Tag Archives: David Lamming

February 3 2018 – “Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarrassment” – Daily Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/02/church-england-accused-disclosing-fresh-bell-allegation-save/

Church of England accused of disclosing fresh Bell allegation to save Archbishop embarassment

The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month's meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.   
The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month’s meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.    CREDIT: PA

The Church of England has been accused of disclosing evidence of a fresh allegation against Bishop George Bell in order to preserve the Archbishop of Canterbury from embarrassment at Synod.

The Church announced it had received “fresh information” about alleged sexual abuse by the highly-respected bishop, who died more than 70 years ago, on Wednesday, just over a week before the issue was due to be debated at a meeting of the Church of England’s governing body.

Synod members who had planned to propose a motion aimed at beginning the process of rehabilitating Bell’s reputation have decided to shelve it as a result.

The motion, which is currently being assessed by Church of England lawyers, would not have been discussed at this month’s meeting but would have been added to the agenda for later meetings had it received enough support.

But its proposer David Lamming, a lay member from the diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich said he had decided to “put it on ice” following the disclosure of the new allegation.

Motions must receive 100 signatures in order to be added to the potential agenda for future events.

Mr Lamming told the Daily Telegraph: “I don’t think I can ask Synod to sign something that they are uncomfortable with in the light of this recent development.”

Dr Ruth Hildebrandt Grayson, the daughter of Bishop Bell’s friend Franz Hildebrandt, said the development made her “question [Welby’s] leadership”.

“I’m quite sure it was to distract attention away from the pressure that was building on Justin Welby to apologise for his earlier statement,” she said. 

“An Archbishop has to be able to take a bit of embarrassment, he has got to be able to say that he’s got it wrong.”

Professor Andrew Chandler, Bell’s biographer, said: “People will assume that there is some manipulation at work in all this, and whether that is true or not I don’t know.

“In the intensely political context in which all of this has emerged, it’s natural for people to have these suspicions, but it’s the Church that has created this context.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, Bishop Peter Hancock, the Church of England’s lead Safeguarding bishop said the announcement was made “in light of General Synod questions that need to be responded to and the reference to the case in the IICSA hearing yesterday”.

 

Advertisements

February 8 2018 – General Synod – Questions 40 to 60 – Bishop George Bell and the Carlile Report

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2018-02/Questions%20Notice%20Paper%20February%202018%20%2807.02.18%29.pdf

The Revd Wyn Beynon (Worcester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q40 In the light of the Carlile Report and the letter of several eminent
historians to the Church Times about the failures in investigating
claims of past historical abuse against Bishop George Bell and the
response from the Archbishop of Canterbury in December, that a
“cloud still hung over the memory of Bishop George Bell”; what weight
will be given to the value of fair historical judgement in assessing the
lives of the saints for inclusion in the Sanctorale at its next revision
and in particular the continued presence of George Bell in the
calendar?
The Bishop of Exeter to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of Bishops:
A All liturgical business, including any future review of the Calendar, is
only carried out by the Liturgical Commission at the invitation of the
House of Bishops. If such a request were made, any proposed
amendments to the Calendar would require a full synodical process
and at that stage the Commission would seek advice from the House
about the parameters of the review. It

Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q41 What is the role of General Synod with regard to safeguarding,
particularly in terms of policy, oversight and review?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Under Article 6 of its Constitution, the Synod’s functions are legislative
(6 (a)) and deliberative (6 (b)). Under 6 (a) the Synod considers and
enacts legislation on safeguarding. In exercise of its deliberative
function it can debate motions on matters of safeguarding policy,
oversight and review.
Additionally, the Standing Orders relating to Questions allow members
to put questions to the Chair of the House of Bishops relating to those
aspects of its business that concern safeguarding, including the
formulation of safeguarding policy and the guidance it produces on
safeguarding (to which bishops and others are legally required to have
due regard).
The Synod’s safeguarding role is set out in House of Bishops practice
guidance which may be viewed on the Church of England website.
Mr Carl Hughes (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q42 What is the role of bishops with regard to safeguarding and to whom
are they accountable on safeguarding matters?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The Bishops’ role with regards to Safeguarding is twofold.
Firstly, as Diocesan Bishops, they have overall responsibility for
Safeguarding within their diocese as outlined in House of Bishops
Practice Guidance.
Secondly, as members of the House of Bishops, they have a collective
national responsibility as leaders of the Church of England to ensure
that the whole of the Church is a safe place for children and
vulnerable adults and that survivors are treated fairly.
Bishops are accountable to the Archbishop of their Province for all
matters including Safeguarding. They are offered support and
challenge by the Independent Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding
Board. As trustees of their Diocesan Board of Finance they are also
accountable to the Charity Commission.

