The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government is inviting bids from prospective training providers interested in delivering non-theological, voluntary training for faith leaders. The Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, published in March 2018, included a commitment to supporting non-theological, voluntary training for faith leaders: says MHCLG, “We want to support places of worship to have well-qualified, informed and confident faith leaders, who understand their rights and responsibilities, so they can better support their congregations”.
The introduction to the bid document describes the areas of interest to MHCLG like this:
“We want faith leaders to be empowered with the skills and knowledge they need to support the changing needs of their congregations. We want to ensure that suitable training is available for religious ministers across all faiths to help broaden their understanding of (and relationship between) a suite of safeguarding topics, relevant legal frameworks and shared values, such as the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, democracy and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs. Equipping faith leaders with the confidence and the tools to provide accurate, helpful guidance and advice on these issues will enable religious ministers to support their congregants in the legislative and social context of 21st century Britain.”
At a minimum, MHCLG expects the training to ensure that faith leaders will be able to teach their congregations about their rights and responsibilities and be able to identify issues, support affected individuals and signpost people to relevant guidance, legislation and support services in the following areas:
- domestic abuse;
- forced marriage;
- female genital mutilation;
- child sexual abuse and exploitation; and
- mental health.
Training programmes should also cover:
- marriage legislation;
- equalities legislation;
- hate crime legislation and how to respond to / report hate crime; and
- shared values.
The training programme may also consider including, inter alia, financial and data management, including tax law and the GDPR. MHCLG expects the training “to be accessible for all faith leaders, regardless of faith or belief, and for all the minimum content to be delivered to all groups, but we do not expect the content to be delivered to all participants in the same way”.