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Baroness Scotland resigns as head of safeguarding commission

By on Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Baroness Scotland (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Baroness Scotland (Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk)

Baroness Scotland has resigned as the head of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales (NCSC) after less than a year in the role.

A statement on the commission’s website said that her resignation came into effect on December 31 2011.

It said: “It is with much regret that the Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthall QC has decided to tender her resignation as Chair of the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales. Increasing pressures in other areas of her work have resulted in this decision.

“The baroness is encouraged by the continuing commitment of the Catholic Church and the members of the NCSC in their work to improve the safeguarding of children and adults at risk, and also their work with survivor organisations. She wishes the new Chair every success.”

Baroness Scotland, the former Attorney General for England and Wales, was appointed head of the NCSC in March 2011. She replaced Bill Kilgallon, who had served as chairman since the body’s creation in 2008.

Victims’ groups called for Baroness Scotland’s resignation in August after she was quoted as saying that priests sometimes abused because they were “unsupported emotionally” by lay people.

The NCSC is an independent organisation responsible for overseeing the Church’s safeguarding policies for children and vulnerable adults. It is now seeking a new head and will interview candidates for the post in February.

  • Philip Gilligan

    In what way is the NCSC “an independent organisation”? Its chair is appointed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) and the Congregation of Religion (CoR). The CBCEW and the CoR each appoint a vice-chair and in 2011, 5 of its remaining 12 members were bishops, priests or members of religious orders. Its first chair, Bill Kilgallon, was a former priest who had studied at seminary alongside Cardinal Archbishop Vincent Nicholls.

    This is not an arrangement that most people would recognise as being ‘independent’ of the Church!

  • David Armitage

    ‘Must a name mean something?’ Alice asked doubtfully.
    ‘Of course it must,’ Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: ‘my name means the shape I am —and a good handsome shape it is, too.’
    When the bishops appoint a commission, and say it is independent, then it must be. Why
     then should we doubt the independence and objectivity of the apostolic visitation to Ealing
    Abbey by a bishop who as a child went through Grace Dieu and Ratcliffe at a time when abuse was rife but doesn’t seem to have noticed anything then or later and and the boss of English Benedictines on whose watch appalling things happened. Lord Carlile expressed his disappointment at Father Yeo failing to act earlier to review schools the Benedictine order managed. He also added the Vactican’s decision to appoint Yeo to the Apostolic Visitation was “foolish”. But then Lord Carlile isn’t a Catholic so he’s probably biased.