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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report

Contents

E.4: The Elliott review

36. In September 2018, the Bishops’ Conference gathered in Rome for meetings with Pope Francis and offices of the Holy See.[1] As a result of discussions, the Bishops’ Conference decided to ask the NCSC to commission “an independent and comprehensive review of our safeguarding structures, fully informed by the voices of the victims and survivors of abuse”.[2] Cardinal Nichols said he thought “it was quite timely to have a radical review”.[3]

37. In July 2019, Ian Elliott (a safeguarding consultant) was appointed to chair the independent review into ‘Safeguarding Structures and Arrangements within the Catholic Church in England and Wales’ (the Elliott review).

38. On 25 October 2019, shortly before the public hearing commenced, the Terms of Reference for the Elliott review were published.[4] Cardinal Nichols was not able to explain why it took more than a year for the NCSC to devise these terms.[5] The scope states:

The review is not required to make specific recommendations for action, but to identify different models of structure and operations and the means by which these could be achieved, presenting a view on which models seem best suited to supporting and delivering the ‘One Church’ approach to safeguarding.[6]

39. The review will consider the following “key elements”:[7]

  • the safeguarding infrastructure and organisation;
  • alignment of dioceses and religious congregations;
  • accountability;
  • training;
  • safeguarding structures and arrangements;
  • policy and procedures; and
  • financial arrangements.

40. The interim report of the Elliott review was expected by April 2020. In June 2020, the Inquiry received a letter from Mr Elliott providing an update on his review which stated that the interim report made four recommendations which he “summarised” as follows:

  • There is a need to restructure safeguarding within and across the church, to develop a ‘One Church’ approach
  • A new body at the centre should be created and given the powers required to advance and operationalize this.
  • There must be a planned process of transition to move to a ‘One Church’ approach.
  • The changes should be supported by the creation of a high-level Safeguarding Review Committee or Steering Committee, to provide agreement in principle, to proposed developments.[8]

He said that the four recommendations had been accepted by the NCSC and the Bishops’ Conference, adding that the “last recommendation came from a realisation that the current leadership structures within the Church would not be able to provide this support through the fact that they do not meet often enough”.[9]

41. The final report is expected “to be received no later than 1st October 2020”.[10]

References

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