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IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Roman Catholic Church Investigation Report


G.2: Audits by the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service 2010 to 2018

2. Between 2010 and 2013, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS, COPCA’s successor) conducted two further rounds of audits of the diocesan safeguarding commissions.[1] The audits focussed on compliance with:

  • standards set out in Towards a Culture of Safeguarding;
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requirements; and
  • case recording standards.[2]

3. Adrian Child, former director of CSAS, said the second and third round of audits were “more comprehensive” and involved CSAS conducting a two-day visit of the safeguarding commission and undertaking a review of their records. CSAS prepared an audit report which was provided to the safeguarding commission.[3] An action plan was devised to implement the audit report’s recommendations.

4. Some diocesan audits gave cause for concern.

4.1. In 2010, the Archdiocese of Birmingham completed a self-assessment and considered that “it met the highest standard in all but two areas”.[4] When CSAS conducted the audit, it found a number of areas where the Archdiocese was either “not compliant” or “improvement was needed”.[5]

4.2. As set out in the Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School Investigation Report, a 2011 audit of the Diocese of Westminster found that standards were “not met in a number of areas, including casework and recording practice”.[6]

4.3. In its 2011 audit, the Diocese of Menevia “performed particularly poorly”.[7]

5. Two of the six independent religious safeguarding commissions were audited in 2014/15. The remaining four audits were completed by Dr Colette Limbrick after she joined CSAS in June 2015.[8] These audits highlighted both good and bad practice at the independent religious safeguarding commissions. For example, the audit of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) safeguarding commission found “good evidence” of inter-agency working and a good quality of risk management practice[9] but noted that the case files “lack structure and can be difficult to follow”.[10] When Buckfast Abbey independent commission was audited, the findings were generally positive, including reference to an “Excellent level of detail in Covenants of Care which are also subject to regular review”.[11]

6. In the view of Mr Child, with each successive round of audits, there was increasing “professionalisation of safeguarding”. He considered “that practice (and certainly case recording) had improved” post-Nolan with “yet further improvement” after the publication of the Cumberlege report and implementation of its recommendations.[12]

7. Save for two exceptions, between 2015 and 2018, CSAS did not conduct any audits.[13] Dr Limbrick told us that this was because she “wasn’t aware that there was a need to revisit” any of the audits. CSAS was reviewing its policies and procedures as well as “looking at an appropriate methodology or structure for ongoing quality assurance work”.[14]


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