The Revd Christopher Robinson (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask
the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q43
Under the Disclosure and Barring service eligibility guidelines, leading
regular Sunday worship is not defined as a regulated activity. In rural
areas lay people often lead Morning or Evening Prayer on a Sunday
where there is no priest present (under Canon B 11(1)), and will
sometimes robe for the purpose, and some dioceses have authorised
lay worship leader schemes for such ministries. At present, these
people are not eligible for a DBS check for this ministry alone, and yet
leading worship and robing puts them in a perceived position of
trustworthiness and authority in a congregation or community. Will the
church of England take active steps to address this issue with the
Government, to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults in
our churches?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It is not clear that any change in the current position is called for.
Lay people leading worship are already eligible for basic DBS checks.
Enhanced DBS checks are only for those individuals who work, or
have substantial contact, with children or vulnerable adults. So lay
worship leaders of the kind described will be eligible for enhanced
checks if they lead services exclusively for children or vulnerable
adults or where they are members of a PCC, which qualifies as a
children’s or vulnerable adults’ charity.
In any event, it needs to be borne in mind that only a tiny percentage
of individuals who abuse are convicted. DBS checks can only ever
therefore be one element of the safer recruitment process and
organisations must never rely solely on DBS checks when recruiting.
Further guidance on best practice can be found in the Safer
Recruitment Practice Guidance on the Church of England website.
The Revd Canon Simon Butler (Southwark) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q44 Has any consideration been given to the value to the Church of the
process of Neutral Notification whereby an individual, concerned that
their actions, however minor, towards a child or vulnerable adult might
be misconstrued or misinterpreted, can make their own report to a
responsible person without fear or detriment or stigma?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The current guidance in relation to responding to an individual who
may have concerns about their own behaviour in relation to a child or
vulnerable adult is outlined in the House of Bishops guidance
responding to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers. This is based on the Children Act 2004 (section 11)
requirements for faith organisations. This expects that any information
received about concerning behaviour needs to be shared with a
safeguarding professional, in the Church’s case the DSA, for
consideration. If an offence is indicted and/or there is a potential
current risk to a child and/or adult this information will also be shared
with statutory agencies.
DSAs are currently available for advice and support in relation to
appropriate behaviour around vulnerable people.
Outside of statutory organisational requirements, there is more
flexibility to offer such a service, for instance ‘Stop it Now’
https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/.
The Revd Canon Dr Judith Maltby (Universities & TEIs) to ask the Chair
of the House of Bishops:
Q45 Given the Church of England’s commitment to becoming a safe
church, what consideration is being given to removing the one-year
rule in the Clergy Discipline Measure in relation to cases where
bishops and other office holders fail to respond appropriately to
disclosures of abuse that are made to them?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The one-year limitation period generally serves a useful purpose,
recognising that justice needs to be administered without delay.
Where there is good reason for a complaint not having been made
within one year, the President of Tribunals can nonetheless give
permission for the complaint to be made out of time. However, the
limitation period has now, for good reason, been removed in cases
where the alleged misconduct is of a sexual nature towards children or
vulnerable adults; and when considering the responses to the NST’s
recent consultation on the CDM we shall consider whether there is a
case for removing it in other safeguarding contexts.
Mr Carl Fender (Lincoln) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q46 Given Lord Carlile’s recommendation (at paragraph 49) for a
published standard of proof that applies to complainants can the
Church of England’s safeguarding arrangements continue to describe
those alleging abuse as ‘victims’ or ‘survivors’?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Whilst paragraph 49 is not a recommendation by Lord Carlile, the
response to safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church
officers is outlined in House of Bishops guidance, which was agreed
by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The guidance is clear
that the use of the expression ‘victim/survivors’ does not presuppose
that any allegation will be substantiated. The guidance states, “This
guidance will usually be needed before there have been any findings
in criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings. At this stage there will be
people who have made complaints (referred to as safeguarding
concerns or allegations in this guidance) and people against whom
complaints have been made. Both victims/survivors and respondents
will at this stage be alleged victims/survivors and alleged respondents.
For ease of reference this guidance will use the terms
‘victims/survivor’’ and ‘respondent’ without presupposing the accuracy
of the complaint. These should be regarded as neutral terms that do
not imply the innocence or guilt of either party.”
Mrs Kat Alldread (Derby) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q47 Given that many General Synod members may be unaware of the
scale of safeguarding casework, please could you state the number of
open safeguarding cases in the Church of England as a whole in
2017? Of those cases, how many involved an allegation of some form
of abuse?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Each diocese is asked to complete an annual self-assessment
circulated and collated by the National Safeguarding Team for the
previous year’s activity. Our current data therefore relates to 2016
activity. In 2016, dioceses reported that they were dealing with around
3300 safeguarding concerns or allegations, the vast majority of which
related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within church
communities. Around 18% related to safeguarding
concerns/allegations against church officers. These figures do not
distinguish between previously open and new cases that started
during the year.
During 2016, 338 risk assessments were completed by dioceses, of
which 19 (6%) were in respect of members of clergy. During 2016,
there were 867 Safeguarding Agreements in place of which 682 (79%)
related to known offenders. A small number of complex and highprofile
cases are managed by the National Safeguarding Team in
collaboration with relevant dioceses.

