The Parochial Church Council (PCC) is our church’s governing body and also the board of trustees which oversees the church’s charitable works and money. It carries out its work in an open and transparent basis while ensuring it complies fully with its legal, spiritual and moral responsibilities. As such, it sets out its approach to a number of essential areas in a series of regularly reviewed policies, which are set out below.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 16 September 2021
In accordance with the Church of England Safeguarding Policy our church is committed to:
Promoting a safer environment and culture.
Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the church.
Responding promptly to every safeguarding concern or allegation.
Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons.
Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons.
Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others.
The Parish will:
Create a safe and caring place for all.
Have a named Parish Safeguarding Officer (PSO) to work with the incumbent and the PCC to implement policy and procedures.
Safely recruit, train and support all those with any responsibility for children, young people and adults to have the confidence and skills to recognise and respond to abuse.
Ensure that there is appropriate insurance cover for all activities involving children and adults undertaken in the name of the parish.
Display in church premises and on the front page of the parish website the details of who to contact if there are safeguarding concerns or support needs.
Listen to and take seriously all those who disclose abuse.
Take steps to protect children and adults when a safeguarding concern of any kind arises, following House of Bishops guidance, including notifying the Diocesan Safeguarding Team and statutory agencies immediately.
Offer support to victims/survivors of abuse regardless of the type of abuse, when or where it occurred.
Care for and monitor any member of the church community who may pose a risk to children and adults whilst maintaining appropriate confidentiality and the safety of all parties.
Ensure that health and safety policy, procedures and risk assessments are in place and that these are reviewed annually.
Inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Team if we use an alternative DBS Umbrella Body to APCS and if we receive any DBS Disclosures that contain information.
Review the implementation of the Safeguarding Policy, Procedures and Practices at least annually.
Each person who works within this church community will agree to abide by this policy and the guidelines established by this church.
This church appoints Mr Roger Grant as the Parish Safeguarding Officer.
Incumbent: Rev Keith Johnson
Churchwardens: Mrs Julia Grant, Mr Frank Hawkins
Date: 16 September 2021
Our Safeguarding Officer is:
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 20th January 2022. It should be read in conjunction with the Health & Safety Local Organisation & Arrangements Document (LOAD), which sets out who is responsible for specific actions and the detail of what we are going to do in practice to achieve the aims set out in this Statement. Together these documents form our Health & Safety Policy.
As a church we understand that we owe a duty of care to ensure the safety of those who visit or use our church and associated grounds and buildings. We also seek to protect those people that work at the church, including volunteers and contractors, and we have a legal obligation to comply with applicable health and safety laws.
Our overarching objective is to ensure that:
so far as is reasonably practicable, our activities are carried out safely and do not pose a risk to the health of our workers, congregation, visitors and others who may use the church, churchyard or any other building we are responsible for;
our activities are carried out in accordance with good practice and that, where they apply, we always comply with any relevant statutory provisions.
The PCC accepts it has overall responsibility for achieving this objective and will ensure that adequate resources are made available to achieve it and that our decisions have due regard for it.
It is the duty of all of those who work in the church, to exercise personal responsibility for their own safety and that of others. We seek to ensure that everyone involved with the church plays their part in the implementation of this Policy. To help achieve this, the PCC seeks to create a culture of respect and responsibility amongst its committee members and those who work on its behalf such that, together, we strive to meet the following 3 aims every day:
Zero incidents: Ensure that the church remains an incident-free environment that prevents injuries and illnesses by mitigating risk.
Zero harm: Promote the wellbeing of others through safeguarding, pastoral care and engagement.
Zero compromise: Empower people to feel that they can challenge any unsafe conditions, acts or disrespectful actions.
We will keep health and safety matters under review at appropriate intervals. We will monitor the effectiveness of the Policy, amending it where it is no longer valid or needs enhancing.
This Policy will be brought to the attention of all of those who work in the church (including volunteers and contractors). Furthermore, a copy of it shall be put on display at the Church and kept on our electronic ‘Sharepoint site’ (which can be accessed via the website), such that it can be made available to others on request.
The document was approved at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 20th January 2022. This document should be read in conjunction with our Statement of Health & Safety (H&S) Policy and our Environment Policy.
Organisation & Responsibilities
The Parochial Church Council (PCC), as governing body, has overall responsibility for implementing our policies. They will ensure that:
The standards set out in the policies are implemented and maintained;
Where necessary, specialist health & safety or environmental assistance is obtained;
Any hazards/unsafe acts are reported and where appropriate investigated, and that they are rectified/dealt with as soon as practicable;
Only competent persons will be put to work for matters of construction, repairs, modifications, inspections and testing;
Any accidents and significant near miss incidents are investigated, recorded and, if necessary, reported to the relevant enforcing authority (usually the HSE) in a timely manner;
Relevant documents and records, such as Health & Safety risk assessments are in place and retained;
They keep up to date on health and safety matters relevant to the Church;
They set a personal example on matters of health and safety.
