Short Minute of Meeting 7
Minutes of the last meeting
The minutes of the last meeting are on the website. David will circulate the final version of future minutes once any amendments have been made.
The National Safeguarding Co-ordinator’s Activity Report
The Commission considered Tina Campbell’s Activity Report for June. A key point arising from this is the need for the Commission to create a dialogue with the Religious Orders in Scotland
No Activity Report was available for July.
How are we doing so far?
There was consensus that we were making good progress and working well together. However, it was also pointed out that it was taking longer than expected to arrange meetings and gather evidence. It is not going to be possible to complete all of the fieldwork within the original timetable. Andrew agreed, but hoped that we would still be able to publish the report in the summer of 2015.
Donald suggested that a formal document record system should be set up. David will look at ways of doing this.
Policy, Practice and Procedures
Donald and Ranald spoke to a progress paper on the Policies, Practices and Procedures of the Safeguarding Service.
Donald was concerned that the key document ‘Awareness and Safety’ was quite inaccessible to the average reader and that we would need to be aware of any changes which were made to it during the course of our work. We understood that no major changes were being made, only grammatical amendments. However, it is important that we are clear about who instructs changes and amendments to the Safeguarding policies and procedures, and who approves these.
Donald also raised the point that although ‘Awareness and Safety’ carries the authority of the Bishops’ Conference, and collectively Bishops may agree to certain procedures, it could not be guaranteed that these would be implemented in a consistent way at local levels. This might be as a result of conflicting advice from Diocesan Advisers, or from the jurisdiction and authority that the Bishop can assert in his Diocese. The Conference takes place with the voluntary agreement of the Bishops. Bishops are not bound to implement policies and procedures, unless ‘Recognitio’ is granted by the Holy See. The whole issue of a “One Church Approach’ could be important here.
Donald also raised the issue about the accountability of the Religious Orders in Scotland, and also their compliance.
Update on Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Improvement
Nancy and Lindsay spoke to a progress paper based on a meeting with the Safeguarding Co-ordinator. This was an exploratory meeting and raised a number of areas that Nancy and Lindsay will follow up, including responsibilities, consistency, transparency, accountability and quality.
Lindsay and Nancy plan to visit two Dioceses (Glasgow and Aberdeen) and to request the full audits of these areas. As always they will focus on what is going well and what may not be going quite so well.
Nancy will continue to add to a literature review which she has been carrying out.
Update on Liaison and Communication
Sheena and Malcolm spoke to a progress paper on Liaison and Communication. We agreed a list of organisations and individuals to send a ‘questionnaire to; a list to be seen individually; and a list for a possible focus group. A list of questions was being prepared. Sheena and David will meet to finalise everything and organise the logistics.
Proposed Meetings with the Bishops and their Advisers
David has now arranged individual meetings with the Bishops (or representatives) and their Advisers. We agreed who would accompany Andrew on each occasion and David will circulate a full note of all of the arrangements.
It was agreed that these meetings are critical to the work of the Commission. Each meeting has been scheduled for an hour and Andrew wondered if this was long enough to cover all of the issues. We agreed that it was tight, but any longer might be seen as asking too much time-wise of the Bishops and Advisers. We agreed that the meetings should be as focused as possible, and of course consistent. We discussed a list of questions to help with this and David will finalise this list and circulate it. We will ask for a written response to a few key issues, to be submitted prior to the meetings.
It was agreed that a full written transcript/minute will be made of each meeting. Irene agreed to do this. The Bishops and their Advisers will be given the opportunity to comment on the factual accuracy of the transcripts before they are formally considered to be evidence.
Invitations to Attend Future Commission Meetings
Andrew would like a representative from Police Scotland; Social Work Scotland; and Scottish Churches Together Safeguarding Group to attend a forthcoming meeting. Malcolm identified a representative from Police Scotand to attend the September meeting. Ranald is in discussion with the other two organisations.
Update on Survivors’ participation in the work of the Commission
Roisin provided an update on meetings with Survivors which have taken place to date. Roisin and Andrew have either met, or have arranged to meet, with everyone who requested a meeting. A note has been taken of each meeting. Each person who related their experiences was assured that everything said was confidential. Roisin will write a summary of the meetings and table this at a future meeting. No-one will be able to be identified in the paper.
We agreed to keep the closed website open until the 30 September (extended from 15 September).
Inviting wider Participation
David will send a Pastoral letter to the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference for wide circulation within the Churches and Parishes. This might include Parish Priests including text from the letter in the Parish Newsletter.
Participation will be open until 30 September.
The next meeting will take place on 8 September. Apologies for this meeting were received in advance from Ranald and Malcolm.