The Very Revd David Ison (Deans) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q48 The Elliott Review of a safeguarding case which reported in March
2016 included in its recommendations two key statements about
structurally changing how the Church of England approaches
safeguarding: that ‘The National Safeguarding Team should be given
the power and the responsibility to monitor practice and to intervene
where it is thought necessary to do so’ and ‘Safeguarding decisions
as they occur across the Church, should be subject to review by an
independent body within the Church, which has the skills, knowledge
and expertise to do this. The role of the National Safeguarding Team
should be looked at again to enable it to possibly fulfil this
requirement.’ What progress has been made in implementing these
recommendations?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells  \sdreto reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A Since the publication of the Elliott Review in March 2016, the role of
the NST has been defined within House of Bishops practice
guidance, ‘Key Roles and Responsibilities of Church Office Holders
and Bodies’, October 2017. The independent Peter Ball Review
recommends that ‘the role and responsibilities of the National
Safeguarding Team should clearly reflect an emphasis on planning
and supporting continuous improvement in diocesan safeguarding
services’. The NST is taking an increasing role in quality assurance
work having commissioned independent diocesan safeguarding
audits and ‘Safeguarding Progress Reviews’ with all dioceses, where
it will take a ‘critical friend’ role. The House of Bishops session on
safeguarding in December 2017 also agreed that further work be
undertaken this year in respect of ways to strengthen independent
oversight and scrutiny of safeguarding practice, and this will include
how the role of the NST can be strengthened in relation to its
monitoring and powers of intervention.
Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q49 In the light of the Carlile Report, what actions are the House of
Bishops planning to take to restore the reputation of Bishop George
Bell?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.

The Ven Julie Conalty (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q50 For the record and the benefit of members of General Synod who
have not read the Carlile Report, could you please summarise the
principal errors of law and good practice identified therein, and
outline what measures are being taken to avoid those mistakes in
future by way of retraining, amending procedures, recruiting a
specialist safeguarding lawyer, or otherwise?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It would not do justice to Lord Carlile’s review to attempt to
summarise the key points of learning and I would encourage
members of Synod to read the report for themselves. However, the
National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements t

