Thinking Anglicans

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report

Press release from the Church of England

Publication of detailed response to IICSA report
29/03/2021

The Church of England has today published its detailed responses to the recommendations of the IICSA report from October. As the report stated, the Church of England failed to protect some children and young people from sexual predators within their midst. While the Church will continue to apologise, the main focus is now recognising the distress caused particularly to victims and survivors and acting to improve its safeguarding structures and to change its culture.

The recommendations made by the Inquiry have been accepted in full. Our response document focuses on response to victims and survivors including redress, structure and independence, information sharing, revision of the Clergy Discipline Measure and external audits.

To successfully deliver these recommendations an IICSA safeguarding programme has been set up, with a governance structure to ensure the work is closely monitored. The Archbishops’ Council, who led the response to IICSA on behalf of the institutional church, will be responsible for ensuring the work is completed (with updates to the House of Bishops and General Synod).

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Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

“The Archbishops’ Council…will be responsible for ensuring the work is completed”

In other words, the Church will continue to mark its own homework. 

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Richard W. Symonds
6 months ago

Can we then assume that when it is not completed the responsibility will also be theirs? Who is going to call them to account and monitor this? I suspect the answer will be no on responsibility. The performance so far does not inspire confidence and neither does their competence to deliver.

Roger Corbett
Roger Corbett
6 months ago

An interesting Response. The wording concerns me. The use of the word “should” means that the recommendations are optional. The implementation of the recommendations must be compulsory

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Roger Corbett
6 months ago

“Should”, in this context, I think implies a very strong recommendation and expectation that the C of E will do as suggested, but IICSA is not, in any sense, part of the governance of the C of E (from memory it is a child of the Home Office) and is not in a position to instruct. Of course there is the possibility, rarely exercised, of government legislation if the church was seen to be unreasonably recalcitrant in its response. But the C of E press announcement states “The recommendations made by the Inquiry have been accepted in full”. I think… Read more »

Ellen
Ellen
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

Almost all recommendations from serious case/lessons learned reviews are ‘accepted in full’ — and simply not implemented. Roger C, you are quite right to be concerned.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Ellen
6 months ago

I think this reply should have been directed to Roger Corbett, not to me. But, as I pointed out, if the government considered it to be necessary it could legislate.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

Legislation would require this government to care a jot about (a) survivors of abuse and/or (b) the Church of England. Indications are that neither of those is the case.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Jo B
6 months ago

I won’t say any more, and don’t see why I should be the recipient of these petulant responses after trying to give a helpful meaning of the word ‘should’. Take it up with your bishop, your MP or Synod member when, and if, the problem arises.

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

Rowland, if my memory serves me right, I seem to remember not so long ago reading some press reports of the IICSA enquiry when Bishop Lord Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury gave evidence to this enquiry, and one of the things the Bishop said in his evidence to the enquiry was that he did not feel the Church should be in the business of doing its own in-house Safeguarding, that it should be done independently of the Church. May be he may have a point here? Jonathan

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
6 months ago

Jonathan: Thank you. The Church’s response to Recommendation 1.1 states this: “The Archbishops’ Council and the House have already agreed to the principle of independence in safeguarding. We accept and support recommendation 1, but also aim to go beyond this, to establish an independent structure of oversight of safeguarding, voted for by both the Archbishops’ Council and the House of Bishops. We are urgently taking forward the further work needed in order to achieve this independent structure, which is likely to require legislation.” We have to take this at face value. Others here seem to be worried that the Church… Read more »

Ellen
Ellen
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
6 months ago

Thank you, Rowland. If you read the fine print, I think you’ll spot that the proposal for an Independent Safeguarding Board is rather like one for an advisory committee — and the ISB’s role in ‘supervising the NST’ is rather like professional supervision used by care professionals in other sectors. So no real independence at all in terms of authority (or budget). Safeguarding remains under the firm control of the ‘ecclesiocrats’.
.
Legislation is all but assured in any event. Let’s see what IICSA says in its final report.

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