Welby 'horrified' by use of non-disclosure agreements in racism cases

Justin Welby (r) said he and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell (l), had written to senior figures in the Church making clear that NDAs are not to be used.(Photo: Church of England)

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he is "totally against" the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). 

The question was posed after BBC Panorama heard from clergy who said they had been forced to sign NDAs as a condition for receiving payouts over racist abuse. 

Speaking to Times Radio, the Most Rev Justin Welby said he was "horrified" to learn of the racist abuse disclosed in Monday night's episode. 

Dr Elizabeth Henry, the Church's former adviser on race relations, told Panorama she felt disillusioned when she resigned last year, and described one individual being forced to sign an NDA after making a formal complaint. 

"I felt frustrated by the lack of progress with issues of racism," she said.

"A really shocking incident was a young black man who received a picture of a banana. But that banana had his head superimposed upon it - and underneath it said: Banana Man. That is a deeply offensive and deeply racist image," she said.

"He took it to HR [human resources department] and he did file a grievance. And the decision was that it wasn't racist.

"That person left, and he received a very small compensation - however he was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement."

The Archbishop said he was not aware that this was happening and that it must stop. 

"I have said many times that I am totally against NDAs. NDAs are unacceptable. I am just horrified by that and horrified by the fact of racism," he said. 

He added that he and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, had written to senior figures in the Church making clear that NDAs are not to be used. 

"We reinforced that. We've been saying it for a long time. I'm very frustrated by it," he said.