Thinking Anglicans

Safeguarding Newsletter for November General Synod

Surviving Church has published this report on the current status of numerous safeguarding matters, few of which are on the agenda for the November synod. The editor of SC writes:

This is a copy of a newsletter written by Martin Sewell which helps a reader to understand at depth the issues on safeguarding that are coming before General Synod this week. Previous newsletters have been shared with synod members. (Ed.)

General Synod Safeguarding Newsletter

I recommend this report for the careful attention of all TA readers.

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Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Martyn Percy was not (as promised) consulted. He was informed (of a fait accomplis). Moreover, the imposed process raises obvious concerns, and perception of bias. The natural outcome for this survivor and others is implosion of trust. Small wonder (to quote Martin’s well-researched statement) that “none of the 12 victims whose Reviews were left high and dry by the sacking of the ISB have accepted working with the new Review Commissioner, Kevin Crompton for the same reasons as Professor Percy.” Why would they? The Archbishops’ Council, which oversaw the new arrangements, behaved disgracefully in the way they closed down the… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Susannah: Not sure whether you have seen this most recent development. Interim senior appointments to the ISB:

https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/safeguarding-news-releases/interim-chair-and-vice-chair-churchs-national-safeguarding

David
David
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Was anyone aware that there was a selection process taking place for these two positions and were ALL the relevant people consulted?

Trisha
Trisha
Reply to  David
5 months ago

My understanding David is that the selection process was purely internal with no outside involvement, given the amount of criticism over how Meg Munn was appointed to interim chair of the ISB, something which Jane publicly condemned at Synod, I am personally disappointed in the lack of transparency in this appointment process. I am also led to understand that neither Kashmir or Jane will resign their current involvement in any church related work streams which does make me wonder how objective or independent any scrutiny can be. This is certainly not personal had proper process and due diligence been rigorous… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Thank you Rowland. I am encouraged by the appointment of Jane Chevous. Just to note – these are appointments to the National Safeguarding Panel, which is an advisory body rather than an executive one. It can comment and provide input on the National Safeguarding Team, and to the National Safeguarding Steering Group. It is not allowed to address individual cases. Jane herself sometimes posts here at ‘Thinking Anglicans’ and will be far better informed than I am. Kashmir has valuable previous experience in relation to the Probation service. However, they are not a substitute for the disbanded ISB, and the… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
5 months ago

Yes, I realised afterwards that I had made an identity faux pas, relying on an elderly and seemingly less reliable memory. Jane Chevous is better known to me from ‘Surviving Church’. Her compassion shines out in what she writes there.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

Martin Sewell’s report makes the most painful reading – a what has been taking place has been hardly visible as he says. Rowland I know your patience was sorely tried in September over the queries about the status of the enquiry set up to be chaired by Sarah Wilkinson, as it is a quasi judicial review. Unfortunately the fears of a number of us over how prescriptive were the ToR seem to have been born out – and this is not to impugn the skills and impartiality of Sarah W but the behaviour of the AC who still seem intent… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Simon Sarmiento
Realist
Realist
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
5 months ago

I find this a particularly perceptive comment among many such comments you make, Susanna. In my view, tragically, many good people who are extremely capable and have an impressive track record have their integrity eroded, their reputations shattered or both by contact with this ‘poisoned ground’. I’m always left pondering whether it is possible for any individual to make a substantive difference – is it that the whole system is just too far gone? Consequently, though I share many of Rowland’s views about the judiciary, I also share many of yours about the poisoned ground. I also fear for the… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Realist
5 months ago

I defend our judiciary for its independence and integrity. I can only think of one case from my own knowledge of a judge who failed to observe independence. His decision was swiftly reversed by the Court of Appeal with a rebuke and retrial by a different judge. It was a case of our old friend, conflict of interests. The judge should have recused himself. I saw that done by the Chairman of a rural magistrates’ court 50 years ago! What better example!

I cannot think of a single example of a judge’s integrity being impugned.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Realist
5 months ago

I agree with you, Realist. In my view the C of E systems are now so badly tainted with corruption that almost anyone who becomes part of them will themselves be poisoned or damaged.

David G
David G
Reply to  Janet Fife
5 months ago

Agreed, Janet. The depth and extent of corruption in CofE safeguarding is irredeemable. As Martin Sewell says, there are no conflicts of interest policies and no register of interests to be inspected. Nobody can therefore possibly know if their review, investigation or core group is concealing bias. If it is discovered to be the case, there is no mechanism for calling it out. CofE is like Alice in Anglicanland. Verdict first, trial later. The injustice of this remains a means for bishops to terrorise clergy into being compliant. The accused have no right to or guarantee of a fair trial,… Read more »

Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Susanna ( no ‘h’)
Reply to  David G
4 months ago

It does feel like the ultimate irony that the Judiciary are now viewed as more impartial and trustworthy than the AC….. and the AC at present manages to checkmate any moves coming out of expensive enquiries by preventing whoever they have bought in to carry them out from having a proper look at whatever the scandal is by setting emasculating Terms of Reference .
Presumably the appointment of Professor Jay ( which surprised me) was to preempt any move by the Charity Commission. What is vital now is to try and stop the AC ignoring/shelving/
postponing any recommendations she makes

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Susanna ( no ‘h’)
4 months ago

Exactly that. The standard corporate and bureaucratic tactic after an organisation has been exposed (or in the case of the ISB, exposed itself) is to publicly state “there are lessons to be learned” and then to try to regain control of the agenda they almost lost, and carry on with their own top-down way of doing things. The rationale for that is that, once you have ‘ridden the crisis’, people’s memories tend to be short and you hope the focus turns to something else. I’ve seen that approach used again and again. So as you say, they still need monitoring,… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susanna (no ‘h’)
5 months ago

To be honest, I had to go back to September’s TA to remind myself of the details, such is the plethora of current C of E inquiries and ‘lessons learned’ reviews (under whatever name) – also so many separate C of E ‘safeguarding’ bodies, hence my response to Susannah above. I don’t recall the terms of reference being the issue. It was the frankly ignorant and disrespectful comments about Sarah Wilkinson by people who knew nothing about her, had not made any attempt to find out, but still felt able to criticise. So I was just trying to put the… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
5 months ago

I suppose you are referring to other people, Rowland but, as you cite my name in your post, let me just make clear that I have never made any comments about Sarah Wilkinson – ignorant, disrespectful or otherwise. I don’t think you were alluding to me (except in reference to the exchange higher up this page) but please may I make completely clear that I have not commented on Sarah.

From Susannah Clark (Susannah with an ‘h’).

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Susannah Clark
4 months ago

Susannah, re-reading my email to Susanna (no H) I can’t understand your attaching the meaning to it which you seem to have assumed. I’m well aware, and have been for a long time, of the two similar but different names and rather shocked that you seem to credit me with such senility! I made a comment to Susanna (no H) in passing that due to confusion on my part when replying to you I had mixed up, seemingly, two different incarnations of the C of E’s many and varied safeguarding bodies. I did say ‘Susannah above’, not thinking that it… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
4 months ago

Thanks Rowland. You are sharp and detailed, and I always appreciate that. No attribution of senility! Though I do know that *I* am growing forgetful these days (at the grand age of 70!) Seriously though, I value your legal presence here.

Susanna (no ‘h’)
Susanna (no ‘h’)
5 months ago

Is there any reason why several of the latercomments have now been taken down

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