Introduction and Background
The Scottish Association of Change Ringers is the representative body for bell ringers in Scotland. Membership is voluntary and open to any person, resident in Scotland, who can demonstrate a minimum competence in bell ringing or who has an interest in bell ringing, as specified in the Association’s constitution.
The Scottish Association of Change Ringers is affiliated to the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, which offers guidance on safeguarding issues to all member organisations.
The Scottish Association of Change Ringers represents all towers with change ringing bells, and all ringers who regularly practice change ringing in Scotland. Towers with change ringing bells belong to several different religious denominations and some non-religious entities all of which have their own Safeguarding guidelines and Policies.
The Scottish Association of Change Ringers usually sponsors six ringing events or meetings per year, and on most years runs a training course for a weekend. It runs a regular ringing practice. These are the regular activities of the Association that would be governed by this Policy. Other additional events organised by the Association that may occur from time to time would also be governed by this Policy. An Association event is characterised as being open to all members without restriction, and which is widely advertised as an Association event on the Association website at www.sacr.org. This Policy describes the procedures in the context of Association events.
Of these events, only the training weekend involves direct training or coaching of ringers. This includes course tutors, who lead group instruction in particular topics, and helpers, who are extra ringers to make up bands for practicing the subject of each tutorial session. Helpers, in this context, are not directly involved in education or training in a supervisory context. The training weekend is hosted in turn by each member tower in the association. The type of sessions may include: group tutorial sessions, where a subject is taught and practiced by a group of students, led by a course tutor and with helpers offering practical ringing support; lectures; and one-to-one tutorials which teach basic skills or use a computerised simulator. The content of events in a training weekend varies from year to year and depends on the requirements of the students who plan to attend. Course tutors, lecturers and other direct trainers are drawn from the general membership of the Association, depending on what skills are required to be taught. This means that the role of ‘tutor’ or ‘education leader’ is not a role associated with only one person, but is assigned occasionally to volunteers as the situation requires.
Other ringing activities that occur in Scotland are regular practices and service ringing in towers with change ringing bells, which are organised locally by the band of ringers at that tower, and casual ringing organised by individuals on an ad hoc basis. Ringing that is organised locally at towers is subject to the Safeguarding Procedures at that tower, and are not governed by this policy. Casual ringing organised by individuals is also not governed by this Policy. However, this Policy does not knowingly conflict with any existing local Safeguarding Policy, and will also stand as a ‘good practice’ guide for local bands of ringers seeking to establish their own Policies.
There are approximately 200 members of the Association, including people of all ages. Attendance at Association events is usually 40-80 members. Children or vulnerable adults do not constitute a significant proportion of the membership, and are not always in attendance at every meeting of the Association.
This Policy is designed to ensure that young people and vulnerable adults can be fully and safely involved with ringing activities. They reflect the need to cherish and defend the exceptional features of ringing, being an activity in which young and old meet and take part on an equal footing. This enriches those of all ages who know and respect each other, not only for their abilities as ringers but also as individuals. Where circumstances require, alternative arrangements can be made through full consultation with the young person's parents or carers and the Association Safeguarding (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) Officer.
Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) (Scotland) Act 2007 requires that all who work with young people (in voluntary or in paid employment) or protected adults should keep them safe from harm. 'Children' are defined in the Act as anyone under the age of 18. The PVG Act defines a protected adult as an individual, aged 16 or over who receives one or more type of care or welfare service.
To protect children, protected adults, and adults who work with them it is necessary to create an open environment where neither the possibility of abuse nor a false allegation can occur.
Abuse can be emotional, verbal, physical or sexual.
Sensitive information about convictions or other matters will be taken into account only if it is relevant to the activity. Information disclosed by Disclosure Scotland will be assessed by the Association Safeguarding Officer who will advise how to proceed.
A. Definition and duties of the Safeguarding (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) Officer
1. Enforcement of this Policy is the role of the Association Safeguarding Officer, who will be appointed by the Management Committee of the Association. This appointment will be reviewed annually, or as required.
