kids Club is to provide children’s activities during IGB worship.  The club seeks to enable children to enjoy activities appropriate to their age in the context of a Christian community, and parents/carers to attend IGB worship. The leaders are responsible for the safety and well-being of the children during these activities.

Parents/carers must remain on the premises at all times and will be asked to take care of their child’s toileting as needed. 

If parents/carers wish to they can accompany their children. Parents may need to stay if the appropriate children: staff ratio for good safeguarding practice cannot be met.  In order to be responsible for children other than their own, parents must be ‘safely recruited’ and appointed to the childcare leader role.

A minimum of 2 ‘safely recruited’ leaders will be present and the following ratio’s kept:

0-2 Years: 1 person to every 3 children

2-3 Years: 1 person to every 4 children

3-8 years: 1 persons to every 8 children

All childcare leaders will have:

  1. Submitted a Childcare Leader Application form (including 2 references) which will have been reviewed and approved by IGB’s Core Team
    1. An approved and current Enhanced DBS Check on record with IGB/ The Methodist Church
    1. A clear, agreed role description (including responsibilities and requirements), which has been discussed with them during induction prior to commencing their role.
    1. All roles will be reviewed on an annual basis – volunteers can be removed from their roles at any time if their behaviour is not in line with the policies and values of IGB.

IGB Kids club leaders will always plan and work to ensure good practice in safeguarding children.  On no occasion will one adult be alone with a child. 

A parent/carer, or other responsible adult member of the community, should bring any child(ren) to the activities, and collect them afterwards. This marks a formal handing over of responsibility between parents/carers and those responsible for running children’s activities.

  • Sign in: All parents/carers must complete a registration form and sign their children in/out. Only the parent/carer can drop off or pick up their child. 
  • Only designated leaders/parents/carers of children in the group are allowed in the Kids Club room.

Parents allowing their children to participate in such activities should complete a consent form annually.  If activities off-site are organised parents/carers will be required to complete an additional consent form.

Volunteers, following discussion with the parent/carer concerned, should inform the Designated Officer for Safeguarding if there are concerns about any child or their behaviour.  

Volunteers should know where the nearest First Aid box on site is kept and should acquaint themselves with the Fire Drill procedures for the venues used for such activities.

In the event of an accident the volunteers will decide in the first instance whether to contact emergency services or the first aider, and/or the parent/carer.  A volunteer will submit an Accident Report Form to the IGB Pastor and Safeguarding Officer within 24 hours.

Location (as of Sept 2023): Ibis Hotel New Street Station – small meeting room close to our main meeting room.

Specific role descriptions, expectations and requirements for IGB Childcare Volunteer Leaders can be viewed here.

IGB’s Code of Safer Working Practice with Children & Young People can be viewed here.

6.           Complaints procedure

It is hoped that complaints can generally be dealt with internally by the organisation. However, if the complaint is of a safeguarding nature, relating to possible abuse of children or vulnerable adults, then it is very important that your DSO is consulted as statutory services may need to be informed. A complaint may be made to a person who will be appointed by the Core Leadership Team and who is currently Naomi Bennett-Steele and/or Ben Whitehouse who can be contacted directly via  If a complaint is made to another person, it should be passed to Naomi Bennett-Steele or Ben Whitehouse who will arrange to meet with the complainant and attempt to resolve the complaint. If the complaint is regarding Naomi or Ben or a member of their family or another member of the IGB Core Team it will be referred to the Birmingham Methodist District. (UPDATED 31-1-2024)

If the complaint relates to the minister/pastor it will be referred to the Birmingham Methodist District Chair. If the complaint cannot be resolved, consideration will be given to invoking the complaints system of the Methodist Church.

7.         Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the IGB Core Team in September.  This will involve making any relevant changes (informing/ involving the IGB Leadership Community as necessary).  The DSO will be asked to review any changes, prior to the submission of the refreshed Safeguarding policy to the Birmingham Methodist District trustees for final sign-off.  The date of the next review is:

September 2024

8.         Key concepts and definitions

8.1.        A child is anyone who has not yet reached their eighteenth birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, a member of the armed forces, in hospital or in custody in the secure estate, does not change his/her status or entitlements to services or protection.

8.2.        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.

8.3.        Safeguarding and protecting children or vulnerable adults from maltreatment; preventing impairment of their health and ensuring safe and effective care.

8.4.        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.

8.5.        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.

[1] Or membership of (PVG scheme Scotland).