Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Trustees of the Archdiocese of Birmingham welcome the publication today (Monday 29 April 2024) of the Safeguarding Audit undertaken by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) in November 2023.

The CSSA have been implementing a programme of baseline audits of all dioceses in line with recommendations presented in the final report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published in 2022.

The Archdiocese received an overall grading of ‘Firm Progress’ – which confirms progress is being made across the eight national safeguarding standards adopted by the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Each standard is graded on an ascending seven-point scale of Below Basic, Basic, Early Progress, Firm Progress, Results Being Achieved, Comprehensive Assurance, and Exemplary.

We are pleased that Communicating the Church’s safeguarding message and engaging with and caring for those who report having been harmed were rated as ‘Comprehensive Assurance’ whilst being very mindful that the need for further improvement remains as support for victim-survivors is a priority for the Archdiocese.   

The Executive Summary has been published on the CSSA and Archdiocese websites. The full report is now available having first been shared with our Survivor Forum group: CSSA Full Report

The Executive Summary states: There is a culture of safeguarding across the Archdiocese of Birmingham, as is being modelled by the Archbishop and other senior leaders.

…achieved an overall grade of Firm Progress, with particular strengths being around how safeguarding messages are communicated and how those who report harm are engaged with and cared for.

Safeguarding roles and responsibilities of clergy and PSRs are understood across the Archdiocese. Members of clergy and PSRs talked positively about their experiences of working with the safeguarding team (advisors and administrators) who they hold in high regard.

Safeguarding messages are being communicated effectively across the Archdiocese, via a range of means and with involvement of members of the Survivor Forum.

Members of the Survivor Forum are engaged with meaningfully and purposefully; their voices are listened to and used to inform safeguarding policy and practice.

The audit makes 17 recommendations, which have been reviewed and will be implemented in full. In particular, the audit has highlighted a need for improvement in Human Resource Management and Training and Support for Safeguarding. The Archdiocese has taken a significant step forward with the recent recruitment of two new safeguarding advisors to increase human resources and comprehensive training sessions for all clergy will take place throughout the year.

Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “On behalf of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, I welcome and accept this audit report and its recommendations. 

“Victim-survivors are at the heart of all our safeguarding work and I am pleased to see this reflected in the report. I am immensely grateful to those victim-survivors who have participated in this audit, and who continue to add their voices and experiences to the review of our practice.

“I am pleased that the report confirms the Archdiocese is moving in the right direction in our responsibility to keep people safe from harm or abuse. We will work towards the recommendations given without cease, to reach and maintain exemplary practice.

“We are committed to being a welcoming and safe Church for all.”

The Archdiocese will now submit an action plan arising from the audit, and attend regular ‘check in’ conversations with the CSSA to establish progress. The CSSA will conduct a re-audit in late 2025.

Executive Summary

Full Report

CSSA website