Interim statement on the independent review of Pioneer’s culture and practices
11th December 2023

We have recently received an update from Christian Safeguarding Services (CSS) on the progress of the review they are undertaking on Pioneer’s past and present culture, policies, practices, and safeguarding arrangements. The review opened following the announcement on 18th August, inviting anyone with relevant information or concerns to come forward. The formal deadline for submissions has now closed. However should anyone wish to make contact with CSS up until the end of December they can still email them on .

Interviews are taking place and will continue throughout January 2024.  CSS has communicated that nothing has emerged that requires immediate action. The next stage will be analysing the information that has been gathered, reviewing documentation, policies and procedures. CSS expects to produce the final report with their findings and recommendations by mid April which will be made available to the public. CSS have assured us this is a realistic timetable for working with such a broad and comprehensive review.

Pioneer Trust launch an independent review to consider past and present ministry practices
18th August 2023

The board of Pioneer Trust are launching a broad and independent review — led by Christian Safeguarding Services (CSS) — to identify and address any failures or deficiencies in their past and present culture, policies, practices, and safeguarding arrangements. The review requests anyone with relevant information or concerns to come forward to have their voices heard. The trustees value and appreciate the bravery of those who are able and willing to contribute to this review. Paul Harrison, who is leading the review at CSS, will handle all matters with the utmost care and sensitivity.  

The aim of the review includes (1) providing an independent and safe channel for anyone with safeguarding or cultural concerns connected to Pioneer Trust (or individuals acting on their behalf), (2) identifying and understanding the impact, scope and prevalence of harm caused, and (3) implementing recommended changes and improvements to practice. 

The trustees initiated the review when a complaint was raised in July 2023 about their late founder and former Network Leader, Gerald Coates, who led the network up until 2009. The current concerns relate to approaches to ministry and pastoral practice and do not meet the threshold for referral to statutory services (e.g., the police or social care).  There is no indication that any person engaging with Pioneer Trust is currently at risk, nor are the trustees aware of any concerns about the conduct of current staff or members of its leadership team. For more information on the scope of the review, click here.

Pioneer Trust and CSS are committed to following the evidence and considering any information that comes to light. We recognise that the wellbeing and safety of everyone who engages with Pioneer Trust is critical to our ability to serve our relational network. We are also committed to being accountable for any harm done and transparent about the review and any actions taken as a result. The appeal for information relevant to this safeguarding review will run until mid-November, and the trustees will publish the results when the report is ready (updates will be given in that regard). 

If you have any relevant information for the review into the culture, practice or safeguarding of Pioneer Trust or individuals acting on their behalf, please get in touch by emailing or by completing this form here.