against church officers’ which includes further clarity with regards to
its membership and function. I am confident that collectively the core
groups have the right spread of skills and expertise they need to
perform this role. It is, however, accepted that further guidance is
now required with regards to posthumous allegations, which will give
consideration to Lord Carlile’s specific recommendation concerning
the presence of someone assigned to the core group to represent the
interests of the accused person and his or her descendants.
Fr Thomas Seville (Religious Communities) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q52 (i) What fees and expenses have been paid (or agreed to be paid)
to Lord Carlile for his Review, published on 15 December 2017,
into the way in which the Church of England dealt with a
complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman known as ‘Carol’
against the late Bishop George Bell;
(ii) What other costs were incurred by the church (including by the
Diocese of Chichester) in relation to Lord Carlile’s review; and
(iii) Who, or what church body, has paid, or will be paying, all such
fees, expenses and costs?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A (i) Having consulted Lord Carlile, I can confirm that the costs of
the review were £35,000 plus an additional £3,000 for
administrative support;
(ii) I am not able to identify the costs of incurred by the church in
relation to Lord Carlile’s review as this would involve extensive
work and have an unreasonable impact on the work of the
NST;
(iii) The costs of the independent review were met jointly by the
Archbishops’ Council and Church Commissioners.
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q53 Which individuals and/or groups were provided with Lord Carlile’s
draft report (in whole or in part) for comment, between the receipt of
the draft in October 2017 and publication of the final version on 15
December 2017?
Mr Philip French (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q54 Were any significant amendments or redactions made to the draft
Carlile report (as received in October 2017), before the final report
was published?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A With permission I will answer questions 53 and 54 together.
Upon receipt of the first draft of his report, the NST agreed with Lord
Carlile the key areas on which comments might be offered, which
were:
• factual points
• general substantive points not affecting the recommendations
• matters affecting the possible jigsaw identification of ‘Carol’
• typographical errors
The above criteria informed decisions as to who to circulate the
report to for comment. Upon receipt of a range of comments relating
to the above areas, Lord Carlile accepted some changes and
rejected others. For the most part, the amendments made were in
respect of matters of factual accuracy and possible identification of
‘Carol’. No changes were made to the recommendations of the
report.
The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q55 In order to clarify the role intended to be undertaken by the external
lawyer who attended meetings of the Core Group, can the standard
client care letter (which all solicitors must deliver on receipt of
instructions) provided by her be made public, so as to make clear her
understanding of the role she was asked to perform?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The external lawyer involved in the core group was given clear
instructions well within her professional expertise. The Carlile Report
recognised that the external lawyer offered advice, including in
respect of the civil burden of proof and expert evidence. This would
be consistent standard practice in such cases. The release of any
standard client care letter would be a matter for consideration by the
Bishop of Chichester.

The Revd Paul Benfield (Blackburn) to ask the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
Q56 On what basis did the Press Statement of 22 October 2015 [Carlile
Report Annex A, pages 3-4]:
(a)state that “expert independent reports” had found “[no] reason to
doubt the veracity” of the allegation made against Bishop George
Bell when the psychiatric report commissioned by the Core Group
referred expressly to the possibility of false memories and said
unambiguously that that could not be excluded; and
(b)give the impression that a “thorough pre-litigation process” had
taken place when no serious attempt had been made to seek
testimony from important living witnesses?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I understand that Professor Maden routinely makes reference to the
‘possibility of false memories’ in his reports. Their inclusion does not
therefore suggest that this was more or less likely in this case.
The Carlile Report offers a chronology of the work that was
undertaken by the core group including the use of an external,
experienced lawyer and consideration of two external experts’
reports. However, I accept that a number of aspects of the process
could have been much better, as pointed out in Lord Carlile’s report. I
have apologised for these failings, and we are seeking to learn the
lessons of this review.
We are now examining in detail how best to give effect to the
recommendations, taking account of Lord Carlile’s analysis.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q57 In the light of the statement on 15 December 2017 by the Archbishop
of Canterbury in his response to the Carlile Review into the way in
which the Church of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse
made by a woman known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop George
Bell, “We realise that a significant cloud is left over his name … no
human being is entirely good or bad. Bishop Bell was in many ways a
hero. He is also accused of great wickedness. Good acts do not
diminish evil ones, nor do evil ones make it right to forget the good,”
is there considered to be any evidence or other information that
would support or corroborate the claim by ‘Carol’ that she was
sexually abused as a child by Bishop Bell?

