Thinking Anglicans

Safeguarding Questions to the House of Bishops

There are 11 Questions to the House of Bishops on Safeguarding, all to be answered by the Bishop of Rochester. They are all listed here.

Mrs Kat Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q3 Please can you tell us how many cases have been referred to the Independent Safeguarding Board for their review and the dates of those referrals?

A One case has been referred. The date of referral was 08 April 2022.

Mr Clive Billenness (Europe) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q4 Paper GS 2263 (Update on Safeguarding) states at Paragraph 18 that the Independent Safeguarding Board can 􏰂scrutinise or review how the Church has handled a particular case􏰆.if it decides to after a case has been referred to it􏰂. Have criteria and procedures been published about such referrals of cases – e.g., who may refer a case, in what circumstances, and on what basis will the ISB decide what cases to scrutinise?

A Review activity by the Independent Safeguarding Board will vary in different cases.
Referrals to the ISB could come from a range of possible sources, including individuals; parish or diocesan safeguarding bodies; the NST; clergy, or the NCIs. Its remit is to bring forward lessons and to recommend and promote best practice.
Decisions are reached on a case-by-case basis after consideration as to whether the ISB􏰀s remit covers what is requested. The ISB will decide on whether the Board should undertake a review, and if so, what its nature should be.
This approach is comparable to that seen in case review sub-committees of safeguarding partnerships or boards in wider society, where a range of actions may or may not follow their deliberations.

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q5 When interviewed by the BBC Sunday programme about the refusal of victim Matt Ineson to co-operate with the Review into his own case, Public Inquiry Specialist and regulatory expert Kate Blackwell QC identified the necessary features of best practice for such a review as follows:
1. It must be search for the truth to shed light on what has gone wrong;
2. Scrutiny of complex issues should be done through a panel of independent experts each bringing levels of excellence from various perspectives;
3. It goes without saying that the panel must have complete independence from any party; and
4. It must engender complete faith in the survivors.
She publicly opined that the Devamannikam Review did not meet those standards and the victim has refused to participate.
Did the Archbishops􏰀 Council specifically consider each of these principles before determining that the Independent Safeguarding Board was the optimal forum in which to address the various complaints of Dr Martyn Percy that for four years, he has been the victim of institutional bullying within the Christ Church Foundation in which several Oxford clergy and Diocesan advisors are alleged to have participated?

A The ISB exists to provide independent scrutiny and oversight of the Church􏰀s safeguarding activity, to hold the Church to account for our actions as part of the ISB􏰀s remit to learn lessons from safeguarding matters. Given its remit the ISB􏰀s view was that there were likely to be lessons to be learned, the Archbishops􏰀 Council and the Diocese of Oxford referred to the ISB the Church􏰀s safeguarding activities in the last two years with respect to Dr Martyn Percy and Christ Church Oxford. They considered that it would be within the ISB􏰀s remit and the expertise of its members. They did not specifically consider the contents of the interview by Dr Blackwell. This is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all the issues around Christ Church. That would go well beyond the remit of the ISB. It is not, nor intended to be, a public inquiry.

The Revd Nicki Pennington (Carlisle) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q6 What empirical research has been undertaken in relation to concerns about the adequate resourcing of the revised safeguarding measures ensuring parity of effective implementation between different dioceses and between different parishes?

A All new safeguarding guidance is extensively consulted on before approval. It is based on recognised and evidence-based standards of good safeguarding practice, including those used in other voluntary sector organisations. It is important that such standards are the basis for the Church􏰀s safeguarding guidance so that it does not set itself lower expectations than others. It is recognised that different dioceses have different priorities and allocate different amounts to safeguarding. This will result in geographical variation in, for example, the support provided for the victims and survivors of Church abuse. As part of the implementation of Recommendations 1 and 8 of the 2020 IICSA report on child sexual abuse in the Church, a work stream will be initiated to develop a consistent methodology for dioceses to use to calculate the resources need to provide a good standard of safeguarding arrangements. This will help dioceses with their longer-term financial planning.

Mr Nigel Bacon (Lincoln) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q7 How does the NST differentiate between the investigation of alleged perpetrators of abuse and those seen to have made safeguarding process errors, and are there any plans to change this?

A The current policy for responding to safeguarding allegations does not differentiate between different types of allegations, or different types of Church officer. This policy is in the process of being revised and will take into account these differences. It is hoped that the new draft policy will be consulted on later this year with a view to approval of a final version in 2023. However in practice, any safeguarding core group would make the distinction particularly when considering the management of any ongoing risk.

Mrs Jane Rosam (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q8 Can you please provide an up-to-date status report on all outstanding Inquiries and Reviews setting out:
a) the date when they were commissioned;
b) when they were due to report initially;
c) when are they currently expected to deliver their reports?

A There are two ongoing independent learning lesson reviews commissioned by the NST:

The Makin review into John Smyth 􏰄
a) The review was formally announced in August 2019.
b) At the time of announcement of the review no precise publication was stated.
c) Autumn 2022, however this is dependent on what is expected to be a highly complex representations process.

