Thinking Anglicans

Update on Smyth review

The Church of England issued a press release today, giving an update on the Smyth review. It is copied below.

Update on Smyth review
17/01/2024

Statement from National Director of Safeguarding

The following statement has been issued by the independent reviewer into the Church’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth. We would like to say as commissioners of the review, the NST recognises the process has gone on longer than is acceptable for those waiting for an outcome and for the Church to act and learn on the outcomes of the report. Along with the reviewer we apologise for this delay. We continue to offer additional resources and financial support to ensure the report is received by the end of April with a view to publication as soon as practically possible after that date.

Statement from Keith Makin, Independent Reviewer

I would like to take this opportunity to thank victims for their courage, time, and detailed input to the review and more recently in meetings with me. I recognise the impact that the duration of the review has had on victims, their families and others involved in this case.

Concerns have been expressed that I may have been put under pressure to delay publication of this report, I can confirm this is not the case. Several factors have contributed to the time taken reaching this current stage, including varying the terms of my contract. This will enable me to carry out representations, where those criticised in the review will be given advance notice of this and provided with an opportunity to respond.

I can confirm that my report is now being prepared for this process and I anticipate this will commence in March 2024.

Support

Both the reviewers and the Church recognise that giving information to this review has the potential to be re-traumatising for victims and survivors. While support has previously been offered the NST has now secured the service of a specialist advocacy service. FearFree Support provides specialist support to victims and survivors of abuse, offering trauma informed and victim led bespoke support. Its director of services has identified an experienced independent advocate for victims and survivors – Nina Tanner – to deliver this service and this information has been relayed to the survivors and victims.

Contact: Nina.Tanner@fearfree.org.uk/ 07825 741751

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Christian Hernandez
Christian Hernandez
1 month ago

Fear free director of services is Emily Deene who is ex NST. Hardly independent even if Nina is cool.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
1 month ago

It’s way past time senior leaders in the C of E got a grip of this farce. But maybe it’s in their interests to prolong it?

It’s a cruel way to treat Smyth survivors.

Helen King
Helen King
1 month ago

Surely this doesn’t add up? Maxwellisation (‘representations’) to commence in March. Report to NST by end of April? Last time we were told Maxwellisation was about to begin – was that a year ago now? I can’t find the press release online any more – it was going to take many months.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

You are right, Helen. The previous update (the 7th) of 19 October 2023 is still on the CofE website in the ‘safeguarding’ section under the heading ‘October 2023 update’: https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/lessons-learnt-reviews/smyth-update-timings/october-2023-update. This reports Makin as saying: “The next phase of the review is the representations process, where those criticised in the review will be given advance notice of this and provided with an opportunity to respond. The review team has agreed to conduct this phase of the process on behalf of the Director of Safeguarding, subject to varying the terms of the Lead Reviewer’s contract, and this is in progress.” Now, however, it appears that Keith… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by David Lamming
Helen King
Helen King
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

Ah, found the Dec 2022 press release. “The next stage will be consultation with victims, as part of the review team’s commitment to put victims at the heart. This is intended to begin in the week commencing 9 January 2023. Once this is completed, it will be followed by a representations process involving individuals and organisations who will be named and criticised in the published report.” I have heard that the consultation with victims didn’t start in Jan 2023 as one would have expected. Another year gone…

Graham Jones
Graham Jones
Reply to  Helen King
1 month ago

I have read the draft Makin Review, as a victim, so I must be careful not to breach the (perfectly proper) confidentiality agreement I have signed at this stage. What I just do not understand is a) how the original Terms of Reference suggested that NST would do the Maxwellisation ( representations) process and no one noticed b) how this was not picked up for four more years, despite the announcement quoted by Helen above, 13 months ago and c) why if it was picked up last October ( the announcement quoted by David) it has taken three months to… Read more »

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Graham Jones
1 month ago

Your comment, Graham, has taken me back to look at the ToR of the Makin review (still on the CofE website, dated October 2019 and unamended or updated), section 8 of which states: “8. Presentation and publication of Review 8.1 The Review should be drafted ready for publication, i.e. with appropriate steps taken to anonymise the name of individuals who do not wish to be named and to redact such information as might allow for identification. 8.2 The Reviewer should send the Review in a non-editable electronic format (pdf is best) to the Director of Safeguarding 8.3 The Director of… Read more »

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
1 month ago

I was disappointed, though sadly unsurprised, by the paucity of attention to this thread. I note the ‘statements’ make no use of the term ‘Maxwellisation’ and the suggestion that this was not part of the original ‘terms of reference’? This ‘process’ is yet another example of ‘preference’ accorded to those who may be spoken of ‘badly’ in a draft wording, at the expense of survivors and victims in further delay and prolonged pain with possible ‘watering down’ (or excision) of criticism. Another ‘win’ for the establishment. When will that long-expected ‘good day to bury bad news’ arrive?

Francis James
Francis James
1 month ago

The glacial progress of the Makin review, with the regular delays in its delivery date, is beyond acceptable limits. Maybe the eventual report will be wonderful, but it is already way too late to be of value.

David G
David G
1 month ago

The continued delay is a total farce. It reflects extremely badly on Mr. Makin, who has taken more time over this than is acceptable. Justice delayed is justice denied. He’s plainly not competent. The NST and the usual malign forces at work from Lambeth Palace and Church House Westminster are utterly reprehensible, and point to a corrupted and incompetent culture at the very heart of the CofE senior leadership. What an absolute disgrace. And now here we have another deadline published that will never be kept to. Again and again the CofE fails at safeguarding, and shows itself to be… Read more »

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