Clewer Initiative launches app designed to eradicate labour exploitation on British farms

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A new app designed to help tackle labour exploitation and modern slavery in the farming, horticulture and food production sectors is being launched today by the Church of England’s modern slavery initiative. Read more

The Ben Field verdict

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 The Ben Field verdict – A statement from the Archdeacon of Buckingham

Following a painstaking investigation by Thames Valley Police and a lengthy trial at Oxford Crown Court, Ben Field was on Friday found guilty of the murder of Peter Farquhar. You will be aware from the press coverage of the depth of Field’s cruelty to those who became his victims.

At the end of what has been a hugely difficult ordeal for all those affected, please keep in your prayers Peter’s family and friends, his former colleagues and pupils. Remember too, those who worship at Stowe Parish Church, where Peter worshipped, and the community in Maids Moreton where he lived. Field was also convicted of fraud against Ann Moore-Martin and of other crimes in the community – please keep all those affected in your prayers. Pray too for the people of Olney where Ben’s family live – pray for them, and for him.

At times like this, the caring ministry of our parish clergy and the healing depth of our Christian communities come into their own. There has been work going on in the background for over two years to address various safeguarding and pastoral aspects of the case.

We hope that all those affected are receiving the support they need. If, however, anyone reading this is particularly affected by the case and needs to speak to someone, please contact our Authorised Listeners via the Safeguarding Team on 01865 208290.

This has been an extraordinary and unusual case. No one who came into contact with Ben Field was not manipulated by him. He made a pretence of being a committed Christian and gained the confidence of the people of Stowe Parish Church and then, to quote his own words, “I’m gonna become a vicar … just because I can outmanoeuvre the Church.” His arrest put an end to this pretence.

Any incidence of harm to a church member causes us to reflect and we will need to learn what this case has to teach us about safeguarding. Sentencing will be followed by “lessons learned” reviews by various organisations including the Diocese. If you have any particular concerns to raise in connection with this or any other safeguarding situation, please contact our Safeguarding Team on the number above.

“Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord.”

The Ven. Guy Elsmore
12th August 2019

Information for journalists

    • Was Ben Field a ‘trainee vicar’? No- Field was never considered for ordination training
    • Ben Field first joined the congregation at St Mary’s in 2013
    • Ben Field was confirmed at the church in November 2015
    • Ben Field became PCC secretary, a role elected by the congregation, in September 2014
    • Ben Field became ‘deputy warden’ at the church in September 2014. The role of deputy warden is not a formal office in the Church of England and has no legal definition.

 

Independent Case Review

12.12.18 – Independent Case Review:
Diocesan safeguarding response to allegations of spiritual abuse

On 28 December 2017, the Revd Tim Davis was found guilty of conduct unbecoming or inappropriate to the office and work of a clerk in Holy Orders through the abuse of spiritual power and authority over a person then aged 15-16.

The penalty imposed under the Clergy Disciplinary Measure (2003) was immediate cessation of office and prohibition from the exercise of holy orders for a period of two years, effective 12 March 2018.

The Diocese of Oxford has commissioned an Independent Case Review relating to the reporting, investigation and management of allegations and concerns about the conduct of Revd Tim Davis. The following individuals have been engaged to undertake the Case Review:

Amanda Lamb CQSW / M.Soc.Science in Social Services Management
Amanda specialises in service review and redesign of Children’s Social Care services, particularly residential, fostering and adoption. She has extensive experience of safeguarding work, managing both casework and strategic reviews and has been an independent consultant on historic cases reviews, and related issues, including complaint investigations, for the Church of England National Safeguarding Team. She has over five years’ experience at Assistant Director level in two Local Authorities with a proven track record of improvement and been an Additional Inspector on 3 Ofsted teams for Safeguarding and Looked After inspections.

Mr. Timothy Briden Member of Lamb Chambers – Barristers.
Timothy has a background in personal injury and clinical negligence litigation. He has also developed an additional specialist practice in ecclesiastical law. He is Chancellor for the Diocese of Truro and for the Diocese of Bath and Wells. He is also Vicar-General of the Province of Canterbury.

The independent Case Review will include the following stages:

  1. A Desk-Top and Document Review, which will identify what was known, by whom and how such knowledge was communicated and acted upon. It is envisaged that this will be completed by the end of January 2019 and will identify further lines of enquiry.
  2. Engagement with and opportunities to listen to stakeholders within the local congregation and Diocese who were impacted by the abuse of which Revd Tim David was found guilty. It is envisaged that this will be completed by the end of March 2019. The review team will also extend an interview request to Revd Tim Davis.
  3. Publication of a report that will include recommendations about any changes required in training, processes and systems at local, Diocesan and national levels. It is envisaged that this will take place by the end of May 2019.

The Independent Case Review will work to the following Terms of Reference that have been agreed by the Independent Chair of the Oxford Diocese Safeguarding Panel, Peter Hay. These will be kept under review with the Case Review Team so that the final review is complete and comprehensive.

  1. To review all information available in records and reports within the Diocese of Oxford and the Parish of Christ Church Abingdon relating to allegations and concerns raised about the conduct of Revd Tim Davis. To produce a detailed timeline and clear account of the responses within the Diocese.
  2. To consider whether responses were in accordance with recognised good practice, and compliant with Church of England policy and legislation as well as statutory policy and legislation.
  3. To consider in particular allegations relating to the spiritual abuse of power and the manner in which these were responded to and addressed.
  4. To identify learning points about any changes or developments in guidance or practice within the Diocese of Oxford when addressing safeguarding and disciplinary concerns relating to clergy and other church officers to ensure that matters are dealt with to the highest possible standards.
  5. To identify any changes or developments to complaints and disciplinary processes which might be recommended to the Church of England. In particular, ongoing contact and support to victim(s), and communications with the wider congregation.
  6. To produce a report, including recommendations, to enable learning to be shared and developments to be taken forward.

Notes for editors:

New Independent Safeguarding Chairman for the Diocese of Oxford

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PETER Hay, CBE, is the new independent chairman of the Diocese of Oxford’s Safeguarding Panel. Read more