Jane Preest, our Safeguarding Officer and Jane Gray, our HR Advisor and Project Assistant provided an update regarding Safeguarding matters and the progress against action plan arising from the last Safeguarding audit, including safeguarding training for PCC members and St James’s pastoral visitors, and completion of DBS checks for volunteers as appropriate.
The PCC reviewed and approved updated Staff Appraisal Guidelines and the Staff Eye Care Policy. Additionally, the PCC reviewed and approved an updated Procurement Policy which included, in particular, guidelines on St James’s ethical approach to procurement. Deborah Colvin, in her capacity as St James’s Sustainability Champion, would be providing staff training on implementation of the updated policy.
An update was provided in relation to St James’s’ apprenticeship. Westminster Kingsway College had been selected as the training provider for the new apprentice in view of its expertise in this field. Interviews for the role had been scheduled.
Malcom Stern and Venetia David, Trustees and Directors of Alternatives, which is an independent organisation but seen by many as a prominent aspect of St James’s identity, attended the meeting to provide an update on the activities of Alternatives, as part of an ongoing dialogue on their relationship with St James’s.
The PCC received a briefing on the process for setting the budget for 2017, a first draft of which would be presented to the November PCC meeting. It was hoped that, with appropriate management and due diligence, a balanced budget could be set. In order to ensure good governance, prior to approval by the PCC, this would receive oversight from St James’s Audit Committee, which is chaired by an external independent member.
Steps to carry forward St James’s Traidcraft activities were agreed, including organisation of a rota for the Traidcraft stall in the market in the weeks running up to Christmas (co-ordinated by Penelope Douglas), and practical arrangements such as on-site storage of stock. It was also agreed that a speaker would be arranged for Fairtrade week in February 2017
Soho Parish School Foundation Governors
The PCC noted that Lindsay Meader and Fiona Notman had been St James’s two Foundation Governors of Soho Parish School, with which a strong relationship is held, for the past five years, but that Fiona had now stepped down. The PCC unanimously agreed to appoint Deborah Colvin to the role, given her extensive school experience and that she has recently stood down from full-time teaching.
Refugee Response International Group
An update was provided on plans to hold a welcome and a place of sanctuary and regular weekly breakfast/brunch for people with no recourse to public funds/benefits. It was the intention to commence this initiative during the next couple of months.
- Plans for Harvest Sunday (2nd October) were noted, including plans for an Eco Fun Palace (as part of St James’s’ Eco Church initiative) and a Forest Church style liturgy.
- Plans were also noted for the PCC away-day to be held on 15th October, to include a review of progress in relation to St James’s current Strategic Plan and discussion on progress with the Wren project.
- The PCC received a report from Paul Little on his liaison role with Vagabonds.
- The PCC approved resolutions as required to support the process of letting the Wren flat, and also renewing the current lease with Caffé Nero until August 2017.
- The PCC received for information copy of the resource pack produced for Churches Together in Westminster programme, noting that eleven members of St James’s congregation were now participating in this project. Reflection and prayers for people affected by prisons are scheduled for inclusion in the Sunday service on 16th October.
- The PCC received for information the minutes of the Staff meetings of 2nd August 2016.
- The PCC received and noted the minutes of the Health & Safety Committee meetings of 28th July 2016 and 18th August 2016, noting in particular steps that had been taken to liaise with the police and raise awareness amongst staff in relation to site security matters. Additionally, Fiona Notman had agreed to take on the role of Interim Chair of the Committee.