National Safeguarding Steering Group (NSSG) November 2023


The November meeting of the National Safeguarding Steering Group was chaired by the lead safeguarding bishop Joanne Grenfell. The meeting started with a discussion relating to comments from the national safeguarding network about Professor Jay’s work and forthcoming report on independence. It was agreed there would be a meeting and a note to dioceses to address any concerns raised.

The interim Chair of the National Safeguarding Panel, Kashmir Garton, introduced herself and gave an update including the introduction of a new a vice chair, currently, Jane Chevous. She said the Panel will continue to focus on scrutiny and the impact of guidance / policies.  The NSP will also be responding to Professor Jay’s report, expected early next year, and the report on the handling of Phase 1 of the Independent Safeguarding Board

The National Safeguarding Director gave an update on the work of the NST noting:

  • An important meeting with victims and survivors and the lead bishop which will aim to be a twice yearly event.
  • There is also a plan to meet with advocates and survivor group representatives.
  • The roll out of National Safeguarding Casework Management System, NSCMS, has had some difficulties but plans are in place to continue to progress.
  • Work is also progressing on the five-year strategic plan – with some amendments expected after Professor Jay's report.
  • Keith Makin’s independent review into John Smyth report continues with representation phase about to begin.
  • The IICSA 1 & 8 project looking at a regional model pilot continues to progress and Professor Jay is expected to meet with the team.

Other items and updates included:
The Interim Support Scheme, ISS, members were informed that the revised Terms of Reference which give more clarity and an extension for support from six to 12 months. The introduction of a Single Point of Contact, SPOC has worked well and additional staff have been appointed to deal with the increased workload. There was an update on the Mr X case relating to the ISS.

The Interim Commissioner’s progress report on the work promised by the former Independent Safeguarding Board, ISB.

The Managing Allegations Code & Clergy Risk Assessment Regulations: Formal consultations have been extended to 15 December. Members asked that when Code next comes to NSSG that contentious areas are highlighted for members to discuss.

Safeguarding in Theological Educational Institutions,TEIs: Members accepted and supported the Application of Safeguarding Guidance to TEIs. They discussed who the link in the diocese should be as some dioceses have several TEIs while others have none noting the need to involve the National Ministry Team. They also noted that if there is an allegation a representative from the ‘sending’ diocese should be involved.

Survivor Engagement: members endorsed next steps, noting the results of the survivor engagement survey and discussed a range of issues including about co production noting a Charter of Principles is required with a need to link into the newly approved and published national safeguarding standards.

National Safeguarding Casework Management System, NSCMS: Members agreed the proposal not to migrate all data relating to closed cases as this is slowing progress. They were advised that a list will be available to say where a record is held if information is needed and that training can start as soon as the necessary data is received.

IICSA 1& 8 regional pilot model: Professor Alexis Jay is to meet with the team to discuss the progress. The regional pilot 12 month interim report was shared and proposals for the national implementation of Rec 1 and draft DSO (Diocesan Safeguarding Officers) Regulations 2024 were approved to consult nationally. IICSA Recommendation 1 rollout consultation was also shared.

The Wilkinson report into the handling of the first phase of the ISB (Independent Safeguarding Board) is expected to be published early in December after going to Archbishops’’ Council.  Members would be sent the link on publication.