In 2007 the Church of England commissioned a Past Case Review, which sought to look at the handling by the Church of child protection cases over many years. This entailed an independent scrutiny of the files of clergy and church officers to identify any persons presenting on-going risks to children and young people (a child or young person is anyone under the age of 18) which had not been acted on appropriately.
The review conducted by the Diocese of Truro was subject to scrutiny and found to have been properly and thoroughly carried out, however it was found that this was not the case in every diocese. Given the learning from this and other national reviews, the House of Bishops wants to ensure that our churches and church-related activities are as safe as possible for children and vulnerable adults and, in support of this, all dioceses have been asked to conduct a further review, building on the previous but extending the scope to include children, young people and vulnerable adults up to the current date. In addition the scope was expanded to include other church bodies, such as cathedrals. This process is called Past Case Review 2 (PCR2).
The Diocese of Truro and Truro Cathedral are two separate legal entities. Regarding safeguarding, they work in partnership through a service level agreement to implement, monitor and improve practice. The PCR2 for both diocese and cathedral were conducted as a single exercise, with separate, but linked findings and recommendations.
When were the reviews conducted in the Diocese of Truro and Truro Cathedral?
In November 2019 two suitably qualified and accredited Independent Reviewers (IR) were appointed to scrutinise relevant files held within the diocese & cathedral and to work closely with the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA) to ensure that appropriate and remedial action is taken in accordance with safeguarding procedures.
The first element of the PCR2 process was to contact every parish, to check that all-known instances within their parish, both recent and non-recent, have been notified to the DSA.
The next stage of the PCR2 process was to scrutinise clergy and church officer files which had not been reviewed previously and to review the handling of cases where clergy or church officers had been the subject of safeguarding concerns.
The review was started early in 2020, however it was not formally concluded until February 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP), reviewed the report in March 2021 to ensure that all necessary actions had been taken and Justine Hosking, the independent Chair endorsed the reports to the Bishop of Truro and the Dean of Truro Cathedral.
What happened next?
Safeguarding cases where PCR2 Reviewers identified a potential risk or concern (known as Appendix D reports)
Following the conclusion of the review any safeguarding cases where it was identified that further work was required were risk assessed and prioritised for review and action.
The DSAP reviews progress against these cases at each meeting and will receive a final report on key learning outcomes when all actions have been completed (by December 2022)
Justine Hosking, Independent chair of the DSAP said: “The diocese has worked closely with Truro Cathedral to produce this report. Whilst it has only just been published, DSAP was made aware of the key recommendations early on. The Diocesan Safeguarding Team of advisors has regularly updated us. They have provided evidence of their dedication and expertise to reduce the number of outstanding historic cases of abuse, and to build on good practice identified in the report. We know that safeguarding must remain at the heart of the Diocese and Cathedral's practice and this review demonstrates that they are one step closer to achieving this.”
Recommendations about safeguarding practice
In addition to above a sub-group of the DSAP, chaired by Katie Fitzsimmons, Diocesan Director of Education was tasked with developing a joint response to any recommendations about safeguarding practice.
The sub-group were tasked with:-
a. Identifying how we can engage with survivors and understand the impact of our activities;
b. Listening to the views of deaneries and parishes;
c. Monitoring the implementation of good safeguarding practice; and\
d. Ensuring practice is in accordance with national and diocesan policy and practice.
The evidence of good practice and local themes for improvement can be found in the Diocesan Local Executive Summary. All recommendations have now been incorporated in the Diocesan Safeguarding Action Plan, and progress is reported to DSAP on a quarterly basis.
Katie Fitzsimmons said “The working group consisted of our survivor advocate and representatives from the parishes. When developing the action plan we considered the impact on survivors and parishes. Alongside understanding national policy and good practice we thought about what might need to change in order for us to improve"
The impact of dealing with safeguarding issues, hearing the voice of survivors and providing the space for consideration for all that are involved that is the cultural shift we are working towards.”
Publication of reports
PCR 2 has been carried out across all 42 dioceses, as well as Lambeth and Bishopthorpe Palaces and the National Safeguarding Team. Although our reviews were completed in early 2021, other diocesan and cathedral reviews were completed at different times, and were not concluded until spring 2022.
Local learnings and findings have been timed to coincide with the publication of the national report on the 5th October 2022.
See below for a link to the national report and tour respective Local Executive Summaries.
If you have safeguarding concern – email@example.com
If you have a media enquiry – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to talk to the safeguarding team – email@example.com
Link: National PCR2 guidance https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/past-cases-review-2
Link: National PCR Report https://www.churchofengland.org/safeguarding/past-cases-review-2
Link: Truro Cathedral Local Executive Summary
Link: Diocese of Truro Local Executive Summary
Link: Truro Diocese Website
Link: Frequently Asked Questions (Local)
Link: Frequently Asked Questions (National)
Link: Local Press Release
Link: National Press Release