There’s a lot of voices around trying to tell churches what they “have to” do. One of the problems however is working out whether something is a “must do”, a “good to do”, or a “might do”. So how do you know what things are what?

First, the law is the only thing that provides a list of “must do” things for churches and other organisations. (See the legal requirements of church organisations here).

Second, if you have an insurance policy through a group like EA Insurance, they will tell you what you “must do” to qualify for Abuse Cover. Therefore, to be eligible for that insurance you must follow their standards and meet their requirements. An example might be; You must have a policy and procedure for dealing with suspected abuse, or you must do a reference check on everyone who works with vulnerable people. (See an example checklist here).

Third, if your church belongs to a denomination that has the authority to dictate what its member churches must do with regard to Safe Ministry Practices, then you “must do” those things. They might be things like; “Anyone who volunteers with children in any form must complete a training course within 12 months of starting”.

In general, the insurance requirements are very rigorous and churches and denominations are best off referring to their Insurer for best practice compliance, rather than create their own.