The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the
House of Bishops:
Q58 Since Lord Carlile, in the report of his review into the way the Church
of England dealt with a complaint of sexual abuse made by a woman
known as ‘Carol’ against the late Bishop George Bell [GS Misc 1173],
has effectively found the process of the Core Group that investigated
the complaint to be fundamentally flawed, is it accepted that, if the
Church of England wishes to act justly, it has two options: if it is to
maintain that “a significant cloud” remains over Bishop Bell’s name, it
must either (i) set up a fresh independent review into the truth or
otherwise of Carol’s allegation, to be conducted in accordance with
correct procedural principles, to include ensuring representation of
the interests of the late bishop, and abide by the outcome, or (ii) if it
is not prepared to go to the expense of such a review, it must accept
that the Core Group’s effective finding of Bell’s guilt [see Carlile
report para 237] cannot stand, and say so?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A I refer to the media statement that I made on Wednesday 31 January
and my reference to the statement made by the National
Safeguarding Team on the same day. I am unable to say anything
else at this stage until such matters have been concluded.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q59 Is it unambiguously accepted that the prejudging of a case through
the legal heresy that “the victim must be believed” must play no part
in the Church’s processes in determining whether a case of alleged
sexual abuse is or is not made out?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A It has never been the case that the ‘victim must be believed’ in
determining a case.
The determination in any case whether an allegation is made or not
made has always been in accordance with a civil standard of proof,
i.e. the balance of probabilities. The process determining this is
32
outlined in the House of Bishops guidance ‘responding to
safeguarding concerns or allegations against Church officers’. This
was agreed by the National Safeguarding Steering Group. The
guidance uses the term ‘taken seriously’ in responding to such
concerns. Section 2.2 clearly states that the response should not
prejudice any statutory investigation that may be required but should
be compassionate.
Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q60 Before the Statement issued on 28 June 2016 that there was to be
an independent review, commissioned by the Church of England’s
National Safeguarding Team, on the recommendation of the Bishop
of Chichester, “to see what lessons can be learned from how the
[George Bell] case was handled”, the Church of England refused to
disclose any information, beyond that set out in the 22 October 2015
statement, on which the civil claim by ‘Carol’ was settled, claiming
that it was precluded in law from doing so by the need to protect the
“survivor’s” privacy. It was indicated that this was in accordance with
legal advice. Given the comprehensive explanations set out by Lord
Carlile without in any way compromising the complainant’s proper
claim for anonymity, is it now conceded that a transparent
explanation of process is desirable, lawful, and not at all problematic?
The Bishop of Bath & Wells to reply on behalf of the Chair of the House of
Bishops:
A The purpose of commissioning an independent review was to ensure
that there was a transparent explanation of the processes that led to
the decisions made in respect of this case. In doing so, a judgement
was made that it was in the best interest of all concerned that this be
explained by someone independent of those processes.
The National Safeguarding Steering Group is working through its
consideration of how to give effect to the recommendations of Lord
Carlile’s independent review into the case of George Bell. I have
made it clear in previous statements that the NSSG accepts the main
thrust of the recommendations, though respectfully differing on one
part of one of them. I have apologised for any failings in the process
and we are now considering how best to make improvements in light
of the review. The NSSG will report to the House of Bishops as soon
as this process is complete.

January 5 2018 – “What ought to happen after the Carlile report” – Church Times – Letters – David Lamming and Alan F. Jesson

 

 

 

 

What ought to happen after the Carlile report

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/5-january/comment/letters-to-the-editor/letters-to-the-editor

From Mr David Lamming

Sir, — Lord Carlile’s report of his review of the handling by the Church of England of the claim by “Carol” that she was sexually abused by the late Bishop George Bell (News, 15 December) is devastating in its criticisms of the Core Group that agreed the settlement with the claimant (involving the payment of £16,800 damages plus £15,000 costs). Utterly demolishing the claim (made in the statement announcing the settlement on 22 October 2015) that “the settlement followed a thorough pre-litigation process,” he shows that it was anything but “thorough”. Moreover, the statement disingenuously claimed that this included the commissioning of expert independent reports “none of [which] found any reason to doubt the veracity of the claim”.

Although, as he is careful to point out, Lord Carlile’s terms of reference did not include making a finding as to the truth or otherwise of Carol’s claim, the extracts that he publishes from the report of Professor Maden (commissioned by the Core Group), far from showing no reason to doubt Carol’s claim, give every reason to doubt it.

The obvious conclusion (or it should have been obvious to the bishops who commented publicly on the Carlile report) ought to be that if the investigative process was so fundamentally flawed, any finding, explicit or implicit, that Bell committed the alleged abuse cannot stand, with the consequence that the important presumption of innocence (for some reason, pejoratively described as “emotive” by the Bishop of Chichester in his public statement) applies, in the same way as it would apply to a defendant whose criminal conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal on the basis of a finding that he had not had a fair trial.

According to the General Synod timetable issued on 14 December (the day before publication of the Carlile report), “Safeguarding” is to be the subject of a “Presentation under SO 107 — with Q&A” on the morning of Saturday 10 February. In the light of Lord Carlile’s report, that is not good enough. Time must be found for a proper debate when the issues arising from the report, and its implications for the Church and the National Safeguarding Team, can be properly discussed.

DAVID LAMMING
(Lay member of General Synod)
20 Holbrook Barn Road, Boxford
Suffolk CO10 5HU

 

From the Revd Alan F. Jesson

Sir, — Shakespeare had Mark Antony say of Caesar, “The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interrèd with their bones.” Comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester ensure that this is also shamefully applied to Bishop Bell.

It also raises another important point, which seems to have been overlooked.

I have read Lord Carlile’s report, and the Annexes thereto, and, in the light of the botched inquiries of the Core Group (I cannot call them incomplete), it seems that, if Bishop Bell is innocent, as circumstances suggest, and if “Carol” is truthful, as the Core Group assume them to be, then clearly there must be somebody who has escaped any consequence of his actions.

The comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Chichester render it imperative that a full independent investigation is urgently but thoroughly undertaken.

That tired cliché “Lessons learned” is too often an excuse for little further action. In justice to Bishop Bell, this must not happen.

ALAN F. JESSON
9 Lawn Lane, Sutton-in-the-Isle
Ely, Cambridgeshire CB6 2RE

“Thinking Anglicans” – Comment by David Lamming

Thinking Anglicans

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/007315.html#comments

The ‘problem’ in the George Bell ‘case’ is, at one and the same time, listening to and providing care for the complainant (‘Carol’, as she is is now referred to following the interviews she gave to The Argus newspaper in February 2016), and providing justice for George Bell. At issue is how the interests of a deceased alleged abuser (in Bell’s case, someone who has been dead for 58 years) are properly protected in the investigative process: a concern highlighted by Baroness Butler-Sloss in her contribution to the debate in the House of Lords on 30 June 2016, as to which, in relation to George Bell, there remains substantial doubt because of the Church’s unwillingness to be transparent. Yes, there must be care for Carol, but not at the cost of ensuring justice for Bishop Bell.

It is not an “either/or” question, as Anthony Archer seems to regard it (the Church “need[ing] to focus on the abused rather than defend[ing] its own reputation at all costs and that of the alleged abusers who receive or received a stipend from it.”) We must both “act justly and love mercy” and “speak the truth in love” (Micah ch 6 v 8; Ephesians ch 4 v 15.)

What is now reasonably clear is that the Core Group, who examined Carol’s complaint and agreed to the settlement announced on 22 October 2015, did not examine ALL the available evidence. Accordingly, the legal advice on which the settlement was based (that “had the claim been tested by a court, on the balance of probabilities, Carol would have won her claim” – Bishop Cottrell in the HL on 30 June) is now shown to have been flawed.

This is why the supplementary question I asked at the General Synod in York emphasised the need for the Terms of Reference of the Independent Review (announced on 28 June 2016) to enable the Reviewer (whose name has yet to be announced but who, I suggest, should be a senior lawyer, preferably a judge) not only to review the process that led to the settlement with Carol, but also to re-examine ALL the evidence, including the evidence that was not looked at or considered by the Core Group but which has come to light subsequently.

Posted by: David Lamming on Thursday, 21 July 2016 at 3:51pm BST

Thinking Anglicans Post-Synod Thoughts On The Bishop Bell Case – Thursday July 14 2016

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/007315.html#comments

 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Further points on the George Bell case

Updated Thursday evening

We reported in March that the George Bell Group had sent a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and also issued a press statement: George Bell’s naming as a paedophile is challenged today by a group of lawyers, academics, politicians and senior Church figures. The challenge was in a report published here as a web page, and also as a PDF file.

Yesterday, the Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, Church of England lead bishop on safeguarding, issued this letter to the George Bell Group: Further points on the George Bell case.

Update

Several questions were asked at General Synod on Friday 8 July relating to the George Bell case. The questions and answers are printed in this booklet, but for convenience they are copied below the fold. In addition I have transcribed the supplementary questions and answers from this recording; they are shown indented.

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Church Commissioners:
Q17 It is understood that the Church Commissioners paid, or contributed to, the £15,000 paid in settlement of a civil claim regarding alleged sexual abuse by the late Bishop George Bell. Will the Church Commissioners please (i) confirm the accuracy of this information and, if others (whether insurers, the Diocese of Chichester or any other accountable Church institution) contributed to the settlement, state the amount(s) of their respective contributions, and (ii) state whether, in addition, the Church Commissioners made any, and if so what, financial contribution to (a) the complainant’s legal costs (including any success fee) and expenses, and/or (b) the costs and expenses (including the fees of experts) of the Diocese of Chichester incurred in relation to the said claim.

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith to reply as First Church Estates Commissioner:
A The Commissioners contributed to the settlement of the claim, but did not pay the whole. The damages paid were £16,800 and the claimant’s legal costs were £15,000. In addition, the Diocese of Chichester’s costs were £18,000. These figures include the costs of a medical expert instructed by the claimant and another instructed by the Diocese of Chichester. The Commissioners paid £29,800 towards the damages and costs, with the balance being funded by a donation from a private individual, not an insurer or another Church institution.

