Summary Report: Trustees’ Safeguarding Committee Thursday November 10th, 2022
1. Introductions: All committee members were in attendance. Fr Provincial attended at the latter stage of the meeting and was updated. A discussion on the desirable skill mix in the Committee to inform recruitment of further lay professional members which will be progressed in the new year.
2. Safeguarding Manager’s Items: Julie Ashby-Ellis briefed the Committee on the following items: -
Her attendance at the safeguarding conferences in Scotland, CSSA and her meetings with counterparts in the Irish Province in which she has established and strengthened contacts enabling a sharing of resources. Stephen Ashley has been appointed the CEO of the CSSA following the resignation of Collette Limbrick. JR and JAE are meeting with him on 7th December 2022. Constructive engagement continues with the RLSS on training and DBS checks.
Training: This was a substantive item on the Committee’s agenda. It has been agreed that the Province will take up the in-person training events provided by the RLSS. Feedback from early attendance by Jesuits at these has been positive. All Jesuits will participate in training, with the exception of those permanently incapacitated through frailty or ill health which excludes them from exercising any ministry.
JAE is arranging with RLSS a training event for lay employees and circulating dates for Committee members to attend Trustee Training. The Educare online training will be used only as a last resort. JAE will review with attendees if the training is well aligned with Jesuit circumstances. Going forward, the Committee will receive reports on attendances to identify any gaps and a section on training will be included in the Safeguarding Annual Report.
Victim / Survivor Case Work: The Committee was informed that at their last meeting, Trustees accepted their commendation of the Committee to arrange periodic governance reviews of the governing and executive leadership teams in the two preparatory schools under their direct control.
The Committee was informed that Trustees also approved the Committee’s proposal that it receive a summary status report on compensation claims which are in progress as these are an integral part of the Province’s safeguarding response. Summary reports will be provided to the Committee meetings in 2023.
NG & JAE reported on actions to continue supporting 5 victim survivors whom they have been engaging with for some time and the Committee took assurance regarding the ongoing support being provided.
Safety Management Plans: The committee received updates on the reviews of the two remaining safety management plans which remain unamended. At the time of the Committee meeting the prosecution service had still made no determination relating to the concluded police investigation into a complaint. JAE continues to request updates on progress.
Bridge to Support Update: The Committee received a copy of the Bridge to Support promotion which has been published in the last School Magazine. It was informed of the resignation of the current Headmaster and the interim appointment of his Deputy (who is also the safeguarding lead for the school) pending recruitment of a permanent replacement. The proposed targeted radio promotional campaign will not proceed as the commercial radio stations indicated an unwillingness on their part and of their advertisers. This follows the sectarian responses stirred up when they did something similar in response the abuse scandal relating to Scottish football teams.
The next steering group meeting in December will consider future options without an employee for the project and JR will discuss these with the Provincial for a determination on the future of the project.
3. Complaints & Allegations Policy: Since the last meeting of the Committee the RLSS has produced a policy. In order to secure “the Once Church” approach to safeguarding, the intention is that individual religious bodies adopt this with minor modifications fitting it to their arrangements. The Committee reviewed the document in detail identifying a number of areas for further clarification and some concerns about the breadth of some of the definitions. JAE will engage with the RLSS on these points. Prior to the next meeting, JAE, DS, JR and appropriate lay colleagues with responsibilities for complaints in other areas will meet to further review and finalise the document for final approval by the Trustees early in the new year.
4. CSSA Contract: The Committee was informed that CSSA is reconsidering the terms of the contract in the light of a number of representations. This will be further clarified at the meeting with Stephen Ashley. There remains an issue that there is not a body in a position to act on behalf of religious congregations to negotiate terms which are aligned to their circumstances where these are essentially different to those of dioceses.
5. Audits:. JAE’s counterparts in Ireland have agreed to share audit templates / approaches to assist in further developing an audit tool with the RLSS
Next Meeting of the Safeguarding Committee: 27thJanuary 2023 (to be confirmed).
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