Thinking Anglicans

Archbishops’ Council terminates contracts of ISB members

press release

Statement from Archbishops’ Council on the Independent Safeguarding Board

21/06/2023

The Archbishops’ Council is committed to developing fully independent scrutiny of safeguarding within the Church of England, to ensure the Church is a safer place for all.  This principle was agreed in the run-up to the publication of the report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) into the Anglican Church in England Wales in 2020.

It is therefore with regret that the Council has come to the reluctant conclusion that, despite extensive efforts over recent months, working relationships between two members of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) and the Council have broken down.

The Board – made up of a chair, a Survivor Advocate and a third member – was set up by the Archbishops’ Council in 2021 as the first step towards a new system of independent scrutiny and the intention was always to move to a second phase.

It has been widely reported that there has been a dispute between two members of the ISB and the Council. Members of the Council and our experienced safeguarding professionals have been working constructively over recent months to put the ISB on a more sustainable footing.

Nevertheless, it has now become clear that that this is no longer viable with its current membership and that the dispute itself risks getting in the way of that urgent priority of moving to the next phase of establishing a new independent safeguarding body.

The Council has therefore agreed a reset. This will involve ending the contracts of two of the members of the Board, Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves, and of the acting Chair, Meg Munn.

The Council will be putting in place interim arrangements to continue the independent oversight of existing case reviews.

Those reviews will be carried out by independent experts qualified to conduct case reviews, just as at present, and they will be independently commissioned.

In the very immediate future, we have asked Meg Munn to provide business continuity for the remaining business of this phase of the ISB’s work. Case reviews will be overseen by one or more independent chairs of Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panels.

The Council will then move swiftly towards the second phase of independent scrutiny. We want to listen to all those with an interest, to learn the lessons of the work of the ISB in the last two years, and to find a way forward to establishing independent scrutiny on a firmer basis.  We will engage with victims and survivors, with other independent voices, and with safeguarding professionals inside and outside the Church, to work with the Archbishops’ Council to design a permanent independent oversight structure.

The Council recognises that this news will be concerning and unsettling to victims, survivors and others. Members of the Council will be arranging an opportunity to meet with victims and survivors to hear concerns and discuss the situation.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: “We bitterly regret that we have reached this point and the Archbishops’ Council has not reached this decision lightly. We know this is a serious setback and we do not shy away from that – we lament it.

“But it is clear that there is no prospect of resolving the disagreement and that it is getting in the way of the vital work of serving victims and survivors. So the Council has very reluctantly concluded that we need a reset so that we can move swiftly towards a new scrutiny body that is fully independent of the Church.

“And in the immediate term we want to reassure victims and survivors that the work of independent case reviews will not stop.

“We recognise that this dispute has damaged confidence. But we believe this is the only way to get independent oversight of safeguarding back on track and move forward as quickly as we can.

“We also recognise that there are lessons for the Archbishops’ Council to learn from this and it is essential that we do so for the future.

“Most of all we must not lose sight of those for whom the delivery of independent oversight is crucial – the survivors and victims of abuse – and, more widely, all those who come in contact with the Church and who place their trust in us to deliver the highest standards of safeguarding.

“We sincerely want to thank all members of the Board for their service. Professor Maggie Atkinson, the former Chair, Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves have been committed to improving safeguarding on behalf of vulnerable people across the Church.

“We also particularly want to thank Meg Munn, who stepped in at our request to be acting Chair of the Board when it was without a Chair, and who has sought to strengthen the Board’s work.

“Independent oversight of the Church of England’s safeguarding is an urgent and indispensable first step away from the suspicion of marking our own homework.

“Additionally – we personally believe that we must make rapid progress towards our existing and excellent National Safeguarding Team being functionally independent in order to start to build confidence among survivors.

“At the local Diocesan level further thought is needed, so that Diocesan Safeguarding Officers are sure they can act independently.

“They are dedicated people committed to survivors and victims and deserve the trust of the Church.”

Finding support

If you or anyone you are in contact with wish to talk to someone independently please call the Safe Spaces helpline on 0300 303 1056 or visit www.safespacesenglandandwales.org.uk

Alternatively, you may wish to contact the diocesan safeguarding team in your area or the National Safeguarding Team – email safeguarding@churchofengland.org 

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Susannah Clark
9 months ago

Disgraceful and cowardly.

So much for independence.

“You are only independent until we decide to fire you.”

They have presumably been fired BECAUSE of their independence.

