Wednesday, 3 April 2013
The Dean---- And a Voice in the Wilderness
The Terms of Reference have been published.
Senator Bailhache has written an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his ‘deep dismay’ over the suspension of the Dean saying the Bishop made a ‘mistake.’ The Letter can be accessed here
It is also alleged that Senator Bailhache was a little careless with his documents on a recent flight.
I have again written to the Chief Minister asking that he instigate an investigation into the circumstances leading to HG’s arrest and court appearances.
The Terms of Reference (TOR)
The Bishop of Winchester has published the Terms of Reference for an independently led inquiry - ‘Visitation’ - into safeguarding procedures in the Deanery of Jersey. The Visitation will commence with immediate effect and will consider the implementation of safeguarding in Jersey and across the Diocese, providing recommendations for enhancing policies and procedures.
The Visitation is being led by the former Bishop of Chelmsford the Right Reverend John Gladwin who led a recent Visitation to Chichester. He will be joined on the panel by the Venerable Norman Russell, Archdeacon of Berkshire and an independent senior lawyer.
It should be noted that the Visitation to Chichester was the first such appointment of Commissaries for over 100 years and was evidence of the deep concern held in the Church of England for the diocese and its failure properly to protect children in its care. Thus it is apparent that the same concerns are felt about the circumstances surrounding HG’s complaint in 2008.
The Chichester Visitation began on 21st December 2011, an Interim Report was published on 30th August 2012 but I am not aware of the existence of a Final Report so presumably the investigation which began 15 months ago is not concluded. It should be noted that John Gladwin has now begun his Jersey investigation which is intended to be fair and independent, but no target is set for its completion. Given the time taken with the Chichester Visitation, Jersey’s could take as long which is not good news for Dean Bob Key or his wife.
I shall be forwarding this Blog to Winchester and Canterbury with a request that the Dean and indeed the Island is given some indication of the time the investigation is intended to take. I have assisted a number of suspended people and am well aware of the stress and trauma they and their families suffered. As we know in Jersey, some lengthy suspensions have been used as device to dismiss by stealth or de-skill employees whereby they are unfit to return to work. I would not wish for the Dean or anyone else to suffer the same experience.
I shall also be asking for an update on HG’s health and assurance that she is being cared for. I believe the Church of England has a duty to safeguard her health and well being until she is able to stand on her own two feet.
The Visitation will also include an investigation into the findings of the recently published Independent Korris Review which raised concerns about how a safeguarding complaint in 2008 was handled. Given the allegations contained in the Review/Report one wonders when the Dean and the Vicar will be able to defend the allegations.
Full Terms of Reference are below and my comments are in red
In order to secure the good order of the Church for the mission of God in promoting the common good, And given the importance of safeguarding as an expression of the Gospel priority to care for the vulnerable, And with reference to the Korris Review,
The Bishop of Winchester hereby:
1. Appoints as his Commissary for Visitation of the Parishes of the Deanery of Jersey the Right Reverend John Gladwin.
From research via Yahoo it apparent that John Gladwin is a modern thinking and opened minded individual. His Interim Report into the Chichester Visitation can be accessed here.
2. Directs that during the period of the Visitation, all issues relating to or affecting Safeguarding within the Parishes of the Deanery of Jersey shall be dealt with solely as directed by the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and the Diocesan Safeguarding Panel, and by no other.
The Church of England of England is clearly reminding Jersey clergy that all safeguarding matters are solely within its remit and not as envisaged by the Dean.
3. Mandates that the Visitation shall be limited in its scope to:
a. clarifying and describing the legal, ecclesiastical and practical nature of the relationship between the Deanery of Jersey, the Diocese of Winchester and the wider Church of England, including the roles of the Bishop of Winchester, the Suffragan Bishops, the Archdeacons, Diocesan staff, the Dean and Vice-Deans of Jersey and the ecclesiastical courts of Jersey in relation to the appointments process, the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people, disciplinary provisions and the general oversight of the Deanery of Jersey.
