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Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS)Procedures Manual

Policy Statement, Key Principles and Values, Legislative Framework, Key Terms, Organisational Structure and Key Roles


This chapter contains our Safeguarding Policy Statement, our Key Principles and Values, information about the Legislative Framework that underpins our safeguarding work, a link to Key Terms associated with safeguarding and information about the Organisational Structure of Safeguarding within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.


  1. Policy Statement
  2. Key Principles and Values
  3. Legislative Framework
  4. Key Terms
  5. Organisational Structure and Key Roles

1. Policy Statement

Every human being has a value which we acknowledge as coming directly from God's creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. We believe therefore that all people should be valued, supported and protected from harm. We recognise the personal dignity and rights of vulnerable people towards whom the Church has a special responsibility.

The Catholic Church and its individual members will undertake appropriate steps to maintain a safe environment for all, by practising fully and positively Christ's Ministry towards children, young people and adults and responding sensitively and compassionately to their needs in order to help keep them safe from harm. This is demonstrated by the provision of carefully planned activities for children, young people and adults, caring for those hurt by abuse and ministering to and robustly managing those who have caused harm.

The Catholic Church of England and Wales, the Bishops and Religious Congregational Leaders are committed to safeguarding as an integral part of the life and ministry of the Church and affirm a 'One Church' approach [1] to safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk through the promotion of a sustained culture of constant vigilance. The 'best interests' or 'paramount chief principle', which underpins and is enshrined in child and adult protection legislation, shall be the primary consideration in all matters of safeguarding. This 'One church' approach should also be adopted by lay associations of the faithful ministering to children and adults at risk in the name of the Catholic Church.

[1] The One Church approach refers to the commitment by the Church in England and Wales to using the same policies, procedures, standards and systems in relation to safeguarding.

The Catholic Church has in place a National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC), which is an independent body working within the framework of the Church in England and Wales. It is mandated by the Conference of Bishops and Conference of Religious Congregations and has accountability across Dioceses and Religious Congregations to ensure that standards are met and policies are implemented. Established in 2008, the NCSC sets the strategic direction of the Church's safeguarding policy for children, young people and adults at risk. It is also responsible for developing quality assurance processes which includes monitoring and auditing the compliance of the Church with safeguarding procedures. The NCSC is leading on the development of pastoral support services on a national basis and is informed by the Survivor Advisory Panel which it has established to ensure that the voices of survivors and victims of abuse informs the work of the NCSC.

The Church authorities always report allegations of abuse to the statutory agencies to ensure that they are dealt with promptly and properly, and where appropriate, perpetrators are held to account. The Church will act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with social care services, the Police, health agencies, probation services and other relevant agencies to safeguard children and adults at risk and assist in bringing to justice anyone who has committed an offence against a child or adult.

The Church seeks to ensure that its parishes, religious congregations and lay associations of the faithful acting in the name of the Church have the confidence to enable vulnerable people to have peace of mind, knowing they will be cared for and loved by their Christian community. All churches, faith communities and lay associations that are working in the name of the Church with children and adults at risk are expected to have in place arrangements which include:

  • Procedures to respond to and report concerns and allegations;
  • Codes of conduct;
  • Safer recruitment procedures;
  • Information sharing arrangements;
  • Support and supervision of staff and volunteers;
  • Training on safeguarding.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales provides a wide range of services for children and adults, and members of the Church have an important role in safeguarding and supporting adults, children and families.

The duties and responsibilities of the Church are underpinned by legislation and government guidance. Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) refers to Faith Organisations and sets out the responsibilities and expectations of churches and faith communities in safeguarding children; these expectations are reflected in this manual.

This manual contains the National Procedures to be followed by all those involved with responding to concerns or allegations of abuse about a child or adult within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

2. Key Principles and Values

The following expressions of principles and values have been agreed by the Catholic Church nationally and underpin its response and actions under these procedures at all times.


  • The Catholic Church in England and Wales embraces its role in supporting children to achieve their full potential in an environment where they are protected from exploitation, abuse and maltreatment;
  • All adults within the Church have a responsibility to act and intervene when it appears that children need to be made safe from harm, whether the risk of harm is Neglect, Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse or Emotional Abuse;
  • The Church will act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with Children's Social Care Services, the Police, Health Agencies, Probation Providers and other agencies to safeguard children and assist in bringing to justice anyone acting in the name of the Church who has committed an offence against a child;
  • Anyone who brings concerns or allegations to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully and seriously. All concerns and allegations will be dealt with within the national procedures and in a timely manner;
  • The Church is fully committed to acting within the guidance as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015, and acknowledges that the Church must work in partnership with other agencies and not act alone;
  • Pastoral care will be made available to children and their families and to other relevant people where there have been concerns and allegations of some form of harm or maltreatment of a child; and
  • Where services and support are provided to an adult, who has acted to harm a child, safeguards should be put in place to manage the risk that the adult may harm another child.


