Response to Charity Commission Report

Statement from the Archdiocese of Birmingham

Following an investigation into safeguarding in the Archdiocese of Birmingham, the Charity Commission has today (Tuesday 3 September 2019) closed its statutory inquiry and released a report.

The Archdiocese has co-operated fully with the Charity Commission throughout the Statutory Inquiry process and accepts the report’s findings and recommendations.

The Archdiocese is committed to continual improvement of its safeguarding practices. Protecting children and vulnerable adults from harm remains an absolute priority.

Following the publication of the IICSA report earlier this year, we publicly acknowledged that we had failed victims and survivors of abuse. We recognise apologies need to be backed up by action and the Archdiocese is committed to learning from the mistakes of the past and is reviewing its practices and processes to ensure that victims and survivors of abuse receive a compassionate and caring response.

The Charity Commission Report recognises that change is already happening in the Archdiocese: “during the inquiry the highest risk areas were effectively progressed”, “all the hard copy case files were reviewed and actioned where appropriate” and that “A new case management system has been introduced”.

The report also acknowledged that: “trustees co-operated with the inquiry by providing timely information and regular updates”, “The inquiry was satisfied that the charity’s staff had taken significant steps to improve safeguarding governance and manage the safeguarding risks”, “all safeguarding agreements had been reviewed and steps were being taken to manage the risks arising from them” and that “additional personnel had been or were in the process of being recruited.”

The Diocese now has more safeguarding staff, Trustees with safeguarding experience, better management and recording systems, a contract with Barnardo's to provide external Quality Assurance and professional supervision of safeguarding staff, effective DBS vetting moving to more efficient online applications and clear policies and practices on safeguarding referrals and agreements, to safeguard those who come in contact with the church.

But we remain committed to the ongoing improvement of safeguarding across the Archdiocese and will review and consider the Commission’s findings alongside the IICSA report issued earlier this summer.

If you would like to speak to someone about safeguarding and the Church’s work, please call the Diocesan Safeguarding Office on 0121 230 6240.

Alternatively, you may prefer to contact the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) on 0808 801 0331 or the IICSA Truth Project on 0800 917 1000.