Shouldn’t victims and survivors have a say in this, rather than top-down decision by the organisation charged with committing offences against them?

It’s a fiasco.

The wrong people have been fired.

‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
Reply to  Susannah Clark
9 months ago

I agree with everything Susannah has said. The wrong people have been fired. If they had any capacity for self-reflection, the two Archbishops and the Archbishops Council might have reached the correct conclusion that, because of their safeguarding failures, they have ‘entertained us long enough’. It is enormously to Jasvinder and Steve’s credit that they did not resign, for the sake of survivors and whistleblowers, despite enormous provocations apparently designed to ensure that they would. I know that many survivors and whistleblowers have much material very incriminating of those at the top of the Church that has not yet seen… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
9 months ago

Is it the dispute that has damaged confidence or the Archbishops’ Council? And have the latter considered resignation as a way to “restore confidence”?

David James
David James
Reply to  Jo B
9 months ago

I sense that the answer is that it’s symptomatic. And the answer to your second question is almost certainly not.

Froghole
Froghole
9 months ago

So was the coincidental announcement of the pseudo-redress scheme just comms management intended to diffuse the adverse reputational impact of this announcement? The ISB members have not resigned but appear to have been sacked. It is hard to see how the ISB can continue.

It will be interesting to hear from Ms Sanghera and Mr Reeves, unless they have been put under NDA…

Perhaps it is not they who should have been fired? Someone has perhaps been acting in bad faith.

At least the Church never disappoints. This is a new low.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

Indeed, that inference seems inescapable. Doubtless there are contractual terms to which we are not privy. NDAs are only enforceable if there is a proper reason for them such as anonymity or confidentiality of settlement terms – not as a cover-up for the grounds of dismissal or breach of contract by the dismissing party.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
9 months ago

Yes, of course, and many thanks. I note (as we all know) that the Church has been rather prolific in its use of NDAs, presumably with the objective of ‘discouraging’ candour. I just have a premonition that there might be a return to form in this case in order to keep the departed ISB members within what the Church considers ‘proper bounds’, even if those bounds’ are unlikely to be enforceable. The reason why I mention this is what I perceive to be the somewhat passive/aggressive tone of this announcement (more in sorrow than in anger, etc.) which doesn’t seem… Read more »

WYH
WYH
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

This is indeed “a new low”. Poor decision-making from the Archbishops’ Council has finally eroded all credibility. There is a dire failure to understand the terms “independent” and “conflict of interest”. Survivors and victims require fair process with justice delivered ( and seen to be delivered). Hopefully, Ms Sanghera and Mr Reeves will present a measured report.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
9 months ago

Who will then be reporting to General Synod in July? Will the Synod hear both sides of the story?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

I had wondered if this news would conveniently ensure that there is no-one available to report to Synod. Of course, it may be that Ms Munn, in providing contnuity, will pop up to reassure everyone that everything is going swimmingly.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

There needs to be a barrage of questions for the Archbishops’ Council / Secretary General to answer at General Synod. The deadline for submitting questions is 12 noon next Tuesday, 27 June. It will be interesting to see, too, what briefing papers are included with the agenda for the York meeting, especially relating to the ‘Safeguarding’ item on Sunday afternoon, 9 July. The papers are due to be circulated to Synod members and published on the C of E website tomorrow, 22 June.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

Has the deadline for questions now passed? Do Synod members even get a chance to ask questions about this?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
9 months ago

I wonder if this will boost the number of signatures on the Private Member’s Motion calling for JW to resign.

Realist
Realist
9 months ago

Last night, on another thread, I wrote: ‘I hope the two remaining members with integrity of the ISB don’t suddenly ‘disappear’ in the kind of night of long knives that seems to happen among the middle to lower ranks at Church House, Westminster (and indeed some Diocesan HQs), every so often…’ For the avoidance of doubt, I have neither insider knowledge, nor the gift of prophecy. I don’t need either. This is so predictable. In this brave new world of humbler and simpler, challenge equals opposition, opposition equals problem, problem means eliminate the opposition. I’ve come across that playbook somewhere… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
9 months ago

My personal experience of Church of England “safeguarding” is that it is extremely poor, unbelievably poor actually. I think we should demand that the people who have been sacked will not be gagged and will be given the opportunity to address Synod if that is their wish. Safeguarding should be driven by the direct experience of the victims and what they need, not a top down bureaucracy that just seems to want to just tick boxes. What I needed was for someone to actually listen not just to appear to do so. It is very easy to say sorry, much… Read more »

