by David Pearson, Trustee and Company Secretary
At the end of October 2015 the Board published the Annual Report for the year's activities ending 31st March 2015. Virtually all our income came from those we serve and the trustees are again most grateful for the support of members and supporters. Here are some highlights from this year’s report. The full Annual Report and Accounts can be accessed on the Charity Commission’s website using the link at the foot of the article.
During the year the Board have continued to actively review and strengthen its governance responsibilities, recognising that charity regulators have placed an increasing emphasis of the self-regulatory role of charity trustees. There is an annual programme for reviewing Board policies which involves consultation with legal and other professional advisors when needed. The Board have also introduced a robust corporate strategy for the charity which is reviewed with the Senior Management Team in November of each year.
This year our strategic objectives have been those of consolidation and direction setting. This section highlights a number of significant and exciting developments and initiatives, reflecting how the Board seeks to take CCPAS forward over the coming years in as structured and effective way as possible. It will be done through setting Objectives, Key Initiatives and Performance Measures in four priority areas: The Church, Workforce, Resources and Partnerships.
Our key objective was to understand the changing needs of the Church. This has been through an analysis of those using our helpline, our training and other safeguarding services.
Criminal Record Disclosure Checks
The number of disclosure checks processed by CCPAS continued to increase dramatically. They rose from 39,704 in the previous twelve months to 48,546 this year – a rise of over 22%. Almost all (95%) are now done online, through our highly-regarded and strongly-branded ‘E-bulk’ system, which is now used by over 6,350 organisations, an increase of 35% on 2014. This rise is largely due to both new diocesan schemes and new members joining.
Demand continued to grow strongly for our dedicated group membership scheme, too, which is used by four different denominations and seventeen Anglican dioceses – two more than in November 2014. We anticipate that the number of scheme members will increase further over the next few years.
CCPAS remains fully focused on providing safeguarding training – throughout the UK – via a number of different platforms. These include Facing the Unthinkable and other seminars, distance learning and other DVD-based training programmes. A total of 81 separate training events were held during the financial year – or more than 1.5 per week.
The ‘Facing the Unthinkable’ DVD work-pack was completely re-scripted and re-filmed, and was re-launched in February 2015. This was done to take account of recent developments in child and adult safeguarding. The core course now includes four modules: What is Abuse?; Vulnerable Adults and the Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Abuse on children; Taking Action; and Safer Practice.
We have also added a set of Further Learning Modules. These explore four specific areas of safeguarding: Internet Safety; Safer Recruitment; Supporting Survivors; and Working with Vulnerable Adults. Other additional modules are being planned.
In addition to the DVD work-pack, we now offer both the core course and additional modules on-line. This means learners can access our training via a variety of different formats, face-to-face, on DVD and online.
In September 2014 we held another International Safeguarding Conference in central London. Speakers included the Bishop of Durham, Tim Loughton MP and Emma Lewell-Buck MP and the event was very well received.
In March 2015 CCPAS had a membership of 7,569. This is more than 11% higher than a year earlier and 51% up on 2010. Some are para-church organisations and a few are individuals, but the vast majority, (over 95%) are local churches, spread widely across the UK.
These churches range right across the Christian spectrum, from established denominations such as Anglicans and Baptists to Presbyterians and Pentecostals to independent churches and groups. Many black and ethnic minority churches, too, are members of CCPAS.
Members receive a number of benefits. They include automatically receiving our in-house magazine, Caring, which was freshened with a comprehensive design facelift at the start of the year. Articles featured this year included ’21 Things not to say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor’; ‘The Challenge of Self-harm’ and ‘Trends in Safeguarding in the EU’. The high regard in which Caring is held within the church and by professionals working in a variety of safeguarding areas means we continue to attract authors - of national and international renown - to contribute to it.
The additional, online, edition of Caring has been so well received that we now produce two a year, making a total of five. In addition to the four standard quarterly editions, the fifth is a special edition focusing on one particular topic.
Our key objective this year was to map the whole workforce resource of CCPAS. This has focused on identifying the full range of skills and competences of our staff, in order to analyse our future needs in order to meet anticipated demand for our work.
As our safeguarding activities have increased this has inevitably meant growing our staff team, so we have taken on a number of new people during the year. We have also responded to the needs of our clients by recruiting a group of Associates, whom we draw on to conduct training and other tasks on behalf of churches and other organisations as and when needed.
