01 June 2021

How the Methodist Church is preparing for IICSA report publications

The Methodist Church is strongly committed to applying the learning generated by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) and will respond positively to any applicable recommendations that the Inquiry proposes.  It is therefore right to seek to ensure that the Church is well placed to take the necessary action and is alert to the findings of IICSA investigations already published.  

Therefore, the Safeguarding Committee very much welcomed the passion and enthusiasm expressed by many in the Church’s professional safeguarding community at the Connexional DSO meeting on 24th March.  The advance preparation and the programme on the day allowed for an active consideration of the Church’s current safeguarding arrangements in the light of the recommendations made to the Church of England by IICSA in October 2020. The sessions enabled an honest appraisal of the Church’s current position by means of a SWOT analysis, and confirmed an appetite for change as required.

IICSA’s thematic inquiry into the current child protection policies, practices and procedures in religious institutions that have a significant presence in England and Wales will publish its report in the summer, so a publication date is imminent.  This is the investigation to which the Methodist Church supplied written evidence and attended a public hearing in March and August 2020.   At this stage we are not clear about how many, if any, specific recommendations relating to the Methodist Church may be included in this report. We expect that the Inquiry’s final report, due for publication in 2022, will contain sweeping and wide-ranging policy and practice recommendations for public bodies and other organisations alike. Some of these may well become statutory requirements. 

It is therefore important to be both ready to respond but refrain from any major structural or organisational changes until there is some clarity about what must be done, provided by either or both reports.  However the Safeguarding Committee wants to ensure that the Church’s safeguarding community is in a state of heightened readiness, and the review of current practice undertaken in preparation for the Connexional DSO meeting has proved a very useful exercise. In particular it has enabled the Church to identify where there are matters that can be addressed without waiting for the IICSA reports, or where existing plans can be refreshed. Many of these are included in the current Connexional Safeguarding Team Plan and ongoing discussions with DSOs in different forums, the Safeguarding Committee  and the District Chairs Safeguarding group.

Tim Carter, Director of Safeguarding

Tim Carter, Director of Safeguarding

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