Thinking Anglicans

Update – John Smyth review

Press release from the Church of England

Update – John Smyth review

Update from independent reviewer Keith Makin

I am aware of the ongoing impact that the delays in the publication of my report is having on all those affected by this review, particularly the victims and survivors. I would like to underline my apology and outline next steps which I hope will provide some reassurance. The review has now reached the stage where those individuals and organisations named and criticised in the report are to be sent the relevant extracts to permit them an opportunity to respond to the criticism.

This stage is starting later than planned and later than we outlined in our statement at the start of the year. This was because there was a substantial change to a contribution to the review, at the final stages of completion. The consequence of this was the need to review and edit those parts of the review which drew upon this contribution.

Once this next stage is complete the final report will be handed to the Archbishops’ Council for publication. This will be done as soon as practically possible, but we cannot give definitive dates until this stage of the process is completed.


Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. While support has previously been offered the NST has now secured the service of a specialist advocacy service. FearFree Support provides specialist support to victims and survivors of abuse, offering trauma informed and victim led bespoke support. Its director of services has identified an experienced independent advocate for victims and survivors – Nina Tanner – to deliver this service and this information has been relayed to the survivors and victims.
Contact: 07825 741751

There is an additional offer of therapeutic support for victims and survivors @ Homepage – Yellow Door

Yellow Door is an organisation that can offer evidence-based therapy to support victims and survivors of abuse and those that have experienced trauma.

Contact Yellow Door confidentially at


The Jay Files

Updated 17 May – episode 2 added; and again 24 May – episode 3 added

Regular readers will recall the publication last February of The Wilkinson Files.

Martin Sewell and Clive Billenness have now produced a further video series: The Jay Files which explain very clearly what is in Alexis Jay’s report on The Future of Church Safeguarding.

The first of three videos was published this morning, and two further episodes will be published on successive Fridays. I will link all three of them in this article as they become available. These are strongly recommended viewing, particularly for General Synod members.

The Jay Files episode 1 The Background

The Jay Files episode 2 Fully or Semi-Detached

The Jay Files episode 3 Safeguarding the Jay Way

A press release says

…The Jay Files are a series of 3 short documentary-style films which highlight the key findings of Professor Jay’s Report and are a sequel to The Wilkinson Files which examined the report by barrister Dr Sarah Wilkinson into the investigation of the closure of the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board. Each film will be no longer than 15 minutes in duration. The Wilkinson Files have been viewed thousands of times by people both inside and outside of the Church.

These films are presented by Martin Sewell and Clive Billenness, both Members of the House of Laity of the General Synod and both very active in matters relating to Safeguarding. Martin is a retired solicitor specialising in Child Protection. Clive is a Certified Auditor who is still in practice and is also an elected member of the Audit Committee of the Archbishops’ Council.

Clive said “Like the Wilkinson Report, Professor Jay’s Report is packed with detail, including the results of a substantial survey that included abuse survivors as well as members of Safeguarding Schemes. She spoke with over 180 people in multiple dioceses, and it is clear that her recommendations were based on the evidence from her work and were not confined to any one parcular group of interviewees.”

“Members of the General Synod are given very little time to discuss in depth the details of these complex reports which lie at the heart of creating a Church which is safe for all before being asked to make critical decisions on how we will move forward. We are all in agreement that there must be proper measures to prevent a repetition of the abuse scandals of the past, as well as the means to care for existing survivors of past abuse. Martin and I hope that these films will help Members to better understand the issues before making decisions.”


National Redress Scheme: financial award proposals published

The National Redress Scheme is for survivors and victims of Church-related abuse. See here for links to earlier press releases about this.

Details of the proposed financial award framework for the Church of England’s national Redress Scheme have now been published. If approved, the framework would be used to calculate offers of financial redress to survivors and victims of Church-related abuse. Details of the proposed approach to funding the Redress Scheme have also been announced.

