Professor Alexis Jay, former Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), has been appointed by the Archbishops of Canterbury and of York, on behalf of the Archbishops Council, to recommend a model for fully independent safeguarding within the Church of England.
Professor Jay will lead an independent programme of work assisted by John O’Brien CBE, former Secretary to the IICSA, and a team of independent policy and safeguarding advisors.
Her terms of reference are to:
- provide options and recommendations for how a new independent safeguarding and scrutiny body might be formed and how it should operate;
- make any recommendations for how further independence of safeguarding might be achieved; and,
- make any other recommendations that are necessary or appropriate
A report will be presented to The Archbishops’ Council, expected by the end of this year,
containing a clear recommendation for a model for independent safeguarding. Professor Jay will publish this report herself to ensure transparency in her work.
The Archbishops’ Council, House of Bishops and General Synod will all be invited to consider the final report recommendations with decision making belonging to the appropriate bodies.
The principle of independent safeguarding was a key recommendation of Professor Jay’s report of the IICSA into the Anglican Church in England and Wales in 2020.
Professor Jay said: “When I was Chair of the IICSA, I heard at first hand of the devastating effects of abuse within the Church of England, and of the failures, often repeated, to prevent it from occurring.
“I was very clear in my recommendations that safeguarding in the Church would require genuine independence in order to be fully effective. I have been just as clear with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with the Archbishop of York that this programme of work must be entirely independent of the Church too for it to succeed.
“I would like to assure everyone that I mean what I say. My team will not include anyone
employed by the church, nor will we hold meetings or conduct any business on church
premises. I have explained that if I detect any attempt to interfere with or to hinder my work, I
will withdraw from this programme of work immediately.
“I also wish to make clear that my work will be fair, impartial, objective and rigorous. One of my first tasks will be to hear the views of victims and survivors of church abuse, and to listen to those involved in safeguarding at all levels of the church across England. I look forward to
hearing their experiences and using this process to inform the recommendations I will make to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
“It is imperative that the Church of England makes rapid and demonstrable progress on
introducing genuinely independent safeguarding. Victims and survivors of abuse, people who work or volunteer within the church, and children and adults who come into contact with the church in many different ways deserve nothing less.”
Further updates on the Future of Church Safeguarding Programme will be published here.