Friday, 9 December 2011

Carlile Report analysis - 14

The next section is titled "Representations by individuals, and internet activity" and covers paragraphs 75-80. It briefly describes the different categories of input he received. The first was descriptions of abuse from victims, the second was representations from people supportive of the Abbey and the school. The third part of what Carlile took into account was this blog and the comments received on it.
An additional and significant part of the material I have studied has been the energetic online blog organised and studiously run by Mr Jonathan West. I met Mr West and colleagues during my Inquiry. I have not been immune from criticism in the blog. That notwithstanding, I have found its volume and content broadly helpful. A good deal of the information on it is anonymous, much is not to an evidence standard, and some of the language used fairly extravagant. Nevertheless the blog has been most helpful in directing individuals towards me, and enabling me to understand the behaviour complained of, and the cynicism and anger understandably felt by many about the events of the past.
I'm afraid the criticism has had to continue to some degree because I have found the report to be rather disappointing in the lack of any recommendations concerning safeguarding, which was supposed to be the whole point of the exercise.

The penultimate section of the report (not including the appendices) is titled "Document Keeping". In it Carlile states what ought to be obvious, that effective and secure recording of incidents and actions is vitally important. Perfectly true.

The final section of the report describes Carlile's conclusions. Worth repeating in full.
83. I am grateful for the information and co-operation I have been given for the purposes of my Inquiry. Nobody has obstructed me, and most of my interlocutors have striven to provide assistance.

84. I believe that St Benedict’s School, Ealing, is an excellent place for boys and girls to be educated in safety today and for the future. No school is perfect, and ‘never’ is a dangerous word and a hostage to fortune. However, if those responsible for the School adopt the advice offered in this Report, and advice from the agencies referred to above, I consider that St Benedict students will be as well safeguarded as anywhere else in the country, without in any way losing the Benedictine connection and ethos.

85. I believe that all recommendations in this report, especially the crucial advice about governance, can be implemented by the 1st September 2012 at the latest.
I'm not so sure about the truth of paragraph 83. Certainly I have no doubt that Carlile believes it to be true, but if stuff has been hidden from him he would not necessarily be in a position to know at the time of writing the report. I think at the very least the issue of whether Chillman is or chould be living at the Abbey is a debateable point. Given that Chillman merits two lines to himself in the table in paragraph 33, and had to resign as a trustee in 2010, if he is not to be required to live away from the Abbey I would have expected Carlile to say so and say why.

As for paragraph 84, Carlile is even less of an educationalist than he is a safeguarding expert, and he is entirely unqualified to offer such an encomium. Anyway, it is the Benedictine ethos which the ISI criticised as having taken precedence over the safety of the children, a criticism Carlile has quoted in his report.

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