The Redress Project Board has agreed the recommended financial award framework for the national Redress Scheme. If approved through the Church of England’s legislative processes, the framework would result in individual awards of between £5000 and £660,000 in rare and exceptional circumstances. For more details read the latest press release: National Redress Scheme: Proposed financial award framework and approach to funding.

Church Times report: Survivors could be paid £660,000 in C of E’s four-stage redress scheme


Co-chair named for Wilkinson Jay response group

Church of England press release
Independent co-chair for safeguarding Response Group appointed

Lesley-Anne Ryder, an experienced CEO and chair who has worked in national and local government and the health and charity sectors, has been appointed the independent co-chair of the Response Group looking at two important reports on independence and safeguarding in the Church of England. These are from barrister Sarah Wilkinson and former IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) chair Alexis Jay.

Lesley-Anne brings a proven track record in leading complex change management and restructure programmes involving safeguarding professionals and volunteers in diverse organisations and is an experienced leader, coach and mentor of senior teams. She has more than 20 years’ experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children and has played an active role in shaping Health and Social Care policy at a senior level in the NHS, worked on a Government department merger and continues with a range of charity work which has included being a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care and chair of a local charity.

An independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates and Lesley-Anne was interviewed by members of the Response Group including meeting with survivor representatives. One of the key criteria for selection was a professional, external voice who had not previously worked with the national Church. She will start work this week.

Speaking on her appointment Lesley-Anne said: “I am delighted to bring both my experience of leadership and managing complex change in a variety of settings, along with my personal experience and qualifications in engaging and supporting those whose trauma and circumstances have in some way stopped them having a voice. I believe that I inspire confidence, commitment and focus for those that I am called to lead and support, and that this role provides a unique opportunity for me to use my skills to the full. I have chaired several multidisciplinary boards, and I look forward to working closely with Bishop Joanne and the whole of the Response Group. I am an active member of my local church and work to support vulnerable people in my local community”.

The Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop and co-chair of Response Group, Joanne Grenfell, said: “I welcome this appointment and the wide-ranging professional experience Lesley-Anne will bring to this role. It is vital that we have an independent voice that can offer challenge and scrutiny while the work of the Response Group moves forward on these two important safeguarding reports.”

The ToR for the group have been updated to include this: Wilkinson and Jay Reports Response Group Terms of Reference

Some additional information is available at LinkedIn and at Anume.

The Church Times reported it this way (scroll down):

New independent co-chair for Response Group

THE independent co-chair of the group responding to recent reports on safeguarding in the Church of England (News, 15 March) has been appointed. It is Lesley-Anne Ryder, a former charity chief executive with experience of work supporting vulnerable adults and children. She has worked on social-care policy in the NHS, is a supervisor for Cruse Bereavement Care, and chairs a local charity. The other co-chair of the Response Group is the Bishop of Stepney, Dr Joanne Grenfell, who is the lead safeguarding bishop. It is understood that the Response Group will conduct a consultation on responding to the recommendations in the reports by Professor Alexis Jay (News, 23 February) and Dr Sarah Wilkinson (News, 15 December 2023). The announcement on the C of E website, on Tuesday, says that an independent recruitment firm was responsible for the selection of candidates, and that Ms Ryder was interviewed by members of the Response Group and survivor representatives.


Survey for initial response to Jay report

Press release from the Church of England

Survey for initial response to Jay report

A survey has been published today for anyone who wishes to make an initial response to the recommendations made by Professor Jay in her report on the Future of Church Safeguarding. The report from Professor Alexis Jay, former chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA, makes recommendations for a new independent safeguarding and scrutiny body for the Church of England. Professor Jay was commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to carry out this work in July 2023 and her report was published in February 2024.

Survey findings will be presented to the Wilkinson/Jay Response Group (see revised Terms of Reference) and will be available on the Church of England website. All survey responses are anonymous and no names or identifying details will be requested or produced. The survey closes on April 18.

Further information on safeguarding in the Church and independence


Safeguarding: Advert for Wilkinson/Jay Response Group Co-Chair


This advertisement has appeared on Guardian Jobs, originated by Charisma Recruitment.

The full text is copied below the fold.


