13 November 2015
Statement made by Assistant Chief Minister Senator Paul Routier MBE on behalf of the Children and Vulnerable Adults Policy Group, following publication of a child sexual abuse thematic serious case review by the Children's Safeguarding Partnership Board on 13 November 2015.
The thematic SCR considers three families, the learning points from an unpublished SCR into a family of several children plus an earlier published SCR.
First and foremost I would like to say sorry to these children and their families. I would also like to thank them for participating in the SCR process; their insights have contributed greatly to our understanding of what happened and why.
This thematic review, like all serious case reviews, is about being open and transparent. It is not about apportioning blame. Services will not improve if we do not allow people to learn lessons.
The thematic review, which highlights the importance of agencies working together across the whole system, sets out a total of 31 recommendations. These are far reaching and relate to both States of Jersey services, including children's social work, education, the Police, Law Officers and other services, including GPs and voluntary and community sector organisations.
The following actions have already been taken
- in the last 15 months, new senior managers have been brought into children's social work services. They bring with them significant experience of safeguarding children and service improvement. This is enabling change to happen
- new supervision arrangements have been implemented for social workers, paediatricians and Family Nursing & Home Care staff
- the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) established during the period of this review is supporting better referrals and joined up assessment
- the Police's Public Protection unit, alongside the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) are providing for better support in relation to domestic violence and improved management of violent or sexual offenders
- investment is being made into new IT systems in both children's social work and education;
- the Law Officers' Department is working with the States of Jersey Police to ensure that decisions about whether it is right to bring a prosecution are made as soon as possible after disclosure
- a new Regulation of Care Law is to be implemented, ensuring services will be independently inspected and regulated
- the process for referral to CAMHS has changed, helping ensure better access
- a skills development programme covering different aspects of the social work task has been rolled out. New policies and procedures are being implemented
- a new children's services improvement board, chaired by the Chief Minister, has been established. It will scrutinize progress of a 2 year improvement plan and hold the service to account
- we have a multi-agency improvement plan in place developed by the Safeguarding Partnership Board that complements the children's social work improvement plan
- the States have agreed an additional investment of £5.5 million in children's services for 2016. This represents a significant increase in overall budget
- safeguarding training is being delivered for States and non-States agencies, creating increased awareness of child sexual abuse and associated issues such as grooming. This training is now a registration requirement for all Island GPs
- a forensic medical examiners service has been commissioned providing, on request, specialist services within 24-48 hours
Despite all this, it is imperative that our services are held to account. We must learn from any mistakes that may have been made and we must work to deliver all the recommendations set out in this review.
Regrettably child abuse happens in all communities, so we must be prepared to recognise and respond. All services have to be fit-for-purpose, regardless of whether they are run by the States or external agencies. All staff and all professional groups must work effectively together and we must create a new culture; one in which we challenge each other.
I would like to thank all the professionals who contributed to the SCR plus Glenys Johnston OBE, our Independent Safeguarding Chair.