Thinking Anglicans

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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

11 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
David Hawkins
David Hawkins
29 days ago

“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.” The Church of England still doesn’t get it. The Church of England still imagines that abuse is something to be processed by a management system. My abuse was not sexual and it occured when I was well into old age. Most people would probably think it was fairly minor but it has left me shattered and unfairly excluded from my parish. I don’t need “complex change management… Read more »

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  David Hawkins
29 days ago

I think at least part of the problem lies in imagining that you can “run” a Church such as The CofE as if it were a commercial company. It is instead an institution, which is something very different.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  David Hawkins
29 days ago

I really hear and empathise with what you say here, David. I let out a very deep sigh. I don’t know the appointee at all, but on face value, she seems to bring a lot to the table, despite having worked at senior level in the NHS, something I don’t see as a laudable thing in a role supposedly aiming at accountability and transparency. I could see having her as a co-chair working very well….in the proverbial parallel universe. I say this because it could, theoretically, be a good match of her skills with the pastoral skills of a Bishop.… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  David Hawkins
28 days ago

David, I’m sorry you’ve had such a devastating experience. I hope and pray that you’ll be able to find love, support, and healing.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  David Hawkins
28 days ago

“The Church of England still imagines that abuse is something to be processed by a management system.”

It’s worse than that. The House of Bishops believe that anyone appointed to be a diocesan magically makes a competent manager and seem intent on designing policies on the basis of that fallacy. It’s one of the things which would be remedied by an independent safeguarding structure.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
28 days ago

I read the anouncement with increasing despair and was only cheered up by reading the comments below. The cult of managerialism and attendant language has brought the church to its knees – but unfortunately not in prayer. Phrases like ‘change management’, beloved of recruitment agents are meaningless concepts, especially when what is needed is love and empathy. We don’t need the discourse of a manager but the discourse of a pastor.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Daniel Lamont
28 days ago

“Change management” is absolutely not meaningless. It is extremely valuable in fields like IT where you are making concrete, measurable changes to systems and need to mitigate the disruption those changes cause (and have a process to rapidly undo them when the whole thing crashes and burns). The problem is treating people and social systems as if they were IT systems. There are certainly lessons to be learned from good change management, but it seems to have been co-opted into the vacuous world of managerialism shorn of its beneficial aspects.

Daniel Lamont
Daniel Lamont
Reply to  Jo B
27 days ago

I think actually we agree. Obviously ‘change management’ is a legitimate term in IT. I am a retired University academic who was also a Dean. Endless mantras like ‘change management’ were batted about without much thought. UK universities are in a parlous state for much the same reasons as the CofE: both have lost sight of their core purposes.

David Keen
David Keen
28 days ago

I must confess I’m becoming increasingly lost about where we are with safeguarding, with all the groups, boards, reports, disputes etc. It seems to be one long interminable process of the CofE setting up one ad hoc body to respond to what the previous one said, without actually getting anywhere. Can anyone please give a simple summary of what’s going on and where we are in the process (if there is a process)?

Trevor
Trevor
Reply to  David Keen
27 days ago

Dear David, I think you are right. It seems to me that the fudge is continuing rather like the Post office scandal. Most of the bishops are desperate to prevent the truth coming out. Some of them are anxious to hide what they have done. As Lord Carlile said,”The process is the most unjust and incompetent I have ever seen.” Or in other words, no one has been treated justly, the guilty have been pronounced innocent, and the innocent have been pronounced guilty. The church has no idea of what truth is, and uses corrupt methods, which is strange for… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Trevor
26 days ago

To David Hawkins- like Janet Fife I am very sorry about what happened to you. However it happened the abuser did ( from their point of view) a great job in that they left you so undermined you wondered whether the abuse was sufficient for you to complain about it. I hope and pray you have better support outside the Diocese of Europe . To David Keen, Do you remember the advertisement for the washing machine ‘and on and on and….’( brand now gone I think)? As Trevor says it is a continuing fudge not about proper safeguarding or redress… Read more »

11
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x