Bishops’ Conference of Scotland
June 26, 2020
Second Annual Report of the Independent Review Group (IRG) monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the McLellan Report by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland
1.1 When the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland (BCOS) accepted in full the recommendations from the review into safeguarding chaired by Dr Andrew McLellan, they established an Independent Review Group (IRG) to monitor progress in implementing the recommendations.
1.2. This is the second annual progress report from the IRG. The remit of the IRG has been reviewed by BCOS and is included as Appendix 1 of this report.
1.3. The findings within this report are based on discussions between the BCOS and the IRG; the production of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties ( see Appendix 2); the response of the BCOS to the recommendations from the first report (see Appendix 3) ; the process and outcome of the first 2 external audits of diocesan safeguarding practices and the outcome and analysis of the diocesan internal audits for 2019. Details of the IRG’s membership and a summary of its main activities are in Appendix 4.
1.4. 2019 saw a deepening understanding of the respective roles and responsibilities for safeguarding delegated to the IRG by the BCOS. The introduction of entirely new and entirely independent scrutiny of all aspects of the implementation of safeguarding policy, procedures and practice within the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was a courageous and decisive initiative by the BCOS. The agreement with the IRG was that two Dioceses in 2019 would be audited by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as part of a wider commitment by the Bishops to commission external audits of all eight Dioceses over a four year period. This showed a willingness to open all aspects of safeguarding to intense professional scrutiny and to learn lessons. Almost inevitably there were teething issues as commitments and shared values were teased out into effective behaviours and comprehensive relationships.
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