The National Archbishop’s Council has agreed that each Diocese should undertake a Safeguarding Audit during 2016 or 2017. We have been notified that the independent inspection of Safeguarding in the Diocese of York will take place in June.

The independent audits will be carried out by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), a charity and leading improvement support agency specialising in safeguarding. SCIE has pioneered a particular collaborative approach to conducting case reviews and audits in child and adult safeguarding called Learning Together focusing on the reasons why things go well, the cause of any problems and solutions.

The audit process in each diocese will involve examination of safeguarding leadership arrangements, local policies and practice guidance, the quality of case work, recruitment and training. The auditors will also look at the progress being made in reaching nationally agreed standards informed by central House of Bishops approved policies.

The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, lead bishop on safeguarding, said, "These audits are part of our commitment to making the Church a safer place for all, ensuring that all dioceses have the best possible practice in place. Our policies and practice must start from the place of seeking the very best for all. This includes them being survivor-informed. SCIE's experience in safeguarding will help us to do that. The audits, both individually, and as a whole, will form an important part of our work as the National Inquiry gets underway. We must always remember that safeguarding exists to enable the Church to ensure that the vast range of work with children, young people, the elderly, disabled and all people are the very best that they can be for everyone who wants to be involved".

Tony Hunter, SCIE Chief Executive, said, "SCIE commends the Church of England for taking such a proactive approach to auditing their safeguarding policies and practice. It's so important that influential organisations - such as the Church - recognise their role in safeguarding children and adults. We look forward to continuing to work with the Church of England as we support rollout of their audit process across all dioceses".

Pilot audits have examined four other dioceses. To read the reports published in January, please click here.

What does this mean for parishes?

Following the announcement of the SCIE audit in June, the Independent Chair of the York Diocesan Strategic Safeguarding Group, Sue Proctor, has asked that each benefice/ parish completes a safeguarding self-audit. This will assist both PCCs and the diocesan safeguarding team to better understand the status of safeguarding practice, and consequently consider additional advice and resources which would help to improve safeguarding procedure and response for everybody in the Diocese.

For more information about the self-audit, please click here or email Dave at