Two members of the now disbanded Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) say they will not engage with the independent review into the circumstances which led to its closure.
As the ISB’s only two board members, Jas Sanghera and Steve Reeves had been tasked with scrutinising the work of the Church’s National Safeguarding Team (NST), as well as holding the Church to account regarding its safeguarding duties.
However, they claimed their work was hampered by interference from church officials and a lack of transparency. They also criticised a lack of consultation over the decision to appoint Meg Munn, a former chair of the National Safeguarding Panel as the ISB’s new Chair. Ms Munn subsequently resigned.
Ms Sanghera and Mr Reeves were sacked by the Archbishops’ Council in June and an independent inquiry into the Church’s engagement with and approach to the Independent Safeguarding Board was announced.
However in a post yesterday, Friday, on social media site X, Ms Sanghera said: “At no point have @churchofengland engaged with us on terms of reference for this review, despite our numerous request. This is in effect CofE marking its own homework and not consulting with the very people it concerns. Shocking.”
The results of the review are expected to be published by the end of November.
Alongside this, it was announced in July that the former Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, Professor Alexis Jay had been appointed to develop proposals for a “fully independent structure to provide scrutiny of safeguarding” in the Church of England. Her Future Safeguarding Programme (FSP) is due to be published by the end of the year.
Sanghera and Reeves say that despite not engaging with the independent review, they are confident that the FSP will “provide valuable direction particularly to children and adults at risk, and survivors of abuse, can have confidence in the measures implemented to safeguard them.”