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House of Bishops statements on Women in the Episcopate and on Safeguarding

Following its meeting in York on May 20 and May 21st the House of Bishops of the Church of England has release two statements - one on the next steps on the process of women becoming Bishops in the Church of England and the second on Issues of Safeguarding in the Church of England

The statements can be found below:

More information on Women in the Episcopate.

More information on Safeguarding.

Statement on Women in the Episcopate from the House of Bishops of the Church of England
21 May 2013

At its meeting in York the House of Bishops of the Church of England has committed itself to publishing new ways forward to enable women to become bishops.

In its discussion on the issue of women in the episcopate, the House received and approved for publication the report from the Working Group on Women in the Episcopate which was set up on 11 December to prepare new legislative proposals following the General Synod's rejection of the last legislation on 20 November 2012.

The report of the Working Group presented four new options as a way forward and proposed that the General Synod should consider those options at its meeting in July. The Working Group also proposed a timetable which would involve the legislation starting its formal stages in the Synod in November and receiving Final Approval in 2015.

The House of Bishops has agreed that the report of the Working Group should be published with a separate report from the Archbishops on behalf of the House setting out the House's recommendations to the General Synod.  The House has also asked the Business Committee of the General Synod to arrange for a substantial amount of time to be available at the General Synod in July for facilitated conversations in small groups before the Synod comes to a decision on the way forward.

The House also approved the necessary changes in its standing orders to ensure the attendance of senior women clergy at its meetings. These changes were proposed following the House's decision at its meeting in December to ensure the participation of senior female clergy in its meetings until such time as there are six female members of the house, following the admission of women to the episcopate.


Statement on Safeguarding from the House of Bishops of the Church of England
21 May 2013

In its discussions on the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults during its meeting in York, the House of Bishops recognised the critical nature of safeguarding, discussed past failures and committed itself  to a step-change in its practiced so as to enable the Church to fulfil its vocation as a place of safety for all. The House committed itself to creating a climate of transparency and trust with profound listening to survivors of past clerical and ecclesiastical abuse.

The House of Bishops considered the report and recommendations of the report of John Gladwin and Rupert Bursell QC to the Archbishop of Canterbury on the Diocese of Chichester and repeated the continuing best practise of the Church - as contained in current guidelines from 2004 - that there remains a duty on all clergy to report to relevant authorities and the police any allegation of abuse from a child or vulnerable adult.

Whilst supporting the continuing good work of diocesan child protection officers and the best practise of safeguarding guidelines currently in operation in the Church, there was also a recognition that there was no room for complacency particularly at a time when cases from past decades were being brought to light.

These steps included the undertaking of an audit of safeguarding provision in every diocese, the review of risk assessment procedures and the review and development of national core materials for safeguarding training. These measures will be accompanied by further work on proposals for legislative change which will be brought to the Archbishops' Council.