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Safeguarding Training Review – NBSCCC


Review – Helen Buckley (TCD)

The aim of the review was to identify the benefits of the existing programmes and whether any of them could meet the terms of the Standards identified in “Safeguarding Children“.

The programmes reviewed by Helen Buckley from Trinity College, Dublin included:

  • Volunteer Development Association (VDA) Training Programme used by HSE Advice and Information Officers who provide training for voluntary and community organisations in the Republic.
  • The Inter-diocesan Training Programme, which is adapted from the VDA programme and delivered by a group of trainers employed by the programme.
  • A programme devised by the Diocese of Down and Connor, which consists of information sessions for parishioners.


Click on link for full details of the review – Safeguarding Training Review.

In summary the findings indicate many positive aspects of the current training programmes, however, they also indicate deficits, with significant revisions required for the all existing programmes and providers of training to fulfill, to ensure they meet the criteria required to deliver on the standards set out in “Safeguarding Children.

In addition, from the National Board’s perspective, the absence of a single set of training materials, delivered consistently across Dioceses, Congregations and Missionary Institutes, undermines one of the fundamental aims of the Board’s intention, which is to achieve a uniform standard of best practice in safeguarding children. In order to realize this aim, the Board needs to be confidant that the training to support “Safeguarding Children” is coherent, effective and delivered consistently across all parts of the Church.

In order to do this, Helen Buckley recommends the development of a new suite of training programmes, to be delivered to staff and volunteers at different levels in church organisations. She suggests that safeguarding training should not be an expensive business and economies can be achieved by developing programmes that are coordinated and accredited centrally. She advocates central co-ordination and oversight of training alongside other advisory functions in relation to safeguarding policies and believes this naturally fits with the functions of the National Office.


In light of the findings of Dr Buckley’s review, and the pending introduction of “Safeguarding Children” Standards and Guidance, it is appropriate to centralize and standardize the development of training material, and training programmes. In order to do this, it is proposed that the Board commissions a full training programme, tailored to the needs of “Safeguarding Children”. To support this proposal, a draft specification has been developed, (see attached) which sets out the requirements of the National Board in relation to training, which includes:

  • The creation of a menu of good quality safeguarding training materials which are easily accessed and understood by a wide audience within the Church. The materials will support and reflect the standards contained in “Safeguarding Children” Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland.
  • An Audit of training needs and development of programme to meet these needs.
  • The delivery of training to trainers for cascade training to clergy, students, staff, volunteers, missionaries and seminarians
  • The delivery of training to key personnel in the Church such as Bishops, Congregational Leaders, Officers and members of the National Board for Safeguarding Children in relation to their roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children in the Church.

Conclusion and Recommendations

“Safeguarding Children”, Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, marks a new departure in progressing best practice in all aspects of safeguarding children. It is important to support the introduction and delivery of the guidance material by appropriate training which is co-ordinated and monitored centrally. To this end, it is recommended that the National Board, through the office of the Chief Executive, takes control of this function.

The Board members are requested to consider the contents of this paper, with accompanying reports from Dr Helen Buckley, and specification for tender to provide training, and agree the following action:

  1.  Endorse the findings of Dr Helen Buckley’s review of Training.
  2. Support the proposal for the National Office to co-ordinate the development and delivery of training materials and programmes to accompany “Safeguarding Children”, Standards and Guidance.
  3. Issue the specification for Tender, subject to insertion of appropriate timeframes and costings.