Kate
Kate
9 months ago

I share all the disgust voiced by others but this also raises a very practical issue: how can survivors have confidence that any successor body will be independent now that the Archbishops’ Council have shown that they will sack anyone who acts independently? Surely this makes it impossible to implement an independent body. I see no alternative but the resignation of all members of the Archbishops’Council who voted for this. It won’t happen of course so, effectively, independent oversight of safeguarding for the Church of England is now dead and impossible.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Kate
9 months ago

I suppose you could argue that this is just a draconian method of dispute resolution ….
On a more serious note, I totally agree with all that has been said before, the most worrying aspect of which is Kate’s comment above that independent oversight of safeguarding in the Church of England is now impossible.
Presumably xxs Welby and Cottrell consider that the C of E also has an exemption from legal safeguarding standards on the grounds of conscience? Which is very convenient with so many unresolved issues of redress and Soul Survivor coming down the track

Maungy Vicar
Maungy Vicar
9 months ago

No words, just Verdi’s requiem for the survivors of the C of E and its abusive processes and abusive clergy and laity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsZEv7kAllo

Patricia
Patricia
Reply to  Maungy Vicar
9 months ago

I have been working with the ISB in relation to my case, I am completely devestated and traumatised to find out in this manner about the sacking of Jasvinder and Steve. There has been no warning for either them, me or others in the same position. The ISB business manager is on holiday this week so there is no reassuring voice at the end of the line. How can this be called good safeguarding, where is the concern or due dilligence? People can read these statements anywhere in any location and react swiftly, in distress and with tragic consequences. Shame… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Patricia
9 months ago

Patricia, I just wanted to say how sorry I am that your support and contacts have been removed. May the Lord bless you.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Patricia
9 months ago

Patricia, I’m sorry that the heartless C of E powers that be have put you and other survivors in such a difficult place. Shame on them.

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
9 months ago

A survivor of church-related abuse said on Wednesday “The Church of England recruited two independent voices, and as soon as they used that independence to criticise the Church, they were sacked. The appointment of Meg Munn destroyed any credibility that the Archbishops’ Council had, and Ms Munn has worked vigorously to shut down the two independent members ever since.This is a new low for Church of England safeguarding, and a kick in the teeth for victims and survivors who had built a relationship of trust with Jasvinder and Steve. I will never trust the Church of England again.”

(Church Times)

Last edited 9 months ago by David Hawkins
Kit
Kit
9 months ago

What the Archbishops’ Council and Mr Nye cannot control they ignore or destroy. General Synod needs to wake up and smell the festering stench of corruption at work in this body. It is not so long ago that Bishop Gibbs was telling General Synod that the ISB was fully independent. Every attempt to assert any independence by the ISB has been stamped on by Mr. Nye. The imposition of a completely unsuitable, unsafe and untrustworthy Chair in the shape of Meg Munn was rightly resisted. Why was she imposed? Merely to stamp all over the two board members who –… Read more »

‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
Reply to  Kit
9 months ago

Many suggest that things were over for survivors and whistleblowers the moment the ISB stood up for us whistleblowers and survivors of Church-related abuse and called out the leadership of the C of E. The Church’s only response to being called out is to rubbish the messenger. That response is the very reason that Peter Ball, John Smyth, David Fletcher, Trevor D, John Sentamu, Stephen Croft, Iwerne Trust, Titus Trust, Trevor D, Iain Broomfield, Mike Pilavachi, Andy Croft, (this being just the tip of the iceberg) etc etc have all flourished for so many years within the Church because the… Read more »

Graeme Buttery
Graeme Buttery
9 months ago

Words almost fail me. Are the powers that be deaf and blind to the distress of survivors and the weary disbelief of us in the parishes? There seems to be an enormous disconnect, indeed dissonance between the central Church and the parishes. We are rightly, constantly reminded of our duties under Safeguarding and clergy are reminded of the consequences. Do they not see or is safeguarding the institution their only concern. I can not imagine how survivors must feel.

