While it is not possible to avoid all risk when working with vulnerable groups, it is possible to minimise those risks through careful planning and preparation and by providing a written record of the thought processes and action taken.
Activity risk assessments should be undertaken before any activity takes place, given approval by the event leader/minister and retained securely in case they need to be seen at a later date (e.g. as a result of an accident taking place).
For both local church and circuit events off the premises, there should be appropriate staffing, a risk assessment and evidence that all relevant policies and procedures are being adhered to. If you are organising an event for children and young people, you can download guidance packs from the Methodist Church website.
Holding an event off church premises?
Events should be planned effectively and include:
- A risk assessment of the suitability of activity for the participants and of the premises
- The appointment a team to oversee the event, including safeguarding and first aid personnel (giving regard to any health or ability needs)
- Numbers of children, young people or vulnerable adults involved
- Transportation following good practice guidelines
Although the policy does not currently require the above be in place for all local church events held on the premises, it is good practice to plan and review all activities in this way.
Where the group is participating in a specialised activity such as adventure activities, advice should be sought from the relevant licensing authority/organisation.
Once risk assessments are complete, who needs to see them?
- The event leader/minister should approve the risk assessment. Information regarding local Church events should be sent to the Church Council Secretary and Church Safeguarding Officer.
- If the activity is unusual or considered to be high risk, the Church Safeguarding Officer should contact the Circuit Safeguarding Officer in order that information can be ratified, and any queries raised
- For Circuit events involving children or vulnerable adults, notification should be sent to the District Safeguarding Officer prior to these being agreed. This is to ensure that all permissions, risk assessments and good practice guidelines are in place.
Risk assessments should be kept in case they need to be referred to at a later date.