Safeguarding updates via the Anglican Communion News Service.
The Church of England has appointed its first independent Chair to its National Safeguarding Panel. Meg Munn, who has served as a social worker and a Labour MP, will take over the chair from the Rt Revd Peter Hancock, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who will continue to serve as the Church’s leading bishop in the area of safeguarding children and other vulnerable people from abuse.
The National Safeguarding Panel (NSP) was set up to provide “vital reference and scrutiny from a range of voices, including survivors, on the development of policy and guidance,” the C of E explained. Its membership is drawn from a range of backgrounds, including directors and chief executives of safeguarding charities and organisations, as well as church leaders and officers. It was set up in response to a number of cases in the Diocese of Chichester and exists to provide visible leadership and excellence, promote good safeguarding practice, and support a survivor perspective.
Munn is a qualified social worker with 20 years’ experience and led children’s social services in York before being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2001. She spent 14 years as an MP. In 2010 she established and chaired the All-Party Child Protection Parliamentary Group having previously chaired the All-Party Voice Parliamentary Group which worked for the prevention of abuse of vulnerable adults.
“I am delighted to be the first Independent Chair of the Church of England National Safeguarding Panel,” Munn said. “The Church has recognised that it needs to radically improve its safeguarding of children and vulnerable people, and I will ensure that the panel holds it to account.”
Read more about Munn’s appointment at ACNS.
Last week, the Anglican Consultative Council received updates on plans for a global initiative to provide safeguarding guidelines across the Communion. Admitting that this will be complicated by differences across churches, the ACC sees it as a priority “to enhance the safety of all persons, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults, within the Provinces of the Anglican Communion.”
From the ACNS report:
Members of the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) will discuss global safeguarding guidelines when they meet next year in Hong Kong. The guidelines are being drawn up by an international Anglican Safe Church Commission, which was established by the Council when it last met in 2016, in the Zambian capital Lusaka. The guidelines will be finalised when the Commission next meet in November and will be made available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
The Commission’s progress was reported to the Standing Committee of the ACC last week during its annual meeting in London. The guidelines will cover five areas: pastoral support, effective response, the practice of pastoral ministry, suitability for ministry, and a culture of safety.
At the first meeting of the Commission, “a number of challenges were identified, not least different understandings of terminology associated with safe church and safeguarding, and the reality that the Provinces of the Anglican Communion are at different stages of response to the need to enhance the safety of all people within Anglican churches, especially children, young people and vulnerable adults,” the Commission’s Chair, senior Australian lawyer Garth Blake, said in a written report to the Standing Committee.
The Anglican Communion is made up of 39 autonomous independent-but-interdependent national and regional Churches. The Anglican Consultative Council cannot dictate policy to the Provinces, but Standing Committee members spoke of the need to ensure “that every Province is doing everything it feasibly can in this area”.
Read more about the Anglican Safe Church Commission’s report at ACNS.