David Lamming: I thank Sir Andreas for his answer and for the additional information given. But in the light of the answer will you say whether insurers were asked to contribute to the settlement and if so whether they declined to do so, who in fact was the putative defendant on whose behalf the settlement was reached with the claimant, and I am assuming that court proceedings were not issued, and will you please state the particular speciality of the medical experts instructed respectively by the claimants and by the diocese of Chichester.

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: Thank you. You are accrediting the Church Commissioners with far more involvement in this case than you might think. We have a discretion to pay bishops’ costs as you will probably know and we make judgments on what costs to bear depending on a variety of factors. In this case the answers are really clear in my answer; I don’t think I can add to them. There are the damages, there are the claimant’s legal costs, and there are the diocese of Chichester’s costs and we paid £29,800 of those and a private individual came forward, not an insurer, and paid the rest. I can’t add to that.

Martin Sewell (Rochester): There’s a very simple question on the table: Did any insurer decline to indemnify?

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I’ve no idea whether an insurer was involved. We were not told about such a case.

Martin Sewell: Who would know if an insurer …

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: The diocese of Chichester would know.

Martin Sewell: Will that information be made available?

Sir Andreas Whittam Smith: I cannot speak for the diocese of Chichester, I’m afraid.

Mr Martin Sewell (Rochester) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q32 The Chichester Diocese publishes on its website a comprehensive 54 page report by Dame Elizabeth Butler Sloss into its handling of the cases of sexual predators Roy Cotton and Colin Pritchard; that report balances victim confidentiality with the public interest in having confidence in due and proper process. Given the continuing public concern at the handling of the case of Bishop Bell, will the Church now issue a comprehensive explanation of why transparency can apply in one case but not the other?

Mr David Lamming (St Edmundsbury & Ipswich) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q33 In answer to a question from Miss Prudence Dailey (Q.13) at the February 2016 Group of Sessions concerning the response of the Church to allegations made against the late Bishop George Bell, the Bishop of Durham stated that it was “legally impermissible for the Church to disclose any evidence used in the settlement [of the claim against the Diocese of Chichester]” and that the law “rightly affords [the complainant] protection to safeguard the confidentiality of their deeply personal information.” In the light of
i. The call by the George Bell Group [1] for a proper review of both the process and the evidence that resulted in the statement issued by the Church of England media centre on 22 October 2015 effectively branding Bishop Bell as a paedophile;
ii. The Opinion by His Honour Alan Pardoe QC and Desmond Browne QC [2] that there are no legal constraints to disclosure of the evidence and documents (suitably redacted to preserve the complainant’s anonymity) that the Church considered before settling the claim; and iii. The fact that Dame Lowell Goddard has stated that “Bell’s guilt or innocence is not a critical aspect of this Inquiry, or of the Anglican investigation, or of the investigation’s case studies,” [3 and 3] so that any reliance by the Church that the Goddard Inquiry will investigate this issue is misplaced;
Will the House of Bishops now commission an independent inquiry as called for by the George Bell Group and, if not, why not?

The Bishop of Durham to reply as Lead Bishop for Safeguarding:
A I will take Questions 32 and 33 together. I refer both questioners to the statement issued by the Church of England on 28 June in which it was announced that an independent review of the handling of the George Bell case would be launched shortly. The House of Bishops practice guidance states that once all matters relating to any serious safeguarding situation have been completed, the Core Group should meet again to review the process and to consider what lessons can be learnt to improve safeguarding practice in the future. It will be for the independent reviewer to consider what evidence they deem to be relevant and publish in due course their view of any lessons learned from the Church’s handling of the case.
It should be noted that the Church has always recognised Bishop Bell’s principled stand in the Second World War and his contribution to peace but it also has a duty to listen to those who make allegations of abuse.

David Lamming: I thank the Bishop of Durham for his answer and for the announcement, post the date for submitting questions, that there is to be an independent review, not just a review by the Core Group. However the review announced on the 28th June is only into the processes used to inform the decision to settle the claim by the woman know as Carol, but the review will not be credible unless it examines all the evidence, and in the House of Bishops [sic] the 30th June the Bishop of Chelmsford said “The Church remains satisfied of the credibility of Carol’s allegation.” Will the Bishop, and perhaps on behalf of his successor, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, please now acknowledge that the terms of reference of the review must enable the reviewer both to review the process and to look at all the evidence including that that was not looked at by the Core Group.

Bishop of Durham: Thank you for that supplementary. The independent reviewer has yet to be appointed, the terms of reference will have to be agreed with that independent reviewer, and it is that this will be around the process that was followed, and when that reviewer is there then that’s what they will be briefed to do.

