Thinking Anglicans

Complaint re William Nye

Updated

On 12 June, we published this item: House of Survivors challenges William Nye which links to an open letter:
Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York
Re: Notice of Complaint re Mr. William Nye LVO

Comments on that post noted at the time that House of Survivors was merely the website hosting the letter, not the originator of it, as our earlier headline had erroneously implied. Apologies.

Yesterday, 2 October, House of Survivors has hosted a second letter here: Open Letter to Archbishops, House of Survivors, and General Synod | October 2023

The letter is available both as a PDF, and on the HoS webpage. It is also copied in full below the fold.
Link to the PDF:
Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York`
Re: Update on Notice of Complaint re Mr. William Nye LVO

Update

Church Times  report: Survivors’ complaint against Church of England secretary-general stalls

Open Letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York 

12th October 2023

Dear Archbishops,

Re: Update on Notice of Complaint re Mr. William Nye LVO 

You will recall that we wrote to you both some five months ago in order to make a formal complaint about the Secretary General of General Synod, Mr. William Nye, who is at the same time Secretary to the Archbishops’ Council and the CEO of Church House Westminster and National Church Institutes (NCIs). This letter is to update you on the progress, 150 days after making our complaint.

Our June letter specified dozens of potential complainants, with grievances citing “culpable negligence in the carriage of safeguarding…” which was “precipitated by the suicides of victims and some falsely accused, together with an extensive catalogue of frequent failings, gross incompetence, misconduct, corruption, deception and cover-ups”. We made it plain that we had a considerable body of evidence to submit.

Within a few weeks of sending the letter, Christine Hewitt-Dyer, Head of People for Church House, was in touch to explain that whilst a complaints process for senior church officers existed, uniquely this did not apply to Mr. Nye. But we were nonetheless assured that an ‘independent’ barrister would be appointed to conduct some process of investigation. The following sequence of events then took place:

  1. Ms. Hewitt-Dyer selected a barrister with extensive involvement in a previous and unresolved case of multiple weaponised safeguarding allegations perpetrated by church lawyers, several senior church officers and others against an individual.
  2. Eventually, after negotiation, Ms. Hewitt-Dyer conceded there could be a perceived conflict of interest here, and the barrister concurred with this judgment and accordingly withdrew. A second barrister was selected, but then also withdrawn.
  3. A third barrister was finally proposed. At no stage were Terms of Reference shared with persons who wished to complain about Mr. Nye. These Terms of Reference were drawn up by people who worked directly under and report to him.
  4. The third barrister then informed the lead complainant that they would have less than a week to collate and submit written evidence. Ms. Hewitt-Dyer supported this. But due to a family bereavement that deadline was slightly extended.

However, the barrister subsequently stated that no other complainant would have access to this process, since he deemed that only one person was making any complaint about Mr. Nye, thereby excluding many persons from filing grievances in their own right. So the complaints process is now stalled, and it will not be able to go ahead until it is possible for all individuals to submit their own evidence. Meanwhile, Ms. Hewitt-Dyer insists that Mr. Nye cannot be suspended from any of his duties, so he continues to enjoy operational oversight in safeguarding, despite objections and desperate pleas by victims.

The meeting of the July 2023 General Synod at York, and its aftermath, has also brought a number of our most serious concerns to the surface. These have included:

  1. Mr. Martin Sewell (Rochester) submitted a written question regarding the progress on an inquiry into the “deliberate weaponization of safeguarding perpetrated against Prof. Martyn Percy by church lawyers, senior church officers and others”. Sewell’s question was subjected to substantial alteration without his knowledge or consent. Subsequent inquiries confirm it was the same church lawyers engaged in actions against Dr Percy who’d deliberately altered this question at Synod. However, church lawyers denied wrongdoing.
  2. With the instantaneous dismantling of the ISB, the two sacked board members had raised concerns about a dozen or so victims expecting to have investigations into their cases expedited. The Archbishops’ Council swiftly issued a media statement saying victims “were being supported and had been consulted on having their reviews completed”. This was completely untrue.
  3. Three months later, Archbishops’ Council announced it had appointed Kevin Compton as a ‘Commissioner’ to oversee the above work, and despite there being no advertisement or selection process for this Commissioner, that the victims/survivors had all been consulted. This was completely untrue. Those affected wrote to you to state this. Requests were made trying to prevent Mr. Nye anywhere near the cases of these victims. You have ignored these pleas.
  4. The Archbishops Council were written to regarding interim support for those most affected by delays in cases being heard, and absurdly slow progress in reviews. You have declined to help victims, and those abused have been told to wait until 2025, or thereabouts, when the Redress Scheme might commence. Meanwhile, the Director of the NST and the Lead Bishops for Safeguarding all have their email ‘Out of Office Auto-Reply’ on – almost permanently.