The Humphrey review into Trevor Devamanikkam 􏰄
a) Jane Humphrey􏰀s appointment was announced in November 2019. However, the Review was formally announced in August 2019, objections were received to the original reviewer and the process was therefore delayed.
b) The original intention was to complete and publish during 2020 however the process was seriously hampered by the Covid pandemic and due to concerns raised by a key person in the review, the ISB reviewed the process and recommended that the review proceed.
c) The intention is to publish before the end of this year.

Mrs Jane Rosam (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q9 For the benefit of new members of General Synod can you please briefly identify and explain the various kinds of Review and Inquiry that Archbishops􏰀 Council can commission, and the differences between them e.g., in terms of scope, potential outcomes etc, to explain why one is chosen rather than the other?

A In relation to safeguarding reviews, Section 9.2 of the Responding to, assessing and managing safeguarding concerns or allegations against church officers outlines the types of Learning Lesson Reviews (LLR). The terms of reference for each individual review will outline the scope of the review. The purpose of a LLR is to identify learning to improve safeguarding practice not to apportion blame. Any individual failings will be addressed by the relevant HR process. The ISB also provides independent scrutiny and oversight of the Church􏰀s safeguarding activity and has a review function.

Mr Peter Barrett (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q10 When will the safeguarding reviews into John Smyth and Trevor Devamanikkam be published and what have been the reasons for the delay?

A Both independent reviewers intend to complete their work by the autumn. There have been delays, which are reflected in updates on the website, and COVID restrictions have played their part. However, in the Smyth review the delay has primarily been due to the vast volume of information. The TD review has been delayed significantly due to a key person in the review raising concerns. This was referred to the Independent Safeguarding Board, ISB, which reviewed the process and recommended that the review should continue.

Mrs Tina Nay (Chichester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q11 Can you please identify the last six safeguarding Reviews/ Inquiries commissioned by Archbishops􏰀 Council and in each case tell us what have been the periods between the commencement and the conclusion of the process known as 􏰂Maxwellisation􏰃?

A The last six learning lesson reviews relate to: William Scott Farrell, Graham Gregory, Bishop Whitsey, Bishop George Bell, Bishop Peter Ball and the Elliott review. In all of the reviews except Farrell the representation or Maxwellisation process was conducted by the independent reviewers and the reports were presented when this was completed. In the Farrell review the representation process was conducted by the NST and took approximately four weeks.

Mr Paul Waddell (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q12 A retrospective change to the Terms of Reference for the Interim Support Scheme means that from November 2021 the support provided to survivors of church abuse ends after six, or in exceptional cases, twelve months. For many survivors this period of support will end long before the promised redress scheme is in place. What arrangements are in place to ensure the welfare of distressed survivors who are dependent on the Interim Support Scheme, but whose eligibility will expire before they receive the redress we owe them?

A The Interim Support Scheme (ISS) began as a pilot in 2020 in response to urgent survivor needs. In September 2021, the Archbishops􏰀 Council approved the Terms of Reference that specified the criteria and scope of support. As this was a pilot scheme, a review was conducted, and in response to feedback in May 2022, the Archbishops􏰀 Council agreed to extend the Scheme􏰀s provision of professional therapy until the Redress Scheme is in place. This is intended to sustain the benefits resulting from the provision of urgent and immediate assistance provided over the six or twelve-month support period. The Terms of Reference are being updated to reflect this. Further work is also being done to assess whether support other than therapy might also be extended beyond 12 months in exceptional cases.

Mrs Tina Nay (Chichester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q13 In October 2020 the Lead Bishop for Safeguarding said in a BBC interview that he expected the church to have a redress scheme for survivors of church abuse in place within 􏰂15 to 18 months􏰃. Does he still expect to meet this timetable, and if not, why not, and what is now the anticipated date for first payments?

A The Lead Bishop􏰀s comments were made before the Redress project team had been fully installed, which wasn􏰀t until April 2021. The comments were made based on information known to him at the time. The project team have researched the standard time for the creation of other schemes of a similar scale (Ireland, Australia, Scotland) and these took up to three years to design and set up.
It is now considered that the process for setting up the scheme will include a procurement process and/or legislation which could take final completion of the project into 2024 or 2025. The project team is currently looking into whether it is possible to launch a pilot phase sooner. In the meantime, payments for urgent and immediate needs are available from the Interim Support Scheme.

The Revd Nicki Pennington (Carlisle) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q14 What empirical research has been undertaken in relation to concerns about the adequate resourcing of the revised safeguarding measures ensuring parity of effective implementation between different dioceses and between different parishes?

A All new safeguarding guidance is extensively consulted on before approval. It is based on recognised and evidence-based standards of good safeguarding practice, including those used in other voluntary sector organisations. It is important that such standards are the basis for the Church􏰀s safeguarding guidance so that it does not set itself lower expectations than others. It is recognised that different dioceses have different priorities and allocate different amounts to safeguarding. This will result in geographical variation in, for example, the support provided for the victims and survivors of Church abuse. As part of the implementation of Recommendations 1 and 8 of the 2020 IICSA report on child sexual abuse in the Church, a work stream will be initiated to develop a consistent methodology for dioceses to use to calculate the resources need to provide a good standard of safeguarding arrangements. This will help dioceses with their longer-term financial planning.

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