The Churchwardens have day-to-day responsibility for implementing our Health & Safety Policy and our Environment Policy. So far as is reasonably practical, they will ensure that:
All workers are aware of their safety, health responsibilities including the provision of adequate information, training and where necessary, supervision, for those that need it;
In the role of controller of premises, they do not endanger those who work within the Church buildings, churchyard and carpark including the provision of safe access and egress;
Adequate precautions are taken (as set out in this document and related risk assessments) such that provisions for the purpose of work are safe including that:
people have access to personnel protection equipment (where required); and
that there is a safe means of handling, using, storing work related substances and equipment;
Adequate provision of welfare facilities for those at work;
Any hazards/unsafe acts are rectified/dealt with as soon as practicable;
Where hazards cannot be rectified satisfactorily in the short term, interim measures are put in place to prevent danger;
All accidents and significant near miss incidents are reported in-line with the requirements of this document;
Advice is sought where clarification is necessary on the implementation of this document;
They set a personal example on matters of health and safety.
All workers (including volunteers and contractors) have a responsibility to cooperate in the implementation of the H&S Policy and to take reasonable care of themselves and others while on church business or premises. They will ensure that they:
Read the policies and this document and understand what is required of them (seeking clarity from the churchwardens where there is doubt);
Complete their work taking any necessary precautions to protect themselves and others;
Comply with the law and any safety rules, operating instructions and other procedures related to their work;
Report any hazard, defect or damage so that this might be dealt with effectively;
Warn any fellow workers of known hazards;
Attend any briefings or training required to enable them to carry out their duties safely;
Do not undertake any construction, repair, modification, inspection or test unless they are competent to do so;
Report any accident or significant near miss to a churchwarden or other member of the PCC;
Do not misuse anything that has been provided for the purpose of ensuring the health and safety of people (workers and/or visitors);
Co-operate with churchwardens, Responsible Persons (identified in this document) or the PCC on matters of health and safety.
H&S Organisational Structure
Schedule of Responsible Persons and First Aid & Accident Provisions
Accountable: Churchwarden 1
Bell Ringing & Tower
First Aid (nominated First Aider)
Fire & Electricity
Accountable: Churchwarden 2*
Cleaning & Security
*where role is not fulfilled by another, the Responsible Person defaults to the Churchwarden
First Aid & Accident Reporting
In addition to the nominated First Aider above, the following First Aiders have made themselves known to the PCC in connection with this Church:
Contact No. (optional)
Locations of First Aid boxes are as follows (look for the Green/White First Aid signs):
Back of church on shelves adjacent to the Vestry
Back of kitchen adjacent to sink
The Accident Book is located in the Vestry at the back of church.
Definition of responsibilities
To support the Churchwardens in the effective discharge of their accountability (to ensure we comply with the Policy), Responsible Persons are appointed.
These persons will take ownership of matters of Health and Safety for their respective areas of responsibility by:
creating and keeping up to date such risk assessments as are required for their area of responsibility (building on those existing and identified in the Organisational Structure above);
taking the necessary steps to carry out the operations and affairs of the church in a safe, healthy and respectful manner;
ensuring that the precautions and risk controls identified within the risk assessments are in place;
ensuring that employees, volunteers and contractors working in their area of responsibility, are briefed on the hazards and risks that remain;
ensuring that there is a safe system of work (SSOW) in place for any high-risk activities and that personnel involved in such activity are competent.
Role of the H&S Representative
There is no one individual that is accountable for matters of health and safety on the PCC. The PCC acts as a Body Corporate, with a H&S Representative who is responsible for the following:
Taking the lead on Policy review and on carrying out annual audit and inspections to check that it is being complied with on behalf of the PCC;
Acting as key contact for any H&S concerns raised by PCC or the congregation;
Supporting responsible persons in their duties, including in respect of creating and maintaining risk assessments;
Providing guidance for an incident investigation and advising on how lessons might be learned and implemented following incidents;
Advise on the need to seek external advice and expertise.
This section sets out general details of what will be done in practice to achieve the aims & objectives of our policies and to ensure that the responsibilities set out above can be discharged.
We will complete and keep up to date risk assessments to identify what we need to do and provide to comply with health & safety law and other legislation relating to the environment.
We will record our findings and ensure that adequate and appropriate provisions are put in place. We will seek to follow good practice with regard to precautions and risk controls we put in place.
We will review and revise these where we consider that they are no longer valid.
Information and Training
We will provide any necessary information and briefings or specific training for our workers involved in hazardous activities, in a timely manner.
We will keep a record of what is provided.
We will also give relevant information to contractors and self-employed people who may need this to complete their work safely.
We will appoint first aiders as we consider appropriate and provide adequate first aid facilities including – as a minimum – a suitably stocked first aid box and a person who will take charge of the first aid arrangements (the nominated First Aider).
We will also provide appropriate signage to help people to identify the first aid provisions.
Accident & Significant Near Miss Reporting
We will keep an accident book and record details therein. Entries will be archived appropriately including after any investigation.
