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UK news in brief

by
26 April 2024

Diocese of Leeds

A decade on: the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, with students from Lepton C of E Primary Academy, cuts the cake to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the diocese at the weekend

A decade on: the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, with students from Lepton C of E Primary Academy, cuts the cake to celebrate the 10th anniv...

Church Commissioners appoint ‘planet lead’

THE Church Commissioners have appointed Laura Moss-Bromage as their new “Planet Lead” to support the climate-change and biodiversity work of the Responsible Investment Team, it was announced on Tuesday. Ms Moss-Bromage was a senior manager in the Climate Change and Sustainability Services team at EY. She will design and drive the Commissioners’ portfolio-wide biodiversity strategy, and lead on the nature- and climate-related stewardship initiatives, including engagement with companies and policymakers.


Scottish bishop to be investigated by regulator

THE Rt Revd Anne Dyer, who was suspended from her duties as the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney in 2022 over bullying allegations, is to be investigated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) over claims that she oversaw the submission of falsified accounts and invented meetings to cover up poor financial records, The Sunday Times reports. The paper has reportedly seen internal correspondence from the Scottish Episcopal Church suggesting that financial records in the Aberdeen & Orkney diocese were in “disarray”, and saying: “We are lucky that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) have not investigated us.” The paper also reports that a senior solicitor, Peter Murray, has stepped down as registrar and as a trustee of the diocese after he was accused of breaking charity law and refusing to remove himself from a “blatant” conflict of interest. A 50-page dossier of complaints relating to the diocese has reportedly been submitted to the OSCR. A spokesman for Bishop Dyer told The Sunday Times that she “emphatically denies these false and malicious allegations”.


Dr Walker tables changes to Victims and Prisoners Bill

THE Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, tabled three amendments to the Victims and Prisoners Bill during a debate in the House of Lords on Tuesday afternoon. These were a variation of amendments that he had tabled during the Committee Stage earlier this month. The first, the Bishop said, sought “to ensure that victims across the country have access to quality support services provided”, including community-based support for those suffering from domestic abuse. The second was designed to address the funding gaps in delivering this support. The third “would require the Secretary of State to include advice on sustainable, multi-year contracts with statutory guidance” — which, Dr Walker said, the Government had committed itself to in principle, but which was not happening. Responding, Lord Bellamy said that “draft guidance” would be provided on support services, but that the Government was “quite reluctant . . . to highlight some services over others”. On funding, he said that grant frameworks “cannot account for unforeseen events”. Owing to this lack of support, all three amendments, with others in the group, were not moved.

Lords hear calls for reform of care system

THE north of England persistently records the highest rates of children in care, and local authorities bear the financial burden, the Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, has warned in a debate brought by Lord Lamming on Thursday of last week. She questioned whether the current system could “truly deliver” on the aims of the Child of the North All-Party Parliamentary Group’s report, Children in Care in the North of England, published the same week: that children in care should be properly “cared for”. She urged the Government “to consider a vision for long-term, sustainable solutions to this chronic situation”. Later in the debate, the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Paul Williams, who is also a foster carer, said: “We cannot risk children’s social care becoming merely a blue-light emergency service only able to respond in a crisis. The current financial context is only getting worse.” He, too, asked for urgent reform. Responding, Baroness Barran said that the Government’s strategy recognised the 23-per-cent increase in cared-for children in the past decade, which, she said, was owing to “asylum-seeking children entering the system and children spending more time in care”.


Cathedral Music Trust’s first CEO named

THE first chief executive of the Cathedral Music Trust is to be Jonathan Mayes, currently the head of strategic partnerships and impact at Clore Leadership, the charity announced on Tuesday. Mr Mayes has had leadership and artistic roles with the Philharmonia, Arts Council England, the Pittsburgh and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Southbank Centre, and the Barbican. He is also vice-chair of the National Children’s Orchestra. As chief executive of the Trust, he will be responsible for implementing its inaugural five-year strategic plan, and for “propelling ambitious fundraising efforts”. The Trust also announced that David Hill, formerly Director of Music of Westminster and Winchester Cathedrals and St John’s College, Cambridge, becomes a trustee.


PCCs alerted to bogus-craft-fair fraud

THE Vicar of St Mary’s, Beverley, in East Yorkshire, the Revd Becky Lumley, has urged PCCs to watch out for social-media scams, after an advert for a bogus craft fair at the church asked traders to reserve a stall for £30. She told the BBC of her “surprise” at the scam, and that the PCC did “all they could” to stop it from spreading. “I had to check my diary just to make sure, because there’s a lot going on,” she said. “We quickly realised this was a case of somebody trying to defraud people in our name and the church’s name, which is really terrible.” Humberside Police are working with the church to protect potential victims.

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