Church child protection chief to stand down after six years

Ian Elliott has been asked by the Catholic Church in Australia to advise it on setting up child-protection review structures

Ian Elliott described his six years as chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children  as “a really remarkable journey, with its highs and lows, obstacles to overcome”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Ian Elliott described his six years as chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children as “a really remarkable journey, with its highs and lows, obstacles to overcome”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Thu, Apr 25, 2013, 09:15

Ian Elliott is to stand down as chief executive of the National Board for Safeguarding Children next month. “My contract expires at the end of June and, when leave is taken into account, I’ll be gone by the end of May,” he said yesterday.

By then he will have completed his second three-year contract with the board since 2007.

He has been requested by the Catholic Church in Australia to advise it on setting up child-protection review structures and will visit the country for three weeks in August and September next.


Ongoing review
When he returns to Ireland he intends setting up his own independent child-protection consultancy which may also be involved in the ongoing review process within Catholic Church institutions on the island.

He has overseen reviews of child-protection standards in 20 of those 162 institutions, 16 of them dioceses and four religious congregations. It is expected that all 26 Catholic dioceses in Ireland will have been reviewed by the end of 2013.

Many of the remaining Catholic institutions in Ireland are small and reviews of their child protection standards are not expected to require significant time. He pointed out that such reviews were not once-off events but would be “part of an ongoing process in the life of the church” to ensure that child protection standards remain high.


‘Remarkable journey’
Mr Elliott described his six years with the board as “a really remarkable journey, with its highs and lows, obstacles to overcome”.


Proud
He said the seven reports published yesterday were a very positive tribute to those involved.

“I am proud to have contributed in a small way to that change, which is about safeguarding children,” he said.

Mr Elliott will be 66 next month and in good health. “My father was 76 when he stopped work and that was because of illness,” he added.