Thinking Anglicans

Response group for Wilkinson and Jay reviews

Press release from the Church of England

Response group for Wilkinson and Jay reviews
23/01/2024

Following the publication of Sarah Wilkinson’s Review into the ISB and in light of the forthcoming Future of Church Safeguarding review from Professor Jay, the Archbishops’ Council, AC, has set up a group to consider how to respond and plan next steps.

The AC has publicly committed to learning lessons for the future delivery of independent safeguarding oversight noting the vital importance of this for all who come into contact with the Church but particularly for victims and survivors who will play an integral part in this work.

The response group, chaired by the lead safeguarding bishop, will consider the important lessons to be learnt highlighted in the Wilkinson report and once published will look at the recommendations in the Jay report.

The group will be made up of a range of members including safeguarding professionals from within and outside the Church, along with survivor and victim representation to ensure that survivors have input into the discussion and that their lived experience is heard. Alongside this, it is envisaged that a survivor and victim focus group will also be set up. The response group will consult with it in order to ask questions on specific areas.

The response group will meet regularly and will consider what wider consultation and further reflection is needed around both Reviews before a final response is considered and made by the AC which will go to General Synod for debate. The terms of reference will be drawn up in due course.

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Maungyvicar
Maungyvicar
1 month ago

What’s the betting that the terms of reference will be drawn up in such a narrow way that the important lessons to be learnt are excluded from its remit? Or that the group (not being a committee) has no power to make recommendations and even if some are implicit, that they will be ignored? Lessons learnt from previous lessons learnt reviews are that the groups are designed to prevent action rather than enable it. All very sad.

Helen King
Helen King
1 month ago

Unbelievable. Six weeks after publication of the Wilkinson Report, we get a statement. And what’s going to happen? A ‘response group’, a focus group, with no terms of reference or time frame yet. A commitment to ‘learning lessons’. Is it possible to see this as anything other than yet more prevarication? Why would any survivors want to take part in this vague and belated process?

David G
David G
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Protest at Synod. There are no other levers left. This is brazen corruption.

Simon Gell
Simon Gell
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

As others have suggested this was so utterly predictable and straight from the Nye playbook. Call a working group. Get them to investigate a couple of different things (guaranteed to delay matters). Stuff the group with your own supporters. Appoint a compromised proven incapable ‘follower’ as Chair. Dictate the ToR. Delay the whole thing so many of the key ‘players’/witnesses are quite likely to have retired/died. Ensure no scrutiny and that any recommendations have no bite and simply gather dust. And don’t forget to say at the end: that was then, this is now, we have moved on. Yawn, Yawn… Read more »

Mr X
1 month ago

This is an utter, disgusting outrage. It is 7 months since they made the decision which sent affected survivors into an abyss. It is nearly 2 months since the damning Wilkinson report was released. They have now had the Glasgow report for 13 days. Has any one of us had an apology for what has gone on and how it has affected us? I’m searching for reasons for this… Lawyers telling them to apologise is to legally admit liability? Is it their pride stopping them? Is there a biblical reason not to? I would have expected to offer to visit each of… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago

The Archbishops’ Council has lost all credibility re dealing with safeguarding. I hope that neither they, nor William Nye, will have anything to do with choosing the members of this group – but the only confidence I have is that they will be carefully selected to produce the result the AC wants.

I hear the sound of a can bring kicked a long way down the road.

Trish
Trish
1 month ago

Given that Alexis Jay and team consulted widely why does there need to be further prolonged consultation on her report? I have spent months hoping her initiative will be accepted and adopted at pace now we hear that as usual the AC want to fiddle around with it, presumably to make it less independent, for over a year! This is the very opposite of trauma informed and if I was her I would feel undermined and quite frankly bloody angry. Is that why there is a delay I wonder while she thinks if she wants to play their rotten games.

Kate Keates
Kate Keates
1 month ago

One wonders how long all this is going to take?

David G
David G
1 month ago

Elliott, Wilkinson, Carlile, IICSA, Griffin…etc etc. No lessons are ever learned, nothing is implemented, and the whole CofE safeguarding corrupt farce continues ad nauseam. The Archbishops’ Council have lost all credibility and the trust and confidence of abused/survivors. Their work in safeguarding lacks integrity, probity, honesty, professionalism and expertise. The idea that the right response to the Wilkinson Report was ever – ever – going to be an internal review chaired by Joanne Grenfell is insulting to victims, and a kick in the teeth. It is a sickening proposal. What next? Paula Vennels to chair a review on how sub… Read more »

Pilgrim
Pilgrim
Reply to  David G
1 month ago

The AC is trapped, conveniently so, in a bubble of its own organisation. It is incredibly astonishing that, after countless fiascos and deficiencies identified in its blatant mismanagement of safeguarding issues, there have been no sackings or resignations. Frankly, there is little, if any, trust in the present leadership. The AC is not fit for purpose.

