26 August 2014
Joint Statement by the Bishop of Durham and the General Secretary of the Methodist Church
Against the background of a considerable increase in
safeguarding policy-related work at national level, our two
Churches have been discussing how this can best be resourced over
the coming period. We remain committed to joint working on
safeguarding across both our churches. Some changes are, however,
now needed in the light of new demands.
The Church of England has decided to recruit a full-time National Safeguarding Adviser. The recruitment process will start in September with a view to having the new appointee in post early in the New Year. He or she will lead the growing National Safeguarding team within the Central Secretariat of the Archbishops' Council. Its role will be to serve the National Church Institutions and the dioceses of the Church of England with advice and support on national safeguarding policy, training and practice guidance.
In the interim period, Jill Sandham will continue to act as Interim National Safeguarding Adviser until Christmas 2014, with Simon Payne as Acting Head of Delivery. Other project work is being carried out on a short-term basis over the coming months whilst the Adviser is being recruited.
As a result of these new arrangements, the present joint post of National Safeguarding Adviser to the Methodist Church and Church of England will cease after the 3 month notice period has expired on 23 October 2014. The current post-holder, Ms Elizabeth Hall, remains on long term sick leave. She continues to be employed by the Methodist Council.
The Methodist Church will continue with its own Safeguarding Adviser and will review permanent staffing arrangements after the Methodist Conference of 2015 has debated the recommendations of its Past Cases Review. Hilary Walker will take up the post of Interim Connexional Safeguarding Adviser from 1 September 2014.
The Church of England and the Methodist Church remain fully committed to covenant working on safeguarding. A representative of the Methodist Church will be involved in the selection of the Church of England's new National Safeguarding Adviser, and the person appointed will be required to work closely with the Methodist Church as part of their conditions of employment. Joint working will also continue through the Methodist/Church of England Joint Safeguarding Liaison Group and its successor body and joint work in other areas such as the theology of safeguarding, the management of joint events and training and other major projects.
As the joint arrangement comes to an end, we would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the enormous and valuable contribution made by Elizabeth Hall and her predecessor, Pearl Luxon to the work of the Methodist Church and the Church of England in this vital area. They have been ably assisted in this work by their Safeguarding Team Coordinator, Marilia Rocha, and members of both Churches' safeguarding teams.
We hope that the new arrangements will enable both Churches to move forward together to serve this vital part of the Churches' mission and to protect the most vulnerable in our society.