THE Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team is to advertise for a Director of National Safeguarding — a new post — as part of a wider restructuring of the Church’s safeguarding provision, it was announced on Wednesday.
In a letter to the College of Bishops, published on Wednesday, the General Secretary of the Archbishops’ Council, William Nye, said that the restructuring would “strengthen further our safeguarding capacity” in the wake of hearings by the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA).
Sir Roger Singleton has been appointed interim Director from 2 January, until the post is filled.
Sir Roger was part of the Independent Scrutiny Team set up to review the adequacy of the C of E’s Past Cases Review (PCR) of 2007-09. The PCR looked at more than 40,000 files on diocesan staff, clergy, and lay ministers, dating back 30 years, for evidence that clergy or church workers had abused children (News, 26 February 2010).
Earlier this year, Sir Roger concluded that the investigation had been “flawed”, because, among other failures, it had missed out cathedral and other parish staff who worked with children, and had not consulted survivors of abuse (News, 18 June).
The new Director will be part of the senior management of the Archbishops’ Council, Mr Nye writes, and will report directly to him. The Director will also be senior to the National Safeguarding Adviser, Graham Tilby, who leads the National Safeguarding Team of 13 staff.
This is separate from the National Safeguarding Panel, which includes survivors and the lead bishop on safeguarding, the Bishop of Bath & Wells, the Rt Revd Peter Hancock. It is now chaired independently by Meg Munn, a former social worker, who was appointed in September (News, 21 September).
Mr Nye explains: “Once the interim Director is in post, a review of the roles and responsibilities of the team will be undertaken to ensure that we are making best use of the considerable skills and resources that we already have in place, and to determine the best structure for staff and resources for the needs of the Church in the future.”
National C of E safeguarding staffing has expanded in the three years since there was a single post that was shared part-time with the Methodist Church.
“There is a still a huge amount to do,” Mr Nye concludes in his letter, “but I know that I can continue to count on your prayers and support for this vital work for survivors and for the mission of the Church.”