20 February 2018
Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has today given Chief Executive, Charlie Parker, direct oversight and accountability for Children’s Services.
The Chief Minister took the decision, with the agreement of the Health Minister, Senator Andrew Green, after Mr Parker and the new Children’s Commissioner raised concerns about the pace of change in Children’s Services and the possibility that children may still be at risk.
Mr Parker and the Children’s Commissioner, Deborah McMillan, have been reviewing the current arrangements and have both visited Children’s Services to see for themselves what progress has been made since the publication of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry’s report.
Their assessment was that while Children’s Services have come a long way since the Care Inquiry report, there was still more to do. However, the pace of change was too slow and children may still be at risk.
Senator Gorst said: “There can be no more important duty for us as a government than to protect the welfare of vulnerable children. It is clear that while progress has been made in reforming Children’s Services, the pace of change is still too slow, and it needs firm and committed leadership to pick up the pace of improvement.
“I have therefore given the Chief Executive of the States direct oversight and accountability for Children’s Services, in order to ensure that our Island’s children get the quality of care they deserve.”
Ministerial accountability for Children’s Services remains with the Minister for Health and Social Services.
Mr Parker has considerable experience of leading improvements in children’s services in his previous roles. The service he ran in Westminster jointly with Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham councils secured the only ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted, and the service that he ran in Oldham was rated among the top six in the country.