Legislation enabling the Church of England to start introducing the new post of Diocesan Safeguarding Officer, in line with the recommendations of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), has come into force after a vote by the General Synod.
Members of the Synod meeting in York voted to amend Church law to rename Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers as Diocesan Safeguarding Officers (DSOs).
The DSOs will be operationally independent of their diocesan bishops and will have responsibility for professional leadership on safeguarding and management of safeguarding matters. Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers do not have the same powers and only advise bishops.
The change in the law also provides for the professional supervision of DSOs and for the quality assurance of their work by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team (NST).
The changes will come into force diocese by diocese upon certification by the Archbishops’ Council, enabling the National Safeguarding Team to roll out the new supervision processes in stages.
The new post is in line with the recommendations of the first IICSA Anglican Church investigation report published in October 2020.