The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh has welcomed the publication today (Thursday 30 January) of an independent audit into its safeguarding processes.
The audit was commissioned by the Catholic Church in Scotland with the aim of supporting safeguarding improvements. It was carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)/Children in Scotland.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said: “We very much welcome the work of the Independent Review Group (IRG) for Safeguarding and the external review that SCIE has completed for our Archdiocese. We found the process helpful and constructive.
“We are reassured and encouraged that the safeguarding improvements we have implemented over the last six years have been recognised and validated and we look forward to developing these processes further to ensure that our churches continue to be safe and welcoming places for everyone.”
Helen Liddell, chair of the IRG said: "We owe a debt of gratitude also to those in the dioceses, both clergy and laity, who sometimes had to face up to examining some actions in the past that they had no part in but had to live with the consequences, sometimes with deep pain.
"As this first stage concludes, the IRG acknowledges the sheer determination of all who have participated in this to make sure those who are vulnerable are as safe as possible. Never again will we assume that the vulnerable are safe. Never again will there be a hiding place for the abusers of those we love.”
Commenting on the publication, Bishop Joseph Toal, President of the Commission for Pastoral and Social Care said;
“On behalf of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, I welcome the publication of the IRG report and thank the IRG for their work. I know the audits have been both thorough and rigorous and that they will be studied carefully by both dioceses.”
“Safeguarding is at the heart of the church’s mission and the maintenance of high standards is only possible through independent scrutiny and a commitment to implement any recommendations proposed.”
Archbishop Leo Cushley said: “It is the responsibility of all people in our church community, clergy and laity alike, to ensure the church is a safe and welcoming place for everyone and that children and vulnerable adults are protected.
“Each of our parishes has a safeguarding co-ordinator, working with approved volunteers, who support our priests and I extend my thanks to them for their excellent work. Safeguarding in the church is a priority and I believe that is reflected in the processes our Archdiocese has implemented and continues to develop.”
- Read the report here: Independent Safeguarding Audit
- Read the IRG statement here: Independent Review Group
A guide to the safeguarding audit
What is it?
An independent audit into safeguarding processes in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh.
Who commissioned the audit?
The report was commissioned by the Catholic Church in Scotland.
Why did it commission the audit?
To support its ongoing commitment to safeguarding improvements.
Who carried out the audit?
Two external agencies - The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) in conjunction with Children in Scotland.
How was it carried out?
The audit involved examining case material and a review of policies and procedures for safeguarding. Auditors were given free access to files and documentation they requested.
What else did auditors do?
Auditors met key clergy and members of the laity involved in working with children and vulnerable groups so as to obtain a wider perspective of safeguarding within the Archdiocese. This included eight individual interviews and one focus group of seven. They also received submissions from 30 individuals including survivors, their families, clergy and Catholic groups.
What has the Archdiocese said about the report?
The Archdiocese has welcomed the publication of the report, describing the process as “helpful and constructive” (read the full comments, above).
Where can I read the report?
The full report can be read here.
Where can I find out more about safeguarding in the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh?
Visit the safeguarding section of our website here. There you can find out more about our safeguarding team and resources. Our safeguarding adviser is Angela Hughes. You can contact her on 07903619342 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org