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Reviews of Child Safeguarding Practice



The National Board has a remit to monitor safeguarding practice across all Church bodies in Ireland.  One way of doing this is through conducting “Reviews” which are assessments of practice against the seven safeguarding standards.  In order for these Reviews to be undertaken objectively, the National Board appoints independent qualified personnel who have expertise in child safeguarding.

Essentially, there are four stages to the Review process.

Stage one:  The Church authority (Bishop or Provincial) should make a request in writing to the CEO, Mr Aidan Gordon for the National Board to conduct a Review of compliance with the Safeguarding Children 2024 Standards. This will be followed by a discussion between the CEO and the Church authority about the scope of the Review,  its timing, and the identification of the reviewers who will conduct the Review fieldwork.

Stage two: Director of Safeguarding (TBC) will take responsibility for the organisation of the review, by liaising with the appropriate person in the relevant Church body – generally the DLP or Coordinator of Safeguarding – to collect as much advance information as possible about child safeguarding in the diocese or religious order. The requested material, which will include written policy and procedural documents, lists of personnel and their contact details, training logs, minutes of Safeguarding Committee meetings, annual self-audit reports etc. is provided in advance before the reviewers engage with safeguarding personnel on the ground, to allow them to get an overall sense of the Church body they will be visiting. It also saves time that can be better used on the fieldwork days meeting people and observing activities. The discussions between the Director of Safeguarding and the nominated staff member in the Church body enable an outline of the Review fieldwork and a timetable of meetings, file reading etc.

The Director of Safeguarding will then hand over to the reviewer who will lead the Review – two reviewers work together, with one having the lead responsibility.

Stage three: The third stage will involve the reviewers spending time in the diocese or religious community to interview safeguarding personnel, children and parents, safeguarding committees, youth activity and pilgrimage leaders, complainants and others about their experience of child safeguarding in the Church body. The reviewers will decide among themselves roles and responsibilities, for instance, if they both meet with the safeguarding committee, one will  ask the questions, while their colleague takes written notes of the discussion; or if a complainant has agreed to be interviewed, one reviewer will meet the complainant, while their colleague takes on a different task during that period.

Once all interviews, file reading and assessment written materials are complete, the reviewers will give initial verbal feedback to the Church authority and the senior members of their safeguarding team.

Stage four: The fourth and final stage of the Review can be the most challenging. The lead reviewer will prepare a detailed feedback letter to the Church authority to advise on the overall assessment of the Church body’s compliance with the Standards reviewed. This letter will be issued within two weeks of the end of the fieldwork. The two reviewers will then compile a more detailed review report, with the lead reviewer being the main author. This can go through a number of drafts, each of which is submitted to the Director of Safeguarding or in their absence the CEO for quality assurance and for him to make observations, request more detail on a specific issue, or suggest amendments in wording. This quality assurance process is continued by an external child safeguarding expert reading the final draft of the report and the report is also legally proofed by the National Board’s solicitor to ensure that nothing that could inadvertently cause a legal concern is contained in it.

The final draft report will be sent to the Church authority for factual checking before the National Board receives and approves publication.

The report will then be formatted and formally sent to the commissioning Church authority.

Should you wish to be reviewed please contact 

Safeguarding Children

National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland
New House, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co.Kildare
01 505 3124
01 505 3026

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