Thinking Anglicans

Titus Trust Culture Review

The report of a culture review of The Titus Trust has been published today. The review was commissioned by the Trust and undertaken by Thirtyone:eight.

The full report can be read on the Titus Trust website here, together with an executive summary, and a statement from the Trust.

Thirtyone:eight have also published a webpage and a separate  statement on their website.

A couple of extracts from the Executive Summary, together with the recommendations are copied below.

From the Executive summary:

Over recent years, two volunteer leaders on Iwerne camps have faced separate allegations of harmful behaviour. The Titus Trust itself has come under criticism for some aspects of the culture of different camps it runs for young people, and for the way it has handled these allegations and its response to survivors.

Taking into account other reviews that are currently being undertaken into specific and related cases and having already done some work to make changes to its culture and practice, the Trust has commissioned this independent review into its wider culture, including how it relates to safeguarding. This review will help to identify any aspects that may have contributed to recent concerns or prevented appropriate action from being taken so that the charity may continue to improve its culture and safeguarding practice moving forwards.


Although not an investigation into specific allegations or individuals, this review has aimed to establish a clearer understanding of how the events and practices of the past may continue to influence the present culture of the charity, as well as to identify any areas where positive changes have been made and measures taken to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

and …

As a result of its findings, the review has made 14 recommendations. These relate to issues of governance; the Trust’s mission, model, and values; the implementation of policy; safer recruitment processes; practice developments; training of staff and volunteers; and how the trust deals with and learns from its past.

During this review, we have seen the impact that not dealing with safeguarding issues or abuse at the time of their discovery has had and what the repercussions for victims and survivors have been and continues to be. The Trust continues to face criticism about why it did not report past abuse sooner and how it has responded to survivors since which it needs to address.

While the Trust has made some significant changes to the culture of its camps and has indicated its willingness to change in commissioning this report, some of the recommendations made by this review will be challenging to implement as they go beyond surface changes, and are more about its core mission, values, and model of working. Whilst recognising this challenge, the review believes that this could be an exciting time and opportunity for the Titus Trust, in exploring new models of working and providing fresh vision for its future work with children and young people within a safer, healthier environment.

 

We have set out the recommendations from the findings of the review below. In doing so, we recognise some as being more straight forward to implement and some as being more challenging.

Trustees and governance

1. The trustees should review recruitment of trustees to include those with varied expertise, particularly in legal and financial spheres, who are from outside the Trust network and who are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.

2. Trustees should fully review the governance relationships between the trustees and the operational side of the charity; to ensure a proper division between oversight and executive functions, and the level of direction they are providing to, the camp groups; and to recruit a CEO or similar role to ensure clear lines of accountability within the charity.

Mission, model and values

3. The trust should review its mission, model and values to consider:

  • The Trust should review its mission, including the consideration of wider outreach.
  • Ensure the mission statement is consistent across the trust and camps and is publically accessible.
  • Consider if the mission is purely evangelistic or involves discipleship as well.
  • The Trust should review ways of creating opportunities for increased inclusion and diversity at all levels of their work.
  • The Trust should review its model of work in relation to its focus on evangelism and/or discipleship.
  • The trustees should review the model of work used by Titus Trust and to explore other possible ways of working.
  • Trustees should deliberate and clarify the Trust’s values and promote these throughout the Trust. These values should embody how the Trust would like to see itself, its staff and volunteers.
  • Trustees to publicise the mission and values of the Trust accordingly.

Policy

4. The trust should review or introduce and promote the following policies in line with
the main body of the report:

  • Safeguarding
  • Supervision and appraisal policy
  • Allegations
  • Complaints
  • Data protection
  • 121 Ministry
  • Women and leadership
  • Valuing Diversity
  • Pastoral care policy for camps

Recruitment

5. The Trust should review its recruitment practice to include:

  • All volunteering roles and job positions should be openly advertised.
  • Recruitment for volunteers should include a clear process including interview and feedback.
  • All job and role descriptions to include a statement about the Trust’s commitment to safeguarding and the expectation of the worker to safeguard others.
  • Application forms should have a full employment history and explanations of any gaps in employment.
  • All interviews to include safeguarding questions.
  • Volunteers should not be allowed on camps where they do not have a clear and uptodate DBS check. In exceptional circumstances a full risk assessment should be carried out.

Dealing with the past

6. For the Trust to apologise for the way in which it has distanced itself over recent
years from the historical legacy of the Iwerne camps:

  • Make every effort to ensure all of Smyth’s survivors have been contacted.
  • Respond to each survivor, according to their views and wishes.

Training

7. Staff and trustees should undertake relevant training including:

  • Allegations and complaints training for senior staff.
  • Safer recruitment training for trustees.

