Policy & practice guidance

All the policy and practice guidance on this page has been approved by the House of Bishops and must, where relevant, be followed by all Church Bodies* and Church Officers**.

Please note under section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016*** all authorised clergy, bishops, archdeacons, licensed readers and lay workers, churchwardens and PCCs must have 'due regard' to safeguarding guidance issued by the House of Bishops (this will include both policy and practice guidance). A duty to have 'due regard' to guidance means that the person under the duty is not free to disregard it but is required to follow it unless there are cogent reasons for not doing so. ('Cogent' for this purpose means clear, logical and convincing.) Failure by clergy to comply with the duty imposed by the 2016 Measure may result in disciplinary action.

*Church Bodies includes PCCs, diocesan bodies, cathedrals, religious communities, theological training institutions and the National Church Institutions. This policy will apply to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications). There is also an expectation that the policy will apply to the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man unless there is specific local legislation in a jurisdiction that would prevent adoption.

**A "Church Officer" is anyone appointed/elected by or on behalf of the Church to a post or role, whether they are ordained or lay, paid or unpaid.

***The Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 applies to the whole of the provinces of Canterbury and York (including the Diocese in Europe subject to local variations/modifications), with the exception of the Channel Islands and Sodor and Man. In order to extend the 2016 Measure to the Channel Islands or Sodor and Man legislation will need to be passed by the relevant island jurisdictions in accordance with section 12 of that Measure.

Policy Statements

Practice Guidance

For templates and resources relating to safeguarding policy and practice guidance, please see here. 

Joint Practice Guidance with The Methodist Church

NOTE: The Charity Commission updated its guidance on 14 June 2019 to require all individual Serious Incident reports to be submitted to it using a new online form. We have agreed transitional measures with the Charity Commission for submitting reports on safeguarding serious incidents before 1 August 2019, to enable the Church of England’s guidance to be updated. These transitional measures apply to DBFs (including when submitting reports on behalf of PCCs) and Religious Communities which are submitting Safeguarding Serious Incident reports before 1 August 2019.

  • DBFs and Religious Communities should continue to submit any individual safeguarding Serious Incident reports to the Charity Commission using the existing templates in the CofE safeguarding reporting guidance. However, these individual reports should be sent to the new bulk reporting email address [email protected] with a note on the covering email stating as follows:

“It has been agreed by the Charity Commission’s Risk Assessment Unit that the charities to which the Church of England’s Reporting of Safeguarding Serious Incidents Guidance applies should submit individual safeguarding Serious Incident reports to this email address until 1 August, using the template reports previously approved by the Charity Commission.”

  • DBFs should submit their bulk reports covering safeguarding Serious Incidents from 1 Jan 2019 – 30 June 2019 using the bulk reporting template in the current CofE safeguarding Serious Incident reporting guidance. These bulk reports should be sent to the Commission’s new bulk reporting email address [email protected].