On 28 April 2023, the Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) issued the Press Release Statement: Percy -v- Independent Safeguarding Board Case Resolved, extracts of which are reproduced below.
Statement: Percy -v- Independent Safeguarding Board Case Resolved
The Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB) is pleased to announce a settlement in the case brought against it by Professor Martyn Percy, the former Dean of Christ Church Oxford.
Professor Percy brought the claim following his request to the Archbishops’ Council and Diocese of Oxford that there should be an independent review of the alleged weaponization of safeguarding by individuals and agencies within Church of England perpetrated against him. The Archbishops’ Council and Oxford Diocese decided to commission the ISB to conduct this review. However, Professor Percy challenged the restricted terms of the draft terms of reference set out by those commissioning the review and the previous Chair of the ISB. In the event, the court dismissed the claim brought by Dr Percy against the ISB, in part because all parties agreed that the ISB was not a legal entity against which such a claim could be brought.
At the heart of the case is the need for a rigorous review of the processes and practices of the Church of England alongside other developments at Christ Church. The ISB consider that the original review’s published terms of reference would have needed significant amendment to ensure that any independent ISB review had sufficient scope and depth.
While the ISB’s review could have made progress, the absence of an Information Sharing Agreement with the Church of England significantly hampered the continuation of the work. The review was initially paused and then discontinued by the Archbishops’ Council which decided that it should be conducted by some other person. That individual has yet to be agreed. The ISB urges the Archbishops’ Council to act with urgency to ensure that an independent review is commissioned. Professor Percy’s assertion that such a review should be led by a KC or Judge has significant merit and is one with which the ISB concurs.
ISB members met with Professor Percy, on a without prejudice basis, and had a very constructive meeting. The ISB has agreed to drop any enforcement of a costs order made against him. Professor Percy thanked the ISB for its work and has undertaken to co-operate with it as it develops its approaches to the scrutiny and independent oversight of Church of England safeguarding.
Professor Percy praised the two ISB board members for their “independence, thorough determination, and undoubted commitment to ensuring that the Church of England’s safeguarding policies and practices are scrutinised and properly held to account, in line with the original aims and objectives of the ISB in response to IICSA. Proper independence in safeguarding is now an urgent matter. For example, setting up a fair and impartial Redress Scheme, which could draw on the superior modelling already practised in other parts of the Anglican Communion.”
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