Safeguarding Implementation - Past Cases Review

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Safeguarding Implementation — Past Cases Review

28 June 2017

The Methodist Conference, currently being held in Birmingham, has announced that significant progress has been made on implementing all the recommendations of the 2015 report into non-recent abuse.

The 23 recommendations of the Past Cases Review are now all underway with a change of culture within the church reported as becoming increasingly apparent. Almost 80% of the 1,885 cases that came to light as part of the review have now been completed and it is hoped that those outstanding will be completed later this summer.

With its work well underway, the Past Cases Review Implementation Group has now handed over responsibility for on-going safeguarding work to the Church's Safeguarding Committee.

The Independent Past Cases Review considered all safeguarding cases for which there were written records and those recalled from memory by ministers and members of the Church going back to 1950. The review was described as modelling best practice in its openness and honesty regarding past failures. An implementation group was established in 2015 to ensure that the recommendations made in the report were actioned.

Among the recommendations being actioned:

Each Methodist District to have a dedicated Safeguarding Officer to offer support, guidance and investigate concerns.

Training in safeguarding to be mandatory for ministers and all those whose work involves children and vulnerable people.

Formal, structured supervision be introduced to ensure accountability and support, this has been piloted and will be rolled out with all ministers having supervision by 2020.

Ministers and others undertaking pastoral work are trained in best practice when recording their visits.

A code of conduct recommended by the Past Cases Review has been drafted and further work on this is on-going.

The scope of risk assessments have been widened as the nature of safeguarding concerns develops.

The Revd Alison Tomlin, Chair of the Safeguarding Committee, said: "The task of implementing what we have learnt, and are still learning, goes on, as we continue to listen to those who live with the results of abuse. We re-affirm our commitment to best practice in every place, and to the work of making Church a safe space for all."

The Revd Canon Gareth J Powell, the Secretary of the Methodist Conference, said: "This must be our commitment because an apology can never be enough — what we owe as a Church to those who reported and continue to live with the memory and pain of abuse, is a deep, permanent and faithful commitment to prevent any further abuse."

The Safeguarding Committee will now monitor the progress made by senior leadership within the Church to make the organisation a safer space.

Anyone who wishes to discuss concerns around Safeguarding should contact the Connexional Safeguarding Team by emailing safeguarding@methodistchurch.org.uk or calling 020 7467 5189.

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