David Lamming
David Lamming
1 month ago

Many of those who have commented so far echo what I thought when first reading the above post earlier this afternoon. What seems abundantly clear is that the Archbishops’ Council (who, it must be remembered, commissioned the Wilkinson Report) does not want General Synod to discuss/debate it and its conclusions and recommendations when it meets in London next month. Clearly (I suggest) in view of previous comments on TA, the ‘lead safeguarding bishop’ does not have the safeguarding experience, nor (more importantly) the confidence of abuse survivors, to chair the response group. Moreover, the press release (which I understand was… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  David Lamming
1 month ago

David Lamming wrote:
“Moreover, the press release (which I understand was circulated to members of the National Safeguarding Panel a week before yesterday’s meeting of the AC – so who drafted it for, in effect, rubber-stamping by the AC?) gives no details of how the group’s members or the ToR are to be determined (“in due course”!), nor the timescale for their work”

Disturbing. Is Archbishops’ Council in thrall to the power of the one who controls it to such an extent that they allow themselves to be operated as a personal nodding dog?

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Gilo
1 month ago

Correction: I now understand that the proposed ‘response group’ was ‘trailed’ to members of the National Safeguarding Panel by the lead safeguarding bishop at a meeting of the NSP on 16 January, but that the press release was only circulated after the AC meeting on 22 January, once the AC had made its decision. This still raises the question as to how the proposal was presented to the AC and whether any of its members questioned the wisdom of such a decision prior to the Wilkinson Review being the subject of a debate in General Synod. It would be revealing… Read more »

James Allport
James Allport
1 month ago

Is the lead safeguarding bishop still +Stepney? If so, can she realistically lead this alongside being acting Bishop of London when +Sarah goes on sabbatical?

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  James Allport
1 month ago

If the current situation were not real but part of a satirical novel we would all be commenting on this Press Release as a stroke of literary genius. Whoever wrote it does so from the point that the current situation is all part of ‘business as usual’ where there is no sense of urgency and absolutely no desire for an outcome – Janet’s can being kicked a very long way down the road. Unfortunately it also shows that the AC and the rest of the Circumlocution Office are determined not to learn the central lesson- that they are not suitably… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Someone has to do something if anything is to change. It cannot be a person or body within the Church of England that survivors collectively trust (there isn’t one, and in the current context, no such body could exist). The key questions are, whether this new initiative is captured by existing church culture, or has the power to resist and change the cultural dynamics and imperatives (a very hard thing to do at the best of times); and then also whether it is an action and implementation group rather than a reflection and review group. Neither question is yet answered… Read more »

Simon Sarmiento
Admin
1 month ago

Religion Media Centre has reported this development thus: CofE “Response group” set up to consider outcome of safeguarding reviews The Church of England has set up a group to respond to reviews into how the church has dealt with safeguarding process, survivors and victims. In a statement it says the response group will pick up lessons learned from the Wilkinson review into the Independent Safeguarding Board, which collapsed last summer when two members’ contracts were terminated and a third resigned. It said the debacle was due to a flawed organisational design rushed through at the start. Another review by Professor… Read more »

Jonathan Jamal
Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

it is very interesting that all this is happening when people are now calling for Justin Welby to resign as Archbishop of Canterbury. One of the critiques coming about him as reported that he has not a pastoral but a entirely managerial approach as Archbishop. This is even reflected in the idea that Paula Vennells could be a future Bishop of London, my dear late Mum would say “he needs his head felt”. Others might conclude that a Lunatic has been put in charge of the Church of England. It would seem evident from all we are seeing and hearing… Read more »

Gilo
Gilo
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
1 month ago

One thing we can confidently predict. This ‘response group’ will not issue recommendations about accountability or who should now resign. That will be clearly off the menu. The intent is to create another toothless tiger and kick it in its infancy directly into long grass. I don’t know how, as its machinery is heavily controlled and rendered docile by the Secretariat…. but Synod has to find some way of acting meaningfully, resolutely, so that the platform does not get away with any further deceptions and misconduct. Synod has to now act as the conscience of the Church. They managed it… Read more »

Francis James
Francis James
1 month ago

My experience is that those who spout the most management-speak are the worst at actually managing anything. The problem with Welby & Co is not that they wish to run things according to management principles, but that they only talk about doing so, all the while entirely ignoring those principles & making a complete mess of things. The 1 March 2023 letter to Gilo by Jonathan Gibbs is an object lesson in how not to do a letter of apology, and could be used as such on any management or leadership course. ‘The truth will set you free’ is a… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Francis James
1 month ago

If we’re collecting examples of how not to do an apology, I have a corker from the Archbishop of York.

Francis James
Francis James
Reply to  Janet Fife
1 month ago

People had such high hopes of him, but ….

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