Barrister appointed to review Church of England safeguarding board

Barrister Sarah Wilkinson.(Photo: Blackstone Chambers)

The Church of England has appointed a leading public law barrister to review its Independent Safeguarding Board (ISB). 

Sarah Wilkinson, a barrister with Blackstone Chambers, will lead the first phase of the independent review into the ISB.

The review was announced by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, at the last meeting of the Church's parliamentary body, the General Synod, in July. 

It follows the controversial decision made earlier this year by the Archbishops' Council to disband the ISB and terminate the contract of its members.

Ms Wilkinson has been asked by the Archbishops' Council to "establish a clear account of the events from the conception, design and establishment of the ISB until the announcement of the termination of contracts of members, establish and identify the reasons for the action to terminate, and identify lessons to be learned based on the findings".

Wilkinson is a leading barrister who has previously represented the government in judicial review cases.

Her review of the ISB will run until the end of November, with a report into her findings due to be published "as soon as possible" thereafter. 

The Church of England said her findings would inform the work being carried out by Professor Alexis Jay, former chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), who was appointed in July to develop proposals for a fully independent structure to scrutinise safeguarding in the Church.