I trust that the position of the Letters Patent is clarified so they are understood by everyone. I also hope that the matter of the Dean remaining an unelected Member of the States will be addressed. It seems anomalous that an employee can be suspended from one area of work but not from another.
b. examining progress made in implementation of and actions taken in accordance with the Diocesan Safeguarding provisions (Winchester Diocese Child Safeguarding Manual, 2003), the current House of Bishops’ Guidelines (Promoting a Safe Church, 2006, Protecting All God’s Children, 2010 and Responding Well, 2011) and the recommendations made by Jan Korris in her report dated March 2013;
It is apparent from the Korris Report that Jersey’s Safeguarding procedures leaves a lot be desired and there must be uniformity across the Island. That said it is evident via the Chichester Interim Report that there are similar shortcomings in the UK.
c. considering the results of the investigation set up in response to the Korris Review and making recommendations for the Deanery, Diocese and the wider Church of England in response to it;
As with TOR 3(a) I would welcome clarity as to what this term means. Are the Korris findings/recommendations being taken as read or will the allegations be re-visited? It should be recalled that some of the leading players, including HG and EY were not interviewed by Jan Korris.
d. making such further recommendations as may appear necessary and expedient.
This is often found in TOR.
4 Directs that the Visitation shall commence with immediate effect.
I hope the Visitation is conducted in a timely manner.
Senator Bailhache’s letter.
Senator Bailhache is a former Solicitor General, Attorney General, Deputy Bailiff, Bailiff, President of the States Assembly and Judge. He raised some interesting points and I believe he was right to question whether the investigation purports to be a disciplinary inquiry because the matter is unclear.
His concerns are two fold, first he believes that the withdrawal of the Bishop’s Commission seems to be disproportionate to the alleged failings of the Dean in that, in his opinion the alleged failings relate to procedural omissions and not misconduct.
The second is that the Senator is unclear whether the Bishop intends to respect the special historical relationship. I will deal with this matter first. I am sure that Winchester and Canterbury will have taken advice on the matter, are acting on that advice and John Gladwin will respect what ever protocols are in place.
Senator Bailhache is of the view that alleged failings of the Dean, in his opinion relate to procedural omissions and not misconduct.
On page 47/48 of the Korris Review/Report she states
“A number of potentially very serious matters came to light during the course of the Review that to have investigated further would have been beyond the original terms of reference. The matters listed below must be investigated as soon as possible in order to establish whether there has been inappropriate or unbecoming conduct on the part of those identified below, which may lead to the need for a disciplinary process to be conducted.”
1) Allowing a church warden to operate in contravention of the Safeguarding procedures and the training he had undertaken.
2) Failure to notify the Safeguarding Advisor on receipt of the complaint.
3) Failure to implement and act in accordance with Diocesan Safeguarding Procedure in the handling of the initial complaint interview.
4) Failure to record and make all documentation available for a review of a Safeguarding matter as required by the Safeguarding procedures.
5) Despite the request of the Bishop of Winchester, unwillingness to permit review of safeguarding practice and also discouraging others from participating.
There will also need to be an investigation into the deportation of H.G. on 11th October 2010 and why there is a complete lack of recording of this matter by Dean R.K. from the date of her arrest.
Senator Bailhache believes the matters above are merely procedural omissions and not misconduct, but clearly that view is not shared by the Bishop and Archbishop who have apologised to HG and I doubt whether they will be sidetracked from the Visitation by Senator Bailhache or anyone else.
Senator Bailhache has stated that it is pity that the Bishop made a mistake by not speaking to the Dean before removing his Commission. I don't know how the Dean learnt of his suspension/withdrawal of Commission but I hope it was not via the postman because the Senator may well have a point. I am unsure as to whether the Dean is subject to the States Employees' Suspension Policy which is now in place following States approval of my 2010 proposition. This now requires for would be suspended employees being informed in person along with written details of the reasons for suspension.
