TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE INDEPENDENT SAFEGUARDING COMMISSION OF THE BRITISH PROVINCE OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS
These terms of reference apply to the Safeguarding Commission of the Jesuits in Britain.
The Provincial is responsible for the leadership and oversight of all the priests, brothers, novices, scholastics who are members of, or are assigned to, Jesuits in Britain, and for lay volunteers and employees who work alongside them in all of their works. He in turn is responsible to the Jesuit General in Rome.
In 2017 there are currently 166 members of the order living in 17 communities in the United Kingdom.
Jesuits living and working in Guyana are also under the jurisdiction of the Jesuits in Britain.
The remit of the Commission is:
- To advise the Provincial on all aspects of Jesuit life and work in the province which relate to the safeguarding of all those with whom they work, including the provision of appropriate training.
- To manage on behalf of the provincial, any cases of malpractice in these areas which may arise.
- To do whatever can be done on behalf of the provincial to help and support survivor-victims, who have been abused by anyone who is a member of, or who works in a project under the jurisdiction of the Jesuits in Britain.
- In cases which come under the jurisdiction of other safeguarding commissions or disciplinary systems to liaise closely with them and work together in securing safety for the public and help and support for victims.
The scope of these terms of Reference apply to all Jesuits living and working in the British Province and employees and volunteers working for the Society. The exact nature of the role of the Commission to each of the Jesuit works and the people involved, is the subject of a separate scoping exercise that the Commission and the Society are carrying out in 2017-18.
- Where Jesuits are assigned to a parish or other ministry under the authority of a diocesan bishop, safeguarding matters are subject to the CSAS protocol governing lines of accountability between the Jesuit commission and diocesan commissions in these ministries.
- Within the Jesuits in Britain, there are eleven Jesuit schools. Each school has its own governance structure. The governors of each school are responsible for each school’s own safeguarding policy and procedures. The governing bodies are obliged to follow the statutory codes of practice laid down by Parliament (KCSIE in England and GIRFEC in Scotland). The province has no role in safeguarding as this is the responsibility of each school guided by the LADO. (If there is an historical case of abuse, then the province might be involved if it was a member of the Society). The schools are inspected with regard to safeguarding by OFSTED (for the three voluntary aided schools), or by ISI (for the six independent schools in England), or by Education Scotland (for the two independent schools in Scotland).
The Church in England and Wales and the Church in Scotland have safeguarding structures which come under the auspices of each of the national bishops’ conferences and each has a safeguarding advisory service which is responsible for oversight of standards of individual commissions, and the provision of training and support.
Each stand-alone diocesan and religious order safeguarding commission provides an annual report to the appropriate national authority or authorities and chairs of each commission are expected to attend the bi-annual chairs meeting.
Membership of the Jesuit Safeguarding Commission
The Commission will consist of the following members:
- Chair: An independent layperson with a professional qualification in social work, childcare or education.
- A police officer with experience of child protection or MAPPA work.
- A lawyer who has a practice or who has practiced or has a background in child protection and/or safeguarding.
- A social worker or health professional with qualifications and experience of dealing with adults-at-risk.
- A qualified social worker or probation officer with experience of safeguarding, preferably at senior or management level.
- At least one Jesuit appointed by the provincial. A qualification in social sciences, psychology or a related discipline would be an advantage.
- Two members whose professional backgrounds are not from child protection, justice or health, but whose skills will contribute to the effective working of the Commission.
- The Safeguarding Co-ordinator, who is an officer but not a member of the Commission. Approved by the Commission and appropriately trained for the role.
No member of the commission may be a trustee or a consultor of the provincial (that is, involved in the central governance of the Jesuits in Britain).
Each member of the commission is appointed by the Provincial, after approval by the Commission, for a period of five years (renewable if both parties and the Commission agree) after interview and three references are taken up.
The Trustees of the Jesuits in Britain are responsible for making sure that a suitable safeguarding service exists in the province and that its work is audited and reported on each year. The Safeguarding Commission is an independent body. The Safeguarding Commission is chaired by an independent lay person and the Commission is accountable to the Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, who in turn appoints members to the Commission.
The Commission has regulatory, advisory and supportive functions. It discharges these roles at a strategic level in all matters relating to safeguarding in the work of the Jesuits, including with those in formation. In some works, for example, schools and parishes, the local diocesan and education safeguarding commissions also have oversight, regulatory and training responsibilities.
The Commission discharges its responsibilities by:
a) Developing and maintaining a strategy for the promotion of good and safe care environments for children and other vulnerable people in all the apostolic works of the Jesuits having regard to national or local policies and procedures where they exist.
b) Advising the Provincial on the pastoral care of individuals, families and communities affected by abuse.
c) Ensuring that the statutory enforcement agencies are provided with the required information in a timely fashion when dealing with allegations or suspected offending involving members, employees and volunteers of the Jesuits in Britain, cooperating with any other relevant safeguarding bodies who are also involved.
d) Ensuring that the Provincial receives full information relevant to safeguarding incidents together with recommendations for action, including the management of risk and matters relating to long term arrangements for members of the Jesuits who are known abusers of children or other vulnerable people.
e) Receiving all information relating to safeguarding matters from the Jesuits.
f) Ensuring effective liaison with all relevant Statutory Agencies;
g) Development and delivery of regular training for all Jesuits, employees and others who work with the Jesuits and their ministries.
h) Contributing to the development and review of national policies, principles and practice;
i) Ensuring that all Jesuit works have effective safeguarding policies.
j) Monitoring the implementation of all safeguarding management plans.
k) Producing an annual report to the Provincial and Trustees.
l) Establishing a panel of 2 or 3 individuals to whom confidential reference may be made when there are disclosures from the Criminal Records Bureau or Disclosure Scotland which require a decision by the Counter Signatory in order that informed advice may be provided to the provincial.
m) Ensuring training & appropriate supervision for the Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
n) Assisting in the recruitment and selection of nominees for the post of Provincial Safeguarding Co-ordinator.
o) In addition the Commission may, if necessary, set up small sub groups of its members if issues of concern require further more detailed work. Other people with specialist knowledge may be co-opted to participate if necessary.