Graeme Buttery

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Graeme Buttery
9 months ago

Most parishes have devoted a great deal of care and attention to safeguarding in recent years in response to diocesan and central diktats. This entails the expenditure of scarce resource, often to safeguard children who never attend. Many entries for parishes in achurchnearyou have much information about safeguarding, and nothing about service times. During my travels I have heard many people attest to the effort which goes with safeguarding, and the anxieties its causes about the risk of volunteers getting it wrong. Yet the push to introduce safeguarding processes has been stimulated to a large extent in the first place… Read more »

Aljbri
Aljbri
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

Froghole’s comments and Catherine Pepinster’s article in today’s ‘Tablet’ about the RC diocese of Hexham and Newcastle should be read together. As TA chronicles with such depressing consistency, churches can’t get principles and action into alignment, safeguarding being an example, but not the only one. Hierarchical self preservation seems to be the only rule. I’m a cradle Anglican, still engaged with the church in my 70’s, but starting from scratch, would I bother? No way.

Matthew Ineson
Matthew Ineson
9 months ago

William Nye and the whole lot of them should be sacked.
The hierarchy never wanted independence, that was obvious from the start.
Messing with the lives of victims of rape is wicked. They’ve been doing it for years.

Some reputation the church of england has.

Gilo
Gilo
9 months ago

Sent to Lead Bishop Joanne Grenfell and Alexander Kubeyinje

Copied to both Archbishops and to Bishop Julie Conalty and Bishop Viv Faull

21st June

Screenshot_20230621_184332_Gmail.jpg
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Gilo
9 months ago

Should there be another attempt to involve the Charity Commission?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
9 months ago

There should definitely be a Charity Commission probe. Church institutions, as charities, are not liable to tax and, as such, free ride on those of us who do pay tax. With that privilege comes responsibility. If the Church decides to abdicate that responsibility, then what earthly justification can there be for the continuing tax exemption?

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Gilo
9 months ago

Absolutely right, Gilo. Let’s also not forget that any ‘interested party’ can bring a CDM complaint. So if nothing comes from the NST and/or these Bishops, anyone affected by what has happened can act – the more directly they have been affected, the greater the chance of the complaint being acted on. I have also been pondering whether it’s time for a Winchester style vote of no confidence. Those among us who serve on General Synod will no doubt be able to gauge the chances of that happening – from the sidelines I wouldn’t like to judge whether the members… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Realist
9 months ago

Indeed. There were comments at the time of Bishop Dakin’s eviction from office suggesting that bishops may hold office by divine commission (or providence in the case of the primates), but they now also do so subject to the consent of diocesan synods. A precedent was established once the Winchester synod lost confidence in its diocesan. What’s sauce for the diocesan goose should perhaps be sauce for the provincial or national gander.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

I think bishops are said to hold office, not by divine commission, but by divine permission. This is quite another thing. That God permits something, be it a particular episcopal appointment or the Black Death, does not imply he approves it. Even less that he was behind it.

Last edited 9 months ago by Simon Sarmiento
Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

When Richard Holloway was Bishop of Edinburgh and Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, he was extremely nervous in any official documents like Deeds of Induction for Priests he was inducting into Charges in his Diocese of using the words “By Divine Permission” or even “Commission” but it was always “Richard by the Mercy of God Bishop of Edinburgh” Church of England Bishops might do well to emulate this and adopt a more humble, less Pompous style. Jonathan

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
Reply to  Gilo
9 months ago

Can someone educate me on the specific responsibilities of the named Bishops?
Thank you

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
9 months ago

I have been driving home from France when I heard the news confirming that “shabby and shambolic” is alive and well and living in Church House and Lambeth Palace.

We raise the banner of Accountability and Transparency.

The watchwords are

Calm
Determined
Forensic
Relentless

Wandering minstrel
Wandering minstrel
Reply to  Martin Sewell
9 months ago

‘Delusions of Adequacy …’

Anton
Anton
Reply to  Martin Sewell
9 months ago

Indeed Martin, but with what end in mind? A prosecuting lawyer has the intent to secure a conviction, a defence lawyer to secure an acquittal. To what end should we be calm, determined, forensic and relentless?

martin sewell
martin sewell
9 months ago

Last February I invited the two Archbishops to exercise their powers over the General Synod Agenda to let us debate Safeguarding and the problems that were plainly brewing. They ignored that reasonable request. The ISB had just flagged up that they were being obstructed in their work. Survivors had circulated a paper setting out many areas of concerned. It included the following quotation from Bp Pete Broadbent who had been the quintessential “insiders insider”. Bishop Pete had said at a lecture- “The platform tactic (from those leading debates and carrying forward the business of Synod) has been to attempt to… Read more »

David James
David James
9 months ago

I wonder . Is the Archbishops Council, or elements within it, out of control ?

