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17 Aug 2016

Independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (known as the ‘Goddard Inquiry’)

Professor Alexis Jay has been appointed as the fourth Chairperson following Justice Goddard’s resignation.

We are aware that some schools have been contacted to assist with the Goddard Inquiry. To ISC’s knowledge, these include residential schools where there have been previous allegations/convictions of child sexual abuse. We understand that requests for information have been made (which are in line with Rule 9 of the Inquiry Rules 2006) and cover 4 types of information as follows:

  • All materials (including personnel files, disciplinary files, referrals to external agencies, letters, emails and court documents) relating to the conviction identified in the letter;
  • Any child protection policies and procedures that were in place at the school at the time of the incident above;
  • All materials (including personnel files etc.) relating to alleged and/or established child sexual abuse in the school, whether committed by school staff, students, or volunteers, including: the response of the school, reports prepared, steps taken to settle any civil actions etc.;
  • The school’s current policies and practices in relation to child protection and safeguarding, including safer recruitment practices.

ISC had a produced a guidance note on the inquiry. Veale Wasbrough Vizards have also published a note for schools: Goddard Inquiry. Harrison Clark Rickerbys have published a guidance note on key data protection issues arising.

ISC would suggest preparing for any potential requests for information by continuing to maintain comprehensive records and ensuring all records are readily accessible. We would be very grateful if any schools who have been contacted for information could inform ISC. Sharing information helps equip us to support the sector.

With thanks to HMC for providing us with information.

ISC has attended a pre hearing as part of the inquiry and will be keeping a close watching brief on how the inquiry progresses.

We are also aware that Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield had sent out a survey to various schools requesting information about referrals to children’s services. This survey has now been concluded.

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