All accidents or significant near misses must be notified to the PCC. A significant near miss is an incident which had the potential to cause a significant injury or death, and includes any dangerous occurrence as defined under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
We will report to the relevant enforcing authority (usually the HSE) and keep records of certain accidents to employees, volunteers and members of the public in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
We will make periodic checks to ensure that our precautions remain effective and adequate. We will also ensure that any work equipment, electrical equipment and church utilities are inspected in accordance with statutory requirements, to ensure that they remain safe.
Where appropriate, we will keep records of the checks we make.
Monitoring of any temporary works or hired lifting equipment shall be the responsibility of the external organisation providing it.
If we engage contractors, we make sure that they have their own health & safety policy and Public and Employers Liability Insurance by asking to see copies of the relevant documents.
Our Health and Safety Risk Assessments, records and other documents such as our Policies are held electronically on the Church Sharepoint site.
This section is an overview of the specific risks identified in relation to health and safety at our Church. It is not the intention of this section to take the place of risk assessments, which have been prepared separately.
In this section, a hazard is something that could cause harm to our people, such as chemicals, electricity and working at height. A risk is the chance – however large or small – that a hazard could cause harm and takes account of the consequence should it occur.
Access & Egress
Where we anticipate busy services or events, we will take measures to manage the safe use of the carpark. We will prohibit the reversing of vehicles down the church footpath/driveway (only upwards) except where a specific banksman is in place. We will endeavour to avoid using the footpath/driveway for vehicles and deliveries during busy periods.
We will provide information and signage on the locations of exits.
Where we make a wheelchair available to assist those in need to gain access to the church, we will ensure that people providing such assistance understand how to use it safely, with particular reference to the sloped footpath/driveway.
Since removal of asbestos in the basement, the church is now free from the presence of asbestos.
We will ensure that adequate precautions are in place to protect bellringers and others who may enter the ringing room and bell chamber. This will include any emergency evacuation procedure, a safe means of heating, the provision of fire extinguishers, the provision of emergency lighting, and the briefing of safety procedures to visiting bellringers.
We will ensure that the fabric of our buildings is regularly inspected to make sure it is safe. Defects will be repaired as soon as is practicable bearing in mind that a faculty may be required. Where necessary, temporary measures will be taken to prevent danger until permanent repairs can be made.
We will ensure that boundary walls and gates are kept in good repair. We will ensure that any trees of specific concern are inspected by a competent person and have any necessary work carried out to make them safe. Headstones, tombs and monuments will be checked regularly to ensure they are in a safe condition.
We will carry out grounds maintenance in accordance with Canon F13, having due regard for the biodiversity within it. Appropriate safety measures will be put in place for mowing, strimming, hedge-trimming and other associated activities.
Where construction, demolition, maintenance, refurbishment and restoration work is planned for our church, we will identify what we need to do to ensure the safety of all those concerned before work starts and engage with competent contractors to carry out work. We will determine if we have any responsibilities under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and comply with these if necessary, appointing a competent representative or agent to ensure our Client duties are effectively discharged.
We will comply with the latest government and Church of England guidance and provide measures such as sanitiser and encouraging people to wear face masks, in accordance with our assessment of the risk at the time.
Display Screen Equipment (DSE)
Where our workers regularly use computers daily in connection with church operations, for continuous periods of an hour or more, we will provide information on how to set up their workstation and assist with the provision of reasonable measures upon request, to help avoid injury.
We will ensure that any electrical system, fixed machine and portable appliances are maintained so as to prevent danger, including annual check of the electrical system and PAT testing from time to time. Any defective equipment will not be used until it is repaired or replaced. We will keep records of the checks made where appropriate.
Where we intend to hold large services or events, we will identify any additional precautions that are necessary and implement these.
We will complete a specific risk assessment to ensure there are adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to prevent, detect and provide safe egress in the event of a fire, and thus minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.
We will record our findings and implement any necessary precautions and risk controls. We will review and revise these where we consider that they are no longer valid.
We will employ a competent contractor to carry out work, whose responsibility, amongst others, will be to ensure that safe digging practices are employed, and precautions are taken to safeguard the public against falling into open excavations.
We will ensure that any oil or gas heating system is suitably maintained and checked annually by a competent person. Any defects found will be corrected in a timely manner and we will keep records of the checks made.
We will ensure that adequate precautions and risk controls are in place in relation to the basement, which we have classified as a Confined Space due to the potential for the presence of carbon monoxide and low oxygen in the atmosphere, and relatively poor access & egress.
We only use domestic cleaning or horticultural products, fuels and lubricants. We will ensure that these are stored, used and disposed of in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions taking, any necessary precautions that are specified. We will lock away substances that could cause harm if misused.
Where we have such equipment on site, it shall be the responsibly of the external organisation providing it to ensure that it is properly maintained and thoroughly examined periodically by a competent person.
