Thinking Anglicans

Jay report on Church of England safeguarding published

UPDATED

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

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Kate Keates
Kate Keates
4 months ago

Many thanks for the late night link! Saved me a lot of effort hunting for it.

‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
4 months ago

As a survivor of Church-related abuse who has been trying to engage with the Church for more than 7 years, I respect and support the work carried out by Alexis Jay and her team, and by Sarah Wilkinson (who had to act under ToR that made her work very challenging), and by the ISB (in my case in the person of Jasvinder). Equally I have no faith, trust or confidence in the 2 Archbishops, the Archbishops Council and the current Lead Safeguarding Bishop. Paragraphs 2 through 4 on page 36 of the Jay report summarise that experience and those views.… Read more »

Helen King
Helen King
4 months ago
‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
Reply to  Helen King
4 months ago

Two obvious candidates for membership of the Response Group who have demonstrated their Independence, experience, knowledge & competence, and clearly command the support of victims and survivors would be Jasvinder Sanghera & Steve Reeves.

They would be much better appointments than Joanne Grenfell & Jamie Harrison who are not qualified, as Sarah Wilkinson has demonstrated, conflicted and have zero support or confidence from victims & survivors.

The Response Group, as currently proposed, is a complete sham and GS should vote it down.

‘Adrian’
‘Adrian’
Reply to  ‘Adrian’
4 months ago

Of course there is one other I should have nominated, though I have no idea if he’d be prepared to do it:

Gavin Drake

But we all know ‘no prophet is accepted in his own country’.

T Pott
T Pott
4 months ago

“Initial consideration of the process for considering”. (from the press release). You couldn’t make it up!

Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  T Pott
4 months ago

I do wonder who writes these things. The Response Group paper talks about having a ‘forward plan’. What, you mean there are backwards plans?

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Helen King
4 months ago

Pretty timely for Lent- ‘That we, worthily repenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may rush to set up endless further committees and working parties to enable us to continue wronging those we have abused ?’

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  Helen King
4 months ago

Yes indeed. Everyone seems to be “going forward” these days. More rubbishy business speak. Let’s return to good old “in future”. And I don’t want to hear about the “legacy” of this either. Or “resilience” or “flourishing”. Use of vocabulary is shrinking. Trotting out the same terms again and again is so narcoleptic.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Shamus
4 months ago

Also “heading into the future”, presumably this time travel is at the rate of 12 months per annum.

Shamus
Shamus
Reply to  T Pott
4 months ago

Oh dear, yes, another painful phrase. More seriously, I believe you can learn a lot about the writers of these missives from the type of language they choose to use.

David Lamming
David Lamming
4 months ago

The report itself is rather sparse on the content of the proposed two charities (designated ‘Organisation A’ and ,Organisation B), just setting out on pages 34-35 a short list of their respective functions. However also published on the Future of Church Safeguarding website is a 33-page ‘Legal Advice Note on Creating Independent Safeguarding Arrangements for the Church of England‘ by solicitors firm Bates Wells, who were instructed by Professor Jay (inter alia) to “advise best on how to implement [the proposals] while ensuring that the underpinning principles of independence, fairness, transparency and impartiality remain intact, in particular the principle that… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
4 months ago

The report makes play of the need to establish independent charitable organisations (A and B) and an independent HR function (though, surprisingly, it notes that safeguarding officials should remain in their present locations). However, we already know what ‘independence’ means as far as the Church is concerned: whatever the Church deems it to mean. The ISB was destroyed because it imperilled the autonomy and power of the episcopate. Part 4 has one elliptical paragraph on ‘resourcing’, which states that the oversight bodies will need to have appropriate funding. This is disappointing: the oversight organisations will be ‘captured’ and their independence… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
4 months ago

Indeed, and many thanks. Another possibility is for the Measure to require the Commissioners to deposit £Xm in a separate registered limited company (none of whose directors are representatives of the Church or, ideally, should have any substantive connections with the Church), whose purpose will be to finance Organisations A and B, and the proposed HR function. The capital of such a company should be vested in Organisations A/B, and the Church should not hold any shares in it. The Measure should also include a section stating that if the funds of such a company fall below a certain limit,… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Froghole
Pilgrim
Pilgrim
Reply to  Simon Sarmiento
4 months ago

Simon, Yes, ( not perhaps) “enforceable requirement” on the provision of finance is necessary.

Tim
Tim
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

‘The ISB was destroyed because it imperilled the autonomy and power of the episcopate.’ That may be so. But where is the evidence for that statement, please?

