Safeguarding messages are heard in East Anglia

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Safeguarding messages are heard in East Anglia

Trustees and senior Diocese of East Anglia clergy have received governance and safeguarding training from the CEO of the Catholic Safeguarding Agency (CSSA) and the MD of safeguarding trainers SAFEcic.

The day event was held at the White House conference centre at Poringland on April 30 and participants heard from Steve Ashley, who was appointed as CEO of the CSSA in February 2023. He gave an overview of the national landscape.

“In the last year we have set up and conducted safeguarding audits of the 22 Catholic dioceses in England and Wales, which will be complete by June. We will then concentrate on the 280+ Catholic religious life groups,” said Steve.

“We found the standard of safeguarding in the dioceses at a higher level than I was anticipating and only one diocese failed to achieve the required standard. We will be publishing a report by the end of this year, which will paint a positive picture.

“Although coming under the auspices of CBCEW, CSSA is an independent organisation whose aim is to help raise standards of safeguarding in the Catholic Church,” said Steve, who has 20 years’ experience of board leadership and 30 years’ experience of Police service.

The Diocese of East Anglia was the first to achieve a standard of Comprehensive Assurance (the second highest rating) in its pilot audit by CSSA last year and has now been joined on that level by the Diocese of Northampton, said Steve, who took questions on the future direction of the CSSA and the role of survivors of abuse in its work.

The event also heard from Rosie Carter, MD of SAFEcic, a qualified teacher, with vast experience in safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults in a multi-agency environment.

SAFEcic is a national organisation which specialises in all aspects of safeguarding and is based in Suffolk. Rosie spoke about the legislation, guidance and regulatory requirements for safeguarding competence and effective governance.

“There are an astonishing 68,357 registered sex offenders living in England and Wales,” said Rosie. “The Independent Inquiry into Sexual Abuse in 2022 was overwhelmed by the number of people coming forward with evidence of abuse.

“You don’t need to be paranoid,” she told her audience, “but you do need to be vigilant.

“IICSA concluded that good child protection policies and practices include: embedding child-centred values; making child protection everyone’s responsibility; creating strong governance and clear individual accountability; providing a visible role model of listening to children and involving them; creating a ‘speak-up’ culture; gathering good data and making best use of it, and learning from institutional failure.”

The training day was organised by Diocese of East Anglia safeguarding co-ordinator Mick Thurley and safeguarding administrator Rebecca Bretherton.

Rebecca Bretherton, Safeguarding Administrator said: “After our recent training for clergy and Parish Safeguarding Representatives, it was good to sit down with the diocesan trustees and senior managers to discuss their governance role and responsibilities for Safeguarding. All the training events we have had in the last few months have really shown us that everyone, regardless of their role, has a part to play in creating a safe environment in our parishes and the wider Catholic community.”

Pictured above is Steve Ashley,  CEO of the Catholic Safeguarding Agency, addressing his East Anglian audience.