in the back
The end is Nye
Church News, Issue 1533
william-nye.jpg
William Nye, secretary-general of the Archbishop’s Council.
THE Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) published its report on the Church of England two weeks ago, sending a chill wind up many a cassock.

It found that “the church’s neglect of the physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and young people in favour of protecting its reputation was in conflict with its mission of love and care for the innocent and the vulnerable”.

The church duly pre-empted the report with a flurry of announcements designed to, er, protect its reputation. Besides establishing a fund to help survivors, it launched a “Safe Spaces” helpline to counsel victims – which was first promised in 2014, has been endlessly delayed ever since but was somehow magically ready for lift-off in the very week the IICSA report was published (Eye 1511). ?

Broken links, untrained staff
Alas, the course of true reputation management never did run smooth. The survivors’ support fund was agreed under the name Pilot Interim Survivors Support, until someone pointed out the unfortunate acronym. It was also announced before there were any mechanisms or criteria for claiming – and before any actual funds were available to draw on. The Safe Spaces helpline, which is only funded for another 18 months anyway, went live this month with broken links, untrained staff and an answerphone message saying that the service would be up and running in September. Some calls to the live phone line on the launch day went unanswered.

Meanwhile Archbishop Justin Welby reacted to the IICSA report by issuing the customary press release saying he was even more appalled / ashamed / determined to do better than he had been the last time he was appalled / ashamed / determined to do better, and the time before that. But although it is Welby who fronts the apologies, behind the scenes the ecclesiocrats in Church House are directed by a shadowy figure unknown to most church members and even most clergy – William Nye, who used to run the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.

Descended into chaos
Nye became secretary-general of the Archbishop’s Council in 2015 after four years as Prince Brian’s PPS. The publicity-shy ex-courtier earns north of £170,000 plus bonuses, well over twice Welby’s wad, though staff say he would struggle to organise a consecration in a cathedral. He has presided over a period when public approval of the church has plummeted, and its management of safeguarding has descended into chaos. Under Nye’s leadership, the church’s spend on safeguarding has ballooned from £50,000 to around £20m, without a single penny of redress being delivered to survivors of abuse.

He recently survived a formal complaint about the leadership of the church’s safeguarding, but there is pressure for a comprehensive review of its governance. The Archbishop’s Council, which he leads, is currently being investigated by the regulatory compliance division of the Charity Commission.

More top stories in the latest issue:

STOOGE FRIGHT
An attempt to reform shell companies at Companies House by ownership verification checks has brought on board an expert panel including, er, the firms that flog them.

MATERIEL CONCERNS
Armoured vehicles manufacturers were grilled by MPs over snail-like progress after mixed messages from the MoD over the future of tanks and troop carriers.

SALMON EN ROUTE
Farmed salmon which escaped en masse from North Carradale fish farm, near Arran, in August (Eye 1532) have now reached English waters.

SEA SORES
Seafarers stranded on cruise ships and cargo vessels by the pandemic face contract overruns and curtailed crew changes, with many at sea for more than a year.

COZY PARKER
While the National Trust makes 1,296 people redundant, it is keeping chairman Tim Parker – despite his role since 2015 as chair of the scandal-struck Post Office.

CRASH TEST DUMMIES
The inquest into the 2016 Croydon tram crash will hear evidence that Transport for London was carrying out a safety audit at the time which was shelved and hushed up.

CYGNET RING
The company running Yew Trees hospital in Essex, where patients with learning difficulties were slapped, kicked and abused, gave its owners a £50m dividend.

COVENTRY STAKES
Coventry’s three-year-old “super-college”, at risk of insolvency earlier this year, is having to consider its two campuses’ future to persuade lenders to keep it afloat.

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1533 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 29th November 2020
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