Church of England
Unremunerated with reasonable expenses paid*
Closing date
8 Apr 2024*
The asterisked items above show the advert as originally published.
The Salary line has been changed, and now reads: Supplier fee paid.
The closing date has also been changed to read 17 March.



Safeguarding – pre-Synod news and comment

Updated Friday to add a second Church Times article

Gavin Drake Church Abuse

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Future of Church Safeguarding – A look at the Jay Report
also online at Modern Church

Ruth Peacock Religion Media Centre Celebration but concern at proposed new CofE independent safeguarding

Francis Martin Church Times Jay calls for root-and-branch reform of church safeguarding

Simon Walsh Church Times Varied responses to Jay report on Church of England safeguarding

1 Comment

Jay report on Church of England safeguarding published


This report was commissioned by the Church of England and first announced on 20 July 2023. Details followed in August: see Future of Church Safeguarding.

The report is now published: The Future of Church Safeguarding (55 pages)

There is also a press release: Report into the future of safeguarding in the Church of England

And there is a video.

There is also this Legal Advice note (35 pages)


The Church of England has issued a press release.

And there is this: Terms of Reference for the Jay and Wilkinson Reports Response Group


The Wilkinson Files

Sarah Wilkinson’s report into the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) was published in December. A debate on Safeguarding Independence (GS 2336) is scheduled to take place on Saturday 24 February at General Synod.

In advance of this debate six short documentary-style films (“The Wilkinson Files”) which highlight the key findings of Dr Wilkinson’s Report are being released by two Synod members. They explain these findings while displaying their precise location within the report. Each film is between 8 and about 15 minutes in duration.

The films are being released daily. So far two are available, but links are available for all six.

The films are presented by Martin Sewell and Clive Billenness, both Members of the House of Laity of the General Synod and both very active in matters relating to Safeguarding. Martin is a retired solicitor specialising in Child Protection. Clive is a Certified Auditor who is still in pracce and is also an elected member of the Audit Commiee of the Archbishops’ Council.

Clive said “When the Wilkinson Report is considered at the forthcoming meeting of the General Synod, speakers will probably only have 2 or 3 minutes each to speak about it. The Report itself reflects the legal background of its author and is packed with painstaking detail. We wanted to help Synod members to be as fully-informed as possible before Synod considers this. We have approached this like a forensic examinaon and have only included in the films any information contained in Dr Wilkinson’s Report, information of which she was aware or information in the Public Domain at the time she wrote her report.

“We have not invited anyone else to comment in our films or to appear on them in the interests of strict imparality. We leave it instead to our viewers to draw their own conclusions about how these sad events came to pass and how we can avoid a repetition. Dr Wilkinson’s report makes it clear that some fundamental changes are needed to the way the Church of England and the Archbishops’ Council conducts itself when dealing with Safeguarding.”

The films detail how the ISB was created, how it struggled to achieve the proper independence which abuse survivors and others expected, how it was closed down, followed by an detailed examinaon of the failures in governance which Dr Wilkinson highlights, a summary of the voices of the survivors who spoke to her and, finally, a short analysis of the “Magic Moments” where serious mistakes occurred which led to the failure and closure of the ISB.


Correspondence re Secretary General

On 18 January, we published a letter addressed to the archbishops calling for the suspension and investigation of the Secretary General, William Nye. This letter was written by Martin Sewell and signed by 20 members of General Synod. The full text of the letter is here.

A reply to this letter was sent on 6 February from Carl Hughes, Chair of the Finance Committee of the Archbishops’ Council.

Martin Sewell replied to this on 8 February. The formal response is here, and there is also a covering note and an addendum.

Carl Hughes replied to this on 11 February.


Independent Safeguarding Board: radio interview transcript

The BBC Radio 4 Sunday programme carried an item on 28 January about the now defunct Church of England Independent Safeguarding Board.  You can hear the item from the BBC website (starts at about 20 minutes, 30 seconds into the programme).

