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.