We will identify circumstances where our workers could be put at risk of muscular-skeletal injury and provide advice where appropriate. We will avoid the need for lifting or carrying heavy objects as far as is possible. Where this is not practical, we will make use of lifting aids (such as trolleys) or other precautions including team lifting.
We will look out for each other and be alive to the potential for people around us to be suffering from poor mental health and seek to provide support through signposting to appropriate care. Where considered appropriate, we will do this in connection with our Safeguarding Policy.
Where we continue to store large quantities of oil for heating purposes, we will take adequate precautions to ensure that oil cannot leak into the ground, basement or any water course. This includes storing the oil in a double skinned tank, deliveries by a competent organisation and regular checks.
Preparation of Food & Drink
We will ensure that on those occasions when we prepare or provide food and drink for the public (congregation or visitors), we use a clean and disinfected work surface, utensils and equipment and comply with food hygiene laws. We will store food and drink in such a way as to avoid contamination, providing hand-washing facilities and suitable arrangements for the disposal of waste.
Where people provide food prepared in their own premises, we will request that people apply the same principles as the above.
Whilst this is subject to a separate Policy, we will follow statute, guidance and recognised good practice, in particular the Parish Safeguarding Handbook.
Slips and Trips
We will implement suitable precautions to prevent slips or trips, taking account of any difficulty the frail, elderly or disabled may have in negotiating access. We will make periodic checks to ensure that floors, coverings, steps and pathways remain in good condition, free from obstruction and that any precautions (such as, handrails or lighting) remain adequate. We will correct any defects identified, keeping records of the checks we make. We will have arrangements in place to manage pathways in winter weather.
We will provide suitable and sufficient welfare facilities for our workers including provision of a place to prepare food or hot drink with potable drinking water, toilets, as well as adequate lighting and heating.
Working at Height
Where possible we will try and avoid the need for work at height. Where this is not practicable, we will ensure that any work is properly planned to identify suitable precautions. We will make sure that these are implemented, including the provision of any training and checks to ensure the safety of any equipment used. Those using ladders will be requested to have a second person to assist them.
Any work equipment (including any hand tools) we provide will be suitable, in good condition and properly maintained. Where necessary, some equipment (such as, ladders) will be regularly checked to make sure they are safe. Where required, we will keep records of any checks we make.
Where people provide their own tools, we will request that people apply the same principles as the above and take measures to do checks prior to their use, where we suspect equipment may not be suitable.
We will identify circumstances where our workers are at work alone and implement suitable precautions to ensure their safety. Where people are alone on the premises, we will encourage them to keep a phone on them and have the numbers of Churchwardens and Clergy readily available for their use if required.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 30th November 2021. It should be read in conjunction with the Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Local Organisation & Arrangements Document (LOAD).
As a church we understand that our buildings and grounds are part of the natural environment and our community’s heritage. We seek to carry out our actions in a manner that protects, and where possible enhances, the environment, local biodiversity and the heritage of our buildings, to ensure that we continue to serve our community responsibly.
Our church and its grounds are nestled in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty known as The Chilterns and are within the grounds of Hughenden National Trust. Although a substantial amount of the original 1100’s church has been rebuilt, it remains a Grade II* listed building and has a rich history that is part of our local heritage. There is a need to provide an environment within the church that is suitable for meditation and worship. We have the use of the now fully restored Church House within the grounds, which was formerly a home for monks and a priory. The church is a prominent landmark within the grounds of Hughenden Manor and the recreational area known as Hughenden Park. The grounds themselves have great significance to the people who use them for reflection and restoration and to those who visit loved ones who are buried there. Furthermore, there is an ancient Yew Tree and many hedges and areas of meadow, which are home to a variety of biodiversity.
Thus, our overarching environmental objective is to be a socially responsible and sustainable church for future generations by ensuring that:
so far as is reasonably practicable, we limit our impact on the local environment and its biodiversity;
we invest in the upkeep of our churchyard and buildings;
we contribute to the preservation of our world by seeking to minimise waste & carbon emissions and maximise re-use & recycling;
we seek out opportunities to engage with our community and other stakeholders to use and enjoy the church;
our activities are carried out in accordance with good practice and that, where they apply, we always comply with any relevant statutory provisions.
The PCC accepts it has overall responsibility for achieving this objective and will ensure that adequate resources are made available to achieve it and that our decisions have due regard for it. We expect each employee, volunteer and contractor to exercise personal responsibility for the environment and we seek to ensure that everyone involved with the church plays his or her part in the implementation of this policy. We will keep environmental matters under review at appropriate intervals. We will monitor the effectiveness of the policy, amending it where we believe it is no longer valid.
This policy will be brought to the attention of all employees, volunteers and contractors. Furthermore a copy of it, and the associated LOAD, shall be put on display at the Church and kept on our electronic ‘Sharepoint site’ (which can be accessed via the website), such that it can be made available to others on request.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 16th November 2021.
Complaints about how our church discharges its safeguarding responsibilities should be addressed to our parish safeguarding officer or to vicar.
