Independent Review – Introduction by the Chair of the Panel

My extensive experience in the field of safeguarding children has been gathered over more than forty years. I held the post of Chief Executive Officer for the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland since its creation in 2007 until 2013, when I left to establish my own safeguarding consultancy. Since then, I have worked in Australia, the United States of America, India, in several countries in South America, in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

In my role as Chief Executive Officer for the National Board in Ireland, I was asked to devise a methodology to undertake a comprehensive review of safeguarding practice across the Catholic Church in Ireland, who were subject to significant public criticism at that time. This task was achieved successfully and in the face of intense media interest and pressure.

Prior to this, I worked within the Department of Health, Social Services, and Public Safety in the Social Services Inspectorate in Northern Ireland as lead advisor on child protection. In that role, I led on the reform of the statutory child protection services and the implementation of a new structure for the delivery of these services. I have also held the post of Director for the NSPCC in Northern Ireland with additional national responsibility for the development of an electronic children’s data base transforming the NSPCC into a “paperless” organisation in respect of its work with children and families. I have carried out several safeguarding reviews within Churches and faith communities, both at home and overseas, some of which proved to be highly contentious.

I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities that have been afforded to me to undertake contracts to carry out safeguarding reviews in various parts of the Catholic world. All these opportunities have provided me with an almost unique opportunity for learning. It is exciting and challenging to now be given the chance to work with the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and to help them undertake this comprehensive safeguarding review over the course of the next year. It is a daunting but exciting task that I very much look forward to.

Ian Elliott