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INEQE Independent Safeguarding Audit

Independent Safeguarding Audit

The INEQE Independent
Safeguarding Audit

Independent safeguarding audits were first commissioned by the Church of England in 2015 with a pilot scheme which was then rolled out across the national Church. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, IICSA, commended these audits and one of IICSA’s 2020 recommendations (No 8) was that independent external auditing of the Church’s safeguarding policies and procedures, as well as the effectiveness of safeguarding practice in dioceses, cathedrals and other Church organisations, should continue.

Consequently, INEQE Safeguarding Group was appointed by the Archbishops’ Council to carry out a new round of independent external audits of Church of England dioceses and cathedrals, starting in January 2024. Several other South West dioceses and Cathedrals have already completed their audits and the process has now started in the Diocese of Exeter and the Cathedral.

The Audit Process:

The audits will be carried out in the diocese and Cathedral at the same time, with an audit framework agreement to ensure consistency of approach. The purpose of the audits is to ensure dioceses and cathedrals are doing all they can to create environments where everyone feels safe, valued and respected. INEQE have provided the Diocese of Exeter and the Cathedral with a series of in-depth questions (230 in total) concerning safeguarding practice across the diocese and Diocesan and Cathedral staff are now in the process of responding to the questions.

Additionally, INEQE are also seeking to engage with parishioners, church and cathedral volunteers and staff, members of the parish community and diocesan and cathedral staff through online surveys which will act as a mechanism through which individuals can comment on any matters relevant to the Audit’s focus. INEQE will also speak with children and vulnerable adults in each diocese (including victims and survivors of abuse).

When the audit is complete INEQE will produce a report with recommendations for the Diocese and Cathedral, and both will be made available publicly. 

How you can help:

INEQE would like to hear from as many people as possible, so we encourage you to complete the relevant survey/s for your role in the Diocese of Exeter. The surveys are anonymous and confidential in that your identity will not be sought or identified. The results are received directly by INEQE’s Audit Team and not by the Church of England or Diocese of Exeter. Therefore, you are encouraged to be open and honest with your responses.

The surveys are now live and will close at 11.30pm on Tuesday 2 July 2024. You can access them using the button below:

Please also encourage others to do the same. To assist with this, INEQE have provided a useful poster which you will find in the Cathedral to advertise the Audit and encourage as many people as possible to respond.

Should you wish to share any further information or if you would be interested in participating in a focus group you can contact the INEQE Audit team here.

You can find further information about INEQE and the Church of England Independent Safeguarding Audits here.

The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral are committed to the protection and safeguarding of all children and adults at risk of abuse and recognise that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. We look forward to working with INEQE throughout the process of the Audit.