Complaints other than Safeguarding issues should be directed to the vicar.
Parish Safeguarding Officer
Mr Roger Grant
Rev Keith Johnson
Complaints about the incumbent (our vicar) or the parish safeguarding officer should be addressed to the area bishop or archdeacon.
Bishop of Buckingham
Rt Rev Alan Wilson
Ven Guy Elsmore
Concerns which someone feels they cannot raise through these channels can be directed to the diocesan bishop or, for safeguarding issues, to the diocesan safeguarding adviser with a request that the individual’s identity is withheld from those in our parish.
Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft
Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
Those who raise issues under this provision must have a reasonable belief that it is well founded. However, appropriate action will be taken if a malicious allegation is made.
It should be understood that the church cannot act on anonymous allegations or take formal action in the absence of reasonably substantiated concerns. That stated, if an investigation is required, confidentiality will be maintained to the extent that this is appropriate and practical in the circumstances.
The person raising complaints or concerns will be informed of the outcome subject to the normal rules on confidentiality of personal information.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 17th November 2020.
The PCC is the body that oversees and controls the church’s money. The members of the PCC, who are also the trustees of the church as a charity, are stewards of the funds entrusted to them. They will strive for absolute transparency and accountability at all times in the management and handling of church finances.
All Christians are called to be generous according to their means, regular givers and members of our congregation are encouraged to give to their local church, to help keep their heart and prayers rooted with their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Prayer for God’s wisdom is at the heart of our financial decisions, in particular in finding income to meet the church’s needs, in determining the budgets for those needs and in handling our finances.
The annual setting of budgets will be based on the vision for the church and the priorities that are determined from that, in addition to considering the views of PCC members and working group leaders. The financial objective should be to operate annual expenditure within income, with any excess transferred to the PCC’s reserves.
This policy, and compliance with it, will be reviewed every two years or sooner if an amendment is required.
The Treasurer will be appointed in accordance with the Parish Representation Rules.
The PCC’s Standing Committee, which is appointed in accordance with the Parish Representation Rules, will have day-to-day oversight of financial matters. This includes a remit to develop a report on the current financial position for presentation at each PCC meeting.
An Assistant Treasurer will be appointed to collate congregation collections, pay cash into the bank, receive payments for funerals / weddings (unless paid by bank transfer) and provide records of such occurrences to the Treasurer.
Financial year. The church’s financial year runs from 1st January to 31st December. The Treasurer and Standing Committee will prepare a proposed annual budget for the PCC to review and approve no later than the final PCC meeting of the year.
Annual financial statements. After the end of the financial year, the accounts for that year will be finalised and audited. The financial statements and auditor’s report will be presented to the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, which usually takes place in April. Rule M5(1) of the Parish Representation Rules provides further detail of the annual reporting requirements.
Regular financial updates. At each PCC meeting, the Treasurer should present an Income & Expenditure report along with their summary of the financial year to date and projected forecast.
Collections at services. Collections are made during services and donors are encouraged to use the gift aid envelopes if their personal circumstances allow. Regular donors are requested to set up bank standing orders to ease the administrative burden of their giving.
Cash donations. The sidespersons must count and record the money, before storing it in the safe. The Assistant Treasurer must bank the money as soon as possible, certainly within 7 days of the donation. All money must be paid into the bank; none should be used to pay, or part pay, expenses. Regarding recording:
The sidespersons must:
Record what is given on which day;
Retain any gift aid envelopes, for the assistant treasurer to open and record;
Count the money and sign the record.
Cash sheets must be agreed with the bank paying in slips; and
Cash sheets and paying in slips must be retained, along with the other accounting records, for 7 years.
Electronic giving. The church has the ability to receive debit/credit card donations, for preset amounts using the in-church electronic donations box or for any amount through the Virgin Money Giving portal, via the church website.
Use of donations. Money will be used for general funds, unless specified at the time of donation. Where the donation is made for a specific purpose, the record should state that purpose and the money should only be used for such.
Confidentiality. Only the Treasurer shall have access to donors’ giving details.
Retiring or special offerings. At the vicar’s discretion, retiring or special offerings may be taken at funerals, in response to national or international appeals, for visiting speakers, etc. In such cases, these are separate to church funds: the church will not retain any of the money.
Supporting staff. The organist, verger and administrator are self-employed. Payments for services to individuals who are not on the church’s payroll should be carefully considered to ensure that the church does not become liable for a PAYE or national insurance liability.
Expenses. People conducting business on behalf of the church may claim expenses for costs incurred, such as travel or training; where outside of the normal, they must be agreed in advance. The vicar’s expenses signed off must be reviewed and approved by a churchwarden; others’ expenses reviewed and approved by vicar and a churchwarden. Any expenses paid to or on behalf of a trustee or a connected person must meet the following criteria, to help ensure there is complete accountability and that the trustees are seen not to have obtained an inappropriate benefit:
It is supported by documentation for all elements of the expense, which should be ‘third party’ documentation wherever possible;
Explanation of the purpose of the expenditure is detailed including who was involved (e.g. if a group is travelling, details of who is in the party – especially if there are close relatives of the trustee);
The payment should be authorised by a responsible official other than the trustee in question; and
No cheque should be signed or payment authorised by that particular trustee.
