Independent Safeguarding Audit 2017
In May 2017, the Diocese underwent an Independent Safeguarding Audit. The Audit was commissioned by the Archbishop’s Council and was part of a national programme of diocesan audits. The Audit involved an inspection of safeguarding case files, clergy files and diocesan staff files, detailed interviews with key diocesan staff and a focus group drawn from parish representatives. The Diocese received a detailed Audit Report containing a series of findings and corresponding recommendations. The Diocese welcomed the feedback it received and has incorporated its response to all its findings and recommendations in its ongoing activities detailed in the Diocesan Safeguarding Strategy and Action Plan.
Past Case Review
The Church of England commissioned a Past Case Review in 2007 seeking to uncover historic safeguarding cases involving clergy and church officers. The adequacy of that review was later brought into question. Not every diocese adhered to the guidance set and not all information available was included for consideration in the review. Safeguarding cases or allegations were left unreported, unexamined and unresolved.
An Independent Scrutiny Team was set up to examine the past case review and make relevant recommendations about any future review requirements for the Church of England. The past case review carried out by the diocese of Hereford was considered to have been an appropriately rigorous one under the terms set. However, in common with all dioceses, it has now been required to engage in a new past case review. We are required to re-examine and extend the review in order to ensure there are no safeguarding cases or allegations relating to clergy or church officers that have gone unreported and unresolved.
Objectives of PCR 2
- To identify all information held within parishes, cathedrals, dioceses or other church bodies, which may contain allegations of abuse or neglect where the alleged perpetrator is a clergy person or other church officer and ensure these cases have been independently reviewed.
- To ensure all allegations of abuse of children, especially those that have been recorded since the original PCR, have been handled appropriately and proportionately to the level of risk identified and with the paramountcy principle evidenced within decision making.
- To ensure that recorded incidents or allegations of abuse of an adult (including domestic abuse) have been handled appropriately demonstrating the principles of adult safeguarding.
- To ensure that the support needs of known survivors have been considered.
- To ensure that all safeguarding allegations have been referred to the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers and are being/have been responded to in line with current safeguarding practise guidance.
- To ensure that cases meeting the relevant thresholds have been referred to statutory agencies.
The diocese of Hereford has engaged in carrying out its Past Case Review. The review was in depth and involved 3 independent reviewers. The review is now complete and has reported its findings to both the Diocesan Safeguarding Working Group and the National Past Case Review Project Board. No cases were found that were of concern and all safeguarding allegations reported to the church were found to have been dealt with appropriately.