Learning Lesson Review

During 2018 past and present clergy and some longstanding members of St John’s congregation were interviewed as part of a Learning Lesson Review. This review had been commissioned by the Diocese of Birmingham Safeguarding Committee to determine what lessons could be learned about the way an allegation of sexually abusive behaviour against a former vicar of St John’s in the period 1989-1991 had been dealt with. The PCC were made aware of this complaint, made by a former employee of St John’s, in December 2015. At that time, the PCC wrote to the complainant expressing their deep regret at the pain and distress suffered as a result of this abusive behaviour 25 plus years ago and since, in the quest for healing and justice.

The Bishop of Birmingham and his advisors had dealt with the complaint and the subsequent legal action for damages. However, clergy and members of St John’s were
interviewed as part of the review to establish what was known at the time, take a view on current safeguarding policies and practice, and make recommendations about what should be improved or done differently.

We had been given to understand that the Report arising from the review was to be made public and we had made preparations for that. However, in the event, the Diocese of Birmingham Safeguarding Committee decided to publish only a redacted version of the report and to apply restrictions about what could be subsequently shared by those reading the report.

In early December 2018, the complainant was interviewed on Channel 4 News. The complainant, citing the decision to make public only a redacted summary of the report and the restrictions about what could be shared, revealed some details about the original complaint and the findings of the review. The Church of England Birmingham set out their reasons for the restrictions they had applied in a statement (click here to view this statement). Application can be made to view the redacted summary of the report through (DSA, Stephanie Haynes on StephH@cofebirmingham.com).

A special meeting of St John’s PCC was convened on 17th December 2018 to review the recommendations that had been made in respect of St John’s. The PCC Statement (click here to view this statement) gives further details of the background and sets out the recommendations and the actions taken to meet them.

Other important details that the review identifies are:
• There was no knowledge or subsequent ‘cover up’ at the time the abusive behaviour occurred.
• Current safeguarding arrangements at St John’s are secure.



8th Jan 2019 Posted in: Uncategorized by Fran Varley 0

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