We have published several news reports recently, that relate to the Independent Safeguarding Board, here, and also here, and earlier over here. These provide some context for a letter from David Lamming published in the Church Times this week under the heading Church Interference with the ISB that summarises the current difficulties:
Sir, — The Annual Report 2022-23 of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), written by the two members, Jasvinder Sanghera and Steve Reeves, and published on 24 April, blows away any remaining claim that the ISB is independent, stating on page 19 that it “currently exists within the structure of the National Church Institutions with oversight from the Archbishops’ Council”.
That servile relationship with the Archbishops’ Council is highlighted by the fact that Meg Munn has been imposed on the ISB as acting chair, in clear breach of the ISB’s terms of reference, which state that the Archbishops’ Council “ratifies” board appointments and that each member is appointed following a process that includes “public advertisement of vacancies” and “the use of expert recruiters to ensure a wide field”. Added to this is the obvious conflict of interest in appointing a person who also chairs the National Safeguarding Panel.
It is especially disturbing to note, according to the report in the Sunday Telegraph on 23 April, that neither board members nor abuse victims were consulted over the appointment of Ms Munn, and that the members were “instructed not to engage with victims on matters of ‘independence and the arrival of the chair'”. Given, too, the expressed lack of confidence in her by many survivors of abuse, Ms Munn must surely now state that she will not take up the role of acting chair, and the Secretary-General, William Nye, must give a full account of how her appointment came to be made.
In February, General Synod members were denied the opportunity to debate the ISB (News, 2 February; 6 February). Patently, such a debate must take place at York in July, when those responsible for the current débâcle can be held to account.