Tag Archives: The Bishop of Bath & Wells

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.

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