Martin Sewell: You’ve answered two questions together. I’m going to have to refer. I refer first of all to Alan Pardoe’s opinion and Desmond Brown’s opinion, there are no legal restraints to disclosure of the evidence and documents suitably redacted to preserve the complainant’s anonymity. I refer back to comparing the Bell case to the Cotton and Pritchard case saying that in the one case that is already out there on the Chichester website it balances victim confidentiality with public interest in having confidence in due and proper process. So I then ask why does it apply to one case and not the other? It’s a very simple question. You tell us that there’s going to be a review. We don’t need to know if the review knows how to do this. We need to know if there is a core competence in the Church’s people to do this sort of thing and to understand the law on confidentiality and how it applies in each and every case. We can’t assume that tht competence is there because we’ve not seen it demonstrated.

Chair: Do you want to put that into a question then please?

Martin Sewell: Yes, it’s very simple. Will you issue a comprehensive explanation of why transparency can apply in one case, that’s Cotton and Pritchard, and not in the other, Bishop Bell. It’s a very simple question.

Bishop of Durham: The simple reality is you may quote two lawyers and I could quote others, which I won’t, who would disagree with that opinion. The review will take place and there is not an exact equivalence between the Butler-Sloss report and how the Bell case was handled and the report that has come out.

Miss Prudence Dailey (Oxford) to ask the Chair of the House of Bishops:
Q36 In the light of the Bishop Bell case, has any consideration been given to the view that offering pastoral support to the complainant, independently investigating the complaint, dispassionately evaluating the evidence, and simultaneously managing crises whilst protecting the good name of the Church are incompatible objectives; and will consideration now be given to establishing a properly resourced, consistent, professional and independent central complaint handling body, removing the responsibility from dioceses with potentially variable expertise and processes?

The Bishop of Durham to reply as Lead Bishop for Safeguarding:
A Developing a more consistent and professional approach to safeguarding across the dioceses and nationally is one of our key priorities as a church, recognising of course that good safeguarding is fundamentally something that takes place in a parish context. There are a number of key elements to achieving this through national policy and guidance, regulations, training and quality assurance, including the independent audits being conducted across all dioceses during 2016 and 2017. These audits provide an important benchmark and areas for further improvement for dioceses and the national church. The intention to develop a standards based approach will include how we provide pastoral and other support to those who are accused as well as those who make complaints of abuse. Indeed a recent case review conducted by the National Safeguarding Team has highlighted this very issue. The Church of England must remain committed to responding to non-current abuse and abuse in the present day, as well as building a safer church for the future based on prevention.

Prudence Dailey: Has any consideration been given to the potential for conflict of interest in the Church carrying out the various different functions alluded to in my question in relation to the Bishop Bell case?

Bishop of Durham: Quite specifically in all these the history of conflict of interest is always taken into consideration. Every core group has to work at that particular bit on every example that we have.

Simon Butler (Southwark): In view of the fact that many of the allegations are made against clergy, will the bishop, or his successor, consult with the House of Clergy Standing Committee about procedures for putting in place future support and the work around those who have been accused of abuse?

Bishop of Durham: Thank you for that question. One of the areas that has caused some concern is the level of support for clergy when they face allegations and that is firmly on the agenda to seek to make sure that they are given adequate pastoral support when going through such processes because they are deeply painful and difficult.

 

Posted by Peter Owen on Thursday, 14 July 2016 at 9:31am BST

Comments

If “Carol” wanted to meet with the diocese in private to discuss her accusation, it’s absolutely right that she remain anonymous.

The moment she lodged a civil claim, however, that anonymity wreaks havoc with the justice system. It’s the sole reason we can’t see the evidence against Bell, and is being used to shield the diocese and church from scrutiny. Even if the law doesn’t strictly require this, they can say it does, and use it to deflect all criticism. Even more disturbingly (and I’m emphatically speaking generally here), it prevents false accusers from being exposed.

Anonymity’s justified on the basis of trauma, but it’s absurdly inconsistent: if a person alleged that a bishop kidnapped them and tortured them in a basement, they’d enjoy no right to anonymity; if they alleged a bishop groped them briefly at a party, bang, lifelong gag order.

Making a claim for damages is a public act: that act will always carry a cost (such as going to trial and being cross-examined), and a person who voluntarily takes it should accept open justice as part of the process.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 15 July 2016 at 1:08pm BST

Post a comment

Name:

Email Address:

URL:

Remember personal info?
YesNo

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.