Saturday, 10 December 2011

Carlile Report summary

So, now we have been in detail over the Carlile report, it is worth taking a further look at it in the round.

Paragraphs 1 to 8 are background information concerning the school and the circumstances in which the inquiry was commissioned and its report was delayed. Almost all of this information was already in the public domain.

Paragraphs 9 to 14 describe in general terms who he has spoken to, the abuses that have been committed and where the blame for them lies. There general details of the range and extent of abuses at the school is already in the public domain, though many of the individual instances which were disclosed to Carlile no doubt had not been publicly disclosed and Carlile is (quite properly) not disclosing them now. The rather simplistic allocation of blame is obvious, but gives no guidance as to how such abuses can be avoided in future.

Paragraphs 15 to 32 mostly provide information concerning the governance structure of St Benedict's, and for comparison the structures of some other Benedictine schools. The information concerning current structures of governance is already in the public domain, some of it on the school website, some of it in the trust documents and Charity Commission reports. The only significantly new item in this section is Carlile's recommendation in paragraphs 30 and 31 concerning a new structure of governance for the school.

Paragraphs 33 and 34 provide some details concerning who has been convicted of or alleged to have committed abuses. The list is incomplete, Carlile certainly received allegations concerning Father Kevin Horsey in addition to those which he has listed.

Paragraphs 35 and 36 describe a range of failings alleged by the solicitors for a victim, and he says that these would not have occurred under a more modern form of governance. but he isn't specific about how a more modern form of governance would have prevented them.

Paragraphs 37 to 43 largely provide public-domain information concerning the Nolan and Cumberlege reports, and mentions with regret that no governance review of the school was carried out post-Cumberlege.

Paragraphs 44 to 46 talk about reporting arrangements within the school concerning allegations of abuse, but no specific and formal recommendations are made. More importantly, no recommendations are made concerning external reporting of allegations to the statutory authorities.

Paragraphs 47 to 56 describe the recent history of the school in terms of inspections by the ISI, and subsequent correspondence with the DfE and the ISI. In the course of it, Carlile quotes various recommendations made by the ISI (which are already in the public domain in its own reports), but he makes no new recommendations of his own.

Paragraphs 57 to 65 continue to provide details of recommendations from ISI and DfE, particularly concerning the need for monks who have allegedly abused not to remain at the monastery. Carlile endorses the ISI recommendation in this respect but makes no further recommendation.

Paragraphs 66 to 68 summarise briefly diocesan safeguarding arrangements. Carlile approved of the extra layer of protection but considers it to be a desirable addition rather than a replacement for scrutiny by statutory authorities. A mention is also briefly made of the concerns expressed by the Schools Minister concerning the practice of keeping monks under restriction at the monastery.

Paragraphs 69 to 74 summarise the inquiries by the Charity Commission. The report of the two statutory inquiries is already in the public domain, but Carlile does disclose that there was a further compliance review following the allegations against Mr Y.

Paragraphs 75 to 80 again summarise who has been talking to Carlile.and what evidence he has been taking.

Paragraphs 81 to 82 mention a document audit that has been conducted separately to his inquiry, and Carlile endorses the recommendations of the auditor, the ISI et al concerning the importance of proper record keeping.

And paragraphs 83 to 85 are his conclusions, which is basically that all is now well, the school is a wonderful place, safeguarding there is as good as anywhere in the country and that all his recommendations can be implemented by 1st September 2012.

What recommendations? He hasn't made recommendations in the plural, he has made just one recommendation, for a change in the governance structure, and that for reasons I have already described is unlikely by itself to greatly improve safeguarding.

In all the 37 pages and 85 numbered paragraphs of his report (not including the appendices), he has made no other recommendations at all. Most specifically, he has made no recommendations concerning improvements in safeguarding policies and practice. He has made no suggestions for improvements whose purpose is (as he described in the report) "to use the lessons and failures of the past to ensure that such problems are avoided in the future". The vast majority of the report is merely a rehashing of information, including other people's recommendations, which was already in the public domain when he started his work.

Carlile has introduced no new insight which wasn't already known a year ago. If you don't believe me, read the report again carefully for yourself.

The mountain hath groaned and given forth a mouse.


  1. I communicated with Carlile, detailing my experiences at St Benedict's, including abuse by Pearce.

    I know that my communication reached him.

    Yet, despite having my contact details, my painfully constructed communicated merited no "Thank you", nor even a simple acknowledgement of receipt.