We make some brief observations in closing. First, the casework reviewing abuses continues to be delayed. One is 1500 days late. Another had key information deliberately withheld from IICSA by some senior bishops (current). Other instances indicate that the reputation of your lawyers, staff and senior clergy are prioritised over truth and justice. You have been sent relevant evidence. Yet you do nothing about the lies and coverups.

Second, with the Redress Scheme now delayed by Archbishops’ Council until 2025, we think there should be no further expectancy that individuals, congregations, parishes or the public make any further financial contributions towards the Church of England. As the donations directly fund the incompetent, unjust and corrupt culture you are unwilling to address, we think it is high time this was arrested. Maybe if/when a Redress Scheme proves its worth, donating to the Church of England’s work could be revisited?

Third, we remain deeply concerned that the institution which you purport to lead only protects itself – always at the expense of all other interests. We have raised concerns about previous abuses allegedly perpetrated by Mr. Nye or Bishop Steven Croft (both have appalling performance records in safeguarding). Yet they still evade any accountability.

Fourth, with no conflicts of interest policy for NCIs or Archbishops’ Council, this systemic culture of corruption and nepotism remains unchecked, and so sustains the underlying despotism. The time has come for all members of Archbishops’ Council, those in Legal Affairs Office at Church House/Lambeth Palace, Church Commissioners, and senior church officers, to provide fully transparent Declaration of Interests to General Synod by February 2024. This must include details of the law firms each Diocese and Bishop retains, which law firms are engaged in NCIs and General Synod, and the insurers and PR agents used by each of these bodies. We also require full disclosure from all key post-holders regarding the United Grand Lodge of England – with assurances stating whether or not they are/were members, or closely associated with such bodies.

Finally, it is often assumed Jesus’ ministry embraced all-encompassing forgiveness and indiscriminate compassion. Yet we note the Gospels record no such sentiments directed by Jesus towards the religious leaders of his time, and who presided over a culture that systemically oppressed and abused others. This collective group – Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and Chief Priests – were seen as agents of injustice protecting their powers and prestige. We see little contrast between what Jesus opposed and condemned then, and what victims of abuse frequently encounter from Archbishops’ Council now.

Sincerely, Name and Address Supplied 

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Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
6 months ago

This post has been brought to my attention and I need to correct one small but important detail. It is not the case that my question was altered by the lawyers whose conduct was the subject of it. They do not and did not have that direct capacity. Although I was not able to secure a fully independent inquiry into the matter, with the assistance of a trusted colleague we were able to negotiate a formal agreed statement explaining the events leading to the alteration which will be appended to the report of that Synod in the near future. It… Read more »

Mark
6 months ago

I have two métiers – I work in a “secular” profession as well as being a priest. I struggle to understand why it is that in my secular area of work everything regarding the professional behaviour of both employer and employees is so much better handled than in the Church.

Is it because the culture of exempting itself from as much employment legislation as it can get away with has allowed bad or inappropriate behaviour to remain entrenched on the part of both managers and managed in the Church, perhaps?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Mark
6 months ago

It’s not just the C of E. Years ago I worked for a Christian publishing company, whose sales manager had previously been a buyer for WH Smith. He said that in secular publishing and bookselling it was common to rely on deals sealed by a simple handshake. However, he’d found that he couldn’t trust Christians to stick to verbal agreements – everything had to be put in writing.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

The situation is completely unconscionable. The only possible conclusion is that the two archbishops and their council members are happy with it and are seeking to perpetuate it it for as long as possible- and if for the lifetime of the survivors, so much the better.
I wonder how much the barristers cost??

