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Recommendations - Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball investigation report

These recommendations were made in the Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball investigation report.

Safeguarding guidance for Church of England

Recommendation

The Church of England should introduce appropriate guidance which deals with safeguarding within the context of a religious community affiliated to the Church. It must ensure that these organisations meet adequate requirements for safeguarding and child protection. The needs of victims should be prioritised when designing safeguarding policies and practices.

The regulation and management of religious communities should include a mandatory requirement both to have and to follow safeguarding guidance. The requirement to comply with this safeguarding guidance should be the same as would be expected in any other Church institution. There needs to be clarity in respect of how safeguarding should be managed in these communities, along with appropriate auditing of compliance.

Responses

On 27 June 2019, the Church of England stated that the July 2020 group sessions of the General Synod will be asked to give final approval to Amending Canon No.40. The amendment inserts new provisions into the Canons of the Church of England relating to religious communities and there will be a published list of communities. 

It is envisaged that the National Safeguarding Team will revise the current ‘Safeguarding in Religious Communities’ practice guidance alongside the drafting of Regulations arising from the approval of Amending Canon No. 40. The revision is likely to include strengthening the safeguarding responsibilities of the episcopal visitor. It is envisaged that the Regulations and guidance will be approved in July 2020.

Amendment to the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure

Recommendation

The Church of England should amend the current canon requiring clerics to comply with the Bishop’s Guidance on Safeguarding. The use of the words ‘due regard’ in Canon C30 is an acceptable term of art, but lacks sufficient clarity. Very few individuals who gave evidence to the Inquiry said they understood what this meant, including the Archbishop of Canterbury himself.

Responses

On 27 June 2019, the Church of England stated  that it will consider amending the relevant section of the Safeguarding and Clergy Discipline Measure (2016) as part of a review of the legislation relating to clergy discipline. Proposals for change will be presented to Synod in July 2020.

Amendment to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 - definition of ‘position of trust’

Recommendation

The government should amend Section 21 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 so as to include clergy within the definition of a position of trust. This would criminalise under s16–s20 sexual activity between clergy and a person aged 16–18, over whom they exercise pastoral authority, involving the abuse of a position of trust.

Responses

On 31 October 2019, the Ministry of Justice responded that the criminal law provides a number of protections to deal with non-consensual and unwanted sexual activity and abuse. The Ministry of Justice has taken forward a review of existing offences, to ensure that they are working effectively and are clearly understood. The findings of the review are under consideration and next steps will be announced in due course.

Sanctions for failure to comply with DBS and training requirements

Recommendation

Individuals engaged in regulated activity who have failed to undergo a DBS check or complete compulsory training should not be permitted to hold voluntary offices within the Church. Failure by ordained clergy to comply with either requirement should result in disciplinary proceedings.

Responses

On 27 June 2019, the Church of England stated that the National Safeguarding Team would review the Parish Safeguarding Handbook and key pieces of guidance by the end of December 2019 to ensure that this position is reflected clearly.

Sharing safeguarding incident reviews

Recommendation

If religious organisations have undertaken internal reviews or enquiries into individual safeguarding incidents, their findings should be sent to the national review body (set up under the Children and Social Work Act 2017).

Responses

On 27 June 2019, the Church of England stated that Church’s National Safeguarding Team will initiate an active dialogue with the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to ensure that the right cases are reported to them in accordance with the principles outlined in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and the safeguarding requirements arising from The Children and Social Work Act 2017. The agreed approach will be reflected in the House of Bishops guidance.

Recommendations process

You can find out about our process for monitoring responses by visiting our web page.

Investigation report

View the Anglican Church Case Studies: Chichester/Peter Ball investigation report in its entirety.

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