Safeguarding body to celebrate success at first AGM

Keeping Children Safe is good news for churches everywhere, saysJudy Jarvis, after 15 years experience of children's work at anational level for The Methodist Church in Great Britain.
Judy will tell church representatives how Christian faithilluminates the bureaucratic form-filling of Criminal RecordsBureau procedures. She is the main speaker at the first AGM of theChurches Agency for Safeguarding (CAS) in London on 22 September.The meeting will mark a significant development in the developmentof the CAS, which exists to support child protection andsafeguarding policies across 10 British churches. The organisationwill ratify its constitution and consider its legal status andrelationship with other ecumenical bodies.

The Revd Pearl Luxon, Methodist Secretary for Child Protectionand Safeguarding, and Director of CAS says, "we have a great dealto celebrate with all that has been achieved, and we will shape theorganisation for the future. The CAS has come a long way since itsformation in 2002. This meeting will consolidate the work we havedone so far, and create a foundation for future growth in thisvital area."

All those working with young people and children are required tohave a background check carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau(in England and Wales) or the Central Registered Body in Scotland.In order to ensure that best practice and common standards werefollowed in the complex process, a group of 11 British churchescombined to form the CAS in 2002. The Methodist Church in Britainis a lead body in the group along with the Baptist Union.

At first the CAS was a victim of its own success, with so manychurch groups submitting new staff and volunteers for CRB checksthat a backlog developed. However the group hired extra staff inthe summer of 2004 to clear this, and the backlog will disappear bythe end of September.

The AGM will also discuss the CAS relationship with ChurchesTogether in Britain and Ireland. It will also announce a programme,run with the NSPCC, for training those assessing, reviewing andadvising on blemished CRB disclosures. The Churches Forum forSafeguarding will also be promoted: this is a place for memberdenominations to exchange information on child protection andsafeguarding and to support those working in these issues in thechurches.