Specialist Safeguarding Services
Our Specialist Safeguarding Services work has continued to grow and develop during the year, which has also been notable for the wide range of activities undertaken. These have included a major review of deceased clergy files in the Church of England; a review of a number of other ongoing complex safeguarding cases; several management investigations and risk assessments; undertaking safeguarding audits, together with providing bespoke safeguarding policies and delivering bespoke safeguarding training.
We anticipate this aspect of our work to continue to grow strongly over the next few years.
Our key objective this year has been to improve our understanding of projected resources. We have identified our key areas of work, along with secondary activities. This has been achieved both through modeling disclosure trends and by developing a training strategy in order to assess our capacity.
24 Hour Helpline
CCPAS’s free 24 hour Helpline service (which includes emails) again proved invaluable to its users. Clients sought advice on issues ranging from dealing with allegations of abuse, to policy development and good working practice, and support of those affected by abuse. The Helpline is delivered by professionals, all of whom have extensive experience in dealing with safeguarding issues. All Helpline referrals are audited for consistency and accuracy.
CCPAS members receive regular Updates, by email, which provide information about changes to safeguarding legislation and best practice. This complements our Safe and Secure material. Whenever significant changes to government legislation are announced we issue immediate Breaking News Updates, too. This includes changes to the various criminal record disclosure regimes, such as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
Policies and Procedures
We support churches and organisations in the preparation of their safeguarding policies and procedures. The templates and model policies we provide, based on our ‘Safe and Secure’ 10 Standards, enable organisations to produce policies and procedures. We also assist larger organisations to write bespoke safeguarding policies which are tailored to their individual needs. This service continues to be popular with CCPAS members.
Our key objective this year has been to map existing and prospective partnerships. We continue to enjoy a number of strong partnership working arrangements with a variety of agencies. These include CEOP; Assemblies of God; Youth for Christ; Soul Survivor and many others.
CCPAS has forged similarly strong working relationships with a number of individual missionary agencies, international schools and umbrella missionary organizations, too. We also work closely with international umbrella groups such as Global Connections. We offer advice and support on safeguarding matters as well as developing policies and procedures.
CCPAS worked with a number of survivor groups during the year, as well as directly with individual survivors, through the Helpline and by providing a listener service to a number of Anglican Dioceses.
Child Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession
One specific partnership is with the Metropolitan Police (Project Violet). This year we jointly produced an awareness-raising DVD on child abuse linked to faith or belief. It was launched at a multi-agency event at The London Mayor’s County Hall in October 2014 and generated much national media interest. The DVD has since been distributed to Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and police services and is proving very popular.
National Working Group on Child Abuse Linked to Faith or Belief
CCPAS are members of the national working group on child abuse linked to faith or belief. This group, facilitated by the government, comprises representatives from the police; LSCBs, The Home Office, The Department for Education and various charities. CCPAS have been working with the Victoria Climbié Foundation to explore a research initiative to better inform practitioners about the issues.
During the year, CCPAS has continued to be a lead voice on safeguarding within the faith sector across the UK, as it seeks to achieve its corporate objective of safeguarding “both children and vulnerable adults throughout the UK”.
This could not have been done without building on the strong existing relationships we have – a good example being the trebling of the Anglican dioceses using our Disclosure service - and by developing new partnerships with similarly successful, like-minded organisations.
All the activities set out above have contributed to this achievement, in particular by creating a higher profile for us - locally, regionally and nationally. This helps us earn the respect and co-operation of national and local government and key organisations throughout the UK, which in turn allows us to participate in setting safeguarding agendas at a number of different levels.
Though we have worked with many larger organisations this year, we take pride in our ability to create and retain excellent links with a wide variety of grassroots organisations and local places of worship, too. We continue to work at the margins of the faith community, as well, engaging with disparate and diverse churches and organisations in order to help them respond appropriately to specific safeguarding concerns within their communities.
Finally, the Board greatly appreciates the support and generosity of our members and supporters, which enables CCPAS to continue to provide services that - feedback continues to show - is rated as second to none. Above all we thank God for his enabling over another demanding year.
The full Annual Report and Accounts may be viewed on the Charity Commission website: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk Charity number: 1004490.