Editor’s note: The college at Oxford is, of course, Christ Church and not Christchurch. I have not corrected this error in the ISB’s statement.
The website of the Church of England’s Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) was finally launched yesterday.
Today the ISB has published a statement saying that it was pausing its review into the quality of earlier safeguarding investigations at Christ Church. This is copied below.
A statement from the ISB
The ISB has upon invitation from the Diocese of Oxford and the Archbishops Council agreed to undertake a review into the quality of earlier safeguarding investigations at Christchurch. A copy of the published TOR is available here. A call for evidence has gone out and a timetable published. To date ISB has not started a qualitative review of the submitted evidence. The current constitution of the ISB, with the Chair currently stood down, places considerable additional capacity restraints on the limited resources of the ISB. The wider ISB work undertaken to date is in part set out in the newly launched website.
The question of independence is quite rightly a regular challenge to the ISB. The ISB does not currently operate as a stand-alone separate legal entity and this is something actively under consideration ahead of embarking upon the second phase of the ISB’s work in developing a pathway to embedding long lasting independent scrutiny and oversight of safeguarding within the COE.
The ISB is aware that other independent Reviews into Christ Church have been concluded and as such the ISB wishes to analyse those reviews to determine whether the ISB can usefully add to the body of independent work completed to date when weighed against the ISB’s finite resources and its current workload particularly directed towards the survivor community.
For these reasons the ISB has decided to pause the work on the Review pending consideration of other ISB priorities and the extent to which the ISB can usefully add to the work carried out by others and recommendations made.
One of the very clear functions of the ISB is to hold the COE to account for implementation of safeguarding best practice. To the extent the ISB endorses the recommendations made independently by other responsible bodies relating to Christ Church, they will seek assurance that those recommendations are implemented.
Independent Safeguarding Board
[The review’s terms of reference are attached to the statement.]