The interviewees were the clinical psychologist David Glasgow, whose report we linked to earlier when it was published by House of Survivors, Jamie Harrison, Chair of the House of Laity of the General Synod, and a survivor of abuse.

A transcript of this is now available. You can read that here.Transcript temporarily unavailable.


Professor Alexis Jay to publish report in February

From the Future of Church Safeguarding website: Professor Alexis Jay to publish recommendations on Church

Professor Alexis Jay CBE has informed the Archbishops of Canterbury and of York that she will next month (February) deliver to them and publish her report on how to make Church safeguarding fully independent.

In her report, Professor Jay will make a series of recommendations on how Church safeguarding can be made independent, accountable, fair and trusted, in order to learn from the past and better protect all those involved in Church life from harm.

The report has been informed by extensive engagement with those with recent experience of Church safeguarding, both in person and online, including victims and survivors, safeguarding practitioners, members of the clergy and volunteers.

This engagement exercise, which Professor Jay extended to ensure that all those who wished to share their views had the opportunity to do so, has now finished.

Professor Jay, supported by the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme, which is independent of the Church, is now preparing her report and recommendations.

In the interests of transparency, Professor Jay will publish her report online on the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme website.

Further details about publication will be provided in due course.


Response group for Wilkinson and Jay reviews

Press release from the Church of England

Response group for Wilkinson and Jay reviews

Following the publication of Sarah Wilkinson’s Review into the ISB and in light of the forthcoming Future of Church Safeguarding review from Professor Jay, the Archbishops’ Council, AC, has set up a group to consider how to respond and plan next steps.

The AC has publicly committed to learning lessons for the future delivery of independent safeguarding oversight noting the vital importance of this for all who come into contact with the Church but particularly for victims and survivors who will play an integral part in this work.

The response group, chaired by the lead safeguarding bishop, will consider the important lessons to be learnt highlighted in the Wilkinson report and once published will look at the recommendations in the Jay report.

The group will be made up of a range of members including safeguarding professionals from within and outside the Church, along with survivor and victim representation to ensure that survivors have input into the discussion and that their lived experience is heard. Alongside this, it is envisaged that a survivor and victim focus group will also be set up. The response group will consult with it in order to ask questions on specific areas.

The response group will meet regularly and will consider what wider consultation and further reflection is needed around both Reviews before a final response is considered and made by the AC which will go to General Synod for debate. The terms of reference will be drawn up in due course.


Safeguarding Bishop admits that survivor was misled

press release 19 January 2024

A prominent campaigner alleges that senior leaders in the Church of England are protecting its Secretary General William Nye against allegations that he has put reputation management before the needs of abuse victims. The former Lead Bishop for Safeguarding admits that the survivor was misled.

Gilo is a survivor of non-recent sexual abuse in the Church of England, and a prominent campaigner on issues of church abuse.

Gilo’s abuse, and its subsequent handling by the church, were the subject of an inquiry by independent safeguarding expert Ian Elliott, which was published in March 2016. The inquiry report was highly critical of the Church’s treatment of Gilo, and particularly of the deliberate withdrawal of pastoral care from the victim, apparently on the instruction of the church’s insurer, Ecclesiastical. Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, who was then Bishop of Crediton, was assigned to ensure that the recommendations of the review were fulfilled.

After the publication of the Elliott Review, a secretive meeting was held in Church House in August 2016 in which the church’s National Safeguarding Team, in-house lawyers, and communications team met with four executives from Ecclesiastical to discuss “a joined-up approach to stories and the media”, to preserve the reputation of both parties in the case. Neither Ian Elliott nor Gilo was aware of the meeting, or consulted about it.

Following the meeting, Ecclesiastical publicly questioned parts of Elliott’s review. They continued this approach when giving evidence at IICSA, describing the review as ‘flawed’ and ‘inaccurate’. In particular they explicitly rejected the suggestion that the insurer had suggested that the church should withdraw pastoral support from the survivor.  The representatives of EIO were subsequently recalled to the Inquiry to revisit their evidence, and were forced to retract part of it.