The Catholic Church in England and Wales is fully committed to work in relation to Adults, who may be at risk of abuse or maltreatment. The Church will:

  • Work actively and constructively within the framework set out in the Care Act 2014 and Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014, and with associated statutory and good practice guidance;
  • Actively promote the empowerment and well-being of adults throughout the church;
  • Recognise that everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse;
  • Recognise that adults have the right to be protected from harm and exploitation;
  • Recognise that adults have the right to independence that involves a degree of risk; and
  • Act in an open, transparent and accountable way in working in partnership with Adult Social Care Services, the Police, Health Agencies, Probation Providers and other agencies to safeguard adults and assist in bringing to justice anyone acting in the name of the Church who has committed an offence against an adult.

3. Legislative Framework



Legislation and Guidance in Wales

4. Key Terms

The statutory agencies use a range of terms which are defined in 'Glossary', accessible from the navigation bar.

Terminology used within the Church is defined in 'Catholic Keywords', also available from the navigation bar.

5. Organisational Structure and Key Roles

The National Catholic Safeguarding Commission (NCSC)

The NCSC is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Church's safeguarding policy and monitoring compliance. Mandated by the Conference of Bishops and Conference of Religious, it will ensure that standards are met and policies are implemented.

The NCSC comprises an independent lay chair; a Bishop, a member of the Conference of Religious and a lay member as vice chairs; representation from the Conference of Bishops; Conference of Religious and Chairs of Commissions; a Canon Lawyer/Parish Priest nominated by the Canon Law Society; as well as 4 lay members recruited for relevant expertise in the field of safeguarding and the criminal justice system.

The Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS)

Whereas the NCSC is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the Church's safeguarding policy, CSAS is responsible for driving and supporting improvements in practice. The primary role of CSAS is one of co-ordination, advice and support to the Catholic Church in England and Wales in respect of safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk.

CSAS reports to and provides expert advice to the NCSC on safeguarding matters and is accountable to the Bishops Conference and Conference of Religious through the NCSC

CSAS is the point of liaison with other national stakeholders concerned with safeguarding children and adults. This includes other Churches and secular organisations including government.

CSAS is the Registered Body for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

CSAS is located within the Department of Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, which is one of the Departments of the Bishops Conference. An appointed member of the Conference of Religious is a member of the Department to ensure they can play a full role in delivering a 'One Church' approach.

Being located within this Department provides peer support for the Director of CSAS and encourages cross-fertilisation of ideas and work to ensure safeguarding is part of the mainstream activity within the Church.

Safeguarding Commissions

Within each Diocese is a Safeguarding Commission, with an Independent lay chair who has extensive safeguarding experience through working with children and/or adults e.g. social care, police, probation, family law or health. There are also a small number of 'stand alone' religious based Safeguarding Commissions (e.g. the Jesuits), each chaired by an independent lay person and with the same range of expertise as their Diocesan counterparts. Exact numbers and experience on the Commission is determined locally but each must meet the requirements of the core membership [2] and ensure appropriate expertise is available.

[2] As set out in Towards a Culture of Safeguarding (2012).


Each Safeguarding Commission is accountable to the Bishop and Trustees of the Diocese for all Diocesan safeguarding matters. In respect of Religious Orders aligned to a particular Safeguarding Commission, the Commission is accountable to the Congregational Leader and Trustees of the Order in respect of matters related to that Order.


Each Commission leads on the strategic direction of safeguarding and provides independent oversight, scrutiny, advice and guidance on safeguarding related matters relating to dioceses, religious congregations and seminaries.

As a Commission, and through sub groups, each will:

  • Secure a strategy for the promotion of good and safe environments for children and adults in all parishes and other apostolic works throughout the Diocese/Religious Congregation, in line with agreed national policies and procedures;
  • Agree clear and unambiguous arrangements with all relevant Dioceses/Religious Congregations and Seminaries for liaison, consultation and working together regarding allegations against members of the Church;
  • Undertake an assessment of needs to ensure that those accountable for budget allocation have sufficient information so that the safeguarding budget is adequate to ensure safe process and minimisation of risk;
  • Ensure that the Bishop/Congregation Leader receives full information relevant to safeguarding incidents, together with recommendations;
  • Receive all information relating to safeguarding matters from their Diocese/Religious Congregation;
  • Ensure effective liaison with all relevant Statutory Agencies;
  • Contribute to the development and review of national policies, principles and practice;
  • Advise the Bishop/Congregation Leader on welfare matters in respect of parishes, and individuals and families within parishes, who have been victims of abuse;
  • To the extent possible and taking into account all relevant factors ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for the Pastoral Care of individuals and communities affected by child abuse;
  • Support and advise on matters relating to long term arrangements for members of the Church (Clergy, religious, and laity) who have been convicted of abuse or about whom there are significant concerns, including the commissioning of risk assessments;
  • Ensure that the Diocese and Religious Congregations have strategies to raise awareness of and promote training in safeguarding matters;
  • Monitor implementation of all safeguarding strategies and work plans and report regularly to the Trustees;
  • Prepare quarterly update briefings for Trustees, one of which will be an Annual Report which will refer to safeguarding policy and procedures, current work and priorities, monitoring arrangements, identified needs and future plans and budgetary and resource requirements;
  • Ensure that the Annual Report on the Diocese/Religious Congregation is timely, accurate and comprehensive;
  • In line with CSAS's DBS policy and procedures document, establish a small panel of 2 or 3 individuals to whom confidential reference may be made when there are disclosures from the Disclosure and Barring Service which require a decision by the Counter-Signatory, in order that an informed decision may be referred to the Bishop/Religious Leader;
  • Ensure that the Diocese or Religious Congregation puts in place arrangements for training and supervision for the Safeguarding Co-ordinator; and
  • To assist in the selection of nominees for the role of Safeguarding Co-ordinator.

