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Church of England announces first permanent director of safeguarding

12 April 2019

Melissa Caslake, who is currently an executive director of children’s services in London, supported children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Church of England

Melissa Caslake

Melissa Caslake

A DIRECTOR of children’s services in London who supported children affected by the Grenfell Tower fire has been appointed the first permanent director of safeguarding for the Church of England.

Melissa Caslake, who is currently the executive director of children’s services for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster, was appointed by the Archbishops’ Council on Wednesday.

She succeeds Sir Roger Singleton, who was appointed interim director of safeguarding from January shortly after the post was advertised (News, 7 December 2018).

Ms Caslake will be part of the senior management of the Archbishops’ Council, and will report directly to its secretary-general, William Nye. As director, she will also be senior to the national safeguarding adviser, Graham Tilby, who leads the national safeguarding team, which now numbers 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. This is now chaired independently by Meg Munn, a former social worker, who was appointed in September (News, 21 September).

In her borough work, Ms Caslake has overseen local government responses to non-current child sexual abuse, and was the lead director of children’s services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in London. She reported to the Government’s Grenfell taskforce.

“My career has been dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults and helping families in need. I am determined to ensure that the Church is a safer place for all.”

Mr Nye said that her expertise and seniority would be “an excellent addition” to the Archbishops’ Council’s leadership team. Bishop Hancock said: “Her strong, professional background and experience will strengthen the national team as it continues its work at a time of increasing demand. . . She will take on leadership of the team as we approach our main IICSA hearing.”

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