Guidelines on Safeguarding in the Context of Bellringing

These guidelines have been prepared to provide a working document for Tower Captains and those teaching children to ring. Safeguarding covers the protection of children and vulnerable adults although only children are involved in ringing activities. The guidelines are not exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with The Church of England House of Bishop’s Document “Protecting All God’s Children” 4th Edition issued in November 2010 and the Central Council of Church Bellringers Guidance Note No. 3 “Child Protection in Bell Towers. See note on portability of DBS certificates - this being included in Guidance Note 3.

These documents can be accessed on respective websites: www.churchofengland.org and www.cccbr.org.uk.

Local arrangements
The Coventry Diocese has a Safeguarding Adviser and Diocesan policy is implemented through Parish Working Groups. Within each parish a person will have been appointed to deal with protection issues and allegations of suspected abuse to whom such cases must be reported immediately. Tower Captains should ensure that they agree procedures for the belfry which will normally involve those in charge having suitable Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.

IN CASE OF DIFFICULTY PLEASE CONTACT A GUILD OFFICER

Key Guidelines

  • Always have two adults present when children are being taught
  • Invite parents of prospective trainees to watch a session before allowing their child to commence learning.
  • Require a parent to attend their child’s first training session and ensure that they fully understand what is involved in learning to ring. Parents should be made aware of the need for certain physical contact to teach and maintain safe bell handling.
  • Make sure a parent is responsible for delivering and collecting the child from the tower.
  • Ask the parents to sign a “permission to ring” form. Any medical condition which might affect the child being taught should be declared at this stage.
  • Keep an attendance register.
  • Be aware of the church insurance position regarding children.
  • Never allow children to go up amongst the bells unaccompanied and then only where it is safe to do so for demonstration or instruction purposes.
  • For all visits away from home tower parents’ permission must be sought and transport must be accompanied by two adults (one preferably CRB checked).

Additional points to check:

  • Church insurance – are there lower age limits?
  • Is access to bells child-proof?
  • Is there a Tower Health & Safety policy and is it reviewed regularly?
  • Is there a first aid kit in the tower and an attendance register?
  • The name of the church appointed person for protection issues should be displayed in the tower and any issues should be raised with them immediately.
  • Concerns and allegation raised by children must be dealt with sensitively without compromising confidentiality.

Revised February 2011, amended (italics) April 2014.