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Tim
4 months ago

You are quite right, and that statement was poorly judged. I should rather have written that the ISB was destroyed because of serious incompetence on the part of the Church authorities and none of those responsible have yet resigned or been called to account. However it does have to be asked why it need have been abolished when it was, even allowing for the grave deficiencies in the ISB’s terms of reference and contracts, which were prepared too hastily, as highlighted by Ms Wilkinson. There are many other bodies which are permitted to continue their work despite manifest structural defects… Read more »

Julian Whiting
Julian Whiting
4 months ago
  1. Alot of ‘shoulds’ in the piece
  2. How many other ‘Fact Checkers’ that dont appear on the list?
  3. Was any data witheld?
  4. Was there any Masonic interference?
  5. No theology or scripture suggestion to help the survivor or the church to engage
  6. The logo is good, How much did that cost? Maybe some little bumps in the mini slope to ensure that the church is kept on track and doesnt get ahead of itself.
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Julian Whiting
4 months ago

I don’t think it was within Prof Jay’s remit to provide ‘theology or scripture suggestion to help the survivor or the church to engage’. Nor would all survivors of church abuse welcome such an approach.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
4 months ago

It seems to me that a major problem with both reports is that both of them deal inadequately with a frequent cause of safeguarding problems in the past – the almost feudal power of bishops, and the great difficulty of enforcing effective sanctions in cases of negligent or deliberate episcopal failures to follow good practice or guidelines. This is mentioned by Jay, but no solutions offered. The legal advice simply says that failure to comply with the new procedures will be clergy misconduct under the CDM. How effective will that be in the case of bishops, and who will initiate,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Dawson
4 months ago

Indeed, and have to ask whether the report has been, in essence, a ‘fix’ and the result of a negotiation between Prof. Jay and the Church, in which it was made very clear to her that she could propose reforms, but that the episcopate would fight to the last ditch to retain their power and discretion over clerical discipline: indeed, that any serious discussion of those powers and that discretion was effectively off-limits. In which case the new charitable trusts will only mitigate an underlying problem that their creation will not really resolve. The trusts might therefore amount to little… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

I am not ordained so I have no personal experience of how priests are trained but in my personal experience something is very very wrong. As an ordinary parishioner you hear a lot from the pulpit about the need for compassion and love for the vulnerable because that is what Jesus taught. So what actually happens ? In my personal experience there is a formulaic expression of “concern” but no love and no action. In fact in my case I have been punished for daring to complain about the lies that were told about me. So for me it is… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  David Hawkins
4 months ago

“In my personal experience there is a formulaic expression of “concern” but no love and no action.” Yesterday evening I attended a talk at the Contemporary Theology Society in Canterbury. It was about Ukraine. During the Q&A someone asked a question about why so many ROC churchmen say things which are so obviously at variance with the truth. The lecturer, Philip Boobbyer (who is a church historian, though his work goes some way beyond that), remarked that, in his experience, church dignitaries have a tendency to say things which they think are necessary by dint of the ecclesiastical positions they… Read more »

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

I wonder if I am alone in being concerned about the wording of the motion being put to Synod on this.The words “any necessary implementation” strike me as weasel words, suggesting that some of what is recommnded by Jay may be unnecessary.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
4 months ago

I’m very pleased that Jay notes in section 3.5 of her report that there is a problem with the C of E failing to work to a clear definition of what safeguarding is. However, I’m disappointed that she appears not to make any recommendation that the C of E should adopt a statutory definition of safeguarding. That sems necessary if Recommendation 4, that “Any complaint, concern or enquiry regarding safeguarding shall be referred to organisation A at the first available opportunity” is implemented. If we’re not clear what is and what is not a safeguarding matter, organisation A will quickly… Read more »

Marian Birch
Marian Birch
4 months ago

I was interested in the fact that Professor Jay’s report touched, even if fairly briefly, on the concept of ‘spiritual abuse’. A quote on this topic from one of the respondents said, “They make it seem like you are failing God and they have the power to make you believe that and they use their standing to coerce individuals. I definitely agree that a spiritual safeguarding definition should be included in the overall safeguarding definition.” I think that acknowledging the concept of ‘spiritual abuse’ opens up a pretty massive can of worms which I am quite sure that the Church… Read more »

David Hawkins
David Hawkins
Reply to  Marian Birch
4 months ago

I am so glad you raised the question of spiritual.abuse. As a survivor of spiritual abuse I have constantly worried that the abuse I suffered was somehow trivial because it wasn’t sexual. But spiritual abuse really hurts and it really matters. A priest in my parish wrote to me accusing me of terrible things and even threatened to denounce me to “Inclusive Church” as a homophobe. Victims of abuse tend to blame themselves and that’s what I did at first. The problem is that sexual abuse is more clear cut, spiritual abuse is harder to define even for the victim.… Read more »

