Fairness Commission sponsor

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

“I know many people are afraid of what public service cuts may mean for them and their families. There are difficult choices to be made, and real debates to be had about what is the best way forward. You can judge how healthy a society is by how it treats the poor and vulnerable. I am pleased to sponsor this independent Commission which seeks to make
expert recommendations based on need rather than political aspiration. We need to ensure that no-one is left behind."

“This Commission will take a three pronged approach looking at Well-Being, Access and Work. Let us make every part of the city of York a fantastic place for all citizens to live, with a real wow-factor, where all of us choose to participate.” 

John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu was born into Uganda's Buffalo clan on the 10th June 1949. He is the sixth of thirteen children. Encouraged in his education by English missionaries and teachers, he graduated in law from Makerere University, Kampala and is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. He practised Law both at the Bar and at the Bench before he came to the UK in 1974.

He read theology at Selwyn College Cambridge where he gained a Masters Degree and a Doctorate. He trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, then part of the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. Following his ordination in 1979 he served as Assistant Chaplain at Selwyn College, Cambridge. From 1979-1982 he was Chaplain at HM Remand Centre Latchmere House and Curate of St Andrew's, Ham in the Diocese of Southwark. From 1982-1983 he was Curate of St Paul's Church, Herne Hill, in South London and from 1983-1984 Priest-in-Charge at Holy Trinity, Tulse Hill and Parish Priest of St Matthias Upper Tulse Hill. He then became Vicar of the joint benefice of Holy Trinity and St Matthias from 1984-1986. Between 1987 and 1989 he was also Priest-in-Charge of St Saviour Brixton Hill. He was appointed Bishop for Stepney in 1996, Bishop for Birmingham in 2002 and Archbishop of York in 2005. He is Primate of England and Metropolitan, a member of the House of Lords and a Privy Councillor.


From 1997 to 1999, Dr Sentamu was Adviser to the Stephen Lawrence Judicial Inquiry and he chaired the Damilola Taylor Murder Review, 2002. He has been the chairman of the NHS Haemoglobinopathy Screening Programme since 2001. He supported and advised workers affected by the closure of the Rover car plant in Birmingham and campaigned against guns, knives, drugs and gangs throughout the Midlands, after the killings of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare and worked hard to ensure that their killers were brought to trial. Between 2002 and 2004 he was Chairman of the EC1 New Deal. He became President of Youth for Christ in 2004 and President of the YMCA in April 2005.

Dr Sentamu is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). His interests include music, cooking, reading, athletics, rugby and football. He is married to Margaret, and they have two grown-up children, Grace and Geoffrey and two grown-up foster children.

York Fairness Commission

What the Commission is doing now

The Commission formally completed its work in September 2012 with the publication of its final report: A better York for everyone. City of York Council has taken lead responsibility for delivering our recommendations.

York Fairness Commission