In addition, each Commission may, if necessary, set up small sub groups of its members if issues of concern require further more detailed work. Other people with specialist knowledge may be asked to participate if necessary.

Safeguarding Co-ordinators

The Safeguarding Co-ordinator is accountable to the Bishop, Congregational Leader or Seminary Rector and the appropriate Trustee Body for leading and managing the development of safeguarding practice and the implementation of policy and procedures within the Diocese, Congregation or Seminary. This accountability does not necessarily mean that those listed are the individuals responsible for line management of the Safeguarding Co-ordinators. Each Trustee body should have in place appropriate line management arrangements for the day to day oversight and support of Safeguarding Co-ordinators, as Safeguarding Co-ordinators should always work within the management structures of the organisation.  On behalf of the Safeguarding Commission, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator is responsible for ensuring that the Bishop or Congregational Leader is kept up to date on safeguarding matters.

On an annual basis, the safeguarding co-ordinator prepares safeguarding data that is provided to CSAS for inclusion in the annual report of the NCSC.

The Safeguarding Co-ordinator takes the lead in developing preventative practice, as well as responding to allegations of abuse against children and adults. They are responsible for liaising with, advising and guiding Safeguarding Representatives within their Diocese or Congregation when concerns or allegations are raised and informing and advising the Bishop or Congregational Leader on appropriate practice for managing concerns and allegations.

The Safeguarding Co-ordinator is responsible for making or overseeing referrals to the Police and Social Services departments, in line with the Church's policy of mandatory reporting to statutory authorities, and for maintaining contact with statutory agencies whilst investigations are underway. Additionally, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator is responsible for overseeing the arrangements for production, monitoring and review of covenants of care, which includes ensuring the support needs of the person accused or convicted are addressed.

The Safeguarding Co-ordinator is often a key source of support for survivors or victims of abuse and liaises with other agencies, as required, for the purposes of addressing identified needs.

Additionally, the Safeguarding Co-ordinator will develop links with Safeguarding Children and Safeguarding Adult Boards and safeguarding services within their area.

Safeguarding Representatives

Each Parish and Religious Congregation must ensure that it has a safeguarding representative in place.

The Safeguarding Representative has responsibility for promoting good and safe practices in all activities involving children, young people and adults and for providing advice on child and adult safeguarding matters within the Parish or Congregation.

The Safeguarding Representative is the link between the Parish or Congregation and the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.

The Safeguarding Representative will have relevant training and a sound knowledge of the national policies and procedures and know who to contact if a concern or allegation is raised.

The Safeguarding Representative has a key role in the administration of the safer recruitment process, including facilitating the DBS Disclosure process at a local level.

Clergy/Religious Advisor

In order for safeguarding to be effectively implemented and promoted within the Catholic Church a contextual awareness and understanding is vital. The Clergy/Religious Advisor, as a member of the Clergy/Religious, brings this expertise and experience to the safeguarding structure and leads in the promotion of safeguarding within the Clergy/Religious Congregations.

Diocesan or Religious Trustees

The property of each diocese and religious congregation is normally held by a Charitable Trust. The Trustees of the Charitable Trust are responsible for managing any risks to the Trust, and this includes ensuring that adequate safeguarding policies and procedures are implemented within the diocese or religious congregation, that adequate insurance is in place and that the terms of the insurance contracts are complied with.

The trustees are also responsible for ensuring that any serious incidents which could present a risk to the Trust's beneficiaries, assets or reputation are properly managed and are reported to the Charity Commission.

Insurance Officer

Each Diocese or Religious Congregation should identify an appropriate person to be responsible for management of responses to complaints received by their organisation. This will include specific responsibility for liaison with the Insurance Intermediary and, where appropriate, with the organisation's Insurers and the Charity Commission. This person is known as the Insurance Officer.

All concerns or allegations received which relate to National Safeguarding Procedures must be reported by the Safeguarding Co-ordinator to the Insurance Officer.