In essence, it seems to me that you are saying that the only safeguarding improvements that you would expect to see made are those insisted on by the statutory authorities to bring to school to the minimum standards of regulation. Note that in practice, what you are suggesting might not actually meet the minimum statutory requirements, if it turns out that that the statutory authorities do not notice some noncompliance for some time.
In the circumstances, don't you regard this is being rather a weak approach? Would it not be better to make safeguarding policy at the schools a model of best practice, exceeding the minimum requirements of legislation and providing the best possible degree of protection to the pupils of the schools? Doing so does not require the intervention of the ISI or the DfE, and I understood that this was one of the stated objectives of the Cumberlege Commission, which both you and Abbot Richard participated in.
Doing this would not in the least bit interfere with the powers of the statutory authorities, and would in fact enhance the co-operation with them.
As for investigating individual instances, even if you intend taking no view about individual guilt or innocence, there are two things you can still do.
1. Forward any allegations to the police or social services
2. Establish whether the incidents reveal any shortcomings in child protection policies and procedures, whether those shortcomings still exist, and what changes need to be made to remove those shortcomings.
Of the two, the second is far more important for the future safety of pupils at the schools and the parish.
From your description, it seems to me that you are not looking to investigate child protection procedures, and you are not going to look into past allegations for any reason. So it remains something of a mystery to me what (if anything) you are trying to achieve. Your report will not be disclosed to parents, public or Ealing Abbey, so there is no means by which anybody can see whether it is going to achieve anything at all. So much for the transparency you have referred to.
Also, I consider it a matter of considerable discourtesy that the Visitation was started without me being contacted ahead of time by either the Nuncio or yourselves, despite the promise on this point made to me by the Nuncio. This discourtesy has been compounded by you in as many words telling me that in your view since my son was not a victim, the matter should be none of my business.
Might I remind you of the words of Edmund Burke "For evil to flourish, all that is required is for good men to do nothing."
Could you at the very least let me know whether the file of information I provided to the Nuncio at my meeting in July has been passed to you?
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
This is the email I sent in reply to Bishop John Arnold.