    I profoundly wish that I had not written to him. Contributions from victims like me (and there are many hundreds, make no mistake) seem to be treated with total and utter disregard.

    I think the report and how he has treated contributors with such total contempt speak volumes.

    Carlile should be ashamed of trousering a single penny for this feeble report, having openly and demonstrably taken no note of the input that was, despite his efforts at non-solicitation, given to him.

    Carlile, you had a chance to shine a light on a period that caused untold pain to huge numbers of innocent children. You failed us.

    Enjoy your large fee.

  2. The lack of new content in this Carlile report, coupled with the source of its commissioning, and the great fanfare with which it was delivered, suggest that the whole initiative was largely a PR exercise, and this was sadly predictable.

    When an institution, such as St B's places image above integrity for a number of years, this can be the appalling result. From the current headmaster's attitude, there is every indication that this priority remains unchanged.

    Although the crimes, as the most recent case has shown, are not confined to the Benedictines, the Abbey has played a massive share in promoting the "image" behind which lay teachers as well as monks have been able to carry on their criminal abuse with impunity. Sadly, the apparatus is still in place to enable them to do so, given appropriate protection measures are not in place.

    Abusers know that St B's is an abuser-friendly institution, and, although they may lie low for a year or two, it very likely won't be for ever. The Carlile report is a masterly PR stroke that is so far a victory for Ealing Abbey, St Benedict's, and those involved in running the institutions. Congratulations all of you for extending the cover-up so cleverly by hoisting in a well known name to author a near-useless report, and so providing an excuse to cut off the past without taking appropriate child protection measures.

    Cleough - I'm sure you'll last another four or five years with the same attitude and then can retire, saying it's no longer your problem. Shipperlee, I expect you will get away with your implausible public apologies, and Father GC, I expect you have a better than even chance of spending the rest of your retirement in the comfort of Ealing Abbey, which will not be closed down, no doubt having a drink with sympathetic parishioners and complaining, as others have already, about the "witch hunt." Congratulations to another on skipping bail - it wasn't very difficult, was it? It's not very difficult to lose yourself in the world, is it?

    All of you know, don't you, that time heals all. Even Pearce will be out of jail in a few years. It's in the past, isn't it? It can be forgotten, can't it? It's all about how much you pay the right people to produce the right comforting statements and reports? And the Vatican inquiry will help, won't it. You've nearly got away with it, haven't you? Just tread carefully for another year or two, dismiss this blog as scurrilous, focus on telling people what they want to hear, and telling those who paid school fees that they made the right investment - and you're home and dry, as is the lesson of almost every fraud throughout history.

    Aren't you all clever, St B's and the monks? The saddest thing about your double standards is that the education you were selling was in many ways first rate, that the school had a lot of good, and that not all the teachers were bad.

    Why not follow your own doctrines, you pious monks, and give yourselves up, admit your failings, confess, sacrifice yourself, and then the school, fundamentally good, can be allowed to go on? But no - this is the stuff for your sermons, not for reality.

  3. As a parent of a pupil in st.bens I feel utterly let down by the arrogance of the head teacher and in fact feel very disillusioned by the hypocrisy which will ultimately taint the spiritual learning of my son. I feel really sad that wherever he goes later in life and talks about where he went to school, people will say "oh yes, st.benedicts - the pervy priest school, the paedophile school" etc
    I would take my son out at the drop of a hat if I could. Sadly, there is nowhere to go and the school knows it. They have no incentive to get rid of cleugh or the abbot. Cleugh won't resign because he is due to retire, and shiperlee won't resign because he is an arrogant twit who thinks he is needed to put in place the new safeguarding requirements of the carlyle report. No, he is not needed. He is not needed by the school or the abbey. He should go quietly and let the school get on.

  4. Take you son out then and stop grandstanding on this platform you ignorant person. Why is it necessary to waste your time on a blog when you obviously care about your childs welfare?

  5. Well that's just it - we are all wasting our time on the blog, you included 19:23.
    Wasting our time because it will make no difference to anything or anyone......

  6. 23:17
    Oh, I think I'm not wasting my time. Without my blog, the school's child protection procedure would still have been in the state they were in September 2009 when it was one long excuse for never reporting anything to the authorities.

    Without the blog, the DfE would never have taken an interest, and the ISI would never have carried out its second inspection.

