The CSSA are proud to announce Steve Ashley as permanent Chief Executive Officer, with immediate effect. The appointment is confirmed following an open recruitment process and a robust application and interview process, including scrutiny by the organisation’s Chair and a survivor of church-related abuse (and member of CSSA Survivor Reference Panel).
Steve has been acting in the post since mid-October and since then has been actively working with key partners including leaders from Catholic Church bodies across England and Wales, CSSA Board and staff team and survivors of church-related abuse.
Steve is a recognised safeguarding specialist with twenty years’ experience of board leadership, and thirty years’ experience of Police service. He has served as Independent Scrutineer with a leading Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership, and Independent Chair of Safeguarding Boards (both adults and children). He has mentored safeguarding chairs within the Local Government Association (LGA). As well as Vice-Chair to an NHS Foundation Trust, he was Independent Chair of Rotherham Safeguarding Children’s Board. He was Assistant Chief Constable of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and a Commander in Merseyside Police where he led a national programme of joint inspection of child safeguarding. He also led the Home Secretary’s commission into police failings in the case of Jimmy Savile as well as national inspections of child sexual exploitation, detention centres, hate crime, rape, and the criminal justice system.
A survivor of church-related abuse, and member of CSSA Survivor Reference Panel said: “It was a pleasure to know how well Steve responded to questions formed by survivors. He is particularly keen to involve survivors, from the outset, in processes such as audit. He also identified ways to raise issues for survivors of abuse with Leaders in the Catholic Church. I wish him the very best in his substantive role of CEO.”
Nazir Afzal, OBE, Chair of CSSA said: “Steve had to convince us, without a shadow of a doubt, that he is the right man for the job. Our scrutiny was rigorous. We could not be more pleased, or more confident that Steve is going to lead us from strength to strength. We have a huge workload ahead of us. We’re building trust and we’re delivering results. Steve is already a vital part of this, and I’ve never been more sure in our ability to help protect people from harm in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.”
Steve Ashley added: “I have recently met with Leaders of Catholic Church bodies the length and breadth of England and Wales, agreeing how best we can work together. Most importantly, I’ve talked with survivors of church-related abuse. I have absolutely no doubt the scale of the challenge in meeting our shared vision in protecting people from harm. I am ready for that challenge, and we have a very strong team. Our work is crucial, our work is now, and I can’t wait to get started, building on our progress so far.”