Following the IICSA Inquiry, Gilo obtained evidence that the reputation management meeting between Ecclesiastical and the church had indeed taken place. When Gilo attempted to get an explanation from the National Safeguarding Team and the Bishop of London, they shut him down.

In 2020 Gilo made a complaint against William Nye, the Secretary-General of the Church of England, who has overall responsibility for safeguarding in the church. The thrust of the complaint was that Nye was responsible for the reputation management meeting that the National Safeguarding Team and others had held in August 2016. The complaint was internally investigated by Canon John Spence, the member of the Archbishop’s Council who had the role of line managing Mr Nye. Mr Spence, who described himself as a “friend” of William Nye, reported that there were no further records of the meeting or of what was discussed. Nor could any of the parties recollect it. In any case, he said,  William Nye could not have been present because “he always takes his holiday at that time of year.” Consequently Gilo’s complaint against William Nye was dismissed.

In mid-2022 Gilo wrote to a number of senior staff in the Church of England, including the two Archbishops and safeguarding leads, asking for an explanation. Once again, he was blanked.

In March 2023 the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs, replied to Gilo admitting that church records showed the meeting about Gilo’s case had taken place, that William Nye had attended it, and that reputation management in relation to the church and its insurer had been discussed. He also admitted that Gilo’s “interests and well-being as a survivor were not as central as they should have been.”

Since July 2023 the Archbishops have repeatedly been asked by Gilo’s lawyer Richard Scorer for an explanation as to why the complaint against Nye had been dismissed on false grounds. The question has also been raised at General Synod. Repeated approaches have been left unanswered. In November 2023, the Archbishop of York, in a written response to a question at General Synod, said that an external firm of auditors had been engaged to conduct a “targeted” review. Neither Gilo, his lawyer or his advocate has been informed of the process of this review or invited to contribute to it.

Further information is available from Andrew Graystone

Attached below are:
Letter from Richard Scorer to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Extract from General Synod November 2023
Quotes from Gilo, Ian Elliott and others
Letter from Rt Revd Jonathan Gibbs


Glasgow report: call to investigate Secretary General

The Church Times carries a report: Psychologist reports ‘significant harm’ after closure of Independent Safeguarding Board which deals with the Glasgow report, as covered on TA previously here.

In addition it reports

…On Wednesday, a letter was sent to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, signed by 20 members of the General Synod. The letter called for “the immediate suspension and subsequent investigation” of the secretary-general of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye.

The letter, written by Synod member and safeguarding lawyer, Martin Sewell, accuses Mr Nye of failing to heed a request from Steve Reeves, one of the sacked members of the ISB, to delay the announcement of its termination so that survivors could be informed privately rather than learning via the media.

Ms Wilkinson’s report quotes an email from Mr Reeves to Mr Nye, in which Mr Reeves writes: “I am urging caution as powerfully as I can. The harm could be significant and the announcement is not urgent.”

The letter alleges that Mr Nye “rejected that advice and chose to take the risk; it had foreseeable and foreseen consequences . . . avoidable significant harm towards the vulnerable people to whom he owed a duty of care.”

The full text of this letter can be found here.


Update on Smyth review

The Church of England issued a press release today, giving an update on the Smyth review. It is copied below.

Update on Smyth review

Statement from National Director of Safeguarding

The following statement has been issued by the independent reviewer into the Church’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth. We would like to say as commissioners of the review, the NST recognises the process has gone on longer than is acceptable for those waiting for an outcome and for the Church to act and learn on the outcomes of the report. Along with the reviewer we apologise for this delay. We continue to offer additional resources and financial support to ensure the report is received by the end of April with a view to publication as soon as practically possible after that date.

Statement from Keith Makin, Independent Reviewer

I would like to take this opportunity to thank victims for their courage, time, and detailed input to the review and more recently in meetings with me. I recognise the impact that the duration of the review has had on victims, their families and others involved in this case.

Concerns have been expressed that I may have been put under pressure to delay publication of this report, I can confirm this is not the case. Several factors have contributed to the time taken reaching this current stage, including varying the terms of my contract. This will enable me to carry out representations, where those criticised in the review will be given advance notice of this and provided with an opportunity to respond.

