A ruling by Timothy Briden, a senior ecclesiastical lawyer, relating to fresh information received about the late Bishop George Bell, has been published today. Mr Briden was appointed by the Bishop of Chichester to make an independent assessment of the evidence that had been brought before the core group, the Church’s response to any safeguarding situation.
A range of people came forward with further information following the publication of a review by Lord Carlile, in December 2017, of the Church of England's handling of an original allegation against the late bishop. The Church’s response has included an independent, thorough investigation by former Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway. This was submitted to Mr Briden. Bishop Bell’s living relatives were represented during this process.
To enable Ray Galloway to have an informed understanding of the case he also interviewed ‘Carol’, who brought the original allegation; neither he nor Mr Briden reinvestigated her claim in respect of which a civil settlement has already been made.
The core group took the view that there were no safeguarding issues arising out of the fresh information and Mr Briden concluded that the allegations presented to him were unfounded.
Lessons have already been learnt from this case and we have apologised for mistakes made in our processes. Both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Chichester have released their own statements.
22 October 2015: it has settled with ‘Carol’ following a legal, civil claim
28 June 2016: of the processes used in the Bishop Bell case is announced
22 November 2016: as the reviewer.
15 December 2017: The Church accepted all but one of his recommendations and apologised for mistakes in its processes.
January 2018: National Safeguarding Team a core group has been formed to look into the fresh information received post Carlile Review
January 2019: Decision on fresh information is published