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

Mark is fortunate to find himself working in what sounds more like an exception to the rule. Some places may be doing this better. But there are three stories in this week’s news about organisations that are now having to face abusive behaviour they have managed to suppressed for years. It is everywhere – sport, education, nhs, politics, police, armed forces …

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

The rock impresario Harvey Goldstein booked the biggest artists in the world to to come and play at mega venues on both sides of the Atlantic on a handshake. When asked why, he explained that if you have clever lawyers and contracts you can break them any day of the week but “ I would only break my word once” I worked as a lawyer on a similar basis even if occasionally it cost me money. I always came out better in the long run. I work on a similar basis with survivor confidentiality which is why I know so… Read more »

Mark Andiam
Mark Andiam
Reply to  Martin Sewell
6 months ago

Do you mean Harvey Goldsmith?

Simon W
Simon W
6 months ago

Why the question about links to Freemasonry? That sort of concern/theory is a thing again is it? I thought the idea of those sort of conspiracies had gone out of fashion.

Liz
Liz
Reply to  Simon W
6 months ago

I was also surprised by that initially.

But I wonder whether it relates primarily to concerns over conflicts of interest. In some places, local politics, the Church of England and Lodge are very closely aligned social circles. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, it’s describing the local social environment and how relationships work in those contexts.

This is relevant as it could have a bearing on how people relate to one another and whether there are conflicts of interest. On that basis, it feels like a fair question.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Simon W
6 months ago

You don’t have to think the Masons control the world to be wary of the sort of old boy network that can develop around that sort of private club, particularly when it seems to have no particular purpose but hiding such associations from public view.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

Liz and Jo B. This might be relevant reading from the Thinking Anglican archives (although I acknowledge that the reports are three years old now and things may have changed since then). According to the Wikipedia entry (which I know may be incorrect) the president of Nobody’s Friends at the time of the posting was was Sir Phillip Mawer, William Nye’s immediate predecessor as Secretary General. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nobody%27s_Friends https://survivingchurch.org/2019/08/20/gilo-writes-safeguarding-the-secrets-part-1-nobodys-friends/ The existence of an influential men-only dining club at the centre of the Lambeth Palace influence network might also be an relevant topic in the other current debate on TA, about obstacles… Read more »

Harry
Harry
Reply to  Simon Dawson
6 months ago

I believe that it’s incorrect to state that Nobody’s Friends is “men only”. I think there are female members.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Simon Dawson
6 months ago

I’m not sure that Nobody’d Friends is men only now. Does anyone know?

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  peter kettle
6 months ago

Howard Dellar probably lights few candles of intercessory petition on my behalf. He has fielded a fair amount of questions from me over the years. Dellar is the Registrar of the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also Treasurer/Secretary of Nobody’s Friends. He informed me in 2018 that there were over 150 members of the Club of Nobody’s Friends and that women have been members since 2004. I wrote to all the Lords Spiritual in 2018 to enquire whether they belonged to either Nobody’s Friends or The National Club (which uses the Carlton Club for its meetings) or… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Gilo
6 months ago

Can you tell us how many women were members 5 years ago? And what proportion of the membership that would be?

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

20 women out of 150 membership. That was over 5 years ago. 13 percent

There were 20 diocesan bishops but none were women. Rachel Treweek was on the ‘Extra Clerical Waiting List’ at that time. The way it seems to work is potential members are on Waiting Lists until a member in their category dies.

Quite a few women judicial figures.
Rt Hon Teresa May was on a waiting list.

I hear that in more recent years Rt Hon Sir Ben Bradshaw was elected. And the journalist Quentin Letts.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Gilo
6 months ago

I had never heard of the National Club. Its website suggests its a low-church / Evangelical grouping. its advertised activities being fairly typical of a private group / club; but probably attracting fairly affluent people, given its general use of the Carlton Club (not just its dining facility. Does anyone have further intelligence?

