Culture Review Report – Titus Trust Statement on Publication

Today the Titus Trust publishes in full the Culture Review by thirtyone:eight (which we commissioned over a year ago, but which has been delayed by the Covid pandemic).  The Trust particularly asked the reviewers to consider how we might improve our processes and culture to mitigate any risk of abusive or harmful behaviour occurring in the future as well as to reflect on whether there were cultural elements that delayed past allegations coming to light. The Culture Review may be read here, with an executive summary here.

The trustees are extremely grateful to all those who participated in this important review, for the hard work of the reviewers in conducting it, and for the opportunity the review process has given us to reflect on our culture and practice. We welcome both the considered critiques and constructive challenges in the review as well as the acknowledgement of encouraging signs of healthy culture and positive change.

As a Trust we have been working hard in recent years to review our culture and are grateful for the way the report highlights the positive experiences of so many. However, the report also importantly highlights areas where the experiences of some have been far less positive and we are grieved to learn of these.  We apologise to those volunteers who have given their time and energy to serve in the work of the Trust and whose experience has been difficult or painful. We repent of the ways in which we have failed to model the humble servant leadership of the Lord Jesus, and for ways in which this has caused us to be poor witnesses to Him.

The report considers some of the ways in which we have responded to the revelation of the abuse perpetrated by John Smyth.  In particular, it highlights ways in which we have been inconsistent in speaking about the organic connections between the camps that we run today and the camps that ran before the Titus Trust came into being.  We acknowledge we have given mixed messages about this legacy. We apologise for this and apologise to the victims and survivors of John Smyth’s abuse for ways in which this has compounded their pain.

We are thankful for the partnerships we enjoy with schools, teachers, parents, churches and others. We commit ourselves to carefully considering the report’s recommendations in the coming months and to the implementation of decisions related to camps in time for summer 2022 so as to ensure that every aspect of our culture fosters a welcoming, safe and healthy environment for all. In everything, we long to honour the Lord Jesus.

[Please Note – We would like to remind you that support services are available if needed and there are three tiers of immediate support administered by thirtyone:eight:

Helpline - this is available for people who would appreciate a conversation to help them process their feelings and emotions. The Titus Trust have commissioned a specialist helpline for such support for those impacted by the findings or the events within the Culture Review. Anyone can call this 0303-003-1111 (Option 2), and we ask you to use the reference ‘Titus 2020’ when accessing this to enable us to direct you appropriately and quantify the usage of this service.

Listening Service - This is typically four, 1-hour sessions (usually via telephone). One of our trained listeners is available for each session (this is the same listener for each session). The hour is dedicated to primarily listening to the individual. However, it may also allow for making any reflections and sometimes signposting to additional help if requested. More information can be found here: https://thirtyoneeight.org/get-help/survivors/ This can be accessed via emailing, listeningservice@thirtyoneeight.org 

Therapeutic Support - this is often a longer term, deeper exploration into feelings and experiences often associated with trauma experienced. Titus Trust have established a therapeutic support fund to help ensure those impacted by the events and findings of this review, are appropriately supported. To discuss access to this, please contact our safeguarding helpline on 0303-003-1111 quoting ‘Titus 2020′”.

Thirtyone:eight provide the first two service options, but it is important to say that these are independent and confidential and would be facilitated by members of the thirtyone:eight team who have not previously been involved with the review. The third option is being independently facilitated by thirtyone:eight to help ensure anonymity for all those accessing such support.  ]

Publication date of the Titus Trust Culture Review

In September 2020, Titus Trust commissioned thirtyone:eight to undertake a culture review following allegations relating to two volunteer leaders, and other criticisms of some aspects of the cultures of different camp groups.
In the light of this, the Trustees of Titus Trust asked Thirtyone:eight to undertake a robust and comprehensive exploration of any good practice and failings in the different cultures of each of the Trust’s holiday groups (including the work of Iwerne and Forres in recent years), and the culture of the Trust as a whole. The review has focused particularly on what these cultures have been like in the last five years, in order to help the Titus Trust ensure they are creating a healthy culture for the future.

We are pleased to confirm that the final Culture Review report will be published at 10am on Wednesday 8th December 2021 here.

We wish to thank all those who have participated in this review, often at great personal cost, whose contributions have undoubtedly informed the learning, and with the implementation of the recommendations, will help further safeguard both Titus Trust and other organisations hereon.

Update about Titus Trust Culture Review - November 2021

The Titus Trust Culture Review report is currently with their trustees for consideration. We note that there has been a delay to the original anticipated timeline and apologise for this. We commit to keeping you updated and will be in touch within the next few weeks. Can we please take this opportunity to remind you of the support available for any distress this delay may cause.

The Titus Trust have commissioned an independent helpline to offer support to anyone who feels they have been harmed or who has concerns relating to the Titus Trust. If you have been affected in this way and you would like to speak to someone independent about this, you can contact the thirtyone:eight helpline on 0303 003 1111. Please quote ‘Titus 2020’. Information you share with the helpline will not be shared with others, including the independent review team, unless you request it, or action needs to be taken to protect you or others (in adherence to standard safeguarding practice and protocol).

Additionally, a Listening Service has been set up through thirtyone:eight which offers the chance for adult survivors of abuse to talk about their experiences in detail and in confidence with a sensitive listener. The Titus Trust have commissioned Thirtyone:eight to provide this service which is operated entirely separately and independently to the review (ie. the reviewers will not be the listeners). This listening service is open to anyone who requires further support including those who choose not to participate in the review. This service will remain available beyond the completion of the review.