Prior approval. Ordinarily, no church money should be spent without prior approval, whether budgeted for in the annual budget or by approval of the PCC. The Standing Committee may approve emergency payments of up to £2,000.
Discretionary or hardship support. Any requests for assistance with someone’s basic needs will be considered jointly by the vicar (or associate minister, if the vicar is unavailable) and at least one churchwarden. Basic needs could include: accommodation costs (mortgage or rent), utility bills (electricity, gas, water or council tax), transportation to or from a place of employment, children’s school expenses or funeral expenses. Any support would only be provided on a short-term, interim basis and would be limited to £1,000. Needs that may not be met include, but are not limited to: needs of individuals who are wanted by the police or for paying fines as a result of breaking the law, penalties relating to late payments or irresponsible actions, business ventures or business debts, or gambling debts.
Prevention of fraud
Regular review of records. At each Standing Committee meeting, the Committee must review the transaction log and bank account reconciliation sheet(s) for all transactions since the last meeting.
Preferences. Payment by bank transfer should be used wherever possible. Large cash payments should be avoided.
Cheques. Where payment by cheque is necessary:
No cheques should be signed in blank, i.e. without all details being completed prior to being signed.
Persons authorised to sign cheques should ask to see supporting evidence (eg invoices, till receipts etc.) which they should initial before signing the cheque. The signatory should be satisfied that the proposed payment is a valid expense of the charity.
Cheque books should be securely kept preferably locked away when not in use, so that none is accessible by any but those that have signing authority.
All cheque stubs should be completed with the name of the payee and also a cross reference to a document which clearly explains the purpose of the payment.
The accounting records of the bank accounts should contain the details of not only the purpose of the cheque but also the payee details, the date issued and the cheque number. Cheques should not be paid to ‘cash’ unless essential (see below in relation to cash payments).
Documentation. Documentation for payments must be held in all cases. Wherever possible, third party documentary evidence of the expense must be held (e.g. a supplier invoice) which has clear internal authorisation for the payment recorded on it plus, if paid by cheque, a reference to the cheque number of the cheque used to make payment. Where third party documentation is not available (such as ‘gift’ payments), an internal record must be made detailing the reason for the payment. The form should then be ‘receipted’ by the individual receiving the funds signing the form to confirm their receipt of the monies. All such documentation must be stored in a clear order and retained for 7 years.
Information security. Passwords and anti-virus software must be used on any computer system processing the church’s financial information. Passwords must be securely stored and shared with an authorised person, such as an auditor, only if absolutely necessary. Regular back-ups of the data should be taken and securely stored.
Overview. The church has a main bank account for ‘running income and expenditure’, a deposit account and an account to receive income via the electronic donations system. Any changes to bank accounts, such as changes of signatories, requires an approved PCC resolution. Any new bank accounts must be in the name of the PCC and not in the name of one of the trustees, staff or volunteers.
Regular reconciliation. Each bank account held must have its income and expenditure recorded in accounting records, with that information reconciled to the bank statements monthly.
Signatories. Two of the following must countersign any cheque payments:
Main account and electronic donations account: Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Vicar, Churchwardens, Chair of the Standing Committee.
Deposit account: Vicar, Chair of the Standing Committee, Churchwarden
Internal funds. The Treasurer must maintain separate internal funds to segregate money for ‘reserved’ purposes. These are: organ, financial inclusivity (see below), buildings & amenities, altar furnishings.
Considerations for trustees
Trustees should be aware that under UK charity law and principles, remuneration and benefits to trustees are only permitted in very narrow circumstances. In most cases, specific legal authority is needed. “Benefit” includes any property, goods, or services which have a monetary value. This principle does not forbid the reimbursement of reasonable out of pocket expenses, nor expenses incurred as a necessary part of fulfilling the trustees functions in the charity. ‘Expenses’ does not include a payment to a person for their time in acting as a trustee.
In this context the rules apply not only to the trustees themselves but also their spouses, close relatives, business partners or sometimes others closely connected to them or their businesses.
Particular situations that can arise in churches where care is required:
Where a trustee or their business provides a service to the church.
Where the spouses or children of trustees are employed or considered for employment or sponsorship by the church.
Where gifts in recognition of personal esteem, or additional financial support are given to the church to give to a trustee.
The Charity Commission’s guide CC11 “Payment of Charity Trustees” should be read by all trustees so that amounts are not paid which inadvertently breach these principles.
Gift Days. Gift Days can be useful means of making up a revenue deficit or to raise money for specific causes. The PCC will decide annually if it wishes to hold a Gift Day and what it wants to allocate the money to. Of note is that if the Gift Day is focussed on raising money for external charities, the church cannot claim the gift aid on the money donated.
