Northern Synod believes that children, young people and adults have a right to live in a way that does not cause them harm or impede their human rights. We therefore acknowledge their right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs. We consider that, in accordance with legislation, the welfare of children and adults at risk is paramount. We will follow legislation, statutory guidance and recognised good practice. We believe that domestic abuse in all its forms is unacceptable and inconsistent with a Christian way of living. Safeguarding is taken seriously by Northern Synod.

A revised Synod Safeguarding Policy was accepted by Synod on 16 March 2019.


Matt Knowles
telephone: 07761-525592

The advisor is available to provide guidance upon any safeguarding situation faced by the churches, as well as to offer training, information and advice about safeguarding matters in our synod.

The United Reformed Church (Northern Province) Trust Limited has published its own Safeguarding Policy, which incorporates the Synod’s policy.

Handbook for Churches – this takes you to reference material, policies and draft templates. Everything you need to know should be here!

URC website pages dealing with recruitment and selection issues and DBS applications

Good Practice 5

The link to policy and good practice guidance in safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk is here

Good Practice 5

Incident / Concern form

Intermediate Safeguarding Training Package and additional Basic Training Sessions

On the back of the Foundation (Basic) Safeguarding Training packages that were made available to all persons from the URC in the past 12 months there has now been compiled an intermediate safeguarding training package.

This package follows on from the content of the foundation training based within Good Practice 5 and covers more in depth areas of safeguarding for use within the local church.  The course content is divided into various areas – all taken from GP5.  The duration is around 2.5 hours long and there will be adequate breaks to get drinks etc – as well as giving you time away from listening to Matt if needed!!

This training again is initially going to be provided through an online format.  However, as we move into 2022 an assessment will be made in relation to training also being provided in a face to face environment.  Watch this space for updates in relation to this!!

Everyone who attended the previous training is invited to attend and obtain this training.  Please note however – to be able to attend this training you will have needed to have been on a basic course in the past 3 years.  Therefore, the intermediate training is only available for those whose training is up to date.

To cater for this, we will also be providing some more sessions of basic training for those who need this input – either because you haven’t had it before or indeed if you need a refresher input due to the 3-year guidance.

To assist with the question of who needs to attend the different levels of safeguarding training could we please direct you to Paper T5 from the most recent General Assembly.  This paper provides guidance in relation to the safeguarding training framework for the URC.  The link is here  if you want to read it but for those who just need to know if they need to attend the training we have added the details for you as follows:

Roles requiring mandatory training Foundation (Basic) Intermediate Advanced
Church safeguarding coordinators X X
Deputy church safeguarding coordinators X X
Members of Synod Safeguarding Committees X
Active Ministers and CRCWs (including retired ministers who meet the requirements of active ministry) X X
Youth and Children Workers including volunteer leaders X X X
Youth and Children’s Workers (volunteer helpers) ** X X
Adult Workers including volunteer leaders X X
Adult Workers (volunteer helpers) ** X X
Pastoral Workers / Visitors X X
Worship Leaders and Assembly Accredited Lay Preachers X X
URC Trustees and Synod Trustees X
Elders as local church trustees X

** those helping at a holiday club, assisting occasionally with Sunday school, running a craft activity at Messy Church, running the tuck shop at a youth group, helpers at a craft club / lunch / trip, etc, where it is clear these people are in ‘helper’ roles are always working in the presence of, and under the supervision of, a ‘leader’.

Hopefully the above makes it easy for each church to understand who from its congregation must have attended safeguarding training.  If it’s unclear or you need further guidance on this matter please contact Matt Knowles, the Synod safeguarding advisor who will be pleased to assist.  Please remember, church safeguarding training must be refreshed every three years.  For those members of local churches who haven’t attended the training in the past 3 years please endeavour to do so.  Again, any queries please speak with Matt.