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
Reply to  David James
9 months ago

I think that the answer is that the Archbishops Council is very much in control, but solely in the control of Mr Nye and the Archbishops. Their primary agenda is to defend the reputation of the CofE against all comers but unfortunately, in the matter of safeguarding, that horse bolted years ago and further attempts to shore up or reinstate that vanished reputation only make things look even worse. There was a bizarre and quite lengthy item on ‘The World at One’ (Radio4) this lunchtime, when +Julie Conalty (deputy lead bishop for safeguarding) was put up to explain or defend… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Malcolm Dixon
Froghole
Froghole
9 months ago

We have seen Archbishop Welby express contrition in recent days over the failure of his policies. After stabilising briefly in 2013-14, attendance continued its dismal decline, latterly gathering speed, with a large haemorrhage during the pandemic and its aftermath. The great loss of attendees has not been offset to a meaningfully sufficient degree by the heavy investment in mission undertaken at a few discrete locales. The Archbishop has also failed to preserve unity within the Anglican Communion, as was likely all along. Yet compared with national decline and international disintegration, getting safeguarding right, and providing redress to victims ought to… Read more »

John Lawrence
John Lawrence
9 months ago

The way that the Archbishops’ Council has dealt with the ISB is on a par with the disgusting way that Royal Mail has handled the issue of recompense for the wrongly accused and sacked postmasters. It should be those on the Archbishops’ Council given responsibility for liaising with the ISB who should be removed as they were clearly incapable of doing this, In both cases it is those who suffered the wrongdoing in the first place who are made to suffer even longer without resolution. Another instance of the House of Bishops closing ranks and prioritising caring for their own,… Read more »

Andrew Graystone
Andrew Graystone
9 months ago

I have proposed to the Archbishop of York, as President of next month’s General Synod, that the session that was allocated for a report from the Independent Safeguarding Board should now be given to a presentation by survivors of church abuse, speaking about their experience of the church.

David Rees
David Rees
Reply to  Andrew Graystone
9 months ago

Mr Graystone makes a very good suggestion which I expect might be refused. May I please strongly suggest when the ISB session comes up on the agenda GS members or others invited to speak rather than ask questions to make STATEMENTS on how badly this national charity is being managed with regard to Safeguarding in the denomination……keep it simple and resist being told ‘sit down’ and be polite, thank you

Patricia
Patricia
Reply to  David Rees
9 months ago

I am afraid that having survivors share their experiences at Synod has provided no meaningful progress in the past and, as a survivor, instead of seeing vulnerable people lay themselves bare to this rancid organisation I would prefer 10 minutes complete silence in which members are asked to consider the lives of the lost and desperate. Silence is hugely uncomfortable for these people who need to talk in order to excuse their behaviour.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Rees
9 months ago

Indeed, and as Archbishop Cottrell has been deeply implicated in this decision (and has perhaps thoroughly compromised his credentials with respect to the succession to Archbishop Welby in the process) I think that Synod needs to be enlivened with some very sulphurous behaviour. This is, at long last, a chance for Synod to show its worth (and its teeth) along the lines of the Winchester diocesan synod. However, will the large official element within Synod attempt to neuter any motions of censure or reproach, presumably on the basis that they do not wish to jeopardise their own pay, rations or… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Froghole
9 months ago

How many staff are employed to run a diocese? How many staff were employed to run the ISB? My impression is that from the outset, the ISB was direly under-resourced. It was not only not allowed to be independent – an issue of power and control – but I feel it was done on the cheap. It took 18 months even to get a website up. The ISB was tasked to review the Martyn Percy case (or at least, part of it, as the parameters set seemed designed to home in on unproven allegations against the Dean, but exclude the… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Susannah Clark
9 months ago

Indeed, and just as we have recently encountered greenwashing, so (if you will forgive the hideous neologism) the Church is an industry leader in process-washing. In other words, you devise a process to deal with a political/media problem. The process is not intended to resolve the essence of the problem (indeed, it may make it worse), but it is intended to show to the world that you are *appearing* to address the problem or *appear* to have a process in place which will allow someone in Synod to stand up and say ‘job done’ and ‘let us all move on’.… Read more »

Patricia
Patricia
9 months ago

Clearly blame lies with the Archbishops Council for this gross abuse but as a survivor the way I received the news was via a letter sent from the NST, or ‘excellent NST’ as the statement describes them. An NST that is directed by Alexander Kubeyinje a social worker accredited by Social Work England and who has to pay due regard to their principles one of which is placing the needs of the client over that of the institution. The statement would still have been issued but had Alexander refused to allow it to be disseminated by the NST due to… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Patricia
9 months ago

