The National Safeguarding Steering Group, NSSG, March meeting was chaired by the lead safeguarding bishop, Joanne Grenfell. After agreeing previous minutes Bishop Joanne outlined the start of the Response Group work on the Jay/Wilkinson reports which she is co-chairing and noted the revised Terms of Reference and survey published last week. She also fed back from the constructive Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser day earlier in March where the Archbishop of York spoke and took questions.

Members received a written report from the interim chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, NSP, giving an update of the Panel’s work. It focused on the Panels response at its last meeting to the Wilkinson review. Archbishops’ Council members on the NSSG said they would be pleased to talk further with the Panel members on this. It was also agreed that discussions are needed about the role of the NSP in light of the proposed changes being put forward by the Jay and Wilkinson reports.

The National Director of Safeguarding provided members with an update on the work of the National Safeguarding Team, NST, including:

Members were provided with an update on the Safeguarding Programme Board, SPB, following an initial discussion at its January meeting and agreed to:

  • Pass the responsibility to oversee the three remaining projects  in the Programme (National Safeguarding Case Management System, IICSA 1&8 Regional Mode, National Redress Scheme) solely to NSSG.
  • Invite the current victim and survivor representative and DSAP Chair members of the SPB to NSSG meetings with a view to them becoming full members.
  • Invite relevant experts to NSSG meetings as guests to participate in discussions about agenda items relating to the three projects.
  • The revised ToR with one minor amendment.

Policy and training update

Members approved the draft Safeguarding Code ‘Safeguarding Learning and Development Frameworkwhich is coming to General Synod in July. This will replace and update all previous Frameworks. Following a full feedback process the main changes to this new draft version of the framework are:

  • Increasing the ratio of facilitator to participants.
  • The Leadership Pathway sessions may be delivered in a single day, if in-person, and where geographical or other constraints make this preferable.
  • Expanding the recommended attendees for the domestic abuse pathway.

The formal consultation on the new Code of Practice on Managing Safeguarding Concerns and Allegations and the revised Safeguarding (Clergy Risk Assessment) Regulations closed at the end of 2023. Members were informed that the revised timeframe is to work towards NSSG approval in May 2024, ahead of General Synod approval in July. Following further consultation there will be an update in the structure of the Code and pathways within the guidance, removing duplication.

Members discussed and noted the updated policy on Permission To Officiate, PTO, which was brought to NSSG prior to approval by the House of Bishops.  The policy has been authored by staff in the Clergy HR Team, with input from the NST. A range of key changes include :

  • DBS renewals are now required every three years (which means it will no longer be possible to issue PTO for five years).
  • A new form for renewing PTO as distinct from applying for the first time.
  • Additional information about the requirements for overseas clergy.

Update from interim commissioner

Kevin Crompton the interim commissioner of independent reviews linked with the former Independent Safeguarding Board, ISB, updated members on his work and his important ongoing contact with survivors. He noted that his contract had been extended for another 12 months.


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