Thank you for your interest in applying for the final seat on the Church of England’s newly established Independent Safeguarding Board. We are respectively the Church’s Lead Bishop for Safeguarding, and the Chair of that Board.
Safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults should be at the very heart of the life of the Church of England, both reflecting the values of the Christian gospel, and expressing the compassion and love of God for human beings made in God’s image – and yet we know that all too often this has not been the case in the history of the Church, or in the experience of victims and survivors of abuse. We are also keenly aware that there is still work to do to make preventive safeguarding part of everyday practice in every Church organisation and institution, so that safeguarding truly is everybody’s business, crises can be averted and all in the Church can be kept safe.
The failures of the Church in regard to ensuring safeguarding is an automatic consideration by all concerned have been highlighted by numerous reports in recent years, including the final report into the Church of England by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). These reports have demonstrated the need for greater independent oversight of the Church’s safeguarding work, to ensure greater transparency and accountability at every level, and to help steer the necessary culture change in some quarters. The purpose of the Independent Safeguarding Board, established in Autumn 2021, is to ensure the Church’s work in this vital area is subject to independent oversight and accountability, by a body carrying moral authority.
The Chair has a long track record of working with and for children, young people, families and communities, and now works independently, much of her activity focusing on holding localities’ Safeguarding Children’s and Adults’ Partnerships to account. The second member of the Board, Survivor Advocate Jasvidner Sanghera, also works in a range of safeguarding roles. She comes to her work on the Board with lived experience of safeguarding failures, and a passion to ensure the Church listens to and acts on the voices of people it has not kept safe when its duty was to do so.
We are now looking for someone to fill the final seat: a person with the experience, skills, courage and determination to help the Board to hold the Church to account for its work in safeguarding, and to help drive ongoing and long-lasting change in the culture, policies and practice of the Church of England in this vital area.
You may be from a professional background in which safeguarding is both a dominant thread, and a clear and constant expectation; an advocate, charity worker, teacher, medic, police officer or lawyer; with experiences of either very good safeguarding practice, or conversely the failure to maintain and ensure it. You may or may not be a member of the Church of England or the wider Anglican Communion. To complement skills we have on the board we are particularly interested to speak to people who have dealt with complaints or formal review processes in safeguarding environments.
The details on this website will give you much more information about the work of the Board. If you have the experience and the commitment to help this new Board to take us forward in this task, we would love to hear from you.
With our thanks and best wishes,
Bishop of Huddersfield
Lead Bishop for Safeguarding
Professor Maggie Atkinson
Chair of the C of E’s Independent Safeguarding Board