I completely agree Patricia. Let’s not forget that bodies like Social Work England have disciplinary and regulatory function, so any interested party can make a referral about an individual against the body’s professional standards. Sadly I’d be very unlikely to be classed as an interested party for these purposes, or I would be scouring the professional standards for social workers right now looking for breaches through these actions, and making a referral to try to have this person struck off the register. I would also be checking to see if any other member of the Archbishops’ Council is registered with… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Realist
FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
9 months ago

As a member of Gen Z desperate to make clear to my peers that God does, in fact, actually love them, stories like this can only fill me with misery. How are we to show a cynical generation that religion is worth doing if we can’t even get simple questions like ‘should an independent safeguarding board be independent?’ right.

Jesus wept.

Last edited 9 months ago by FearandTremolo
David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  FearandTremolo
9 months ago

I thank you so much for your post, FearandTremolo you make such an important point. Not all of us are blessed with a strong faith. Many of us have a deep yearning for meaning in our lives. The behaviour of our pastors is crucial both for recognising the abuse of victims and the continuing existence of our national church. The “abject apologies” of Archbishop Welby are not what the seem. They are actually a tactic for doing nothing. Doing nothing destroys people’s lives Archbishop. Doing nothing is destroying the Church and doing nothing is destroying hope for the young people… Read more »

FearandTremolo
FearandTremolo
Reply to  David Hawkins
9 months ago

I mean, I realise fully in writing this that to some degree my complaint is one of PR, which doesn’t get to the important moral necessity of safeguarding. I certainly don’t want to suggest that my only issue with this debacle is the Church’s reputation, and indeed, far from it. But on the other hand, who would come to Church, the supposed moral conscience of the nation, knowing that the powers that be behave like this? Especially not my fellow twenty-somethings who’ve grown up through several financial crises and the pandemic, and are already not inclined to place their trust… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
9 months ago

It’s nearly two years since I gave up on the C of E. I had been trying to get justice in my own case for some 30 years – not for my own sake but because I knew that the senior cleric who had indecently assaulted me was a serial offender. My experience of the way senior Church figures handled my complaint has been atrocious. The NST was not much better. I did have some support from safeguarding people in the diocese concerned, but the excellent DSA resigned in despair. I had sufficient evidence to win a civil case, and… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

Janet I was very moved and disgusted by what you have been through. You say you have “given up on the Church of England”. Me too. But spiritual life outside a parish is a very lonely place. I would be very grateful for any insights into how to manage and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Thanks.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
9 months ago

Thank you, David. I now worship, courtesy of Zoom, with a Scottish Episcopal church in Edinburgh. They have a passion for justice and are inclusive of all kinds of people who don’t fit in elsewhere, and they treat the Zoom worshippers as part of the congregation. I can send you a link if you like.

I’m also fortunate to have a local retreat house run by an independent ecumenical community, and I spend time with them when I can. Is there anything of the sort in your area?

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

Thank you Janet. I found your reply so encouraging ! It’s encouraging because I came to a parallel decision and now worship via Zoom at Newport Cathedral (Church in Wales). I am interested in the church you worship in in Edinburgh maybe thinking Anglicans would pass on a link alternatively I’m Europe ambassador for Inclusive Church and they have a link to me. A retreat isn’t possible in Berlin but I’ll look into British possibilities. Thank you for that suggestion. The Scottish and Welsh churches are freed from the dead hand of the Palace. Our General Secretary previously worked for… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
9 months ago

The Edinburgh parish is St James Leith. I’m pretty sure they’re members of Inclusive Church. Or, if you email me on jhfife@icloud.com, I can send you a link to this Sunday’s service at 11.00 am.

I’ve heard that Newport Cathedral is good, one or two others I know join them on Zoom.

I agree re the Firm’s influence on the C of E – not healthy!

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

Although I have maintained fellowship, trust and love with two Anglican convents for the past 13 years, and that is never going to change… and maintain in fellowship with one Anglican church… I don’t regard the Church of England as a safe organisation for my wife and she finds the continuing doctrine demeaning (and it is). I have done something along your lines, Janet, and looked north to a more progressive Anglican church. For me it has been St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow and I have found that very encouraging. Then again, I started life as a committed Christian in Scotland… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Janet Fife
9 months ago

Thank you, Janet. Sharing like that is bound to be very raw and painful (all over again). Take care and I hope it helps more people realise that the dreadful way safeguarding is being handled, notably in this ISB fiasco, re-opens wounds, demeans and can be dangerous. It’s not my place to ‘tell’ you, because you have to own it for yourself if you decide to, and that’s not always easy, but I hope you may know the pure love and delight God has for you. The actions of bad people are not the truth of who we are. They… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Susannah Clark
9 months ago

Thanks, Susannah. I’m very clear that my anger and disgust are reserved for the C of E, not for Christians in general. And certainly not for God.

