Jersey – Dame Heather Steel Begins Investigation
Winchester Diocese have released the news that Dame Heather Steel OBE has been commissioned to lead an investigation into the events described in the Korris Report as part of the wide visitation of Bishop John Gladwin.
However, the Diocese have refused to release the Terms of Reference under which Dame Heather is operating. In particular, when pressed as to whether the High Court Judge and also member of the judiciary in Jersey had the remit to explore the “facts” as presented in the Korris Report, a spokesman for the Diocese replied,
As the Korris Review itself states, that there are gaps in the evidence provided and areas have been identified that require further investigation, as set out in pages 47-48. Dame Heather therefore has license to make all the necessary inquiries and find facts as she sees appropriate in making her final recommendations.
When pressed as to why Dame Heather’s exact Terms of Reference were not being published, the Diocese gave no clear response.
If Dame Heather Steel does have a remit to explore the accuracy of the evidence presented in the Korris Report, it calls into question whether Bishop John Gladwin’s visitation can continue if the basis of it’s remit (the Korris Report) is itself being questioned by the Diocese’s investigator. My sources indicate that the separate Terms of Reference for Dame Steel’s investigation allow her to question not just the “gaps in the evidence” as quoted above but also to explore whether any of the evidence presented in Korris is truncated or needs to be amended.
I also find it curious that the Diocese of Winchester cannot release Dame Steel’s Terms of Reference given that the whole investigation is based on safeguarding and the need for full transparency and accountability in these areas.