These terms of reference apply to the Safeguarding Committee of the Jesuits in Britain.
The Provincial is responsible for the leadership and oversight of all the priests, brothers, novices, scholastics who are members of, or are assigned to, Jesuits in Britain, and for lay volunteers and employees who work alongside them in all of their works. He in turn is responsible to the Jesuit General in Rome.
In 2017 there are currently 166 members of the order living in 17 communities in the United Kingdom.
Jesuits living and working in Guyana are also under the jurisdiction of the Jesuits in Britain (this applies until the end of the summer 2022).
The remit of the Committee is:
- To advise the Provincial on all aspects of Jesuit life and work in the province which relate to the safeguarding of all those with whom they work, including the provision of appropriate training.
- To manage on behalf of the provincial, any cases of malpractice in these areas which may arise
- To do whatever can be done on behalf of the provincial to help and support survivor-victims, who have been abused by anyone who is a member of, or who works in a project under the jurisdiction of the Jesuits in Britain.
- In cases which come under the jurisdiction of other safeguarding committees or disciplinary systems to liaise closely with them and work together in securing safety for the public and help and support for victims.
The scope of these terms of Reference apply to all Jesuits living and working in the British Province and employees and volunteers working for the Society.
- Where Jesuits are assigned to a parish or other ministry under the authority of a diocesan bishop, safeguarding matters are subject to the CSSA protocol governing lines of accountability between the Jesuit committee and diocesan committee in these ministries.
- Within the Jesuits in Britain, there are eleven Jesuit schools. Each school has its own governance structure. The governors of each school are responsible for each school’s own safeguarding policy and procedures. The governing bodies are obliged to follow the statutory codes of practice laid down by Parliament (KCSIE in England and GIRFEC in Scotland). The province has no role in safeguarding as this is the responsibility of each school guided by the LADO. (If there is an historical case of abuse, then the province might be involved if it was a member of the Society). The schools are inspected with regard to safeguarding by OFSTED (for the three voluntary aided schools), or by ISI (for the six independent schools in England), or by Education Scotland (for the two independent schools in Scotland).
The Committee will be chaired by an independent lay person. The Chair is not required to be a Trustee of the Society.
The members of the Committee are drawn from a variety of backgrounds, ensuring that the membership has the appropriate combination of skills, experience and knowledge to effectively discharge their duties as a Committee.
The Religious Safeguarding Lead of the British Province of the Society of Jesus attends meetings of the Committee to advise and support members.
After consulting with the Provincial the Chair may invite representatives from other agencies such as Police, Probation, local authority healthcare or others to attend meetings. These representatives would be there in an advisory capacity only, to provide professional advice commentary on the work of the Committee.
The Trustees of the Jesuits in Britain are responsible for making sure that a suitable safeguarding service exists in the province and that its work is audited and reported on each year. The Safeguarding Committee is an independent body. The Safeguarding Committee is chaired by an independent lay person and the Committee is accountable to the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, who in turn appoints members to the Committee.
The Committee has regulatory, advisory and supportive functions. It discharges these roles at a strategic level in all matters relating to safeguarding in the work of the Jesuits, including with those in formation. In some works, for example, schools and parishes, the local diocesan and education safeguarding committees also have oversight, regulatory and training responsibilities.
The Committee discharges its responsibilities by:
a) Developing and maintaining a strategy for the promotion of good and safe care environments for children and other vulnerable people in all the apostolic works of the Jesuits having regard to national or local policies and procedures where they exist.
b) Advising the Provincial on the pastoral care of individuals, families and communities affected by abuse.
c) Ensuring that the statutory enforcement agencies are provided with the required information in a timely fashion when dealing with allegations or suspected offending involving members, employees and volunteers of the Jesuits in Britain, cooperating with any other relevant safeguarding bodies who are also involved.
d) Ensuring that the Provincial receives full information relevant to safeguarding incidents together with recommendations for action, including the management of risk and matters relating to long term arrangements for members of the Jesuits who are known abusers of children or other vulnerable people.
e) Receiving all information relating to safeguarding matters from the Jesuits.
f) Ensuring effective liaison with all relevant Statutory Agencies;
g) Development and delivery of regular training for all Jesuits, employees and others who work with the Jesuits and their ministries.
h) Contributing to the development and review of national policies, principles and practice;
i) Ensuring that all Jesuit works have effective safeguarding policies.
j) Monitoring the implementation of all safeguarding management plans.
k) Producing an annual report to the Provincial and Trustees.
l) Establishing a panel of 2 or 3 individuals to whom confidential reference may be made when there are disclosures from the Criminal Records Bureau or Disclosure Scotland which require a decision by the Counter Signatory in order that informed advice may be provided to the provincial.
m) Ensuring training & appropriate supervision for the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
n) Assisting in the recruitment and selection of nominees for the post of Provincial Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
o) In addition the Commission may, if necessary, set up small sub groups of its members if issues of concern require further more detailed work. Other people with specialist knowledge may be co-opted to participate if necessary.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Catholic Church in Scotland have safeguarding structures which come under the auspices of each of the national bishops’ conferences and each has a safeguarding advisory service which is responsible for oversight of standards of individual commissions, and the provision of training and support.
Each stand-alone diocesan and religious order safeguarding committee provides an annual report to the appropriate national authority or authorities and chairs of each commission are expected to attend the bi-annual chairs meeting.