However it is for the Employer to decide whether to suspend an employee and given that Jan Korris acting on behalf of the CoE attempted to establish the circumstances behind the HG’s complaint but was apparently thwarted by the Dean it is not surprising that Bishop Dakin decided to withdraw the Dean's Commission. On page 37 of her report Jan Korris states “I believe R.K. (the Dean) has done himself a disservice, and his desire to prevent transparency and co-operation has not been of benefit to the clergy or to the relationship between Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester. They deserved better.”
Senator Bailhache has cited two examples of errors in the Reviewer’s report, one is about the email to the Dean being sent on his private rather than his Government address. I do not share the Senator’s view if one has more than one email address surely one has a duty to regularly check them all. Regarding the other alleged error about HG’s “deportation” from Jersey. Like Senator Bailhache I too have read the transcript and it has reinforced my belief that the issue must be the subject of an independent review. As one can see above that is also the view of the Reviewer, Jan Korris.
In my previous Blog I raised the Deportation issue because HG was bound over to leave Jersey, however having now read the Court Transcript I can understand why Jan Korris formed the view that HG was deported.
I have concerns about how Harassment Order was issued and implemented because the Transcript records that on 9th August HG received a police warning about her future actions but she denies knowing of its existence or receiving the warning. I was not privy to the police report or charge sheet but it is evident that HG was arrested sometime prior to the church service that was being conducted by the Dean and the former Bishop on Sunday 26th September 2010. HG was charged and detained overnight in a police cell. It is not known whether she received any legal aid but she was seen by a police medical officer and deemed fit to be questioned and charged. However she was not bailed, why?
HG appeared at the Magistrates Court the following morning and was seen by a Duty Advocate who presumably also had other clients to see. The Transcript shows that the Magistrate commenced the Hearing at 1210pm. He is on record as saying to the Duty Advocate “This is not a run of the mill situation, is it? “ To which he received a reply “No Sir.”
I ask what made the case “not a run of the mill situation” because the Transcript does not record the names of the people allegedly to be harassed. HG reserved her plea and was willing to comply with bail conditions, however as a result of police checks at her home address she was refused bail and remanded in custody at La Moye prison for 2 weeks. Why was she not bailed, she was of previous good behaviour and the Magistrate was aware of her medical condition. Remanding an innocent and vulnerable person for two weeks in prison was not conducive to her health and was certainly heavy handed.
HG appeared again at the Magistrates Court on Monday 11th October where concerns were raised about her fitness to plead however she was assisted by a delegated Advocate and a person with a mental health background. What is evident is that there must have been some behind the scene activity because the 2 original charges were dropped and replaced by a similar harassment charge to which HG pleaded “guilty” and agreed to leave the Island and be bound over not to return for 3 years.
Nowhere in the Transcript are the names of the alleged victims mentioned nor was any mitigation offered. In his letter Senator Bailhache says that HG admitted a course of harassment over 18 months which involved aggressive, obscene and abusive emails and telephone calls to the Dean and his wife. I do not know where he received that information because it does not appear in the Transcript.
Senator Bailhache states that both the Dean and his wife have been treated unfairly and great distress has been caused in Jersey both to the Anglican community and more widely. However he makes no mention about HG being treated unfairly for which both the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised. He appears to be more concerned about Constitutional matters than natural justice. Unfortunately he does not seem to understand HG’s sense of grievance at being effectively fobbed of by the Church in both Jersey and Winchester.
HG sought justice but hers was a voice was in the wilderness where the interests of others were deemed more important than hers. From being the victim she became the villain, arrested, detained in a police cell, spent two weeks in prison and then bound over to leave the Island with a criminal record.
Senator Bailhache has claimed that the Magistrate acted with appropriate care and compassion throughout, he may well be right but binding HG to leave the Island for 3 years seems to have been more expedient than compassionate.
I have written twice to the Chief Minister asking that he instigate an enquiry/investigation into the circumstances of HG’s arrest, but am still waiting for a response. Surely the matter is too important to be swept under the carpet.