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  peter kettle
6 months ago

The National Club is enfolded inside the bufty tufty Carlton Club in St James’s. The annual fee for The Carlton was £1542 in 2018, but National Club members pay budg fees to enjoy most of the same privileges. The reason for this curious relationship is historical – the National Club was relatively cash rich back in the day when the Carlton Club needed bailing out, and a deal was struck enabling the National to have a cut-price home. My understanding is that The National mainly comprises HTB city types who lunch. One or two evangelical bishops are members. Some bishops… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Gilo
6 months ago

I think there are two different questions about clubs like this. One is transparency – is membership is declared openly on some form of register. The other question (which I think is equally important) is how you get to join. It is one thing to have an open membership (like the National Trust or a political party) where anybody can apply. But it is different if it is a private club and one has to be invited. This gives a potential unfairness in that the benefits of membership (in term of social networking) are only available to those whose qualities… Read more »

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Simon Dawson
6 months ago

I’m quite conflicted here, because I don’t like all the secrecy that surrounds membership of Masonry and find the exclusivity of ‘invited to join’ groups both ludicrous and slightly offensive. But I’m also not an advocate for the abolition of all membership groups for which membership is not open access to all. Such groups range from professional bodies, which require experience, qualification and/or appointment holding to get in, through to having like minded interests. So why not social background, university, school etc etc? For me, the issue comes with the kind of public or professional appointment you hold and what… Read more »

Anthony Archer
Anthony Archer
Reply to  Simon Dawson
6 months ago

Hard to know what is going on here, and I am now outside the tent. Instinctively, I am on the side of the victims and survivors. These allegations are seismic, and it is the responsibility of the Joint Presidents to respond. They have not done so. That makes me very angry. That one of them spends his whole time on foreign affairs doesn’t help. I know a few members of Nobody’s Friends but was never going to be invited to be a member myself, and had I been I would not have accepted.  Having said which, I am privy to stuff that the members would… Read more »

Teddy
Teddy
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2007 that in a modern democratic society it was discriminatory to single out Freemasons from the many voluntary organisations an individual can belong to and require them to register their membership with their employers.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Teddy
6 months ago

I’m ok with people in powerful positions registering membership of any voluntary organisation that might result in a conflict of interest, from the National Trust to the National Front.

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Simon W
6 months ago

I can entirely see why there could be conflicts of interest if lawyers, for example, were acting simultaneously for two different sides in a dispute, or if individuals have financial interests that are affected by decisions they are making in another context – so it is important to have transparency and ensuring professional standards/codes of conduct are followed here. . But I can’t quite see what is to gained by inquiring into private dining clubs like the National Club or (still less) the freemasons. If someone wants to find out whether members of the British (and London-based) establishment (bishops, senior… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

Lord Lloyd, a law lord, gave evidence at IICSA that he intervened with Archbishop Carey on Peter Ball’s behalf, on the strength of he and Carey both being members of Nobody’s Friends. It’s this kind of ‘wheels within wheels’ set up which makes many of us suspicious of establishment networks.

Charles Clapham
Charles Clapham
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

That doesn’t surprise me, Janet, and I’m not defending establishment or the old boys network (and certainly not that type of intervention). I’m just saying that given the overlapping nature of the British establishment, it is almost inevitable that a senior law lord will know the Archbishop of Canterbury, whether from a dining club, the House of Lords, or because they were at Eton or Oxford together (in the case of the current Archbishop), or are members of the same tennis or golf club. In fact, I suspect you’d be hard-pressed to find any two members of the British establishment… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Clapham
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

True, but I’m in favour of transparency so we can see where these connections are and how undue influence might be exerted. Especially where, as Simon says above, the membership of a group is by invitation only.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

Let’s be honest. Prestige dining clubs etc wouldn’t let in the likes of you and I. They admit bishops because other members see some benefit to THEM in doing so – ie the potential for insight into policy and possibly influence. Whether or not bishops allow that to happen is moot – other members think it is possible. Personally I find that uncomfortable and question therefore whether membership of such groups is appropriate.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

There is a large amount of credible research that Freemasonry was capable of forming a force of malignant interest in society – it featured in a number of high profile police corruption investigations in the past, and there are stories without number of the echelons of polite society and commerce, particularly in small towns, being effectively controlled by Masonic lodges. But (and this part is often forgotten) its potential for malignancy is shared with membership of golf clubs, many other types of club (country clubs were a favourite in the US), the Public School people attended, their University, dining societies… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Realist
6 months ago

Of course if the two xxs arose from their inertia and actually did something to solve the issue all this discussion about support groups in the shadows would melt away like snow because there would no longer be any suspicion that they were being encouraged to spin things out in case it were to cost the organisation money…. Or money other than in legal fees to defend against doing the right thing …..

