Safeguarding "due regard", what does it mean?

The Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure 2016 imposes a legal duty on the 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”.

The phrase, “have due regard” has not always been well understood. Some might have read it as meaning that as long as people are aware of the House of Bishops’ guidance and take it into account in what they do, they have “had due regard” to the guidance. But in fact, “have due regard” is an established legal phrase with much more force than that. It really means that we have to follow the guidance fully unless there are cogent reasons not to.

The Church of England Legal Office has issued a note which sets out to explain what “due regard” means. The note says very clearly that we cannot depart from the guidance unless we have specific agreement from the Registrar and from the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser that it would be justified in a particular case.

Read the Legal Office note in full here.

The House of Bishops’ safeguarding guidance can be found on the Church of England website:

Still uncertain about something? Support is available to you 

We are very grateful indeed to all those lay people and clergy in the parishes who are conscientiously seeking to make the Church a safer place for everyone. And we want to stress very much that the staff at Church House are here to help you. So, if there are instances where you are unclear exactly how to apply the House of Bishops’ guidance, please do ask for advice.


Pauline Butterfield, Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser

T: 01928 718834 Ext 221 or 07703 800031





Lisa Moncur, Registrar

T: 01928 718834 Ext 254


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