A REPORT into concerns around the conduct of a Monmouth bishop before his retirement has found a number of failings in the investigations.

But cleared senior Church in Wales clergy were found to have acted appropriately.

Former Bishop of Monmouth Richard Pain stepped back from his duties on July 23, 2018, and subsequently retired after concerns were raised about his conduct.

There was concern about relationships between the bishop and his senior team and also concerns from a member of the church, known as Alex – though the nature of these concerns is unclear due to the heavily redacted report.

The then-Archbishop of Wales, the Most Reverend John Davies, and provincial secretary Simon Lloyd met with the bishop after the concerns - and launched two investigations into the bishop’s conduct.

The investigations were into bullying and harassment in relation to Alex’s claims and another looked at Bishop Pain's workload. They also looked at the relationship between the bishop and then Dean of Monmouth, Lister Tonge; then-Archdeacon of Monmouth, Ambrose Mason; and Archdeacon of Newport, Jonathan Williams.

The review – led by former Bishop of Norwich Graham James - was not asked to find out whether the allegations against the bishop were true, but to look at the way the investigation was handled. It foung that senior members of the Diocese acted appropriately in reporting their concerns.

The review found that these investigations – overseen by the human resources department of the Representative Body of the Church in Wales, the legal department and with reference to the safeguarding team - were carried out appropriately.

The review acknowledged that these investigations were carried out with speed and efficiency but there were several things missing. The first thing was the lack of specialist advice on the way both investigations related to each other so there was an inconsistency between standards adopted and disconnect from the start.


The review also found that the conclusions and recommendations were never revisited and scrutinised. Key witnesses were interviewed once, and did not have an opportunity to comment on what others had said.

Reviewers considered the confidence placed in the adequacy of the report’s findings to have been a mistake – meaning alternative routes were never considered.

It also found the process of the investigation, and the potential consequences which could arise from it, were not properly explained to participants, and that some who took part were treated inconsistently.

Some found that information was not provided which would have significantly affected their responses if it was made known to them at the time.

The bishop was never interviewed during the investigation as it was said that he did not wish to take part. The investigations found that no further action was to be taken.

The reviewers also found that the way the investigations were arranged led to confusion about the nature of the issue at hand and how they should relate to the other. They also found the manner in which the conclusions were managed led to concerns by those who approached the Archbishop being perceived to be motivated by ill will.

The current Bishop of Monmouth, the right Reverend Cherry Vann said: “I am pleased that the Monmouth Enquiry and Review has at last been published.

"I know that this will be a relief to many in the Diocese of Monmouth who were left confused and dismayed when their former Bishop, Richard Pain, stood back from his role and eventually retired.

"The report will go a long way to answering their questions and explaining much of what happened and why.

“I am particularly pleased that the Report exonerates the current Archdeacon of Newport, Jonathan Williams, and the former Dean, Lister Tonge and the former Archdeacon of Monmouth, Ambrose Mason. I want to pay tribute to them and to the office staff, clergy and people of the diocese who continued faithfully with the work of Church whilst feeling left bereft and abandoned.

“The Diocese of Monmouth has moved on since then and much has been achieved in the last two years. The publication of this report will enable us to draw a line under this unhappy time and look forward with renewed faith and hope to all that God has in store for us.”