Soul Survivor Watford's independent review into safeguarding failures concerning its founder Mike Pilavachi, is set to be released in spring 2024, as announced by the church's trustees.
Providing an update on the church's website, they shared the Terms of Reference for the review, aiming to ascertain information about allegations against Pilavachi from 1993 to the present.
An independent review, to be led by top UK barrister Fiona Scolding KC, was announced earlier this year after the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team established Soul Survivor founder Mike Pilavachi used his spiritual authority to "control people", leading to "inappropriate relationships, the physical wrestling of youths, and massaging of young male interns".
The trustees have committed to transparency, pledging to "publish the report in full and implement the recommendations".
As outlined in the Terms of Reference, Scolding will evaluate the conduct specified in the allegations against Pilavachi, considering how his actions may have been enabled, condoned, or exacerbated by the past and present culture and practices of Soul Survivor. The review will also scrutinise deficiencies in governance, policies, practices, and oversight by the trustees and other leadership positions within Soul Survivor, as well as external bodies like the Diocese.
The Terms also say the review will give an opportunity to Pilavachi to “have a full and informed opportunity to respond to the allegations” and will seek to “identify learning from the past to shape future development of safeguarding practice”.
Some survivors criticised the decision to allow the CofE's own National Safeguarding Team to handle the initial investigation, saying they didn't trust the church to "mark its own homework". In a video statement, Scolding emphasised her independence from the Church of England, Soul Survivor, and Soul 61 and gave assurances material would not be shared with the trustees without consent.
In a statement, the trustees said: “We are keen that Fiona is given the time and information to conduct a thorough and meaningful review. We are committed to publishing the report in full and implementing the recommendations. We anticipate the report will be published in the spring of 2024.
“We recognise that this continues to be an extremely painful process, particularly for those who were subject to Mike’s abuse. Our hope is that this review demonstrates our unwavering commitment to learning from the mistakes of the past and can go some way to ensuring those experiences are not repeated.”