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Safeguarding Board publishes 2013 annual report

08 August 2014

The independent chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board (SPB) has released the organisation’s annual report for 2013, together with the priorities and business plan for 2014 and 2015.

The report is the first to be released by Glenys Johnston OBE, who was appointed as Independent Chair when the SPB was established in early 2013. The SPB brings together the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the newly established Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board.

Mrs Johnston said “2013 was a challenging first year. However, despite financial constraints and the growing demands of safeguarding, the boards have made significant progress in establishing a structure within which all agencies can work together to safeguard Jersey’s most vulnerable residents and ensure that everyone can have confidence in that protection.”

During 2013, the SPB has:

  • agreed a Memorandum of Understanding which commits signatories to improving safeguarding practice in all aspects of their work
  • progressed the safeguarding training programme
  • established the Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board
  • set up a task group addressing child sexual exploitation, in response to local concerns.

Mrs Johnston said that the partner agencies that come together on the SPB had also worked together to introduce the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) as a single contact point for the public, families or professionals to discuss child safeguarding concerns, as well as establishing the Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), which considers the risks to victims of domestic abuse.

In addition to the continued work of training and sharing best practice, the SPB has responsibility for the management of Serious Case Reviews.

These reviews are conducted in cases where a child or adult dies or is seriously harmed and there are concerns about how agencies or professionals have worked together.

“We are committed to reviewing what has worked well and what, if anything, has gone wrong through the Serious Case Review process. There is also a determination by the boards and their members to implement learning from those reviews,” said Mrs Johnston.

During the course of 2014 and 2015 the SPB will continue to develop the framework now in place to ensure that safeguarding arrangements are maintained and continue to improve.

Priorities and business plan for 2014 and 2015

The SPB priorities for 2014 and 2015 are detailed in the business plan and include:

  • development of core training for adult safeguarding
  • introduction of a MASH for adult safeguarding
  • development of the SPB website
  • development of a multi-agency Child Sexual Exploitation strategy
  • implementation changes in response to learning from serious case reviews and inquiries, performance information, research, legal and policy developments.
  • increased public understanding and awareness of the Safeguarding Partnership Board.

“In the report, I have also highlighted specific areas of concern. These are challenging issues and some involve only very small groups of people. However, the commitment of agencies and the board now mean that they have been recognised and will continue to be actively addressed,” she said.

Independent Chair's recommendations

The challenges identified include:

  • a need for improved performance, monitoring and evaluation
  • addressing a lack of co-ordinated early help services to support children and families to avoid later significant harm and intervention
  • the need to improve knowledge and expertise in the identification and diagnosis of child sexual abuse and the processes for managing concerns
  • the level of domestic abuse that detrimentally affects the lives of too many children and adults and the lack of an up-to-date domestic abuse strategy
  • children and young people who go missing and are vulnerable to abuse and sexual exploitation
  • the rise in self-harm and suicide in young people and the pressure this places on all services, especially Child and Adolescent Mental Health services
  • the resources to support young people with complex emotional, behavioural and psychological needs as they become young adults
  • the alcohol consumption rates of adults and the lack of an up-to-date alcohol reduction strategy.

Mrs Johnston said “Effective safeguarding is dependent on the quality and co-ordination of those people who are in direct contact with children, young people, adults, families and carers and I have been impressed by the commitment of everyone I have worked with here. Safeguarding is ‘Everyone’s Business’. Whether you are a professional, a parent, a carer or a neighbour, you must refer any concerns you have about the protection and safeguarding of children and adults.

“I believe that people in Jersey are better safeguarded than they were and, through the work of the SPB and, with the support of the Chief Minister’s Department, politicians and all organisations, this improvement will continue.”

The Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Paul Routier, said “I am pleased that this report highlights the progress that has been made to improve the safety of vulnerable islanders, and that all the professionals involved in this work share a strong commitment to effective safeguarding.

“I am confident that with the support and guidance of the Safeguarding Partnership Board, States departments and our partner agencies can continue to work together to tackle all the concerns raised by Mrs Johnston. We will provide every support we can to continue to improve the safeguarding of islanders.”

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