4 February 2013
The National Office for Professional Standards has a new director, only the second since this mechanism for dealing with complaints of abuse against clergy or religious was established eight years ago.
Bill Kilgallon will replace John Jamieson who retires this month.
‘The complaints and reviews which are currently being processed are all historical,’ the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference Archbishop John Dew said.
‘But the office and this role remain crucial to investigating and resolving these cases so that the victims can receive some sense of closure and healing and I’m delighted that Bill Kilgallon has accepted this role.’
Archbishop John paid tribute to Mr Jamieson’s skill and experience in establishing protocols and processes bringing his experience as police commissioner and various roles in the criminal justice sector to the position.
‘I am grateful for the neutrality, integrity and wisdom that Mr Jamieson has brought to the office and wish him all the best for his retirement.’
Archbishop John stressed that there was no time limit on laying a complaint and urged anyone who has experienced abuse by clergy or religious to approach the NOPS and tell their story – ‘an important step in the path to healing’.
Bill Kilgallon moved to New Zealand from the UK two years ago after a long career in social work and health care most recently as chief executive of St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds.
He was a member of a review into the protection of children and vulnerable adults in the Catholic Church in England and Wales which recommended a restructuring of the Church’s work in this area.
In 2008 he was appointed to chair the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission responsible for setting policies and procedures in the Catholic Church in England and Wales and for monitoring compliance by the dioceses and religious congregations.
The bishops and congregational leaders set up the NOPS to oversee the response to abuse complaints.
In 2009, the role was amended to include oversight of all complaints from the time the complaint is made.
If a review of process is later requested this will be carried out by an independent person.
Currently the NOPS is investigating 10 complaints, all relating to incidents that occurred before 1985. There are also two reviews underway.