The Lead Bishop for Safeguarding in the Diocese of Chester, Bishop Julie Conalty, has thanked David Hermitt for his hard work as the Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisory Panel (DSAP). David is due to step down from the role in September following his recent appointment to General Synod.
Bishop Julie says: "I am hugely grateful for the way in which Dave has chaired DSAP and sought to hold Chester Diocese and Chester Cathedral to account. Dave has worked hard to ensure that DSAP provides scrutiny and independent oversight for our safeguarding work and has played a major role in establishing a better safeguarding culture."
Explaining his decision to step down from the role, David said that his recent appointment to the General Synod meant he could no longer claim to be an independent Chair of DSAP, an important requirement of the role.
He says: "I was elected as Independent Chair of DSAP and that therefore means I have to have a degree of independence from the leadership that is within the diocese and the Church so that I can, in that role, challenge the Church to do better around safeguarding. That role should be independent and challenging and if I'm now within the Church of England on Synod, I cannot claim to be independent."
However, David says he will remain on DSAP as an ordinary member and will continue to offer the diocese his safeguarding expertise and experience.
David made his comments about safeguarding in an interview with the diocesan Chester Box podcast in which he talked about being "co-opted" to the General Synod as part of the Archbishops' response to the Archbishops' anti-racism report, From Lament to Action, which called for greater representation on the General Synod of people from Global Ethnic backgrounds. You can hear the interview here.
Steps are being taken to appoint a new Independent DSAP Chair and an announcement is expected after the summer.