8. The Operations Director to keep a central training matrix for staff training, including core training.

Learning and change

9. To support learning and change across the charity, the Trust should establish:

  • Quality assurance and monitoring processes. 
  • Young people’s advisory groups
  • A greater range of partnerships or relationships, both Christian and secular, in order to inform the charity of legal, policy and other issues, and to develop learning in those areas.
  • A Trustwide Innovation group.

Practice developments

10. The Trust should review practice on camps to include:

  • To consider having a pastoral support leader on camp.
  • To make it an expectation that leaders have some allocated time during a week of leading on camp.
  • The Trust to review the issue of parents on camp from both a policy, and practice perspective, allowing for different views to be expressed and accommodated.
  • For all feedback on talks to be done on an individual basis.

11. If leaders find it difficult to raise issues or concerns, they should be able to discuss this with their pastoral care lead (see previous recommendation).

12. All complaints raised should be logged and feedback given. Every effort should be made for the issues to be resolved and for the complaints process to be followed.

13. That 121 ministry outside of camp with students and teachers should only occur with the express knowledge andpermission of the local church.

14. For the Trust to review their data processes and delete nonneeded information.

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Peter Spychal
Peter Spychal
1 month ago

Given the theological roots of the concerns about the role of women, I was expecting something more akin to Pat Robertson’s denouncement of the Shepherding Movement. Missed opportunity?

Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Interesting to read the comments on the place of women on the same day as this: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-59565558

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
1 month ago

Indeed Stanley and I weep for the young women of Afghanistan. So sad that people in the church today hold almost similar views, relying on 1st century cultural positions rather than seeing the scriptures as a living and unfolding revelation. I am always amazed at the ‘pick and mix’ attitude of those who hold to a strict inerrancy view. I presume they eat prawn cocktails and wear polycotton clerical shirts – both condemend in Leviticus. Scripture must be read in its cultural context and then applied mutatis mutandis.

John Wallace
John Wallace
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Unless I am a fundamentalist (which I am not) it seems to be a general prohibition against mixing fibres – presumably because they shrink differently when wet. The principle holds – if you adhere to inerrancy of scripture, it must be all or nothing.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

What of Leviticus 19:19?

My favourite translation (NIV) includes “Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material” as the last clause of the verse

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

I am not a Hebrew scholar and I don’t know what the Hebrew text is literally. . Nonetheless, the prohibition under Jewish law (Lev. 19:19 and Deut. 22:11) is a bar against “Shatnez” (which is apparently an acrostic in Hebrew of the words for combing, spinning and twisting). The majority view is that it prohibits the wearing of clothing in which any of those activities has occurred in connection with sheep’s wool (but apparently not other kinds of animal hair) and linen. . There are a variety of reasons that have been offered for such a rule, including it bars… Read more »

David Rowett
David Rowett
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
1 month ago

Not much of a Hebrew scholar, but sha’atnez in the Masoretic text of Num 19.19 appears to mean ‘mixed fibres’ – Dt 22.11 forbids garments woven of tsemer and pishtim, tsemer being rendered as ‘wool’ and pishtim ‘flax’ or ‘linen,’ both of which words appear regularly, whereas the Num noun seems to be a hapax legomonon, rendered in LXX as kibdelos, ‘adulterated’, from kibdos ‘alloy’.

Not sure that gets us anywhere, but there you go. Meanwhile, back to writing a meditation on Sunday’s Gospel….

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  John Wallace
1 month ago

‘1st century cultural positions’ permitted Phoebe, Prisca, and Junia to exercise leadership and teach, and Philips’ four daughters to be prophets.

Much earlier, Deborah had been a Judge who led all Israel, and Huldah was a prophet who was consulted by the king.

The Titus Trust ban on women in leadership is selective in its use of scripture.

FrDavidH
FrDavidH
Reply to  John Wallace
1 month ago

I’m sure the Scriptures are a living and unfolding revelation, but it seems they tend to be unfolded more slowly than the insights given by liberal secular democracies. Instead of the Church teaching society about human equality, secular laws allow the Church to opt out of equality legislation to preserve conservative views of women and gay people. This suggests using ancient writings to enable people to flourish doesn’t work. It’s better to allow secular laws to promote human rights, whilst allowing evangelicals to gather together to celebrate their scripture-based hatred of those they don’t like.

Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
1 month ago

There is something just inherently wrong in a so-called ‘Christian’ organisation which targets the offspring of the upper middle classes who’ve been to right schools and have the right backgrounds and have the money in the expectation of controlling both church and public life. They propagate an abusive, homophobic, misogynistic theology through thought control and what can only be described as spiritually abusive practices to an often vulnerable and immature clientele. Isn’t this what the Hitler Youth did (and perhaps the Jesuits too?) What an appalling organisation.