I can confirm that my report is now being prepared for this process and I anticipate this will commence in March 2024.


Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. While support has previously been offered the NST has now secured the service of a specialist advocacy service. FearFree Support provides specialist support to victims and survivors of abuse, offering trauma informed and victim led bespoke support. Its director of services has identified an experienced independent advocate for victims and survivors – Nina Tanner – to deliver this service and this information has been relayed to the survivors and victims.

Contact: 07825 741751


Safeguarding: Waiting for Jay

It appears that the  Jay report on the future of Church of England safeguarding, which was originally due to be published by 31 December, is delayed. An explanation for this is awaited.

Meanwhile, Surviving Church has published How Professor Jay may help save the Church of England from itself.

The Wilkinson report on ISB phase 1 was published on 11 December: ISB phase 1: Wilkinson report published. One month later, there is as yet no further response from the Archbishops’ Council.

There has however been an article about the Wilkinson report published by the National Secular Society, Review: CofE leaders mainly to blame for sacking safeguarding body.

Also, we linked earlier to Surviving Church:  After Wilkinson. Towards a Trauma-Informed Church but it attracted only a few comments.

Now, there is a new paper by David Glasgow published at House of Survivors: Psychological Report: ISB cohort welfare and mental health.


Former ISB members cut links to review

The Church Times reports that “TWO former Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) members [Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves] have announced that they have ceased to co-operate with the independent review of the ISB’s demise. They have concerns about the reviewer’s remit.”

Jas Sanghera has posted on X/Twitter that  “At no point have ⁦@churchofengland⁩ engaged with us on terms of reference for this review, despite our numerous request. This is in effect CofE marking it’s own homework & not consulting with the very ppl it concerns. Shocking”.

Steve Reeves has posted that “the Church, with a remit solely defined by the Church, and excluding events critical of the Church, won’t tell anything like the true story.”


9 July General Synod discussion on the ISB

David Lamming has written the following article about the synod discussion that occurred on 9 July concerning the Independent Safeguarding Board.
Question 204 from the November General Synod sessions refers (text included below).


General Synod members, and those watching the proceedings on the livestream, will recall the débâcle at York on the Sunday afternoon, 9 July, when, after several attempts to use the standing orders to enable Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves to respond to the ‘Presentation on developments relating to the Independent Safeguarding Board’ were thwarted, the formal sitting was adjourned so that they could address Synod members, with Robert Hammond (chair of the Business Committee) taking over as chair of the informal session.

One of the thwarted attempts to use Standing Orders to allow Steve and Jasvinder to address Synod concerned SO 120(1), which provides: “The Presidents may invite such persons as they think fit to address the Synod.”  The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said that he was “happy to do that”, though he thought that Meg Munn, who was also present, “ought to be invited to say something as well.”  That said, he added: “I think if people [i.e. Jasvinder and Steve] were able to make a short statement and then perhaps a final response from the panel, I will leave that in your hands, Chair.  I think then we should include this item.” (emphasis added).  He was thwarted, though, as the legal advice given to the Chair (who reported it to Synod with ‘a regret‘) was that it was “unlawful for one of the Presidents and not both to suspend the Standing Orders.”  Leaving aside that Debbie Buggs’s request was to “ask the Archbishop of York in his capacity as President to ask Steve and Jasvinder to address Synod, please,” not to suspend the SOs, it is to be noted that the reason the Archbishop of Canterbury was not present was that he had left Synod to be with his dying mother.



Safeguarding Newsletter for November General Synod

Surviving Church has published this report on the current status of numerous safeguarding matters, few of which are on the agenda for the November synod. The editor of SC writes:

This is a copy of a newsletter written by Martin Sewell which helps a reader to understand at depth the issues on safeguarding that are coming before General Synod this week. Previous newsletters have been shared with synod members. (Ed.)

General Synod Safeguarding Newsletter

I recommend this report for the careful attention of all TA readers.