New commission to review implementation of Nolan recommendations

 Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has asked Baroness Cumberlege to chair a commission of experts tasked with reviewing progress made by the Catholic Church in the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The review comes six years after the Archbishop of Westminster asked Lord Nolan to chair the independent Review in summer 2000. Lord Nolan's First Report was published in April 2001. In Nolan's Final Report, published in September 2001, he suggested that his recommendations be reviewed after five years. The commission is expected to complete its review in spring 2007. The Cardinal said: "In 2000 I asked a commission headed by Lord Nolan to suggest ways in which the Catholic Church in England and Wales could be an example of good practice in the prevention of child abuse, and in responding to it. The bishops and congregational leaders accepted in full Lord Nolan's recommendations in his Final Report of September 2001. Since then great efforts have been made, throughout the dioceses of England and Wales, the Religious congregations and through the Church's agency COPCA, to move swiftly towards the goal of ensuring that the Church becomes the safest place for children and vulnerable adults. "Lord Nolan's concluding (no. 83) suggestion in his Final Report was that his recommendations be reviewed after five years. I have therefore asked Baroness Cumberlege to chair an independent review commission, consisting of outstanding professionals from the statutory and voluntary sectors as well as representatives from the Catholic Church. The Cumberlege Commission will consider the effectiveness of the measures taken since the Nolan Report; it will ask whether we have achieved our goal of becoming an example of good practice in the prevention of and response to child abuse; and it will also examine the remit and effectiveness of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults (COPCA) which has been the principal mechanism for the implementation of Nolan. "The Cumberlege Commission's review will be thorough, painstaking and independent. Where it finds that progress has been inadequate, it will recommend changes in current policy and mechanisms for implementing those changes. We will study very carefully the Commission's findings, which are expected to be published in Spring 2007." Baroness Cumberlege said: "I feel privileged to have been asked to chair this commission in the important task ahead. Lord Nolan's recommendations were designed to help bring about a culture of vigilance where every single adult member within the Catholic Church would take responsibility for creating a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults. Our role on the commission will be to review just how far the systems and processes introduced over the past five years have helped to achieve this whilst at the same time being fair and just to those who serve the Church. I very much hope that the results of our work will bring about real benefits for the Church and the wider community in this difficult and highly sensitive area." Institutions and organisations will be invited to submit their views about the implementation of Lord Nolan's recommendations. There will also be the opportunity for individuals to feed into the process by way of a secure email address, which can be accessed via a website This website also features the conclusions and recommendations of Lord Nolan, along with the terms of reference and panel members of the Cumberlege Commission. Lord Nolan's A Programme for Action sets out 83 recommendations: on structures locally and nationally; on action needed to create as safe an environment as possible; on arrangements for responding to allegations of abuse. The full list of recommendations can be viewed on the commission's website. Source: CCN

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