Report into the future of safeguarding in the Church of England

In her report, The Future of Church Safeguarding, Professor Alexis Jay CBE, makes a series of recommendations to establish full independence of safeguarding operations and scrutiny in the Church of England.

To address widespread shortcomings and restore trust and confidence, Professor Jay recommends the establishment of two separate bodies independent of the Church:

  1. One responsible for delivering all Church safeguarding activities
  2. One responsible for providing scrutiny and oversight of safeguarding

Both bodies would be registered charities in order to receive charitable funding from the Church for their activities. Both bodies would be separate from the Church with their relationship underpinned by legally binding collaboration agreements.

Professor Jay has concluded that safeguarding in the Church falls below the standards expected and set in secular organisations, with weaknesses including an inconsistent approach to guidance and supervision, poor data collection, inequity in funding and lack of a uniform complaints system.

Key Recommendations

The key recommendations within the report are:

  • the creation of the two independent safeguarding charities to deliver operational safeguarding and scrutiny of it 
  • legally binding requirements for church institutions to refer all safeguarding cases to these new charities
  • the mandatory implementation of safeguarding decisions made by these charities
  • funding by the Church but complete structural separation to ensure safeguarding is truly independent

In developing these recommendations, Professor Jay engaged over 130 individuals with experience of CofE safeguarding, including abuse survivors, clergy, volunteers, and professionals.

The report represents an evidence-based roadmap for placing safeguarding on a trusted, consistent footing.

The recommendations within Professor Jay’s report are underpinned by 35 pages of legal advice authored by Bates Wells Braithwaite LLP.

This advice sets out how new safeguarding arrangements proposed in the report can best be achieved. It also sets out how a new law might look which would create the two key new duties on everyone in the Church to

  1. refer all safeguarding matters to these independent bodies and 
  2. implement all the decisions to these bodies.