The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has been commissioned to undertake an audit of the safeguarding arrangements of each diocese of the Church of England. The aim of these audits is to work together to understand the safeguarding journey of the diocese to date and to support the continuing improvements being made.

The audit of the Diocese of Oxford was carried out in June 2017. The process incorporated an examination of files and documents, along with meetings with key individuals and a focus group of parish representatives. The report was published on 17th October and is available to download in full.

The auditors noted that the senior staff in the diocese are firmly committed to safeguarding, are knowledgeable about national and local issues and want to see safeguarding delivered well within the diocese. They noted that this is supported by a clear commitment from the Diocese of Oxford to identify resources for safeguarding practice and training, based on a carefully considered realignment of the line-management and governance arrangements for the Safeguarding Team.

The auditors identified that there was evidence of a learning culture, which they also observed in other aspects of the Diocesan approach to safeguarding. The auditors challenged the diocese to accelerate the pace of work to support culture-change, with the intention that safeguarding responsibilities are duly recognised and acted upon in all aspects of church life.

Responding to the audit report Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Panel, Howard Llewelyn, said: “The panel has had the benefit of considering the pre-publication Audit report at their meeting on 13th October 2017. We are grateful for the work done by the SCIE auditors in confirming areas that we know need development and improvement. We have today approved a programme of continuing scrutiny of the action plan. This is in order to ensure that the recommendations of the Audit are achieved in ways which are suitable and appropriate for the Diocese.”

The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd Dr Steven Croft, has welcomed the report: “The report identified that safeguarding in the diocese is developing from a sound foundation and that there is a clear recognition of the priority areas for continued development, linked with an understanding of the need to resource this appropriately.” 

Bishop Steven recently wrote on the subject of safeguarding in his blog post Safeguarding Matters. For further information and advice on policies or procedures please browse the pages in this section, or contact safeguarding@oxford.anglican.org