Update about Titus Trust Culture Review – May 2021

Thirtyone:eight has been commissioned by the Titus Trust to undertake an independent review of the current culture of the Titus Trust. The review will explore any good practice and failings in the different cultures of each of the Trust’s holiday groups (including the work of Iwerne and Forres in recent years), and the culture of the Trust as a whole. The review will focus on what these cultures have been like over recent years in order to help the Titus Trust, ensure they are creating a healthy culture for the future. While the review will focus particularly on the last five years, the reviewers will consider relevant evidence from beyond this timeframe where necessary in order to understand how the current culture has been shaped by what went before, and also to understand how the culture has changed over time and how the trustees have acted as part of this process.

Thank you to all who have come forwards to date to participate in the Titus Trust Culture Review. We value the contributions which will aid the insights and learning.

A critical part of Titus Trust activity is the camps they hold for hundreds of young people each year. It is therefore imperative that the Review team visit these camps to not only hear about the culture at Titus Trust, but to see the culture during live activity.

Due to Covid 19, the Easter camps have not been able to proceed in their usual manner. The Review Team will therefore now be going on site to visit the Summer camps taking place in July and August. This sadly means that there will be a delay and it is now planned that the final report will be published in October 2021.

Thirtyone:eight would still value hearing from anyone who feels they have information that speaks to the scope which can be found here .

The process thirtyone:eight is adopting can be found here .

If you feel you would like to participate in the review, please do make contact with thirtyone:eight through titustrustsafeguarding@thirtyoneeight.org. Invitation to participate remains open till the 11th June 2021.

Please note thirtyone:eight continue to offer an independent helpline to offer support to anyone who feels they have been harmed or who has concerns relating to the Titus Trust. If you have been affected in this way and you would like to speak to someone independent about this, you can contact the thirtyone:eight helpline, on 0303 003 1111. Please quote ‘Titus 2020’.

Statement about Titus Trust Culture Review

The Titus Trust has commissioned thirtyone:eight to undertake an independent review of the current culture of the Titus Trust.  This review will begin in September 2020 and it is planned that the final report will be published in Summer 2021.

The Trustees are committed to doing everything possible to ensure the well-being of everyone involved in the activities of the Titus Trust, including through preventing, challenging and properly reporting any behaviour that might lead to anyone being harmed in any way.  Our aim is to foster a vigilant, humble, gentle, and gracious culture in all that we do.

While the experiences of many of those who have been involved in the Trust’s work have been very positive, we know that, sadly, this has not been the case for everyone.  Over recent years, two volunteer leaders on Iwerne camps have faced separate allegations of harmful behaviour (in John Smyth’s case before the Titus Trust took over running the Iwerne camps; in Jonathan Fletcher’s case after this date).

There have also been other criticisms of some aspects of the cultures of different camp groups.  We recognise that sometimes these criticisms have been justified, and are deeply sorry about times the Trust has got things wrong.  We want to ensure that there is no complacency and that we make any further changes that may be required.

In the light of this, the Trustees have asked thirtyone:eight to undertake a robust and comprehensive exploration of both good practice and failings in the different cultures of each of the Trust’s holiday groups (including the work of Iwerne and Forres in recent years), and the culture of the Trust as a whole.  The review will focus particularly on what these cultures have been like in the last five years, in order to help us ensure that they are as healthy as they can be into the future.

We will listen carefully to thirtyone:eight’s findings, learn where we may have got things wrong, and respond carefully to any recommendations, in order to provide as safe and positive an environment as possible in everything we do.

More details about thirtyone:eight’s review can be found at https://thirtyoneeight.org/Titus-Trust-Review .

The review process will be independent, led by two reviewers who have a significant level of experience of undertaking safeguarding reviews.  They will consider all known and relevant sources of information within the agreed scope and terms of the review.  Additionally, the reviewers will seek to visit a range of camps in order to observe and gain a sense of ‘live culture’ in practice.  This will be subject to government guidance in the current COVID-19 circumstances.

It is recognised that the review process may raise some difficult memories, emotions, or experiences for some.  Thirtyone:eight employ experienced listeners who will be able to provide a listening service to anyone who requires further support.  This will operate separately to the review (ie. the reviewers will not be the listeners), and can be accessed by contacting listeningservice@thirtyoneeight.org or there are more details at https://thirtyoneeight.org/titus-trust-review/listening-service.  This listening service is also open to those who choose not to participate in the review, and will be available beyond the completion of the review.

The Titus Trust have also commissioned thirtyone:eight to provide a confidential Helpline service. This remains separate to the Review, should anyone wish to speak to someone independently about their experience in relation to the Trust. This safeguarding helpline can be contacted on 0303 003 1111 quoting ‘Titus 2020′ to the helpline team member. Information you share with the helpline will not be shared with others, including the independent review team, unless you request it, or action needs to be taken to protect you or others (in adherence to standard safeguarding practice and protocol).

Contacting the review

If anyone who has experience of the Titus Trust in the last five years, or that is relevant to the last five years, including any victims/survivors of any abusive behaviour, wishes to participate in the review, or to pass relevant information to thirtyone:eight, they can do so confidentially, by emailing  TitusTrustsafeguarding@thirtyoneeight.org.

We recognise that it may be hard for many to participate in this way.  Please be assured that thirtyone:eight will handle all responses sensitively and follow up support will be available for any who request it.

Both thirtyone:eight, and the Titus Trust take data privacy and confidentiality very seriously.  Identities of confirmed participants will be known only by the reviewers.  No identifiable details of any victim or survivor will be passed between the Titus Trust and thirtyone:eight without prior consent.

September 2020