    Without the blog, the Times would never have come across the story and splashed it, and without publicity in the Times, Skelton's victim might not have come forward and so Skelton would not have been convicted.

    Without the blog, the school wouldn't have felt under such pressure following the ISI's second visit that they commissioned Lord Carlile.

    Without the blog, there would have been no Apostolic Visitation.

    I could wish progress had been faster, but progress is being made, and I intend carrying on until the school has implemented a safeguarding policy that is a model of excellence. We're still a good long way from that yet, but closer than we were when I first took an interest.

  7. The reason Carlile concludes that all is well might just be because it is. Thought about that Mr West? And before you reply with yet another diatribe of failures at the school just think about any actual proof you have seen of abuse at the moment. Might I suggest this totals ... NONE.

  8. 15:25
    I don't doubt that if there is anybody still at the school who is minded to sexually abuse children, that they are keeping their noses extremely clean at the moment.

    But the school's policy still has to be able to cope when all the journalists have lost interest and the TV cameras are no longer present. And that requires a clear and unambiguous policy of automatically reporting all abuse incidents and allegations.

    Unfortunately, we still don't have that.

  9. Mr West, don't bother 15.25 with detail as any defence of the current policy would be beyond his or anyone's abilities.

    As abuse at the school was successfully concealed for decades, why does this poster believe referrals will now 'all of a sudden' be made especially when the current safeguarding policy fails to commit to referring allegations to the LADO. I am at a loss to understand the point the poster is making.

    Even if a referral is made in response to a safeguarding incident, the matter remains confidential and therefore invisible.

    15.25 is the usual 'at any cost' defence of an amoral institution by the lemming element that exists in every parish.

  10. Ok then 9:12,how about this:
    According to the teaching of St Benedict and his rule, which the school and monastery live by, if someone has wronged, they are to be given a second chance. Therefore you cannot call for the resignation of the Abbott because as the head of a Benedictine institute he had no choice but to give Soper another chance. It was not a decision he could make. Therefore, if you wish for a resignation I suggest you resign from your attempt to destroy this institute because should you really have it's best interests at heart, you would understand this and support the Abbott. Seeing as you obviously do not support the Abbott and his actions (not decision) you obviously do not understand the Benedictine way of life.

    Moreover, we can now discard the case of Soper (for the above reasons) and I now ask you for evidence of abuse that is both unreported and recent at the school. I'll wait for your reply, but I'm guessing it might take a while...

  11. 22:10
    I think most parents would say that if somebody has abused a child, by all means give them a second chance, but not in the school where my children are being taught.

    The fact is that if the Rule of St Benedict requires that you give a child abuser a second chance to abuse children, then Benedictine monasteries are in no way fit to run schools.

    As for your repeated demand for evidence of abuse that is both unreported and recent, you know perfectly well that it is unreasonable.

    First, if it's unreported, I probably wouldn't know about it.

    Second, if I did know about an incident of recent abuse at the school, I wouldn't be blogging about it, I would be speaking to the police, who would almost certainly ask me not to write about it while they investigate.

  12. 'I think most parents would say that if somebody has abused a child, by all means give them a second chance' clearly don't have kids...they don't deserve a second chance and belong in prison where they are going! Period!

    Stop bringing up the past of 30 years ago, and ruining the reputation of current pupils studying at a good school...its cowardly to call for resignations to people who were not around 30 years ago...its a petty vendetta against the school and/or the head...

    The church owns the school. They have had total control since its foundation. It's not the first time the church has kept a secret to protect their faith or their own...hell while your at it look at every school in the country, i guarantee theres an abuse scandal in every one and it is a tragedy, but we live in a cruel and synical world thanks to your generation...

    At least the new governance structure set out by Lord Carlile in his report will remove their power and reinforce the good work done by the school and the head in recent years so that a child never goes through this again...which by previous messages from yourself and another...its working. End of Lord West!

    Children these days arent as futile as you are, they have the will to act, and will make sure their actions speak louder than words!!

  13. 10:34

    But the abuse wasn't all 30 years ago. Father David Pearce was abusing until 2007. The school's child protection policy was found not to meet statutory requirements in 2010.

    Abbot Martin Shipperlee was responsible for the decision to allow Father David Pearce to remain at the abbey under restriction.

    It is clear that the current abbot and the current headmaster failed to notify the authorities of incidents where they had a statutory duty to do so. I think it is entirely reasonable to call for their resignations, not for things that happened 30 years ago, but for things which happened during their time in office.