The National Safeguarding Steering Group, NSSG, met (via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions) on April 2 and was chaired by the new lead safeguarding bishop, Jonathan Gibbs, who led a strategic discussion on themes following General Synod in February where the safeguarding motion and amendment was passed unanimously. The motion urged the NSSG to work towards a more fully survivor-centred approach to safeguarding, including arrangements for redress for survivors. The NSSG held an initial discussion outlining issues relating to redress including a look at how schemes worked in other institutions; there was consensus that redress is about financial compensation, apology and ongoing support and that survivor representatives will be involved in any proposals for redress.
Other items discussed included an update on IICSA, noting that while current hearings had been postponed due to COVID-19, work on IICSA’s final report for the Church continued to plan and was expected later in the summer.
The national director of safeguarding, Melissa Caslake, reported on PCR2 progress and there was an update on cathedral safeguarding audits from the Dean of Gloucester, Stephen Lake; these are currently on hold due to COVID-19. Meg Munn, the independent chair of the National Safeguarding Panel reported on the Panel’s work and themes covered in meetings, which she writes about in her blog, noting that the May meeting had been postponed. Members were also updated on plans for the National Clergy Register (one of the recommendations of the Gibb review) noting that draft regulations are expected to come to Synod in July.