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Duty to “have due regard” to safeguarding

An explanatory note of what the legal duty to “have due regard” on matters relating to safeguarding has been issued by the Church of England.


It is a legal duty of all Clergy, Readers and Lay Workers, Churchwardens and Parochial Church Councils to “have due regard to guidance issued by the House of Bishops on matters relating to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults” (section 5 of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016).

In its investigation report (Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball (May 2019)), the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse considered that the requirement to “have due regard”, while acceptable as a legal term, was misunderstood by many.

The Inquiry recommended that this phrase be amended and work is being carried out to do that.  In the meantime, the Legal Office of the National Church Institutions, in consultation with the National Safeguarding Team, has prepared an explanatory note which is available to download here.

This guidance sheet should be discussed and minuted by all PCCs.

The Diocesan Safeguarding Lead is the Rt Revd Ian Bishop, Bishop of Thetford