‘Very encouraging’ safeguarding audit at Peterborough Cathedral

A three-day independent audit of Peterborough Cathedral’s safeguarding arrangements has been described by the Dean as “very encouraging”.

By Stephen Briggs
Monday, 7th February 2022, 4:08 pm
Peterborough Cathedral EMN-210417-172758009
Peterborough Cathedral EMN-210417-172758009

The audit was carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) last November and found safeguarding to be “well embedded in the Cathedral community” and linked with “a culture which understands its importance, and promotes safeguarding as supported by openness, caring and diversity.”

Rather than making recommendations in the report, SCIE instead make a list of ‘Questions for the Cathedral to consider’ to highlight any areas of concern. They are in the process of reviewing all 43 English cathedrals and Peterborough’s audit was the 40th one they have done. On average a cathedral will be given at least 30 questions to consider. In Peterborough’s case there were just 13 items on the list, and some of these had already been identified by the Cathedral as needing attention.

The Dean, the Very Revd Chris Dalliston, said: “We are very encouraged by the positive nature of the SCIE audit. It is a tribute to the hard work of the Safeguarding Group at the Cathedral led by Canon Sarah Brown and (since her departure) Canon Tim Alban Jones, as well as our Independent Safeguarding Officer, Tim Hitch, and Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Bev Huff.

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“Over the last four years, through training and communication, we have made it our aim to embed safeguarding into everything we do at the Cathedral.

“We are glad that this has been recognised but the effort does not stop here. Safeguarding remains a high priority and we will continue to develop our work in this area so that we can be a safe and welcoming place for everyone.”

As part of the process the SCIE auditors interviewed 13 members of staff and two volunteers. They also reviewed numerous files and documents, as well as the system for undertaking DBS checks. Comments received from the wider cathedral community via a confidential online survey were also taken into account.

The report and the action plan for addressing the questions raised, is available to read on the Cathedral website at: www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/safeguarding.aspx.

The welfare of children or of adults at risk of abuse is of paramount importance. Anyone wishing to give information or make disclosures of church-related abuse is invited to make direct contact with the Cathedral’s Safeguarding Officers, Canon Tim Alban Jones or Tim Hitch. Their contact details are here: www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/home/safeguarding.aspx#contacts. Alternatively, you can contact the Peterborough Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Bev Huff, on 01733 887040 or 887041.

It is recognised that this option may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the church. Instead, Safe Spaces is available. This is a free and independent support service providing confidential, personal and safe space for anyone who has been abused by someone in the church or as a result of their relationship with the Church of England. They can be contacted by telephone: 0300 303 1056 or via email: [email protected]