At Renewal, we take our public responsibilities and duties seriously. We are committed to ensuring everyone working at our church acts with honesty and integrity, behaving in a way that underpins our Christian values and ongoing reputation.
We are all responsible for preventing and eliminating wrongdoing within our church and we encourage you to be vigilant for illegal or unethical conduct. If you have a genuine concern about serious wrongdoing or malpractice by someone within Renewal, we expect you to raise this, in accordance with the processes set out in this policy.
If a person has concerns about someone’s safety they should refer to our safeguarding procedures found at renewalcc.com/safeguarding
We will take any genuine concerns you raise seriously. We can assure you that raising a genuine concern will not lead to partial or negative treatment of any individual, and evidence that this has happened is significant enough for a concern being raised itself. However, we also reiterate that this policy is only to be used for serious concerns as outlined above.
If a person has concerns about another member or attendee of Renewal, they should consider whether they can approach the individual, or seek pastoral advice to support any conflict resolution. Pastoral advice can be sought without having to disclose who the involved parties are by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if anything is disclosed that indicates an illegal activity or someone’s safety is at risk, we will ask for further details so that we can follow our safeguarding policies.
If you are simply unhappy about decisions made or have a concern about certain preferences, which would not indicate an eligible concern, then you are encouraged to raise these through the normal routes of the pastoral structure, via your group or team leader or the leader of your collective, or through asking to speak directly to the staff or leader involved
Where appropriate, if the concern is about a staff member, the disciplinary and grievance procedures will be triggered in the first instance.
This policy sets out:
- our commitment to dealing with concerns of wrongdoing within our church
- the process by which we will follow up these concerns internally and externally, if necessary.
This policy applies to all those working or volunteering for Renewal, whether employees, contractors or agency staff and to anyone attending Renewal or partners of Renewal.
An ‘eligible concern’ is defined as “serious concerns about moral, legal, financial or theological practice, that would indicate a serious lapse of judgement and character or would lead to the church integrity being compromised”.
Lodging a Concern
This policy is intended to assist the identification of possible wrongdoing within Renewal, so that we can review and investigate what has happened.
If a partner of Renewal has an eligible concern about either a leader or staff member’s actions or integrity, this is the policy to follow. This should only be used when the criteria for an eligible concern are met.
You can raise the concern of wrongdoing at any time; whether the incident has already happened, is currently happening or is likely to happen in the future.
Raising a Concern
Any concern that does meet the criteria of an eligible concern should be put in writing to:
Chair of Safeguarding Sub-Committee
Private and Confidential
Renewal, Lode Lane, Solihull, B91 2JR
Or a copy of the letter emailed to the Chair of the Safeguarding Sub-Committee: email@example.com
In the letter we ask that you state clearly:
- Who you are and how long you have been attending Renewal.
- What concerns you may have and who they relate to specifically.
- What previous actions you have taken, if any, to raise those concerns and what the result was, or reasons why you have not been able to raise these concerns with the person/people directly involved.
- What evidence you have to support your concern.
- If there is anyone else you feel we should speak to for further information.
Investigating a Concern
We take all allegations raised under this policy seriously. Once your report is received, you will be contacted by a member of our team for further information.
Initially, the chair of Renewal’s Safeguarding Sub-Committee will review the information received, together with the Human Resources & Safeguarding Manager from Renewal’s staff team (referred to as the ‘Renewal Team’ from here on).
The following steps will then be taken:
A review of your concern will be carried out and where appropriate, a thorough and confidential investigation with be undertaken without delay, drawing on support from other areas of Renewal or externally, where necessary.
The Renewal team will review your letter and make one of the following three decisions [within the corresponding time scale]:
1. No further action
The information provided does not indicate a serious moral, legal, financial or theological issue.
In this case the panel will write back to you to confirm why your request does not meet the criteria and what other action you could consider taking.
The information provided does indicate that an eligible concern may have arisen and requires further investigation. The panel will appoint a member of the panel to complete an investigation and gather further evidence: this may involve asking to meet with you to discuss or asking you to provide any further information you may have.
Once the investigation has been completed, the panel will review the information made available to them and decide on an outcome. If it is found that a leader or staff member of Renewal has behaved in a way that has compromised their moral, legal, financial or theological integrity, this will be reported to elders and trustees and their line manager for a disciplinary process to be considered.
3. Report onwards
The information provided shows that clear legal breach has occurred and this requires reporting to the police or other authorities.
If other authorities have a clear statutory duty to investigate then they will be contacted first and Renewal will put any internal investigation on hold until the outcome of an external investigation is made known. We will provide all necessary assistance to them in any subsequent investigations and prosecutions.
This will be reported to the elders and trustees and the individual’s line manager immediately for any disciplinary or suspension process to be considered during the course of, and following the outcome from, any external investigation.
The nature of any investigation will depend on the circumstances of the case and we may need you to provide a written statement and/or comment on any evidence obtained as part of the investigation process.
You will be informed of the likely timescale of the investigation.
Once the Renewal Team and External Investigator have completed the investigation, the findings will be presented to the Elders, Trustees who will make a decision in relation to the outcome and outline the necessary next steps. If the concern relates to an elder or trustee, then they will be excluded from receiving the report.
You will be notified of the outcome, although sometimes the need for confidentiality may prevent you being given specific details of the investigation or any action taken as a result.
Appealing the Decision
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the concern, you may request an appeal in writing. In your letter please state clearly:
- Why you feel the decision the panel have come to is incorrect and on what basis
- Any further information or evidence you have to support your appeal
The Renewal Team will then hand your letters plus all and any note from the investigation to a a full governance meeting of all Renewal Elders and Trustees. Their decision will be final.
If you want to raise your concern confidentially, we will aim to maintain confidentiality, as far as possible. However, this cannot always be guaranteed, for example when you need to make a statement or if the case becomes external. If it is necessary for us to reveal your identity, we will discuss this with you.
We do not encourage concerns to be raised anonymously. Proper investigation may be more difficult or impossible if we cannot obtain further information from you. It is also more difficult to establish whether any allegations are credible.
You should treat any information about the investigation as confidential.
This policy may be read alongside:
- Safeguarding Policy
- Disclosure in the Public Interest (whistle blowing) (Staff Handbook)
- Disciplinary (Staff Handbook)
- Grievance (Staff Handbook)