In February 2022, The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) visited Wells Cathedral to undertake an independent audit of Cathedral safeguarding arrangements, as commissioned by the Church of England. Whilst the report identifies some positive areas of practice in terms of safeguarding procedures, concerns were also shared regarding the culture and management of Wells Cathedral. Chapter have made significant efforts to address these areas of concern and have published an action plan in response to the questions asked by the SCIE report.
In April 2022, the Chapter of Wells Cathedral requested the Acting Bishop of Bath and Wells at the time, the Rt Reverend Ruth Worsley, to help address the questions raised by the SCIE audit, and a Special Visitation was held in September 2022. The Chapter of Wells welcomed the Visitation as part of its commitment to listen and to learn, and to take the concerns raised within the SCIE report extremely seriously.
View the SCIE audit action plans here:
The Rt Reverend Michael Beasley, Bishop of Bath and Wells, has published the Determination and Directions resulting from the Special Visitation to Wells Cathedral, which took place between 24-27 September 2022.
The Visitation was undertaken by a three-person panel, led by Bishop Tim Stevens. It met with many members of the Cathedral community and wider stakeholders. The Visitation Report itself remains confidential to Bishop Michael and Bishop Ruth, and it has informed the Bishops Determination and Directions to the Cathedral Chapter.
The Acting Dean of Wells, the Venerable Anne Gell, said, “Chapter extends its deep appreciation to our Bishops and to the Visitation panel for all their work. We would also particularly like to thank all who participated in the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) Audit and Visitation processes and we are indebted to them for their courage in sharing their experiences.
Chapter is grateful that these processes, and all who were part of them, have identified areas of concern here at Wells Cathedral. With the help of the whole Cathedral community, we are now addressing these areas of our life together, and we look with real hope to the future under God of this wonderful place that means so much to so many.”
Bishop Trevor Willmott, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Bath and Wells, is acting as consultant to the Wells Cathedral Community. He commented:
“It’s a joy to be invited to walk with the Chapter and the Cathedral community as together we seek to refresh and renew our common life as People of God in the service of the wider community. Listening and reflecting will be the heart of my work.”
The Chapter will publish its Action Plan to address the Directions shortly.