Stewardship. Each year, the PCC will decide if it wishes to include a place in the church’s programme to highlight Christian Stewardship and, in particular, ask congregation members to review their giving in the light of budgets.
Mission. The Mission Support Group will oversee the allocation of financial support to external causes, in accordance with the annual budget as agreed by the PCC.
Hiring out of rooms or facilities. The Standing Committee will determine a fee structure for the hiring out of Church House and other facilities, and present that to the PCC for endorsement.
Church Cottage. Church Cottage is owned by a separate trust which manages its tenancy
Financial inclusivity. The church will hold a fund to enable all of the congregation, whatever their economic position, to attend more expensive events, such as a church weekend away. Congregation members should ask the vicar or event organiser if they would like to receive such support.
Tax legislation.The church must comply with relevant legislation relating to VAT, PAYE, national insurance, National Living Wage and the provision of competent, external, financial advice.
Insurance. The PCC must hold a comprehensive insurance policy that covers church and Church House activities; the Church Wardens will be responsible for this.
Contractors and settling of invoices. Where the church has the need to appoint an external contractor, three quotations should be received prior to a contract being agreed. The church should pay invoices promptly, generally within 10 working days, as a sign of Christian witness to suppliers.
Audit and compliance. An honorary auditor should be sought and appointed, to enable the church to comply with all legal requirements for submission of data, such as by the Charity Commission, HMRC, Oxford Diocese, etc.
External funding. Should the PCC foresee the need to seek external funding for a major project, it will determine at the outset whether it wishes to seek money from external sources such as trusts, members of the local community, visitors, the National Lottery, etc.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 19th September 2019.
This policy applies to all members of the PCC, the Standing Committee and any other committees or working parties set up by the PCC.
A conflict of interest is any situation in which a member’s personal interests or loyalties could prevent, or could be seen to prevent, the member from making a decision only in the best interests of the PCC. Such a situation may arise either:
where there is a potential financial benefit to a member, whether directly or indirectly through a connected person (such as a close family member or business partner);
where a member’s duty to the PCC may compete with a duty of loyalty he or she owes to another organization or person (eg by virtue of being a trustee or committee member of a body which has an interest in the matter).
It is desirable that any conflicts of interest are declared to the Chair of the meeting as soon as the agenda is circulated. They must also be declared at the meeting when the relevant agenda item is reached.
Where a conflict of interest arises in connection with a personal benefit, the member concerned must withdraw from the meeting and not take part in any discussions relating to it.
Where a conflict of loyalty arises, the PCC will consider what level of participation, if any, is acceptable on the part of the conflicted member, having regard to the duty to act in the best interests of the PCC. However, the normal expectation will be that the conflicted member should withdraw from the meeting during discussion of the item of business in question.
A member need not withdraw from a meeting if his or her interest (whether financial or non-financial) is common to a group of persons and is neither (i) significant nor (ii) substantially greater than the interests of other members of that group.
The existence of a conflict of interest must be recorded in the minutes, together with the decision as to how it should be dealt with.
The following policy was agreed at the Parochial Church Council (PCC) meeting held on 30th November 2021
Purpose of this policy. This policy sets the Church’s understanding of data protection and the policies the PCC uses to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018, which encompassed the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Why the PCC needs this policy. The Data Protection Act 2018 places a responsibility on all organisations that handle personal data to protect that information. It also states that charities and other organisations must register with the Information Commissioner’s Office under various circumstances, including if they use Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for crime prevention. The specifics of the church’s use of CCTV are covered in a separate
Why the PCC collects information. The PCC may collect data on individuals for the following purposes:
Administration of financial accounts and records.
Advertising, marketing and public relations.
Officer holder, subcontractor and volunteer administration.
Administration of membership records, including the generation of the church’s Electoral Roll.
Fundraising, including the generation of Gift Aid returns to HM Revenue & Customs.
Realising the objectives of a charitable organisation or voluntary body.
How the PCC collects information. The PCC may collect personal information when individuals contact with it, such as when they:
Visit the church website.
Register their details using a paper form or via an electronic form on our website. c.Make a donation, by completion of offering envelopes or by electronic means.
Register for a course or other church event.
Communicate with the PCC, such as face-to-face or by email, letter and telephone.
Access social media platforms, such as Facebook.
What the PCC does with collected information. The PCC processes and stores information in the form of paper and computer records; its preferred method of storing personal information is in its computer database called ChurchSuite. Data security and privacy information about ChurchSuite can be found on the ChurchSuite website: https://www.churchsuite.com
The PCC complies with all aspects of data protection legislation, adhering to the eight principles of the These principles specify the legal conditions that must be satisfied in relation to obtaining, handling, processing, transportation and storage of personal data.
The PCC will not pass personal data to third parties without the explicit consent of individuals, except when permitted by law under the following exceptional circumstances:
Where the PCC is legally compelled to do so.
Where there is a duty to the public to disclose.
Where disclosure is required to protect an individual’s interest.
Where disclosure is made at an individual’s own request or with their consent.
