Thinking Anglicans

Church of England recruits National Director of Safeguarding

Updated Friday 15 April

Readers may recall that the previous National Director, Melissa Caslake, resigned in January 2021. Since then Zena Marshall has been interim director. The substantive post has now been advertised, both on the CofE pathways website and in the Church Times:

There are some further web pages dedicated to this vacancy, hosted by Green Park recruitment consultants:

Welcome letter from William Nye   Background on the National Church Institutions

Role Description    Person Specification    How to Apply

Applications close on 21 April.

Update: there is a letter (scroll down) in the Church Times today from David Lamming which makes a number of criticisms of the advertisement. See further in the comments below.

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A Menage
A Menage
1 month ago

More and more and more money!!!!

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  A Menage
1 month ago

I am mystified by this response. Does this anonymous poster want safeguarding to be overseen by a volunteer? Does this anonymous poster think it better not to bother? The brief posting is oblique – but I suspect intended to be critical – offers no alternative perspective, and could clearly be perceived as suggesting that an attempt to safeguard the vulnerable from abuse is not a good idea. Perhaps the person who posted might reveal their thoughts more clearly, and might even dignify their post by showing their identity. I am, and remain, highly critical of aspects of the ‘corporate’ nature… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

Re cost, interestingly, while the closing date for applications is not till next Thursday, 21 April, the advertisement only appeared in the Church Times on 25 March (page 37). It has not appeared in the following three issues: 1st, 8th and 14th April. Presumably, the CT’s ‘Until filled’ policy/offer does not apply to this post!

Anne
Anne
1 month ago

I wonder what the ‘cultural assessment’ refers to?

Given that IICSA identified the culture of the Church of England as part of the issue, I hope that the selection process isn’t trying to find someone who conforms to the institutional culture, vs. challenge/reform it.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

I’m sad that there is no mention in the role description of the need to take a fresh look at safeguarding from a common or garden parish perspective. For many parishes (this came up at a deanery chapter meeting recently) the burdens placed on parish safeguarding officers (by national and diocesan officers) are unmanageable. It is hard to find volunteers to fill the parish safeguarding officer role, and it was confirmed at a diocesan synod recently that without one in post, a church/PCC’s insurance policy may well be invalid. Another nail in the parish coffin issued by senior leadership. This… Read more »

NJW
NJW
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

The issue of a parish’s insurance being invalid is not a matter of the church placing a nail in the coffin but of the reality of charity law – which places an obligation on any charity (including an exempted charity) to fulfil all the requirements of the relevant Care Acts and Childrens’ Acts. If a charity is in breach of statute law, then it will almost certainly find its insurance invalid. (Indeed, this is an obligation not just on charities, but on any organisation undertaking work that involves vulnerable or potentially vulnerable people) The practical solution to this is to… Read more »

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  NJW
1 month ago

Thanks for the clarification. What surprises me in all this is how rarely we talk about the implications of a parish not being able/willing to comply with safeguarding requirements. And for this I think the senior leadership shares responsibility. The benefits of compliance are easy to talk about, the reality of non compliance is every bishop’s nightmare – dozens of parishes unable to form a PCC with a valid insurance policy. If we are honest I would think a large number of parishes are operating below the minimum requirements, and yet the accountability needed to resolve this, despite large numbers… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

I have also been part of a conversation at a deanery chapter at which clergy have expressed the frustration of not being able to recruit a safeguarding officer, and the question was asked whether one safeguarding officer could serve more than one parish. I don’t recall that a clear answer was ever forthcoming to that question. But the volume of material that parish safeguarding officers have to deal with, some of which is contradictory, much of which is ever-evolving, leaves people not knowing what to do for the best. And yes, the real work of safeguarding does go on in… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
1 month ago

I suspect that a lot of bluff is going on. One indication of the supposedly overwhelming importance of safeguarding is the provision of safeguarding notices on parish websites and, especially, on achurchnearyou. Indeed, I sometimes wear a wry smile when seeing such notices on achurchnearyou. The applicable parish page will not list any service times, will not have any contacts, nothing at all. Tumbleweed. However, it will have a lengthy safeguarding notice, even though for practical purposes the church is effectively moribund, there are no vulnerable people to keep safe, and there won’t have been any children attending for years,… Read more »

RobT
RobT
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

It does seem that the Church of England is very much now becoming a safeguarding organisation that does a bit of worship on the side. This work is also done in secret – I have not seen anything from the diocese where I live and worship saying “The safeguarding team has processed N cases this year, of which M were historic. We have suggested/requested/required X people not to take up roles and have implemented safeguarding arrangements with Y people. Z cases opened this year are still ongoing.” Whilst abuse is wrong, there seems to be a view that it can… Read more »

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  RobT
1 month ago

These sorts of numbers are reported regularly to the Bishop’s Council and to the diocesan synod. I think that’s a requirement.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  RobT
1 month ago

Is making the Church a safer place even a desirable goal in itself? What is desirable is that children be safe, wherever they are. The figures you mention would, I agree, be useful. But even more important is whether it is making children safer overall. If, as a result of the closure of the Church Youth Club, because due to Safeguarding Procedures nobody wants to run it, a child is attacked in the park, or recruited to a drugs gang, how do we feel. A triumph that the abuse didn’t happen in Church? How do we measure the benefits children… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
1 month ago

The bar for this appointment is set exceptionally high (which reflects its critical importance). The person specification includes such experience as: significant experience of operating at a senior strategic leadership level within a large and complex organisation; significant experience of excellence in safeguarding work; accomplished change manager; and proven track record of successfully leading and influencing transformation. By adding an occupational requirement to be a Christian (the position qualifies in my view) would simply have made the field impossibly narrow. Few organisations yet have top draw safeguarding professionals operating at board level. The ideal candidate probably doesn’t exist. There will… Read more »

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