YORK (UNITED KINGDOM)
Daily Mail [London, United Kingdom]
July 9, 2023
By Martin Beckford Policy Editor
- Establishment of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) had ‘gone wrong’
- ISB was intended to hold the church to account following a series of scandals
The Archbishop of York last night admitted the Church of England had failed in its attempt to set up a clergy abuse watchdog.
The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said the establishment of the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB), intended to hold the church to account following a series of scandals, had ‘gone wrong’.
And he revealed the church has had to refer the debacle to the Charity Commission. It came after the church sacked the three members of the ISB following claims it had tried to obstruct their work, including refusing to share data with them.
The archbishop told a meeting of its governing body, the General Synod, yesterday: ‘We can no longer think that we can deliver these things ourselves.
‘Not only do we need independent oversight and scrutiny of safeguarding, we need independent help in deciding how best to do it.
‘I can’t tell you how sorry I am that it has taken this long for us to see it with clarity. We have referred this to the Charity Commission… an acknowledgement that we recognise things have gone wrong, and there are things to learn.’
Steve Reeves, one of the sacked ISB members, said: ‘When the Archbishops’ Council talks about independence, they do not mean [it] in the way the average person on the street means independence.
‘They mean semi-detached. When they talk about trust, what they mean is obedience.’
The panel, set up in 2021, last month published its first review into the way the church handled one abuse victim’s case.