WCM UK Public Liability Insurance cover – 2024

WCM UK has taken out public liability insurance for any person who is listed as a member of the association and has paid (or whose team has paid on their behalf) the current annual insurance fee.

Who is covered, and for what?
Cover includes public liability in the UK. This means if a chaplain, in the course of their chaplaincy, accidentally damages property or causes injury to a third party, they are covered for any claim for damages against them, by the owner of the property or the persons injured – up to £5 million.
There is a condition which applies if any chaplain is routinely visiting a premises where there are children or vulnerable adults. In the case of workplace chaplaincy this is rare, but if this does apply to any insured chaplain, to remain covered, the team they are a part of must have in place, and chaplains comply with, a suitable safeguarding policy. This policy should include an annual review of the policy and training of chaplains in compliance with the policy, and DBS checks where required.
For someone who is not a member of a team, and whose chaplaincy routinely brings them into contact with children or vulnerable adults, to be covered their church must have such a safeguarding policy, which is reviewed and in which the chaplain is trained annually.

In this, definitions of terms are important. Children means anyone up to the age of 18. Vulnerable adult means a person “who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.”1 It does not mean someone who is temporarily vulnerable through circumstances, for example bereavement, or mental illness.
If a chaplaincy team does not have a safeguarding policy WCM UK can provide a template policy which can be easily adapted.

Why is this needed?
A claim for damages, such as described above, is extremely rare. However, public liability insurance can be a requirement of some businesses and organisations if chaplains are to visit in private premises or even in the non-public spaces of shops and stores. It gives our business partners confidence that we are serious, not only about what we do, but how we do it. A certificate of insurance is available should you need to show this.

What is not covered?
It is important members and teams know what they are not covered for under this insurance, as well as what they are. The insurance does not cover.

• Personal injury – an injury to the chaplain whilst undertaking their duties.
• Any claim for damages made against a team by one of their chaplains where, for example, they are held not to have provided adequate training or protective equipment.
• Any liability of trustees of a team incurred in the carrying out of their responsibilities as trustees.

Larger teams, especially those who employ people, may need this extra cover, which will need to be sourced direct. Public liability insurance will usually be included within this.

1 ‘No secrets: Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse’ HM Government, Department of Health 2000 paragraph 2.3