The PCC will use a standard statement whenever personal data is collected. Individuals submitting their information on a paper or electronic forms will be required to date the form (whether in writing or by electronic date stamp) to indicate they have given their consent. If individuals provide their personal data verbally, such as in person or over the telephone, the person receiving the information will read out the statement and record the date when the individual’s consent was given. The statement for use is:
I consent that this information may be used to contact me about St Michael & All Angels Church activities, used for church administration purposes and stored in computerised or paper formats. I am aware that, in compliance with UK data protection law, the church will store my information securely and will never pass it to a third party without my explicit permission. I am aware that I can contact any of the church’s officers or administrators at any time to withdraw this consent and to ask that any information held about me is permanently destroyed.
Under UK law, children are able to give consent at age 13, which means that consent should come from the child rather than the parent/guardian from age 13 unless there are other reasons why the child does not have the capacity to consent.
The PCC will permit access to an individual’s own personal data upon request at no Such requests should be made to the Incumbent (the Vicar).
The PCC will update an individual’s information when notified, typically through the My ChurchSuite tool.
The PCC will delete all paper and electronic records about an individual when that individual, or their empowered representative, asks the PCC to do so or when the PCC no longer has a need to retain that This will apply unless that information is a legal record, such as an entry in the church’s registers, or where the information is required to support an investigation.
The PCC will do its best to ensure all people acting on its behalf are conversant with data protection legislation and practice. All people with access to personal data, other than data which individuals agree to share with the church community, will be asked to read, understand and comply with this They will be requested to do so again every 3 years or whenever there is a material change to this policy.
Individuals are able to share as much, or as little, of their personal contact information with other church members as they would like, setting that level of access using their individual ChurchSuite login.
Individuals who are church officer holders or who hold voluntary roles within the church will be asked to confirm their consent before their contact information is published or
Where individuals provide their own contact information for publication (such as on a poster, for a notice in the pew newsletter or for an article in Outlook magazine), their consent for that particular publication will be implied.
Where individuals provide their bank account details, for the purposes of receiving reimbursement for expenses paid, their consent to share that information with the PCC’s bank will be implied.
The PCC will control access to the main ChurchSuite database by:
Providing individual logins and requiring people to set their own, strong passwords.
Providing access to the various modules within the database on a “need to access” basis only; the modules containing Children’s and Giving information will have additional password controls applied. Examples of people who may need access to the main database include the Ministry Team, the PCC Administrator, members of the PCC and rota coordinators.
Controlling access via a Data Controller and other specified administrators, who will be the only people who can access and set these security parameters.
The PCC has appointed the Parish Administrator to be its Data Their role is to:
Maintain a record of who has access to which elements of personal data, including paper records.
Implement controlled access to personal data.
The PCC will appoint a Data Protection Officer whose role is to:
Review and update this policy as required, such as if the applicable data protection legislation is updated or at the direction of the PCC.
Handle and investigate any discovered, alleged or reported misuse or mishandling of personal data by the PCC.
Conduct an audit of the PCC’s personal data handling policies, procedures and practices at least once every 2 years or sooner if requested by the PCC.
All personal data held must be secured against unauthorised access and theft:
IT systems used to process information should be made as secure as possible from unauthorised access, including via the Internet, and should have anti-virus software installed that automatically installs updates as soon as they are available.
Church PCs should be password protected and are locked or logged off when individuals are away from their desk.
Paper records should be locked away when not in use.
Information about any individual that enables that individual to be identified must not be given to any person outside the Church without the express permission of the individual concerned.
Churchsuite must be used as the primary means for storing and accessing personal information, for sending of messages to the church community, for signing-up people for events, activities or groups, or for arranging rotas.
If emails must be sent and if they are being sent to multiple addressees, blind copies (using the BCC line) should be used to avoid sharing individuals’ email addresses.
Consent must be obtained from individuals before their information is put on the website or in a publication. This can be implied if someone provides their contact details for a notice or Outlook article but, if that person provides another individual’s contact information, the consent of that other individual should be checked.
Personal data must be securely deleted or destroyed when it is no longer required. As a guideline, information about a person should be archived a maximum of 18 months after not having contact with an individual and deleted 1 year after archival (or sooner if the individual requests it).
Personal data must not be accepted from another organisation without the consent of the individual concerned.
The document sets out the plan to regularly check compliance with, and to review, the policies that the Parochial Church Council (PCC) has adopted. It will be presented to the PCC annually, at their first meeting after the Annual Parochial Council Meeting.
Policy / document
Compliance check and review due by
16 September 2021
16 November 2022
Health & Safety
20 January 2022
20 January 2024
30 November 2021
30 November 2023
Health, Safety & Environment Local Organization & Arrangements
20 January 2022
20 January 2024
Complaints & Whistleblowing
16 November 2021
16 November 2023
Conflicts of Interest
30 November 2021
30 November 2023
Data Protection & Privacy
30 November 2021
30 November 2023
17 November 2020
30 March 2022