2. The Association Safeguarding Officer will: ensure compliance with this Policy, ensure Policy is kept up to date with current legislation, keep a list of members of the Association with PVG membership, be aware of local safeguarding arrangements at towers, ensure confidentiality of all private information.
3. The Association Safeguarding Officer is not an elected officer but is appointed by the President and ratified by any meeting of the Association. The Safeguarding Officer reports directly and confidentially to the President of the Association.
4. The Association Safeguarding Officer shall be able to demonstrate suitable and current protection of vulnerable groups awareness training. Similar training should be demonstrated by other Officers as determined by the Safeguarding Officer. Where necessary and appropriate, the Association shall reimburse the costs of this training.
B. Safeguarding (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) duties of other officers
5. The Association Ringing Master shall require to have PVG membership because the Association Ringing Master has overall responsibility for education and the organization of training events, where they occur. The Association Ringing Master does not have direct responsibility for training individual ringers.
6. One other officer of the Association shall also require to have PVG membership so as to deputise, when required, for the Association Ringing Master. The President will take the decision as to which officer this should be, in consultation with the Safeguarding Officer.
7. The level of disclosure required shall be determined by the Safeguarding Officer according to current guidance.
C. Safeguarding at Association Events
8. With the exception of an annual training weekend, the Association does not sponsor any ringing event that involves direct training or education, as described in guidelines by Disclosure Scotland.
9. Where Children or Vulnerable Adults are present at an Association event, the Association strongly prefers that a parent or carer is also present, and that the parent or carer has the primary duty of care and must act in a supervisory capacity throughout the event, including transport to and from the event.
10. In the absence of a parent or carer, another person from the child’s or vulnerable adult’s local tower may be nominated to supervise and assume the duty of care for the duration of the event, including travel to and from the event.
11. The nominated person must be approved by the parent or carer in writing, and the local tower must be able to produce this consent at the request of the Safeguarding Officer.
12. The Safeguarding Officer may require the attendance of a parent or carer, and not allow any other supervisor. This is to be judged on a case-by-case basis, as circumstance might dictate.
13. A child or vulnerable adult may not attend an Association event without a parent, carer or other nominated supervisor also in attendance. The responsibilities of the Ringing Master and other Association officers preclude them from being able to adequately ensure the safety of any single ringer at all times.
14. Prior notification of attendance at an Association event is not necessary, except in the case of the training weekend, where advance registration is required by all attendees.
D. Specific Training Events
15. If a child or vulnerable adult wishes to attend a training weekend, they must, in addition to the ordinary registration, provide a consent form specific to that event, which is signed by a parent or carer. This consent form also names the person who will have the primary duty of care and supervision during the entire training weekend, including travel to and from the event. The Association strongly prefers that this person be the parent or carer.
16. The Safeguarding Officer shall determine which, if any, course tutors require disclosure and what level of disclosure would be required.
17. Where required, the Association will undertake to pay the cost of disclosure.
E. Privacy and protection of identity online
18. All members of the Association should act to protect the personal data of children and vulnerable adults above the requirements of the Data Protection Act (2018).
19. The Association will seek to avoid publishing photographs of children or vulnerable adults on the Association website or on social media.
20. If it is deemed desirable to publish a photograph, for example to promote a particular achievement, prior consent to publish must be obtained in writing or by email as appropriate.
21. Where photographs of children or vulnerable adults are published, the publication of full names in the caption should be avoided.
22. The publishing of full names, ages, and local tower affiliation together should always be avoided.
23. Contact details for children or vulnerable adults should never be published or supplied. The Association does not keep address records for its members.
24. In the case of a complaint or incident, the Safeguarding Officer should be informed as soon as possible. In the absence of the Safeguarding Officer, a report may be made in confidence to the Association Ringing Master, or to the alternate Officer who has been disclosed as per item 6.