Past Cases Review 2

Any individual who wishes to come forward with information or to make a disclosure is encouraged to make direct contact with the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser. However, recognising that this may not feel safe for those with a lived experience of abuse from within the Church, a dedicated telephone helpline - 0800 80 20 20 - operated independently from the Church by the NSPCC, has been set up. 

 


 

The safeguarding Past Cases Review 2 (PCR2) is nearing completion in the Diocese of Chester.

Two Independent Reviewers, Claire McEnery and Nicola Bithell, both former Senior Police Officers, have been carrying out this task since early 2021.

To date, they have reviewed over 1000 files, including files relating to living clergy going back to 1946, Cathedral files, HR files, and other documents held on-site at Bishop’s House, Chester.

As part of the process, every parish in the diocese was required to review any record it held relating to current and non-recent church officers, and all known safeguarding information, to ensure that all instances of concern had been declared.

The Independent Reviewers are due to submit their key themes and findings to the National Safeguarding Team which will, in turn, publish a national report containing overall data, themes, and recommendations from around the country.

Independent Reviewer, Nikki Bithell says: “We’re hoping to have completed our task by the end of March. This is taking a little longer than expected, but we can be confident that no stone has been left unturned and the process has been thorough and rigorous.”

Independent Reviewer, Claire McEnery says: “We will submit key themes and findings to the National Safeguarding Team, but early indications are clear: practices have improved in relation to safeguarding in recent years but there are still lessons to be learned and our report will make recommendations for action to be taken to improve safeguarding culture further still.”

The Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser, Pauline Butterfield, has expressed her thanks to parishes for their time and commitment to the project, saying: “Every parish and many people across the diocese have contributed their time and energy to this task. I want to thank each person for the conscientious way in which you have engaged with this important Review. I believe this demonstrates a genuine commitment to achieving a healthy safeguarding culture in our diocese. Thank you for all you are doing to help make parishes safer.” 

The Diocese of Chester will comment further following the publication of the national report. 

 

The Independent Reviewers

Claire McEnley
Claire retired as a Detective Superintendent after 30 years in Policing at Lancashire Constabulary. Claire was a Lancashire Police expert in Public Protection Issues having forcewide thematic lead on safeguarding, risk management and vulnerability. Claire developed and managed Lancashire Police's response to disclosures reported via The Truth Project and Operation Hydrant dealing with high-profile investigations into reports of past case abuse by people in positions of trust. Following this Claire was LANCPOL’s Southern Divisional Lead for criminal investigation, incorporating child protection, offender management, intelligence, child exploitation, and human trafficking. She was also Chair for three years of the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Board 2 and 3, working closely with the Probation and Prison Services to manage risk and threat at a high level. As part of this role, Claire sat on the Blackburn Diocese DSAP. Claire also introduced the On-Line Child Abuse Investigation Team (OCAIT) and was a Police Hostage and Crisis Negotiator and a Senior Investigation Officer leading investigations into Serious and Complex Crime and Homicide. Claire was also engaged in Serious Case Reviews.

 

Nikki Bithell
Nicola Bithell retired after 32 years of policing at Lancashire Constabulary having attained the rank of Detective Chief Inspector. Nicola stepped into Claire’s role when she left having been promoted and as such was also regarded as Lancashire Police's expert in Public Protection Issues having Forcewide thematic lead on safeguarding, risk management and vulnerability. Nicola managed Lancashire Police's response to disclosures reported via The Truth Project and Operation Hydrant dealing with high-profile investigations into reports of Past Case Abuse by people in positions of trust. She was Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) Board 2 and 3 Chair for three years working closely with the Probation and Prison Services to manage risk and threat at a high level. Nicola also had Thematic Lead for Management of Sexual and Violent Offenders and changed the face of Offender management within LANCPOL introducing a multi-skilled multi-agency hub. Nicola was a Police Hostage and Crisis Negotiator and a Senior Investigating Officer leading investigations into Serious and Complex Crime and Homicide. Nicola was also involved in Mappa Case Reviews.

 

PCR2 timeline in the Diocese of Chester

2007

In 2007, the Church of England commissions a Past Case Review (PCR) which seeks to look at the Church's handling of safeguarding cases over many years.

2018

2018 report into the original PCR reveals shortcomings both in the process and the final outcome. As a result, the Church of England announces that all dioceses must complete a second review. 

2019

The Past Case Review 2 (PCR2) launches as part of the Church's ongoing scrutiny of its handling of past and current safeguarding cases. 

PCR2 Background and Overview (July 2019)
PCR2 Protocol and Practice Guidance (July 2019)
Media release from the Church of England (January 2020)

2020

On 27 January 2020, the former Bishop of Birkenhead, Bishop Keith Sinclair, writes to all Incumbents. In his letter, he explains in more detail why the review is taking place and what parishes are required to do. He says: "Please know that I am really grateful for your understanding and cooperation in undertaking this essential work which is helping to ensure that our churches are a safer place for everyone."

All parishes and church settings are invited to respond. Chester Cathedral also participates in the diocesan review.

Communication resources are made available to parishes to help them communicate to their parishioners and communities the scope of PCR2 and the undertaking expected of them, and a comprehensive list of FAQs is published to help assist parishes with the work. 

Q and A for parishes (January 2020)
Communications resources for parishes (January 2020)

2021

Over the course of 2021, two Independent Reviewers look at all safeguarding files relating to church officers, both lay and ordained, past and present. All parishes and church settings, including Chester Cathedral, respond to the Independent Reviewer's request for information.

2022

The Independent Reviewers submit their key themes and trends to the National PCR2 Project Management Board.

A national report will be published by the Church of England in the first half of 2022. It will contain overall data, themes, and recommendations.

Page last updated: Monday 21st February 2022 11:34 AM
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