Safe Ministry Records are a vital part of the bigger picture of Safe Ministry in our churches.
It is essential that all of our churches keep precise, accurate and enduring records of all people in any way connected with our church – even very briefly. Those records include data like:
Full name, address and contact details
Date of birth
WWCC information (WWC number, expiry date, date of verification, result of verification, person who did verification)
Safe Ministry Training information
and potentially more data in the future
Most churches now record the above electronically in some way, but in addition there will always be a paper component for churches to manage.
These records must be kept indefinitely, and individuals must never be deleted from the system, even if they leave your church or they die.
Because there is very sensitive information in those records, security is vital – both physical and electronic (ie: backups of the data).
Many churches are still using spreadsheets for this information, but if your church uses a church management system like Elvanto, CCB or Jethro, that system can also be used to store Safe Ministry data – provided it runs on a secure, encrypted platform.
To help our churches maintain the high standard necessary, we now offer Safe Ministry Records Online. This is a database designed for any church to use as a safe, secure easy to use system for maintaining the electronic aspect of parish Safe ministry records. It is hosted, run and maintained by the Professional Standards Unit and is offered at no cost to any church in the Diocese of Sydney.
Here is a partial list of features and good reasons to consider moving your Safe Ministry records to the system:
- Auto reminders by email and SMS sent to individuals and SMR when: WWCC expires in 90 days and then at 30 days. When Safe Ministry Training expires in 90 and then at 30 days.
- Pre-defined reports for common requirements (and you can add as many custom reports as you wish).
- Mobile-friendly – access or update your church records from any internet-connected device.
- Secure – All information flowing to or from the system to you is encrypted. Two backups of the database are taken everyday and stored in different locations.
- Easy to configure a report in the way you want and export that data to a spreadsheet for further processing.
- New features are still being added.
Reasons to consider moving your Safe Ministry Records to the PSU system:
- Safe Ministry Record keeping is likely to get more complex and involved as time goes on, so if your church is still using a spreadsheet, consider changing to SMRO (Safe Ministry Records Online) now, and let us handle the increasing complexity.
- If your church is a bigger church using Elvanto or a similar system, that’s great. But a couple of such churches have reported that they are considering moving the Safe Ministry Records OUT of Elvanto (or similar), because the inclusion of ‘outside’ people in the Safe Ministry Records (eg: SRE teachers from other schools, external helpers from other churches, etc) is confusing things, and in one case, pushing the cost of that system up. If that might be the case for you – move your Safe Ministry Records into the PSU system, free of charge.
There is also an argument for simply keeping all your Safe Ministry Record data separate from everyday parish database information, so that only the people with the need can access Safe Ministry Records. This would normally be the Safe Ministry Rep., the Rector, a data-entry person (if you have one), and possibly other pastoral staff.
- Are you one of the churches that got a recent request from the Diocesan Registrar to audit your WWCC records (10% of churches were)? If your Safe Ministry Records are with our system, you will never get a request like that again – because we can audit such churches from within the system.
- Security & Privacy. Few parishes properly secure sensitive information stored electronically in their own office environment. Our Safe Ministry Records system sits on a professionally maintained server, using an SSL certificate for encrypting all traffic to and from that server. Because certain Diocesan officers (The Registrar, Director of the PSU and the Safe Ministry Liaison Officer) are required to be able to access parish WWCC information, they have secure, separate logins to allow in-house auditing (see 3. above). This is required under the State legislation governing the WWCC system. All other users (parish representatives) each have a unique login which only gives access to their own church’s data.
So this is a perfect solution for churches still using spreadsheets and even for larger churches who wish to keep their Safe Ministry records separate from their other church records.
If you would like more information on using Safe Ministry Records Online, please email Neil Atwood
For more information on what constitutes Safe Ministry records, see this document: