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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church Investigation Report

Contents

D.4: Recommendations

The Chair and Panel make the following recommendations, which arise directly from this investigation.

The institutions named below should publish their response to these recommendations, including the timetable involved, within six months of the publication of this report.

Recommendations relating to the Church of England

Recommendation 1: The structure of safeguarding in the Church of England

The Church of England should create the role of a diocesan safeguarding officer to replace the diocesan safeguarding adviser. Diocesan safeguarding officers should have the authority to make decisions independently of the diocesan bishop in respect of key safeguarding tasks, including:

  1. escalating incidents to the National Safeguarding Team, statutory authorities and the Charity Commission;
  2. advising on the suspension of clergy in safeguarding matters;
  3. investigating and/or commissioning investigations into safeguarding incidents;
  4. risk assessments and associated plans for church officers and members of the congregation; and
  5. supporting complainants in safeguarding-related issues.

Diocesan safeguarding officers should be employed locally, by the Diocese Board of Finance. The diocesan safeguarding officer’s work should be professionally supervised and quality assured by the National Safeguarding Team. The National Safeguarding Team should set the broad requirements for anyone applying to be a diocesan safeguarding officer (adapting as required the existing requirements in respect of diocesan safeguarding advisers).

It should be enshrined in policy that those who are volunteers and who do not follow the directions of diocesan safeguarding officers should be removed from responsibility of working with children.

Recommendation 2: Revising clergy discipline

The Church of England should make changes and improvements to the way in which it responds to safeguarding complaints (whether related to allegations of abuse, or a failure to comply with or respond to the Church’s safeguarding policies and procedures) to:

  • disapply the 12-month time-limit for all complaints with a safeguarding element brought under the Clergy Discipline Measure;
  • reintroduce the power to depose from holy orders where a member of the clergy is found guilty of child sexual abuse offences;
  • introduce a mandatory ‘code of practice’ to improve the way that safeguarding issues are handled across the Clergy Discipline Measure and capability procedures, including a framework for responding to issues that do not amount to misconduct;
  • make clear that penalty by consent must never be used in relation to such complaints;
  • ensure confidentiality agreements are not put in place in relation to such complaints; and
  • ensure that those handling such complaints are adequately and regularly trained.

Recommendations relating to the Church in Wales

Recommendation 3: The structure of safeguarding in the Church in Wales

The Church of Wales should make clear that the operational advice of provincial safeguarding officers must be followed by all members of the clergy and other Church officers.

It should be enshrined in policy that those who are volunteers and who do not follow the directions of provincial safeguarding officers should be removed from working with children.

Recommendation 4: Record-keeping in the Church in Wales

The Church in Wales should introduce record-keeping policies relating to safeguarding, complaints and whistleblowing. These should be implemented consistently across dioceses. The Church should develop policies and training on the information that must be recorded in files.

The Church should provide its provincial safeguarding officers with the right to see personnel files of clergy, office holders, employees or others if concerns and complaints are raised about child protection or safeguarding.

Recommendations relating to both Churches

Recommendation 5: Information-sharing between the Church of England and the Church in Wales

The Church of England and the Church in Wales should agree and implement a formal information-sharing protocol. This should include the sharing of information about clergy who move between the two Churches.

Recommendation 6: Information-sharing between the Church of England, Church in Wales and statutory partners

The Church of England, the Church in Wales and statutory partners should ensure that information-sharing protocols are in place at a local level between dioceses and statutory partners.

Recommendation 7: Support for victims and survivors

The Church of England and the Church in Wales should each introduce a Church-wide policy on the funding and provision of support to victims and survivors of child sexual abuse concerning clergy, Church officers or those with some connection to the Church. The policy should clearly set out the circumstances in which different types of support, including counselling, should be offered. It should make clear that support should always be offered as quickly as possible, taking into account the needs of the victim over time.

The policy should take account of the views of victims and survivors. It should be mandatory for the policy to be implemented across all dioceses.

Recommendation 8: Auditing

The Church in Wales should introduce independent external auditing of its safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as the effectiveness of safeguarding practice in dioceses, cathedrals and other Church organisations. Audits should be conducted regularly and reports should be published.

The Church of England should continue independent external auditing of its safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as the effectiveness of safeguarding practice in dioceses, cathedrals and other Church organisations. Audits should continue to be conducted regularly and reports should continue to be published.

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