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Ministers Welcome Williamson Report into Child Protection

04 July 2008

The Ministers for Health and Social Services, Home Affairs and Education Sport and Culture, have all welcomed the publication of the Andrew Williamson Inquiry into Child Protection in Jersey. They are delighted the report has given the island’s child protection service a clean bill of health, but accept there is room for improvement.

The Assistant Minister with responsibility for Children’s Services, Senator Jim Perchard, is pleased the Inquiry found no evidence of institutional or systematic abuse of children, and he and his Minister are now firmly committed to implementing the report’s recommendations as soon as possible.

Senator Perchard said - “I am pleased that Mr Williamson’s investigations found the service is safe for children and young people in States of Jersey children’s homes today.

“This is excellent news for both the staff and the users of the service. Mr Williamson worked on the report with Peter Smallridge CBE, and liaised with the chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee, Professor June Thoburn. He said his visits showed that the managers and staff involved in the direct provision of residential services for children are competent in their work and keen to demonstrate high standards of care. He has assured us that staff provide a good service for children and young people who require care and support.”

There will now be a three step approach to implementing the Andrew Williamson Inquiry recommendations.

  • The first step will be to ensure all staff involved in providing these services, whether in States departments or the voluntary sector (like Family Nursing and Home Care and Brig-y-Don) have access to the report, are clear about the nature of its recommendations and have the chance to comment on the way forward.

  • Next the Minister for Health and Social Services will charge his Assistant Minister with responsibility for Children’s Services with the task of submitting a report to the Council of Ministers by the end of July. This will outline a broad implementation plan, with input from the Ministers of Home Affairs and ESC, as well as senior managers and professional leaders of the relevant services. The Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee, June Thoburn, will be centrally involved in this work.

  • The third step will be to formulate a detailed plan which analyses the resource and staffing implications of the proposed changes, and sets the timescale for completing the task. This implementation plan will also draw heavily on the knowledge and professional opinion of the three Ministers, senior managers and leaders from across the public and voluntary sectors. This plan will be completed in October 2008.
It’s hoped this programme of work will ensure changes are made promptly, but with thorough examination of their implications.

Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Senator Jim Perchard on 07797 719355.

The inquiry was commissioned by the Council of Ministers in August 2007, who decided a full review of childcare services in Jersey was necessary in response to allegations about shortcomings in the service by the then Health and Social Services Minister.

Andrew Williamson CBE and Peter Smallridge CBE have been appointed by the UK Youth Justice Minister, David Hanson, and the Children's Minister, Beverley Hughes, as co-chairs of an independent review of restraint in juvenile secure settings. The review encompassed policy and practice on the use of restraint across a range of juvenile secure settings, including Secure Training Centres (STC), Secure Children's Homes (SCH) and Young Offender Institutions (YOIs).

Andrew Williamson CBE was the Director of Social Services at Devon County Council for ten years. In 1992 he was invited to join the Criminal Justice Council for its first three year term and he is also a former Honorary Secretary of the Association of Directors of Social Services.
In April 2000 he was appointed Chair of the North and East Devon Health Authority and in April 2002 became the Vice Chair of the South West Peninsular Strategic Health Authority. He has also worked for the Department for International Development, establishing standards and inspection processes for children's services in Eastern Europe. He has worked in various local authorities in England and Wales helping to improve services for children and older people.
He is currently Chair of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly NHS Trust.

Peter Smallridge CBE has been Director of Social Services for Warwickshire and Kent, and is currently chair of Kent and Medway NHS Trust. He has also worked as Interim Director of Social Services in the Isle of Man. He has worked previously with Andrew Williamson in roles in the UK and in Eastern Europe, and he has served as President of the Association of Directors of Social Services.

They both have considerable experience of participating in and chairing reviews in the NHS and in Social Services.

Professor June Thoburn CBE, Emeritus Professor of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, was the Founding Director of the UEA Centre for Research on the Child and Family and is internationally recognised as a researcher and commentator on most aspects of child welfare services for vulnerable children.
She has been awarded four major Department of Health grants and is the author of many highly regarded books and articles on family support, child protection, foster care and adoption.
Professor Thoburn was awarded the CBE in 2002 for services to social work, in recognition of the relevance of her research and academic writing to government policy.

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