Bishop of Oxford raises concerns about access to justice and care of troubled children during debate on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill

“It is disturbing when the Bar Council says that when combined with other recent government measures for changing the law of judicial review, these changes, if enacted in their current form, will immunise government and other public authorities from effective legal challenge” – Bishop of Oxford, 30/6/14

On 30th June 2014, the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, took part in the Second Reading debate on the Government’s Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. During his speech, he focused on two particular areas of concern – the proper care of troubled children and the role of ‘secure colleges’ and the need for a fair and effective system of judicial review and legal aid to be available to all, regardless of their material situation.

Bishop of OxfordThe Lord Bishop of Oxford: My Lords, I am not among those who decry the frequency with which criminal justice Bills come along. The world is changing fast and the shapes assumed by criminality change no less quickly. It is important to respond to change and to take care that the unchanging core of justice—a British value if ever there was one, as well as a Biblical value—is honoured both in the detail and in the overall direction of policy on the criminal law and its enforcement. Continue reading “Bishop of Oxford raises concerns about access to justice and care of troubled children during debate on Criminal Justice and Courts Bill”

Bishop of Chester asks question on assessment of needs of dyslexics in higher education

On 30th June 2014, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington asked Her Majesty’s Government how the assessment of complex needs for dyslexics will be achieved under the new Disabled Students’ Allowance arrangements. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a supplementary question.
14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I declare an interest in that my younger son has just graduated successfully and has benefited from the computer and software for someone with dyslexia. People with dyslexia often flourish later in the educational process as they gain their coping mechanisms. Does this not mean that it is even more important to make sure that this support is fully in place, not least at university?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate makes an important point, and I congratulate him on his son’s successful graduation. The point he makes is perfectly valid. I have already mentioned that we will be looking at a full equality impact assessment before laying the regulations. I am sure that part and parcel of that process, and the discussion around those regulations, will be to cover the points that the right reverend Prelate has made.

Bishop of Chester seeks clarification on place of carol singers under busking guidelines

14.03 Bishop of ChesterIn the House of Lords on 30th June 2014, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the link between busking and crime and disorder; and what plans they have to issue revised guidance on the use of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 in respect of busking. The Bishop of Chester, the Rt Revd Peter Forster, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, will the Government confirm that carol singing will not be reclassified as busking?
Baroness Williams of Trafford: My Lords, it depends on the carol singers. If they were being disruptive they might well be.

Church Commissioners Written Answer: Apprentices

On 30th June 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question on behalf of the Church Commissioners, on the subject of apprentices.

Robert Halfon: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, how many apprentices the Church Commissioners have employed in the last 12 months.

Tony Baldry MPSir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners currently directly employ one member of staff on an apprenticeship scheme; this role is designed to give experience of supporting the administrative work of the national institutional structures of the Church of England. There is an intention to roll out apprenticeships more widely should this trial proves successful.

Within the Church of England, there are jobs and opportunities for skilled professionals and their students to undertake apprenticeships, training, or conservation work on and within its buildings, stone/carpentry yards and stained glass workshops choir and organ schools.

There are also some more informal apprenticeship and paid internship opportunities within the local and national structures that are organised locally by those concerned.


Church of England Week in Westminster, 23 – 27 June 2014

Welcome to the Church of England’s weekly round-up of activity in Parliament by the Lords Spiritual and the Second Church Estates Commissioner.

In the past week, bishops in the House of Lords have spoken in debate on the accountability of educational institutions, defibrillators in public spaces, the commemoration of the First World War, the role of the voluntary and charitable sector, women in the prison system, human rights in Egypt, the abuse of vulnerable children and adults and challenges faced by vulnerable women.

They have also put questions to the Government on the under-occupancy charge, off-grid energy supply, wage levels of women in the UK, apprenticeships and Iran.

In the House of Commons, the Second Church Estates Commissioner spoke about the teaching of British values.

Continue reading “Church of England Week in Westminster, 23 – 27 June 2014”

Bishop of Durham calls for independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse

“Powerful people have engaged in serious abuse and have worked with each other to create opportunities and share their vices and victims. As a nation we have to face up to the seriousness of institutionally based abuse against the most vulnerable in our society, both children and adults, which has gone on in the past and, sadly, continues today” – Bishop of Durham, 26.6.14

14.06.10 Bishop of Durham 5On 26th June 2014, Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Walmsley led a debate in the House of Lords to take note of the measures being taken by Her Majesty’s Government to prevent and address the abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, the Church of England’s lead bishop for safeguarding, took part in the debate. He focused his remarks on needing to listen to the voice of survivors, and put forward a number of measures to reflect this need – including mandatory reporting by professionals, creating safe spaces for victims of abuse, and broadening the law to strengthen preventative measures. He concluded by calling for an independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse. Continue reading “Bishop of Durham calls for independent public inquiry into institutionally-based abuse”

Bishop of Coventry leads House of Lords debate on the human rights situation in Egypt

“Instances of violence and physical intimidation against Coptic Christians remain disturbingly high. Police investigations are haphazard and prosecutions rare. In addition to the targeted attacks against Christians, we are, sadly, witnessing a predictable return to the subtler, pernicious problems of the Sadat-Mubarak era” – Bishop of Coventry, 26.6.14

On 26th June 2014, the Bishop of Coventry, the Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, led a short debate to ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the human rights situation in Egypt. In his opening speech, the spoke of the need for the Government to assist Egypt to significantly improve its human rights record, and how the current situation in Egypt has left the liberties of its people severely restricted. He cautioned against a focus of diplomatic efforts on political stability to the detriment of issues of human rights and dignity and the freedom of religious expression.

13.10 Bishop of CoventryThe Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the recent presidential election in Egypt and the subsequent inauguration of former Field Marshal Sisi as president make this a very timely debate. This week’s visit of the United States Secretary of State to Cairo, as well as the conviction of the three Al-Jazeera journalists, casts a spotlight on the human rights situation in Egypt. The return of the strongman to Egypt once again brings to centre stage the classic dilemma of how we navigate between interests and values in our foreign policy. Continue reading “Bishop of Coventry leads House of Lords debate on the human rights situation in Egypt”