Cardinal Vincent Nichols r4Sunday 21/4/19. Child abuse – a straight answer to a straight question is outside the Cardinal’s repertoire
On 21st April Cardinal Vincent Nichols was interviewed on BBC Sunday Programme. He either blanked or sidestepped questions on child abuse in the Catholic Church. Our post concentrates on this aspect of the interview including the cover up of child abuse in the Archdiocese of Birmingham where Nichols was Archbishop from 2000 – 2009. The Archdiocese was part of IICSA’s Catholic investigation undertaken – Nichols gave evidence. (more…)
The cut n’ paste safeguarding policy at Crewe Alexandra Football Club needs to be scrapped. Here’s why
We have reviewed two core components of the Crewe Alexandra Football Club safeguarding policy: (i) the child protection and safeguarding policy and, (ii) the whistleblowing policy. We provide a third document showing the email exchanges needed to secure the policies from the club.
The whistleblowing policy is key because in England there is no legislation that requires employees and/or volunteers who have responsibility for the care of children in a ‘Regulated Activity‘ (a football club academy for example) to report known or suspected abuse to the statutory authorities. Anyone who chooses to report is by default a whistleblower with little legal protection. Furthermore it’s discretionary to report a safeguarding concern. No law is broken by a member of staff who chooses to not report a concern to the local authority for independent assessment that perhaps, only many years later when the child has disclosed abuse in adulthood, secures a criminal conviction.
Please read the conclusions on the first page of the safeguarding policy review below.
To the extent safeguarding works in any setting, it does so thanks to good staff trying their best with a legislative framework that simply cannot function effectively within Regulated Activities. The design and delivery of any safeguarding policy is vitally important and reveals the extent to which safeguarding is embedded in the culture of the setting.
Our reviews of:
In 2018 a representative of Mandate Now provided evidence to the Independent Football Review led by Clive Sheldon QC.
(The policy in the review was current at the time of going to print 10/12/18)
The Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel @churchofengland attempting to sell a counterfeit suggestion that mandatory reporting exists within the Church.
Meg Munn, the recently appointed Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel of the Church of England, appeared on Radio 4 Sunday programme on the 17th March 2019. The peg for her contribution was the appalling story of Bishop of Chester, one of the 26 Spiritual Lords who contribute to the formulation of legislation in the House, failing to report to the statutory authorities abuse perpetrated by Rev. Gordon Dickenson which Dickenson wrote to him about in 2009. Dickenson was convicted earlier this month of eight counts of sexual assault after pleading guilty to abusing a boy during the 1970s inside a church hall and even his vicarage.
Here is the interview with Ed Stourton. In the first minute, Ms Munn provided clear opinion on what should now happen with this matter. Ed Stourton then read an extract from a letter sent to Andrew Graystone by the Bishop of Chester. Below we provide the transcript of the interview with Ms Munn from @1’39” onwards. Our observations are interpolated into the copy under ‘comment’. Emboldening and italicisation are ours. (more…)
How much does Barnardo’s really care for vulnerable children? | Why did it sign an Independent Advocacy Contract with the Youth Justice Board at Medway in which it agreed to not refer child protection concerns to Local Authority?
In 2013 the children’s charity Barnado’s entered into a contract with the Youth Justice Board to provide independent advocacy for children at the Medway Secure Training Centre in which the charity agreed not to refer any child protection concerns arising in the setting to the local authority (Kent). What does this tell us about the charity’s commitment to vulnerable children and just how safe are children it advocates for and protects today?
Barnardo’s looks conflicted between protecting children and its cherished relationship with Government and the public sector. Agreeing a contract that obliges it to not report child protection concerns to the Local Authority hits rock bottom. But having reached it, Barnardo’s breaks out the Kango hammer and starts digging again. (more…)
The LTA Chief Executive Scott Lloyd said on the 25/1/19: “the LTA has now undertaken a root and branch review of its safeguarding” and “is committed to having the best safeguarding procedures possible at every level of the game.” Our review of the LTA safeguarding reveals dysfunctional safeguarding has been retained despite Mr Lloyd’s assertions.
Little reliance can be placed on the County Association Safeguarding Template policy. In England, Wales and Scotland there is still no statutory obligation to report either known or suspected abuse to the Local Authority (or the police in appropriate circumstances) for independent assessment. LTA policy provides no commitment even to consult with external agencies, such as the local Authority Designated Officer (“LADO”) for advice and/or guidance, when a safeguarding concern arises.
The LTA claims a child is a person under the age of 18 years. The proposed extension of the Position of Trust Law to sports coaches was put on hold by the Government many months ago. Here are the roles to which the law currently applies. Sports coaches are not included. The proposed extension can only make a very small difference to functioning safeguarding in Regulated Activities as we explained in this press release.
The LTA policy is a Potemkin village. Like all safeguarding policies, its foundation is ‘statutory guidance’ issued by the Department for Education to assist Regulated Activities, such the LTA, deliver law effectively. But there is no law to report known or suspected child abuse. As a result the term ‘statutory guidance’ is little more than an oxymoron. The reality is, the head of an LTA affiliated tennis club/centre who has statutory responsibility for safeguarding cannot be held to account by safeguarding legislation for failures to refer known or suspected child abuse to the statutory agencies. Furthermore, absence of legislation means staff who make a report in good faith, have no protection against legal action if the report they make is not validated in law.
The LTA is free to exceed the de minimis expectations of ‘statutory guidance’ to produce a safeguarding policy on which greater reliance can be placed. Unfortunately it has made no attempt to address the legislative vacuum in order to support staff and better protect young players in LTA care. What hope for culture change?
The headline feature of our latest review continues to be the vastly different scale of resources committed by each Government to their respective child abuse inquiries. It is even more pronounced when you consider England and Wales has 2.43 times the population of Australia :
Headline data for 2018
Headline data for 2017
What impact is the striking difference in resources having on IICSA?