The Future of Church Safeguarding Programme (the Programme) has been set up to recommend how to make safeguarding within the Church of England fully independent.
While the Programme has been requested and commissioned by the Church of England, the Programme will operate entirely independently from the Church, and is providing support to Professor Alexis Jay OBE.
This is a significant opportunity to learn from the past, acknowledge the need for improvement and to work towards an independent, fair and impartial model of safeguarding that protects people from harm.
It will provide a published report by the end of 2023. This report will include recommendations to the Archbishops Council on how safeguarding can become fully independent.
Safeguarding seeks to protect people from harm. Harm means abuse and neglect. Harm includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as neglect.
This is based on the legal definitions which can be found in more detail below:
- For children: safeguarding means protecting children from maltreatment.
- For adults: safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live safely, free from abuse and neglect.
Safeguarding are processes which organisations put in place to protect people who they come into contact with from harm. The Future of Church Safeguarding Programme has its own safeguarding process to respond to information you share with us that leads us to believe that you or someone else is at risk of harm, or that you or someone else has harmed someone else.
Professor Jay and the Programme team will be hearing from people with recent experience of safeguarding processes within the Church of England throughout the summer/autumn 2023.
There are two ways for people to share their views, either through an online survey or through an in-person interview.
Contributions are welcome from anyone with experience of church safeguarding processes within the last five years, including:
- victims and survivors of abuse, or their parents/carers;
- members of the clergy;
- church staff and volunteers;
- members of congregations; and,
- members of the public.
If you have any questions on who we want to hear from and getting involved, please let us know at [email protected].
We want to build on work done to date. Professor Jay will draw on the findings of the report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on Church of England safeguarding up to 2018 – it is important what was heard during this Inquiry to provide a platform for planning safeguarding in the future.
The Programme is focusing on understanding your experiences of safeguarding processes in the last five years, including if it has been reported or investigated in the last five years.
Our questions will seek to establish people’s views on what needs to improve or what is already working well in Church safeguarding processes. We will also ask about how to set up a safeguarding body that is independent, fair and impartial.
The focus is the last five years of safeguarding processes within the Church of England. However, our online survey is accessible to anyone who would like to share their views with the Programme.
The Programme has chosen these dioceses to ensure its work is informed by a wide range of views across all the regions of England including both urban and rural dioceses and make participation as practical as possible for people. There is no connection between the dioceses being visited and any aspect of safeguarding in their areas.
We will review and select applicants to ensure that we get a range of views. We will let you know within ten working days. If you are invited to an in-person interview we will contact you about next steps. If you are not invited to an in-person interview, we would still like to hear from you and we will encourage you to complete our online survey.
We will be visiting each diocese for 2 to 3 days and will try to speak to as many people as we can within that time.
Each meeting will last for up to 45 minutes.
The Programme will publish the details of the visits on the website, as well as advertising the visits within each diocese.
In the Expression of Interest, there is an option to tell us about any adjustments we may need to make to support you to take part. Please let us know and we will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your participation in the interview is as comfortable as possible.
We will provide reasonable travel expenses within 50 miles to and from the locations of our Diocesan visits. The costs will be covered on the day of the engagement but we will consider making exceptions based on individual circumstances. Please let us know when you complete the Expression of Interest as there is an option to tell us about any adjustments we may need to make to support you to take part.
Your welfare and well-being while participating in the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme (Programme) is really important to us.
You are welcome to tell us as little or as much as you like during your engagement with the Programme. Any information you share with us will remain confidential and will be anonymised before being used in our final report – this means there is no risk of you, or anyone else, being identified.
We are unable to support you with safeguarding issues you may have already raised, or wish to raise, about an individual, or individuals, within the Church of England. These issues remain subject to Church of England safeguarding processes.
However, we have our own process for safeguarding the welfare of participants during our work, including how we respond to information you share with us that leads us to believe that:
- you or someone else has been harmed
- is at risk of harm
- you or someone else has harmed someone else, or is at risk of harming someone else
This process is not linked to the Church of England.
More information on our safeguarding process can be found here.
The Programme is not able to directly support victims and survivors of abuse. However, there are a number of alternatives. Information on support services provided by other organisations is available here and will be shared with you if you take part in our engagement should you wish to reach for additional support.
We understand that issues relating to the Church of England’s safeguarding practice will have affected people in different ways and may involve very sensitive and distressing topics. We encourage you to look after yourself as you engage with these issues.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Programme, please complete the Expression of Interest which can be found here.
We will release details on how to get involved in the Programme on this website.
If you’d like to get in contact with us, please send us an email [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please note, if you make a disclosure to us in the course of your correspondence that leads us to believe you or someone you mention is at risk of harm, we will have to refer this to the relevant authority.
For media enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].
It is expected that the Programme will publish its report at the end of year (December 2023).
The Programme is operating remotely and independently from the Church of England – none of the team involved in delivering the programme are employees of the Church and meetings will not be on Church premises. The Church of England will have no role in reviewing the final report and recommendations ahead of publication.
Your participation is voluntary – you must give your consent to be involved and must consent for us to use what you share. You are welcome to share as much or as little as you want with us during your participation – it is your choice what you tell us.
Any information we hear will be confidential – only Professor Jay and the Programme team will handle and have access to information you share with us. We will get your consent to use data and information within the final report but we will only use it anonymously – this means it cannot be linked back to you or to anyone else.
We understand that personal data will be shared with Professor Jay and the Programme team. Our Data Protection Officer will provide advice and oversight to the Programme as required.
When asking for data or information, we will obtain consent from participants and we will also ask for consent to use data and information in the final report. This will be confidential and anonymised – it will not be linked back to you or to someone else.
The data or information we collect will be used for the Programme and for no other purpose. Only Professor Jay and the Programme team will handle and have access to the data or information collected.
We will only store the data for as long as necessary, which is typically for six months after the end of the Programme, and we will destroy the data when it is no longer necessary for the data to be stored.
You can request for your data or information to be deleted at any time, except where there are limitations on our ability to do so. If you’d like to request your data or information to be deleted please contact us at [email protected].
The Programme is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant, meaning that our data handling processes meet the requirements for properly handling personal data as defined in the law. Crest Advisory, who is supporting the Programme, operates a Business Management System to meet the requirements of ISO27001, the international standard for Information Security Management. This will allow the Programme to ensure the security of information shared with the programme and operate a risk management process for this information.
The Programme has been commissioned by The Archbishops of Canterbury and York on behalf of The Archbishops’ Council. The Programme is operating remotely and independently from the Church of England – none of the team involved in delivering the programme are employees of the Church and meetings will not be on Church premises. The Church of England will have no role in reviewing the final report and recommendations ahead of publication.
This is for the Programme to develop as part of its remit – the overarching aim is to achieve a safeguarding body that is independent, fair and impartial.
We intend to publish our report before the end of 2023. The Programme will recommend a model as part of this report and the Church of England will be responsible for deciding to start the process to adopt the recommended model.