The Chief Minister has today [Wednesday 25 September] officially launched two independent boards which will coordinate the agencies that safeguard and protect Islanders.
The Safeguarding Children Partnership Board (SCPB) is responsible for coordinating the work of the voluntary, independent and States agencies that protect Jersey’s young. The Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (SAPB) has the same responsibility for the agencies caring for anyone vulnerable who is 18 or older.
The SCPB and SAPB will be responsible for:
- identifying issues which expose adults and children to the risk of abuse
- establishing procedures across all the agencies which address those issues
- training staff to work to a set of common standards
- ensuring agencies adhere to those standards
- examining case studies to identify issues
- raising public awareness and giving guidance
The boards are separate and include senior members from each organisation, but are both chaired by Glenys Johnston OBE.
Mrs Johnston said “I am independent and from outside the Island. That is deliberate because it makes it easier for me to question the agencies on the board over their practice and procedures. This is a partnership, and the agencies will be challenged to work together effectively.
“When things go wrong, we will conduct serious case reviews to see what happened and where improvements could be made. We have a no-blame culture, but want to ensure that all the agencies learn if there have been mistakes.”
The SCPB replaces the Jersey Child Protection Committee and has an extended membership; the SAPB is a completely new board.
Improving the way professionals work together
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, said “The Council of Ministers brought responsibility for all safeguarding under the authority of my department in October 2012, and the establishment of the two boards is the next step. Having a single chair for both will be both efficient and ensure there is a link between the two. For example, Mrs Johnston will ensure that in cases of concern involving children or adults, lessons can be learned to improve the way professionals work together.
“We are not simply changing the name of existing bodies, but are bringing them into line with practices which make them more robust.”
While Jersey does not have the legislative framework that governs regional safeguarding boards for children and adults in the UK, every agency is working towards the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which stipulates agreed standards.
Mrs Johnston said “Collectively, the board’s roles are to ensure everyone is following the same protection procedures. By agreeing to the Memorandum of Understanding, they are committing themselves and their departments to the work of the board. Local safeguarding children boards are required by statute in the UK, and the MOU will ensure that Jersey follows similar procedures.
“The UK does not yet have a statutory requirement for boards to safeguard adults; the States of Jersey are emphasising the importance of the safeguarding agenda by establishing the adult board at the same time as the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board.”