Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Carlile Report analysis - 11

Finishing off the "Convicted and listed Monks " section.
63. The revised Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy determined in November 2011 is contained in Appendix 1 below. It is the result of extensive advice and consideration. It will require amendment to take into account any future changes in the governance of the school in accordance with the recommendations set out above. It should be kept continuously under review by the governing body of the school, and should be a specific agenda item, with adequate time for discussion at least annually at meetings of the governing body, and of the trustees of the Abbey. Every effort, including through external consultation, should be made to ensure that it remains an example of best practice at all times.
But Carlile hasn't in the report made any recommendations at all that would cause the policy to become an example of best practice in the first place! All he has done is quote large chunks of the ISI Supplementary Report. We know what is in the supplementary report, we've known for nearly a year and a half, and we've known since considerably before Carlile took up his commission. The ISI has no authority to insist on anything more than statutory minimums of safeguarding arrangements. If this report was going to achieve what any reasonable person would have expected of it, there would have been specific recommendations for changes in the wording. There would have been reference to models of good practice at other schools, and if appropriate the wholesale importation of the policies of other schools which do form a model of excellence.

And if Carlile felt that he didn't have the knowledge end expertise to make such recommendations on the basis of his own knowledge, then he could and should have consulted with expert organisations such as the NSPCC or the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, or even with expert individuals such as Dr Kevin McCoy, who was offered to him.
64. It will be noted that the headline items in the new Safeguarding Policy are:
1) Commitment to an up to date and effective policy.
2) Ensuring that only appropriate and checked individuals work in the school.
3) A proper referral arrangement with the Independent Safeguarding Authority [ISA].
4) Effective inter-agency procedures under the Ealing Safeguarding Children's Board processes.
5) Understanding the indicators of abuse
6) Acting effectively upon suspicion of abuse.
7) Following relevant guidelines and policies whether statutory or apparent best practice.
8) Dealing correctly with complaints.
9) Training at all levels including governance.
10) Designation of staff in the school to deal with abuse issues.
11) Procedures for the obtaining, retention and use of evidence.
12) Monitoring.
13) Adherence to the matter described in paragraph 59 above.
Where has this list come from? Item 1 is a motherhood and apple pie statement, it tells us nothing about what actually needs to go into the policy.. Item 2 is a statutory requirement anyway. Item 3 is a statutory requirement. But it is noticeable that he only is talking about statutory referrals to the ISI - which is a process which only kicks in when a member of staff or governor leaves or resigns. The far more important issue of referring all allegations immediately to the LADO is not stated!

Item 4 is not within the school's power to ensure. Item 5 is fine, but item 6 is really disappointing. "Acting effectively upon suspicion of abuse" again tells us nothing about what action this should consist of. Item 7 is woolly - which guidelines? Who decides whether they are relevant?

Item 8 - who is to decide the "correct" way of dealing with complaints? What are the criteria for correctness? Item 9 is fine, but doesn't describe what sorts of training is appropriate, to what level of detail. It is obvious that different roles within the school require different levels of training - obviously the designated teacher requires more training than other staff. But we have nothing about this.

Item 10 is fine, though not directly related to safeguarding, item 11 is ok, item 12 is woolly - monitoring of what by whom? And finally item 13 is merely a reference back to the requirements mentioned by the ISI a year and a half ago.

Carlile has talked of these being "headline items". This isn't quite the same as him saying that he has ensured that the necessary changes have been made to implement a policy that is a model of excellence, or even that he has ensured that these items are effectively implemented within the policy itself.
65. The new Safeguarding Policy of course is that of the school, not of the Abbey. The governors of the school will have to exercise the Policy as much in relation to any input to the school from the Abbey as with any external body. In other words, for safeguarding purposes the Abbey community will have no special status. Certainly this can be seen as further evidence of a distinct change of relationship between School and Abbey. This is an inevitable consequence of the wrongs of the past, and of procedures that were less than effective. The three separate bodies the School, the Parish and the monastic community should all have safeguarding policies and procedures that are fit for purpose. This would ensure that any child, not necessary students or parishioners, would be protected if they engaged in any way with those three bodies.
The idea that in safeguarding terms the monks should have no special status is something which should have been obvious all along. The key point about safeguarding is that nobody should be considered to be in a position where they are above suspicion. Whoever are the governors, they have to be regarded as not being above suspicion. Just changing who is in charge doesn't affect that fact that they might just possibly have got themselves into a position of trust so that they can abuse unhindered. It is not just monks who have done that.

As for the idea that the School, the Parish and the monastic community should all have their own safeguarding policies, that was a recommendation of the diocesan safeguarding officer for the diocese of Arundel and Brighton, who carried out another "independent inquiry" the better part of two years ago.

We do seem to be awfully short of specific recommendations from Carlile in terms of the school's safeguarding policy.


  1. "We do seem to be awfully short of specific recommendations from Carlile in terms of the school's safeguarding policy."

    Just what the Muppets at this setting want. Nothing that anyone's hat can be hung upon.

    Carlile's report is a sack of sugar!

    Produced by a member of the burgeoning safeguarding illiterati who get paid to produce sugar!

    Downside, Ampleforth, Wellington, (yes - it's not just catholic schools) Caldicott, Eton, St Paul's Cathedral Choir School, King's College School Cambridge to name just a few which have all experienced safeguarding issues of some form or another in the last few years. I could name many more.

    Is anyone starting to appreciate that people with an unhealthy interest in the young are naturally attracted to childrens’ settings, particularly in the independent sector. To protect children at these settings takes commitment, and and adherence to a safeguarding policy that pulls no punches.

    Would I put one of mine in St Benedict's or for that matter St Augustine's with their present offerings?

    Don’t be daft.

  2. the first time i heard of PIE was at st benedicts. i have not heard of it since. master of the floppy disc, mr m very clever hombre. I remember those funny little envelopes with the 'bendy' record 'inside' you gave me one or two to give to soper. his reaction on me handing them to him was rather extra ordinary. the shape.