Kit
Kit
9 months ago

I presume it will soon dawn on survivors and victims of abuse, and all complainants of NST or diocesan safeguarding failures, that all their data and disclosures made in confidence to the ISB will be taken into the safe custody of the Archbishops’ Council? All those complaints about failures, cover ups and other abuses now reverts to the body that set up the ISB. This kind of entrapment is very familiar to victims promised an independent listening ear, safe process and pastoral care by the CofE. It just leads to the CofE deciding who to tell, tip off, move on,… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
9 months ago

The ISB website (happily still online this morning) has this message on its home page: “OUR MISSION To hold the Church to account, publicly if needs be, for any failings which are preventing good safeguarding practice from happening… “We exist to ensure the Church of England delivers its safeguarding responsibilities. We also provide independent oversight of the National Safeguarding Team (NST) “We act without fear or favour to help the Church improve, and maintain improvement in safeguarding policy and practice.” It would appear to be this assertion of independence on behalf of the Board by Jasvinder and Steve that the… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
9 months ago

It is worth recalling the powerful speech of Susie Leafe (a lay member from Truro diocese) during the safeguarding debate at General Synod on 12 February 2020 (embolding added): Mrs Susannah Leafe (Truro): I had thought that many would stand. I thought my voice would not be needed. And I wonder if we all feel too small, too powerless, because I know I do. I have been on a journey myself in the depths of the safeguarding world, and I want to start by apologising to all the survivors and all of the victims, not just of abuse that we… Read more »

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 months ago

Well, if nothing else, this announcement strongly confirms that the so-called-I SB was never independent.
No more foxes guarding henhouses. Isn’t it time for Parliament to set up an independent safeguarding authority for the established church?

Kate
Kate
9 months ago

There is dismay and public condemnation from laity and members of the clergy, but so far only silence (so far as I have seen) from the bishops. Are they so out of touch?

Last edited 9 months ago by Kate
David Lamming
David Lamming
9 months ago

Papers for the York Synod are now available to download from the C of E website. Go to: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/general-synod/agendas-papers/general-synod-july-2023#na Significantly, however, there is as yet (at 12.15pm on 22 June) no Agenda paper and no supporting papers for the Sunday afternoon session, still billed on the Outline of Business issued in May as commencing with “Safeguarding (to include presentation from the Independent Safeguarding Board.” The report yesterday on the Church Times website quotes a member (unnamed) of the Archbishops’ Council as saying that “The Business Committee would be looking at revising this session urgently”, and it may be that the… Read more »

WYH
WYH
Reply to  David Lamming
9 months ago

Has the time finally arrived for members to call for an extraordinary general meeting (egm) to concentrate solely on safeguarding issues? The silence from the leadership is outrageous.

‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
Reply to  David Lamming
9 months ago

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. This is the safeguarding strategy for the C of E in 2023 (and has been for at least 30 years to be fair). In its own limited way it has been extraordinarily’successful’ thanks to GS. Individuals like Peter Hancock and Melissa Caslake who pointed out the obvious flaws, were repeatedly ignored, marginalised and/or rejected by the authorities. But of course there was always going to be a day when the whole terrifying safeguarding edifice would come crashing down with the Church quite unable to… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  David Lamming
9 months ago

There was an interesting discussion on the World at 1 today with Sarah Montague at her most crisp . X Birkenhead is likely to be the next ‘leaver’ having said she did not entirely trust the Church despite being a leader in it, agreeing that it was arguably less safe with the ISB disbanded, and being very aware of the suffering this was causing survivors. Her only mitigation was that it was not a decision that would have been taken lightly. Will she last till teatime? Alison Coulter was batting for the Archbishops and trying to be very nice and… Read more »

Ex clergy
Ex clergy
9 months ago

Two points
This lack of action for survivors mirrors my own experience of clerical abuse. The Bishop did nothing and my abuser was soon promoted. I then left the Church of England but did submit my list of actions which they had committed and copied it to the Archdeacon. I knew that my incumbent had behaved in the same way before in my parish and in another.
Secondly the members on Synod from my diocese are unlikely to say anything as they are all looking for promotion!
My former church is in a sorry state.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
9 months ago

Question: The ISB members had invoked a dispute resolution process. Does anyone know whether this action was taken before that process had concluded?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

A very pertinent question. Without knowing the answer or having any knowledge of the contract terms it isn’t really possible to say whether this dismissal, or termination of the contract, was lawful. One assumes that the Archbishops’ Council took legal advice: it would have been very unwise not to have done.