All courses are booked via the Synod office.  Please contact Wendy via email to confirm your places on

The dates for the upcoming courses are as follows – (please note all are via Zoom)

Foundation (Basic) courses – 2 hours in duration

Wednesday 15th September 2021 – 1pm to 3pm

Tuesday 21st September 2021 – 10am to 12pm

Thursday 2nd December 2021 – 9.30am to 11.30am

Intermediate courses – 2.5 hours in duration

Wednesday 13th October 2021 – 2pm to 4.30pm

Tuesday 19th October 2021 – 10am to 12.30pm

Thursday 28th October 2021 – 10am to 12.30pm

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 – 9.30am to 12pm

Saturday 13th November 2021 – 10am to 12.30pm

Wednesday 17th November 2021 – 9.30am to 12pm

Thursday 25th November 2021 – 1pm to 3.30pm

Training for Verifiers/Document Checkers for DBS Applications 

DDC (Due Diligence Checking) – the company that provides the service to process the DBS checks on behalf of the URC are offering training slots to those local church officers who are verifiers/document checkers for their church and would like to have an input on how to process the checks for their church.  It would also benefit verifiers who may need an update in how to use the system.

A typical session would cover the following areas:

  • The role of the verifier
  • DDC and what we do
  • Support and assistance available
  • Recent changes with the DBS
  • Eligibility
  • Blemished disclosure process
  • Frequently asked questions by URC verifiers
  • Real life case studies for overcoming barriers in the process.
  • Q & A

There will be a URC Safeguarding Officer present at each session to assist and answer any questions that people may have.

The dates for the inputs are:

  • 10th June 2021 – 10am to 11am
  • 5th July 20201 – 7pm to 8pm
  • 10th September 2021 – 4pm to 5pm
  • 2nd October 2021 – 9.30am to 10.30am

Training will be via Zoom and if you would like to book on the training then please email Matt Baxter with the session you would like to attend.  His email is

Training for Trustees of Local Churches

There is also specific training being provided for Trustees of local churches within the Synods to understand your safeguarding responsibilities.  This training is being provided online by Farrar & Co, a firm of solicitors from London who provide safeguarding advice and assistance in all aspects of safeguarding matters.  Matt Knowles, Safeguarding Advisor has been to this training and found it very informative and useful.  For that reason this training is being provided to all churches throughout the Northern, Yorkshire, North Western and Mersey Synods via funding from the Synod Safeguarding Development Fund.

This is a 2-hour training session which as well as providing vital guidance, allows you to take part in discussions and look at case studies to help your understanding of your role as a Trustee for your church.

In this session we cover

  • Why safeguarding matters to the URC
  • How to ensure effective safeguarding arrangements are in place for your church
  • The Elders duties as Trustees
  • How to spot, deal and report with a serious incident

The training will be delivered via Zoom and the dates for the sessions are:

  • Thursday 6th July 2021 – 10.30am to 12.30pm
  • Thursday 15th July 2021 – 1pm to 3pm.

If you would like to book a space for this training, please contact Matt at

Safeguarding Training

At present, Northern Synod uses the Methodist Church Safeguarding training materials.

We provide a Foundation Module which should be attended every three years by all who work directly with children or adults who may be vulnerable in church.

We also provide a Leadership or advanced Module which is for those with explicit responsibility for safeguarding within their church, particularly active ministers and church safeguarding leads.  Again, this should be refreshed on a three yearly basis.

Foundation Module 2016 Edition

The focus of this training is to promote awareness of possible safeguarding concerns.

This training aims to equip all adults, both volunteer and paid, working in different roles in the Methodist Church to feel confident to share safeguarding concerns with the appropriate person.

The Creating Safer Space Foundation Module 2016 Edition training will help you:
• know that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and integral to being church
• have a better understanding of good safeguarding practice within the Methodist Church
• know when to have concerns about the safety and welfare of a child or adult
• appreciate your responsibility for sharing concerns about a child or adult
• be aware of who in the church to go to with any concerns
• recognise potential blocks within the church to responding well

Advanced Module 2018 Edition

Course structure
This Creating Safer Space Advanced Module course is split into three parts:
• Essential preparation (1 hour 30 minutes)
• Core learning session (4 hours)
• Handbook (a resource for further study)

The aim of the Advanced Module is to consolidate and develop your previous safeguarding learning and to:
• explore what this means in your designated role of responsibility within the Church
• further equip you with skills and resources to be confident in promoting good practice in the Church and community
• extend your understanding of responding well to different groups within the Church community.

Engagement with all three elements of the Advanced Module will enable you to meet these aims.

Booking Form for Advanced Module: Spring 2019

Safeguarding Updates
Safeguarding Newsletter – Northern December 2019
Northern Newsletter May 2020


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