On 28 April 2020, the Church of England issued the Press Release John Smyth review – timing of publication, to which the short answer is “completion is now expected into 2021”. The full Press Release is reproduced below. For completeness, this post also includes links to from the page on Reviews and reports, including: Current reviews; Reports; Case reviews; and Key reports.
The Learning Lessons Review, commissioned by the Church of England, into its handling of the allegations of abuse committed by the late John Smyth continues to be delivered according to the terms of reference. To ensure the review is as comprehensive as possible and that the large volume of information submitted can be fully studied, completion is now expected into 2021. This timeframe will also allow for any impact the COVID-19 restrictions may have on the review’s day to day workings.
The review, led by Keith Makin and supported by Sarah Lawrence, has to date focussed on engagement with victims and survivors who have bravely provided invaluable and full accounts of the abuse. In addition, the reviewers have continued to receive contact from individuals and organisations wishing to submit accounts and written materials of vital interest. This has been wider than could have been anticipated when the review began.
It should be noted that the reviewers continue to welcome any further submissions from victims and survivors who have yet to come forward along with other individuals or organisations that wish to participate. Contact details below.
The terms of reference suggested a timeline for completion of the review within nine months from commencing in October 2019 (having been announced in August). Progress updates have been held at regular intervals since then between the National Director of Safeguarding and the reviewers.
Work has been taking place to ensure cooperation between parallel reviews being delivered by organisations listed in the terms of reference. This is to ensure appropriate, safe and legal information sharing takes place to protect confidentiality of victims while at the same time ensuring minimal impact on individuals in terms of repeating their traumatic and damaging experiences of abuse.
The Covid-19 crisis will undoubtedly have some impact on the review process and timeline although virtual meetings are being used where possible.
Keith Makin, Independent Lead Reviewer said: “Sarah and I have been privileged to speak to many brave victims and survivors as part of this review process so far and would like to thank those people for their most valuable accounts of the terrible psychological and physical abuse experienced at the hands of John Smyth.
We know the delay in completion will be a great frustration for all those involved but we are absolutely committed to making this review as comprehensive and thorough as possible to ensure lessons are learnt.
To do this properly, I have asked for more time to allow Sarah and I to continue to meet with individuals and analyse the evidence submitted. The Church has agreed that this additional time will be time well spent and vital for the Church’s safeguarding learning.”
Note: The Revd Simon Austen, Rector of St Leonard’s, Exeter, has resigned as Chairman of the Titus Trust, whose forerunner body ran the Iwerne Christian holiday camps in the 1970s and early 1980s. The Trust’s entry at Companies House reveals that he resigned as a director on 9 April 9 2020.
- NSSG Response to IICSA Report
- Safeguarding Data Report 2015 – 2017
- SCIE Final overview report of the independent diocesan safeguarding audits and additional work on improving responses to survivors of abuse
- NSSG Response to SCIE Overview Report
- A review of the implementation of the the Church of England safeguarding training and development framework
- NST Response to the Review of the Implementation of the Church of England Safeguarding Training and Development Framework Report
- Independent Review into Church’s handling of Bishop George Bell case (2017) and annexes to the review
- NSSG response to Carlile Review recommendations
- An Abuse of Faith (2017) – independent review by Dame Moira Gibb into the Church’s handling of the Peter Ball case
- NSSG response to Gibb Review recommendations
- Kendall House review (July 2016) and Kendall House Review update
- Elliott Review findings and response from Bishop Sarah Mullally (2016)
- 2018 Independent Scrutiny Report on the CofE’s Original PCR
- National Safeguarding Summit 2017 Report
- Second overview report on independent audits and National Safeguarding Team response and action plan (2017)
- Report from the National Safeguarding Panel (2016)
- Overview report on four independent pilot audits (2016)