Bishop Christopher has welcomed the publication of the nationally-focussed Future of Church Safeguarding Report by Professor Alexis Jay. Professor Jay, the former Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA, agreed in July to develop proposals around independence in safeguarding in the Church. The work was commissioned following the termination of the contracts of the original Independent Safeguarding Board, ISB.

Speaking on the day of the report’s publication (21 February 2024), Bishop Christopher said:

“I welcome the report produced by Professor Alexis Jay, who has approached her task both with rigour and without undue delay. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to all those who have shared information with Professor Jay and her team. The report makes for sobering reading and clearly states the challenges that have faced Church safeguarding over many years and with which we still grapple today. I look forward to addressing it in greater detail at the forthcoming session of General Synod and I hope that we will heed Professor Jay’s recommendations.

“In reading the report, we have noted that data from the Diocese of Southwark is not present in Annex E: Diocesan Safeguarding Resources. It is unclear to us why this information was not included in the report, since it is publicly available on our website – but we are also very happy to share it now. In the Diocese of Southwark we currently have 5.8 FTE staff working specifically in the area of Safeguarding:

  • Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
  • Deputy Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
  • 2 x Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser
  • Safeguarding Administrator
  • Safeguarding Training Administrator

“We are also in the process of recruiting for an Information Manager (to fill a vacant role) and another Assistant Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser (an additional post), which will take the team up to 7.8 FTE staff. Of course, this team is also supported in their work by colleagues from the wider diocesan and Bishop’s Leadership Teams. Safeguarding is at the heart of our work in Southwark Diocese and we continue to strive to improve all our work in this area.”

The report will be discussed at the upcoming session of the Church of England’s General Synod and a response from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York can be found here.