Independent Safeguarding Board

The Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) has been beset with difficulties since its inception in 2021. The Chair stepped back following several complaints about data breaches, and finally resigned in recent weeks. An interim Chair has been imposed upon the other two members without consultation and in contradiction to the ISB’s stated Terms of Reference.


House of Survivors met in recent weeks with the two remaining members of the ISB alongside two others and were disturbed to hear that the ISB members were not invited to inform the process by which the new Chair was chosen.

We also heard that the ISB had shared wider concerns with the Secretary General of Archbishops Council, including their call that survivors should be given greater consultation. The ISB members presented a paper to Archbishops Council which included their findings from survivor engagement. However, the ISB have been told that they cannot consult with survivors at this stage about Phase 2 of the ISB. Their phone-line was removed last year and has not been replaced, despite recognition by ISB members that this line is crucial for survivors.

House of Survivors has encouraged the two, including the Survivor Advocate, to make a formal report to the following bodies:

  • Archbishops Council
  • Lords Spiritual
  • Church in Parliament
  • Church Commissioners
  • Charity Commission

If the Church of England will not allow the ISB to develop a pathway of genuine independent scrutiny without the deployment of smoke and mirrors, and abandonment of the ISB’s Terms of Reference, then those manipulating the agenda must be challenged. The various bodies that make up governance of the Church must face up to the problem. The ISB should not be subservient to any shadowy apparatus of reputation management from within Church House.

House of Survivors supports the ISB as they continue to develop narrative wisdom, deepen insight into the needs of survivors, and gain confidence in tackling the powers that are trying to block scrutiny.

*Update January 2024* – House of Survivors are conscious that there is a significant gap below in the latest extensive news surrounding the ISB.  HoS is deeply personally affected by the extraordinary events that have unfolded.  We will add to this section as soon as possible. 

The article links below are listed in chronological order, to follow the timeline from the first (top) to last (bottom).

Proposals on NST independent oversight published
Feb 2021, Church of England

Synod members hear significant changes planned for church safeguarding
Feb 2021, Church Times

Independence & Safeguarding: Marking Our Own Homework?
Mar 2021, Via Media

Chair and survivor advocate appointed to Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board
Sept 2021, Church of England

Chair and survivor advocate appointed to Independent Safeguarding Board
Sept 2021, Church Times

Final member of Church’s Independent Safeguarding Board appointed
Jan 2022, Church of England

C of E safeguarding yet to come good, says new Independent Safeguarding Board
Feb 2022, Church Times









Safeguarding and the Search for Independence
April 2022, Surviving Church


Nye backs Independent Safeguarding Board for Oxford review
June 2022, Church Times

General Synod digest: next safeguarding steps warmly agreed
July 2022, Church Times

Information Commissioner’s Office upholds survivor’s complaint against chair of ISB
July 2022, Church Times

Statement on ISB from lead safeguarding bishop
Aug 2022, Church of England

Independent safeguarding chair steps back after second data-breach
Aug 2022, Church Times

Church of England apologises after Independent Safeguarding Chair told to stand down over data protection breaches
Aug 2022, Premier Christian

Independent Safeguarding Board puts Christ Church review on hold
Oct 2022, Church Times

Ex-Christ Church Dean ordered to pay Independent Safeguarding Board costs after court case
Oct 2022, Oxford Mail

Prof Martyn Percy to pay £4,500 in legal fees after attempts to sue CofE safeguarding board failed
Nov 2022, Premier Christian

Treat abuse survivors as people, Independent Safeguarding Board tells Church
Nov 2022, Church Times

ISB working party will oversee implementation of church safeguarding pledges
Jan 2023, Church Times









Disputes undermine effectiveness of the Church’s Independent Safeguarding Board
Jan 2023, Church Times


Independent Safeguarding in the CofE. ‘When you give, let go’. Martin Sewell explains
Feb 2023, Surviving Church

Review of Dean Percy case will not be conducted by Independent Safeguarding Board
Feb 2023, Church Times

Will General Synod be allowed to debate the Independent Safeguarding Board?
Feb 2023, Surviving Church

Member’s motion to tackle exclusion of Independent Safeguarding Board from Synod
Feb 2023, Church Times

ISB remains off the Synod’s agenda despite members’ concerns
Feb 2023, Church Times

Chair of Independent Safeguarding Board resigns with immediate effect
Mar 2023, Church Times

Independent Safeguarding Board chairman resigns
Mar 2023, Anglican Ink

Independent Safeguarding Board: Even more Confusion?
April 2023, Surviving Church

Church sexual abuse victims reject ‘very cosy’ watchdog
April 2023, Sunday Telegraph

Church of England ‘obstructing its own safeguarding panel’ as calls grow for new chairman
April 2023, Sunday Telegraph

Church of England accused of ‘obstructing’ Independent Safeguarding Board
April 2023, Premier Christian

Independent Safeguarding Board seeks to extricate itself from the Church of England
April 2023, Church Times

Independent Safeguarding Board settles case with Martyn Percy and calls for urgent review
April 2023, Premier Christian

Archbishops defend appointment of Meg Munn as acting chair of Independent Safeguarding Board
May 2023, Church Times

Independent Safeguarding Board serves dispute resolution notice to Archbishops’ Council
May 2023, Church Times