The second Annual Report of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission, (NCSC) was released today. It explains the continuing work of the Commission and the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS). These were both established in July 2008 to replace the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (COPCA) following the Cumberlege Report carried out for the Bishops Conference and Conference of Religious.
In a statement the Commission says the year has seen the continued implementation of the decisions of the Bishops and Congregation Leaders following the Cumberlege recommendations.
The statement continues:
"Review Protocol: This is an independent review of a Commission recommendation prior to the decision by a Bishop or Congregation Leader. There have been seven reviews completed to date.
"Preliminary Enquiries Protocol: This introduces an independent element into the task of fact finding to determine risk following completion of statutory investigations. eight investigations have been requested with five completed.
"Non-aligned Religious Orders: An accurate database has been developed identifying those Orders not affiliated to CoR and/or not aligned to a Safeguarding Commission. Work has commenced ensuring they are suitably supported.
"Audit: The NCSC has commissioned CSAS to undertake a programme of qualitative diocesan safeguarding audits. This will facilitate the sharing of good practice and identify any current improvement areas."
The statement says that over the past year, a 'highly successful' three-day National Conference entitied Reconciliation and Responsibility; took place, and there was close liaison with colleagues in CRB, ISA, dioceses, religious orders and Catholic charities and organisations in order to successfully implement the Government’s Vetting & Barring Scheme.
It says: "We have commenced a rolling programme of Policy and Procedure reviews to ensure the National Safeguarding Policies and Procedures of the Catholic Church are effective and consistent with changing legislation and improvements in practice.
"In order to successfully embed a 'culture of safeguarding,' as envisaged by Cumberlege, within the Church as a whole, work has begun in developing the Theology of safeguarding which will be accessible to clergy, religious and laity. An attitudinal survey will follow to gather a broad cross section of views about how safeguarding is currently perceived."
CSAS has worked with Caritas and Marriage & Family Life to create a web based resource bank of materials to raise awareness of Domestic Abuse and respond more sensitively to people experiencing it." See: www.cedar.uk.net
The report stresses that the work of the national organisations must be seen in the context of the safeguarding activity which takes place every day in the dioceses, parishes and religious orders. The report commends the committed individuals who give freely of their time and expertise to the church. It gives examples of some of the work undertaken. It also provides statistics for the last year – including CRB checks, allegations and covenants of care.
To read the report see: www.catholicsafeguarding.org.uk/documents.htm