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Charles Clapham
6 months ago

A belated response. Lawyers, and I refer specifically to solicitors in England and Wales (who incidentally are officers of the court), are absolutely forbidden to act for two (or more) opposing parties to a dispute. As you surmise, conflict of interests is a total bar to such practice. There are very strict rules/ guidelines in non-contentious contexts where it is possible, e.g., acting for two parties having a common interest, but as soon as any breach in that common interest arises, the solicitor must immediately withdraw. I’m sure that exactly the same situation applies to barristers. Then, of course, there… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

Rowland, what does the term ‘act for’ mean in this context? Does it include giving advice, or is it confined solely to litigation or legal letters?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Janet Fife
6 months ago

In a word, everything. Advising the client, communicating on their behalf and appearing as their advocate in litigation (whether as solicitor or barrister). I’m aware that some people challenge the fact that lawyers who are both diocesan registrars (and chancellors) can also be ‘private practitioners’. Froghole has explained this as a necessary reality of a limited pool of specialist ecclesiastical lawyers. As always, conflict of interests, or rather lack of conflict, is the criterion to be followed. Hope this helps.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Simon W
6 months ago

The question is about links to the Grand Lodge. Most freemasons are members of private, district or county lodges. Few are members of the Grand Lodge. At least if the freemasons are similar to the Loyal Orange Lodge. I wonder why the focus on the Grand Lodge.

Realist
Realist
Reply to  T Pott
6 months ago

All English Masons who are members of local lodges are also members of UGLE, as their lodges are affiliated to it. So it is correct to ask about membership of UGLE. But you are right that comparatively few Masons hold Grand Rank (an acting or past [effectively honorary in that it doesn’t require a person to do anything there] position in the upper echelons of Craft Masonry). That having been said, as the numbers of people in Masonry have declined, as they have, in common with most membership organisations in England through the C20 and C21, the proportion of Masons… Read more »

Julian Whiting
Julian Whiting
Reply to  Simon W
2 months ago

Freemasonry is very much alive and many don’t understand the spiritual implications. Has anyone ever seen a Masonic safeguarding policy? Why is it that they are allowed their own service still in Cathedrals? Sadly leadership is weak in the church of england and would rather go along with how things have always been. Q for the Masons ..Why the need to worship a grand architect when God / Jesus will suffice?. Scripture warns us about the darkness. Why not choose the light?.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
6 months ago

Perhaps this is a silly question, but who is Mr Nye’s line manager? I ask because we saw in the case of Martin Sargeant how badly things can go wrong if there is no line of accountability. I’m not suggesting that Mr Nye is corrupt in th way that Sargeant was, but I do observe that the C of E has a great capacity for creating situations where a great deal of influence and power reside with no accountability.

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
6 months ago

As far as I’m aware in 2020 William Nye was line-managed by Canon John Spence on Archbishop’s Council. I know this because I took out a quite separate complaint against Mr Nye from the one referred to in the posting above. You will see below a little of how that complaint was handled. Following the letter in July of this year from my solicitor to both Archbishops we have received four brief ‘holding’ replies to the effect that the matter will be looked into. I had mistakenly imagined the matter would be looked into by Canon John Spence in 2020… Read more »

Martin
Martin
6 months ago

The underlying culture of the Archbishops’ Council seems to be one characterised by casual cruelty, callous conduct, and utter indifference. Reading the messages churned out by the CofE Comms department, one is just struck by the total lack of compassion and care from the trustees. The chasm between the members of the Archbishops’ Council and Christ has never been so huge. Tragic.

Charles Razzall
Charles Razzall
6 months ago

So amusing that cohorts of Bishops are members of the Athenaeum … a club which still bars women as members! Double-think n’est-ce pas ?

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  Charles Razzall
6 months ago

I assume that this refers to the London Athenaeum. It has admitted women to membership since 2002.

Charles Razzall
Charles Razzall
Reply to  Peter Owen
6 months ago

Thanks Peter.I meant the Garrick Club!

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