Anne
Anne
Reply to  Richard Ashby
1 month ago

I have often wondered why people have not been more concerned that this was the model that the Community of St Anselm was initially drawing upon. The CoSA was originally announced as an experience for future elites (i.e. those who will go onto be leaders in business, finance, politics, media etc.). The idea was that they’d be shaped and formed through the CoSA experience, so they would go on to be influential in public life. The selection process and substantial cost of participation made it clear that it was designed for people from particular backgrounds. You needed money and connections.… Read more »

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Anne
1 month ago

Yes, that certainly is concerning. I hope it has indeed now adopted a different approach.

Froghole
Froghole
1 month ago

Having now read most of the report, it strikes me as well-made, fair and balanced. It is not a white-washing exercise, and I am not certain that the Trust will feel quite as reassured or vindicated about it as they might have hoped. It will probably cut both ways, as far as I imagine they will see it. Ultimately, the problem with the Trust is the very basis on which it was founded by Nash in 1930: the notion that the future leaders of the Church are to come from a coterie of fee paying schools, and that these leaders… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

George VI when he was Duke of York organised camps with an equal number of public school and working class boys. The aim was to break down barriers or as someone rather cynically put it ” taming young Bolsheviks”.

It all sounds very quaint and paternalistic now. However I can’t help feeling that in some ways it came closer to the Christian ideal than a camp exclusively for public school boys.

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Simon Bravery
1 month ago

I am glad that you have mentioned the Duke of York camps, and you are right on the money. The trigger was perhaps George Bell, who as chaplain to Davidson in 1919, suggested that Prince Albert (as he then was) become president of the Boys’ Welfare Association. Bell and Robert Hyde (then vicar of St Mary’s Hoxton, who was later to relinquish his orders, was also director of the Industrial Welfare Society, now the Work Foundation) brokered the appointment. Hyde wrote to Davidson: “I feel more than ever certain that if those [Bolshevistic] tendencies which are to be checked and… Read more »

Susannah Clark
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

The church “needed fortifying”. Yes. It needed to toughen up. Its leaders needed to be more masculine and muscular. It needed that class of person who was schooled in Empire tradition, trained to lead, prepared for authority, and socially well-connected and trusted as ‘one of us’. This was a tribal concept with a huge sense of entitlement, whether to go out to the colonies in officer mode, or to join the officer class in the armed forces, or to become a local gentry figure in the community, or to shore up what was seen as irresolution and drift in the… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Susannah Clark
1 month ago

“…there was a further motivation in operation too: the religious zeal to wrest control of the Church of England along a particular doctrinal line (obviously very conservative and evangelical)…” Many thanks, as ever. Nash implemented his scheme from 1930. This was, arguably, in the wake of the 1927-28 Prayer Book controversy, which had led to the resignation of Davidson and his replacement by the moderate Anglo-Catholic Lang. The revised Prayer Book was assumed by evangelicals to be a reprehensible attempt to foist upon them certain Anglo-Catholic practices (Davidson had intended it to neuter some of the controversies of the previous… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Froghole
1 month ago

It is indeed an even-handed document and its authors are to be commended. But such sadness emanates from it. My heart goes out to those wounded by what appear to me to be Taliban-like attitudes, and to the perpetrators who have been infected by the demon that incites us to control others – truly a malignant addiction – and are hell bent on transmitting it. Such behaviour is by no means confined to conservative evangelicalism. Look at other church groups, Anglocatholic societies and some liberal groups for instance, and see the way in which behaviours, attitudes, dress and modes of… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
1 month ago

Was Jesus ever tempted to join a dining club or an elite group? He may have been present on such occasions, but he was not a comfortable companion at high table. The three core temptations Jesus faced included the temptation to power, but not in this form. Maybe Lent rather than Advent is the season for reflection on this report. Yes, it is challenging, but the reviewers also have a stake in being credible to a wide range of constituencies. Isaiah was heard by Hezekiah (we are reading Isaiah at morning prayer just now, those of us who follow the… Read more »

Anthony Cross
Anthony Cross
1 month ago

Looking at the recommendations, I am flabbergasted (and I use that word intentionally) that some of these things are not already in place. I was doing CRB checks (as they then were) 20-odd years ago, and this was the case for all leaders on our CYFA venture. The recommendations alone leave me deeply concerned about how these camps are and have been run.

Neil J
Neil J
Reply to  Anthony Cross
1 month ago

Don’t worry Anthony, they have been done for a long time. I’ve been leading on one of the (non-Iwerne) Titus Trust camps every year since 1997 (coincidentally, the focus period of the report) and I’ve always had an up-to-date CRB/DBS check in that time. Indeed, I usually have about 5 on the go for different institutions and activities. I was slightly bemused by that comment in the report, not sure what it refers to.

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