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
4 months ago

After the ‘meltdown’ at GS last July, where the members of GS were successful in forcing through a presentation by the sacked members of the ISB, against the wishes of the secretariat (and particularly of the Secretary-General, who walked out), the commissioning of the Jay report seemed a surprisingly positive response, apparently offering hope of bringing about real change. Professor Jay was wise to insist that she would publish the report herself, and prepared the ground well, pre-issuing it to the media under embargo. In the event, it seems to have attracted very little attention – a very short piece… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Malcolm Dixon
Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
4 months ago

Indeed, but was Hoyle really being ‘well-meaning’? I think yesterday’s disgraceful fiasco had rather more to do with wanting to keep his job and lavish grace and favour residence following the next election, if the allegations about him being ‘threatened’ by senior Labour MPs are to be believed. I have no doubt that he is a likeable person, and something of a relief after his obnoxious predecessor, but it seems likely that he is liable to ‘suasion’, especially when it really matters. The last three speakers have perhaps been a mirror of parliament’s continuing decline. No one emerges from this… Read more »

Alastair (living in Scotland)
Alastair (living in Scotland)
Reply to  Froghole
4 months ago

Jay’s report is warmly welcome and I hope the recommendations are implemented in full. As an aside, Froghole, I do not understand your comment about any support for Labour suffering in Scotland being richly deserved? Agreed however about the ongoing real suffering.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Alastair (living in Scotland)
4 months ago

I will try again. My comment was intended to criticise the quality of the Labour amendment viz. the original SNP motion which the amendment was intended to supplant. The former (together with the government’s own amendment) was considerably inferior and more equivocal than the latter. However, as I see it, this was no surprise given the steady rightward drift of Labour under its present leadership. In any event, Wednesday was a low point, even by the recent standards of British parliamentary history. I should add that the house of bishops finally issued a statement on 13 February: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/press-releases/statement-house-bishops-war-gaza-0. This was… Read more »

Martin Sewell
Martin Sewell
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
4 months ago

Jay speaks of the need for a new culture.

The proposal of a can kicking working party with no known provenance or quality control is clear evidence – if any were needed – that old culture rules in Church House.

Ceausescu would have recognised the technique.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Malcolm Dixon
4 months ago

Malcolm — Agreed, and Gavin Drake, in an article on his ‘Church Abuse’ blog has made this suggestion for an amendment to the motion for debate at Synod: “I hope that General Synod members will move and pass an amendment to the motion as follows: to leave out all words after “request that” and add: “the Archbishop’s Council to (a) instruct independent legislative counsel to prepare a draft Measure giving effect to Professor Jay’s proposals; (b) to publish the draft Measure for consultation by April 2024; and (c) to bring that draft, together with a report setting out responses to… Read more »

Peter Owen
Admin
Reply to  David Lamming
4 months ago

The amendments received have been published in Notice Paper 7.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
4 months ago

I’m not sure what Synod can do but somebody needs to switch the train to a different track. As it stands, I bet in 5 years there will still be no independent safeguarding body.

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Kate Keates
4 months ago

Part of the issue is that the poor treatment of survivors and the failure to address historic cases with a generous pastoral and financial heart blows any credibility out of the water. If I were lining up my ducks to get safeguarding on track, politically, institutionally and culturally, I would start with the redress scheme and get that off the table. Adequate funding for a proper survivor support service would be peanuts in relation to the sums being spent on other things. Look at the mess that inadequate Post Office “redress” schemes are causing, with people trying to buy off… Read more »

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
Reply to  Mark Bennet
4 months ago

At this point I would book a residential conference venue for the first two weeks I could get and send out invites making plain that if someone decided not to rearrange their diary that’s their choice. I would have lawyers there and have the intention to get draft measures finished for the redress scheme and independent safeguarding.

If something is a priority, make it the priority. If someone takes months or weeks to make decisions then it isn’t a priority for them, whatever excuses they make.

Simon Kershaw
Reply to  Kate Keates
4 months ago

All very well, but working laity very likely can’t just take two weeks extra holiday.

RogerB
Reply to  Mark Bennet
3 months ago

Am I alone in thinking that tasks (c) and (d) are completely different activities that should be handled by different bodies?: (c) receiving safeguarding referrals, enquiries and complaints from Church of England individuals, parishes, dioceses and other church bodies; conducting safeguarding investigations and making safeguarding directions and recommendations; (d) providing victim and survivor care and support and also support and information for those against whom there are allegations.  (c) is the equivalent of the judiciary, and needs to have the power to impose sanctions, rather like a sport’s governing body. Surely (d) is the equivalent of the NHS, patching up… Read more »

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Kate Keates
4 months ago

Unfortunately it looks as though all the preSynod preparations from Church House consist of sending out gangs of workmen to wire all the sets of points to ensure the customary (ever decreasing) circle is maintained

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