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Bishop David Welcomes Safeguarding Debate

A vote by the General Synod to bring in stricter controls and guidance for safeguarding young people and vulnerable adults had been welcomed by Bishop David.

Legislation is to be introduced at the next session of Synod in July to

  • Tighten up procedures around temporary permissions to officiate in a local parish
  • ·      Prevent clergy robing during a service when prohibited or disbarred
  •       Give bishops power, where appropriate, to direct clergy to undergo a risk assessment (this is currently voluntary)
  •       Prevent anyone who is on a barred list from serving as a churchwarden or as a member of a PCC, district council or synod
  •       Prevent anyone with certain convictions in relation to children from serving as a member of a PCC, district council or synod.
  •       Give bishops the power to suspend people from these posts and bodies if arrested on suspicion of committing certain offences against children.
  •       Introduce similar provision covering lay workers and Readers.
  •       Remove the 12 month Clergy Discipline Measure limitation period for bringing a complaint about sexual misconduct committed against children or vulnerable adults.
  •       Extend the bishop’s power of suspension.

Three additional suggestions for reform include:

 (i) The imposition of a duty on relevant persons to have due regard to the House of Bishops’ current safeguarding policies

(ii) The imposition of a duty on all diocesan bishops to appoint a diocesan safeguarding advisor

 (iii) The imposition of a duty on relevant persons to undergo safeguarding training when required to do so by the bishop.

Bishop David says GenSynod safeguarding debate highlighted the risks which can occur when a parish is vacant. In the Diocese in Europe ALL serving locums must have official Permission to Officiate and the relevant safeguarding clearance before they begin to take care of churches. The diocese has also strengthened its Safeguarding Committee and training procedures and today’s debate endorses our recent actions.