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Covid–19: Guidance for Online Services & Audio–visual Content

This advice seeks to assist parishes and dioceses which are providing or considering online worship opportunities or other audio and video content.

Please consult the following key steps and the guidance provided below and on linked pages on safeguarding, keeping your video conference secure, avoiding advertising and external video content, data protection, and worship and copyright.

Key steps

Parishes and dioceses are strongly advised to: 

1. Consider whether you have the resources at present to provide recorded or live streamed content – parishes which do not wish to take on broadcasting are free to encourage and help parishioners to watch or listen to services provided by others;

2. Consider carefully whether recording for uploading at a later time or live streaming is the best approach – recording gives an opportunity for speakers (with advice from others where appropriate) to check and edit content before sharing this more widely;

3. Consider whether advertising will be displayed when your service is broadcast on a social media channel;

4. Ensure that you have a streaming licence – if you are broadcasting a service on a social media channel – and an online music licence if you are hosting the stream on your church website;

5. Consult and follow the Church’s guidance on safeguarding and data protection.

Guidance resources

Keeping your video conference secure

Avoiding advertising & external content

Worship & copyright

Organising an online service

Safeguarding

All child and adult safeguarding policies apply online in the same way in which they apply in everyday life.

There is a particular need to protect young people from harm at this time due to the increased use of online technology across the society.  The Church of Ireland’s Safeguarding Board has adopted guidelines for video conferencing with young people, which are available at these links – Northern Ireland / Republic of Ireland – and emphasise:

– You must have approval from the relevant parish authorities before proceeding with video conferencing;

– You need full parental consent and must use the email address of a carer or parent to send an invite to a virtual meeting;

Do not record virtual meetings with young people.

For any social media content which features children and young people, the following key principles must be observed:

Parental permission should be fully informed regarding the possible long–term nature of a video being online and the platforms on which it would be available;

There must be no detail that can identify children (which can, for example, include names on walls or birthday cards in the background);

– Any contributed content featuring a child should be sent by using a parental account, and should be produced by parents in a general room in the house;  

– Where content has been produced as part of a professional role with the Church, this should be shared on a social media account operated by the relevant parish, cathedral or diocese and not by any individual, whether they are in a professional role or not.

Further guidance on safeguarding is available at www.ireland.anglican.org/safeguarding or by contacting the Church’s Safeguarding Officers for each jurisdiction as follows:

Margaret Yarr (Northern Ireland) – cponi@ireland.anglican.org

Robert Dunne (Republic of Ireland) – cpori@ireland.anglican.org

Data protection

Data breaches are more likely to occur in crises, in which we may need to respond more rapidly than usual to a situation or change how we work.  Please visit the data protection page in Parish Resources for help with this responsibility, including a seven–step Data Protection Impact Assessment for recording devices: www.ireland.anglican.org/gdpr

Further information is available from the Church’s Data Protection Officer, Rebekah Fozzard, at dataprotection@ireland.anglican.org

If you have a query about any aspect of this guidance, please contact the Church of Ireland Press Office at press@ireland.anglican.org