26 October 2010
In the past year, inter-agency work to protect vulnerable children has been strengthened by the achievements of the Jersey Child Protection Committee, the annual report by its independent chair shows.
Following a year in which the JCPC’s serious case review resulted in an independent review of inter-agency services and subsequent action plans, Mike Taylor’s report lists a number of successes including new procedures for complaints about inter-professional issues in child protection cases, revised multi-agency child protection procedures and delivering more than 200 hours of training to professionals in agencies dealing with child protection.
The JCPC has also made a major contribution to making the Williamson Implementation Plan a reality, particularly in multi-agency child protection services. The JCPC has received regular updates on these service developments and Mike Taylor has worked closely with Andrew Williamson and been part of the reporting to the Children’s Policy Group on their delivery.
The States of Jersey Child Protection Committee is the key mechanism for agreeing how organisations in Jersey (statutory, independent and voluntary) work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in Jersey, to ensure the effectiveness of what they do.
Mr Taylor’s annual report for 2009-2010 and plan for the next 12 months is the first since the JCPC’s serious case review into family A in March this year. Mr Taylor says the planned investment in an Independent Reviewing Officer Service and new health-related services for looked-after children are both constructive responses to the findings of this serious case review. Both these initiatives are funded through the Williamson implementation budget.
The JCPC has been involved in the development of the first Children and Young People’s Plan for Jersey and an Independent Board of Visitors for Jersey Children’s Residential Services. The chair has also responded to a Scrutiny report into services for vulnerable children and one of the JCPC’s 7 sub groups has trained retail staff selling computer equipment in Jersey to help parents understand the risks of their children using the internet.
“A recommendation within the Williamson Report to contract the services of an inspection agency is being implemented,” adds Mr Taylor. His report states that the preparatory work for an inspection programme to be undertaken by the Scottish Social Work Inspection Agency, together with the response to its conclusions and recommendations, will be a significant part of the JCPC’s work for the next 12 months.
“While there is still a great deal to be done, and our Forward Plan reflects this,” he says, “I have much confidence in the basis which has been established, which demonstrates constructive challenge and the grasp of the benefits of inter-agency work. I am impressed by the commitment of all working with the JCPC through its Sub-Groups and what has been delivered is proof of this.”
The JCPC’s successes over the past year have been achieved despite a difficult period with no defined budget. The breakthrough came in September 2009 when it moved to offices at Overdale and had confirmation of a sufficient operating budget in excess of £200,000 – the majority of which is funded from money allocated to implement the findings of the Williamson report into child protection services in Jersey.
Last month the JCPC held its first major conference in Jersey for several years, entitled ‘Our Children, Our Future’ which Mr Taylor described as “a significant contribution to raising the profile of the JCPC and stimulating inter-professional debate”.
The JCPC’s priorities for the coming year include placing more emphasis on its ‘safeguarding’ role and increasing representation of the voluntary sector and children and young people in the JCPC.
Read the JCPC annual report 2009-2010 (government and administration section)