The Charity Commission is in contact with a Watford church after a serious incident report was submitted.

Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi set up the Soul Survivor Christian youth festival and is the associate pastor for Soul Survivor Watford, in Greycaine Road.

Canon Pilavachi and Soul Survivor have "mutually agreed" that he steps back from all ministry while an investigation is carried out by the Church of England, following "non-recent safeguarding concerns" being reported.

The Charity Commission confirmed a serious incident report was submitted on March 30 on behalf of Soul Survivor Watford and two other charities, Soul Survivor and Soul Survivor International.

The church emphasised that Mr Pilavachi is not under criminal investigation, has not been suspended and that the concerns currently relate to matters which occurred a considerable time ago.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “In line with our guidance, Soul Survivor Watford reported concerns raised about one of its staff members to the Commission, via a serious incident report.

“We have asked the trustees for additional information about the matter, and will assess the information provided to determine what role, if any, there is for the Commission”.

The government organisation’s role in charity safeguarding is focused on the conduct of trustees and the steps they take to protect beneficiaries, employees, volunteers, and others.

It is not responsible with dealing with incidents of actual abuse and safeguarding legislation.

Watford Observer: Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi Rev Canon Mike Pilavachi (Image: Soul Survivor)

A joint statement from the Church of England National Safeguarding Team, the St Albans Diocese, and the Soul Survivor Watford trustees was read out at a service on April 2.

It explained that the investigation is being conducted independently from Soul Survivor Watford, and it is unclear when it will conclude.

A second statement, on behalf of the trustees, was also read out.

The full statements are available on the church website and there are contacts for people to report any of their own safeguarding concerns.

Church members were assured “any safeguarding concerns raised will be treated with utmost sensitivity”.

A termination of appointment of Michael Pilavachi as a director of Soul Survivor was filed on Companies House on April 4.

Soul Survivor’s day-to-day activities will continue to run.