Additional Good Practice Guidelines for pilgrimage/residential programmes

The pilgrimage/residential nature of some activities require particular consideration to the area of safeguarding children.  Parents/carers are placing their children in the care of church personnel at this time and it is imperative that practice on such residential/pilgrimages ensures safety and presents a good role model to children.  Particular care should be given to ensure that Church personnel are supported in this ministry.  As such the points above in relation to safeguarding children and ensuring a safe environment are to be adhered to.  The guidelines outlined below are additional guidelines to be adhered to on pilgrimages and residential programmes:

  • when seeking personal details of children permission to make decisions in medical emergencies must be included;
  • it is recommended that a visit to the accommodation and activities area happens prior to the pilgrimage/residential. During this time a Risk Assessment should be carried out into the premises and activities the children will be involved in;
  • a meeting should be held with parents/guardians in advance of the departure date and all information regarding travel details, programme content and emergency contact information should be supplied to them;
  • where the environment is new to church personnel and children, the premises should be assessed on arrival and extra care given to familiarising the group with housekeeping details such as the location of fire exits and extinguishers;
  • a rota of responsibility should be drawn up with and for leaders ensuring adequate time off for all. At all times the supervision ratios should comply with the recommended ratios under Standard 3 Part c (i);
  • the issue of supervision can be challenging when away from home. It is important to recognise however, that in this environment, especially, children should be well supervised;
  • at least two of the leader team should have an up to date First Aid qualification. It is the responsibility of the First Aiders to ensure that they know the location of the local medical facilities and contact numbers and are familiar with the location and travel requirements for the local hospital and primary care doctors/nurses.

In order to ensure a safe environment for children at home and abroad all parish/diocesan groups will need to:

  • ensure the guidelines above are adhered to and that all groups/organizations are kept up to date on the relevant recommendations and required forms for reporting;
  • report any concern regarding the suitability of a building for use with children;
  • respond promptly to any concerns reported and review suitability of premises or practice.

The Diocese will support parishes and diocesan groups to ensure a safe environment by:

  • providing the necessary updates in relation to recommended supervision ratios and necessary forms for incidents and accidents to Safeguarding Children Representatives and all clergy;
  • offering support to individuals or groups in the implementation of good practice;
  • responding promptly to any concerns reported and reviewing practice and the content of the Code of Conduct regularly;
  • developing guidance material in relation to the use of internet, e-mail, mobile phone and photography. (Due to the ever changing nature of new technology these guidelines have been included in Appendix 4 rather than being included in the main body of the Diocesan Policy and Procedures.)

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