Kit
Kit
Reply to  Mark Bennet
9 months ago

The Dispute Resolution process was sidelined by Mr Nye. He also refused to engage in any mediation on the issue of Meg Munn being imposed as Chair – by him. He told the ISB there was no need for a mediation process or Dispute Resolution.

Realist
Realist
9 months ago

On another thread, a little while ago, I called out the Bishop of Birkenhead when someone expressed a view that they felt some pity for her after more senior Bishops threw her under the proverbial bus with the media, leaving her to carry the can for some other (of the many) safeguarding failures. I wrote that I felt no such pity because nobody forced her to become a Bishop, nobody forced her to accept the Deputy Lead Bishop role and the only consequence to her had she refused to defend may have been for her chances of becoming a Diocesan… Read more »

K. Anonymous
K. Anonymous
9 months ago

This news is bitterly disappointing for those who thought that the excellent work of Jasvinder and Steve would at long last bring some honesty and justice to their cases. Those responsible for trying to destroy that hope should be downright ashamed of themselves and must be called to account. Do not give up my friends, we will continue to fight for Truth. It is out there but not, seemingly, among the hierarchy of the Church of England. I know Synod members are making their plans so let us pray for them that they will be effective.

marie howie
marie howie
9 months ago

Obviously a lot more to This very sad saga.
My own view will be kept to myself and not throw stones. However a very poor reflection and a failure whatever the cause

K. Anonymous
K. Anonymous
9 months ago

This is bitterly disappointing news for those who thought that at long last Jasvinder and Steve would bring truth, justice and honesty to safeguarding. Those who have destroyed that hope should be downright ashamed of themselves and be called to account. I know that Synod members are making their plans so let us now hope they will be effective.

David
David
9 months ago

It’s a shame Parliament is busy with numerous investigations of its own working, standards etc because this really calls for a Royal Commission to investigate on behalf of Parliament. The Church has demonstrated yet again that it cannot police itself.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David
9 months ago

Ben Bradshaw has posted the following message on Twitter: ‘I will be asking the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP, to request a briefing for MPs & Peers on *what on earth is going on* with the ⁦@churchofengland
⁩ & safeguarding.’

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
9 months ago

This news is devastating for survivors of abuse and vitally important for the future of the Church of England but I want to suggest that it is even more important than that. The Church of England is not just a charity, it is a Church and a Church is supposed to provide moral, ethical and spiritual leadership to the Nation especially if it is an established Church. If it can’t do that, what is the point of the Church of England ? There must be consequences for the Archbishops Council and in particular for Mr Nye and the two Archbishops.… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
9 months ago

Just been catching up on the news, having been abroad for a week. (Spotting butterflies at Lake Como.) Some of the complaints about the ISB and its “independance” or lack of same, sound very familiar to the fate of the last government agency I worked for. This had been set up by Tony Blaire as a professional standards enforcement panel for the teaching profession – Michael Gove subsequently disbanded it, and at present I can’t even remember its name! This effectively fell to pieces after someone (with the professional clout to cause trouble) realised that the panel hearing disciplinary cases, was set… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

PS About ten minutes later, I remembered that the organisation was the General Teaching Council. The original vision was for a professional disciplinary body similar to the General Medical Council, but things didn’t quite work out like that. One of the problems was that it lost sight of some very basic realities; the leadership saw it as an independent council ( so independent of government that it had to ask the appropriate Secretary of State for permission to increase their annual fees.). Yet, in so very many ways, to an onlooker, it clearly wasn’t. Gradually they came to see themselves… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  John Davies
9 months ago

Quite an interesting reflection. I remember the GTC, specifically over its suspension of a rogue teacher I had worked with, who committed a string of offences. By keeping these powers at arms length from governmental interference, they ensured that independent decisions were made by people with no vested interests, people with professional expertise. However, as you mentioned, a top-down decision was made to shut them down.

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