The Church of England’s House of Bishops Delegation Committee has approved a new Policy on Granting Permission to Officiate.
The Church Times reports: Clerics under investigation for abuse may be barred from ministering under new safeguarding rules.
PERMISSION to officiate (PTO) will be refused or withdrawn from clerics who are under police investigation over allegations of past child or vulnerable adult abuse, new guidance from the National Safeguarding Team of the Church of England states.
It also states that PTO may be withdrawn or refused by the bishop, even if the investigation of the cleric has concluded, and no conviction made.
“Where a cleric has been the subject of a criminal investigation for offences relating to children and vulnerable adults that did not result in a conviction, again the bishop must consult the diocesan safeguarding advisor and the diocesan registrar before deciding whether to grant PTO.”
Appropriate reasons for withdrawing PTO listed in the document include “following an allegation of abuse in a cleric’s past ministry pending the police investigation”.
In addition, PTO must be refused when a cleric has accepted a police caution; an allegation of abuse has been proved in court; or the cleric has been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults…
There is of course a lot more to the document, which is 47 pages long (main part 25 pages, followed by 8 annexes).