Independent review into Smyth case


Details of the independent review into the Church of England’s handling of allegations against the late John Smyth QC have been published today.

Keith Makin, a former director of social services with more than 30 years of experience in the social care field, will lead the independent lessons learnt review which will consider the response of the Church of England and its officers to the allegations against John Smyth. Keith has led several serious case reviews and has chaired several local safeguarding partnerships.

The Terms of Reference show that the review will also consider the response of the other organisations involved; Winchester College, the Titus Trust, and the Scripture Union, to the extent that those organisations are willing to co-operate.

This review will allow those individuals who are survivors of John Smyth and who have given an account to the Church of England to describe their experiences. It will also consider the actions of Church of England participants and will identify both good practice and failings in the Church’s handling of the allegations, so lessons can be learnt to improve response to allegations of abuse and, thereby, ensure the Church provides a safer environment for all.

Commenting on the review, the Church of England’s lead safeguarding bishop, Peter Hancock said: “I know for survivors of John Smyth this review into the Church’s response – and the response of others - is vital to them. It was their bravery in coming forward that finally brought the abuse perpetrated by Smyth to the attention of the police and wider Church. We commend their actions and I pray that with cooperation from the other organisations, the review will be comprehensive and that lessons will be learnt both by the Church and all those involved. We recognise that the process of a review can be a very difficult one, and our thoughts remain with the victims and survivors of John Smyth. We remain aware that others were victims of Smyth that have not come forward to the Church and we urge them to make contact if they would like support. Please email [email protected]

Further information

Keith Makin is an executive in the social care and health sector, with over 30 years experience as a manager. He has held the posts of Director of Social Services, Chief Executive of an independent childcare agency, Executive Director of a Government Improvement Agency and now runs a consultancy in social care and health. Keith is also active in the voluntary sector, having been a Board member and Director of several organisations, including two social enterprises.

Keith is a qualified social worker. He has a degree in Economics, with postgraduate qualifications in Social Administration and Management.

Keith has chaired several local safeguarding partnerships and has led on several high profile reviews and inquiries into safeguarding concerns.

2017 Church of England statements on Smyth abuse

2018 statement on death of John Smyth