Scottish Catholic Church: independent review group to ensure culture of support and protection for the vulnerable  


The Independent Review Group (IRG) established by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland met today with stakeholders from throughout the Catholic Church to announce and prepare for a professional audit of safeguarding in two Dioceses in Scotland. The audit will be conducted by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and Children in Scotland (CIE).


The Dioceses randomly chosen from the 8 in Scotland are the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and the Diocese of Galloway. The outcome of this detailed work is intended to ensure full implementation of the McLellan Commission’s recommendations and to put in place a robust system of safeguarding for children and vulnerable adults that can be measured against the best international standards. The McLellan recommendations include: support for survivors of abuse to be an absolute priority for the Church in the field of safeguarding; for the Bishops’ Conference to make an apology to all survivors of abuse; and external scrutiny and independence in the safeguarding policies and practices of the Church. 


Helen Liddell, Chair of the IRG commented: “We cannot eliminate the pain of those who experienced abuse in the past, but we can put in place not just procedures but a culture that both supports them and protects all those who most need our care and compassion in future. 


“I chair a group of outstanding and experienced professionals who are committed to making sure children and vulnerable adults come to no harm when in the care of the Church. They have reviewed in considerable detail the self-administered audits of all the Scottish Dioceses and that knowledge, together with the professional audits announced today, will form the basis for putting in place procedures that meet the requirements of the McLellan Commission recommendations and that can stand up to the most rigorous analysis.”


“I am grateful that the Bishops Conference of Scotland have recognised the independence of the Review Group and have agreed to these procedures. The results of the audits will be made public at the same time as they are released to the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland”.