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Former Secretary to IICSA John O'Brien joins Crest Advisory’s inquiries and reviews practice

Careers blog


Wednesday 10 May 2023

John O’Brien CBE, who served as Secretary to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), has joined Crest Advisory as a Senior Associate following his retirement from the Civil Service.

As Secretary to the IICSA from 2015-2023, John had overall responsibility for its administration and governance, including the creation of the ground-breaking Truth Project, which took accounts and suggestions for change from more than 6,000 survivors of childhood sexual abuse across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. He also managed the Inquiry’s pioneering shift to virtual public hearings during the Covid-19 pandemic. John was awarded a CBE in 2023 for his services to child protection.

Before his secondment to Inquiry, John was Director of Safeguarding at the Home Office, with responsibility for policy on public order, public risk and safeguarding and public protection. He was previously Director of the Criminal Records Bureau and oversaw the development of a police intelligence-sharing database following the recommendations of the Bichard Inquiry.

John will bring unique experience of leading programmes of work involving vulnerable or traumatised people or safeguarding issues as Crest continues to grow its public inquiries and independent reviews practice and provides consultancy on justice, policing and public safety challenges across the UK.

He said:

“I’m really pleased to be joining Crest’s team of specialists who work on inquiries and reviews as part of the organisation's wider commitment to justice, policing and public safety. I know how much they care about helping inquiries to build trust and confidence in their work and I’m looking forward to being part of their work in this area.”

Harvey Redgrave, Chief Executive, said:

“We’re delighted that John has chosen to help us expand the range of support we provide to public inquiries and independent reviews, and to provide our clients with the benefit of his expertise and experience in tackling some of the most difficult and sensitive policy issues in justice, policing and public safety.
“He brings unique insights into the critical role leadership, governance, and information-sharing play in safeguarding practice and policy and will help us to develop the solutions policing and the justice system need.”

Crest Advisory’s inquiries and reviews practice has supported seven statutory and non-statutory public inquiries with engagement, communications and analytical support.

It provided policy, research and communications support to Baroness Casey of Blackstock’s independent review of standards and culture at the Metropolitan Police and to her review of disorder at Wembley Stadium during the Euro 2020 final on behalf of the English Football Association.

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