18 July 2018
The Council of Ministers has approved an improvement plan to tackle the failings in how Jersey cares for and protects children and young people in the island.
Two weeks ago, on the first anniversary of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, officials pledged that a new Improvement Plan for children’s services would be in place within a fortnight, which would set out the urgent actions to be taken, with clear accountability and timescales for how, when and by whom they will be carried out.
Ministers agreed the Improvement Plan today, as well as to the formation of an Improvement Board, to be jointly chaired by the Chief Minister John Le Fondré and the appointed Children’s Minister Senator Sam Mézec, and for regular independent inspections of children’s services to be carried out.
The urgency of the Improvement Plan follows early feedback from Ofsted, which said while there was no evidence to suggest that, from the casework examined, any children were at risk of immediate harm, progress in improvement had been too slow and that children’s services and the wider public service are still failing children.
Commenting on the new Improvement Plan, Senator Mézec said: “Two weeks ago, on the first anniversary of the Jersey Care Inquiry, we said that we would take swift action to address the continuing failings of our care and protection of children and young people. Ministers have today agreed an Improvement Plan for children’s services, which will direct action to tackle the most urgent priorities.
“It is crucial that this plan has strong governance to ensure actions are delivered within agreed timeframes. As part of improving the lives of children in Jersey, it will be critical to get the whole system working together. Services to children are not good enough and progress to remediate this has been too slow for too long.
“We have responded promptly to the early feedback from Ofsted, ensuring a clear focus on what needs to be done, who will do it and when it will be carried out by. This is captured in this dynamic Improvement Plan, which sets out the actions to be taken and also, importantly, considers the impact that this will have on children and families.”
In order to ensure improvement across all areas, the Improvement Plan is built around five key areas:
- stable and high-performing workforce
- improving the child and family journey
- early help and prevention
- performance quality and risk
To ensure the improvement Plan is being implemented on time and by the right people, there will be a series of high-level meetings to scrutinise and challenge the progress and delivery of the plan.
- a weekly progress-checking meeting will be held with a group of senior leaders comprising: Director General, Children, Young People, Education and Skills; Group Director for Children’s Services; Assistant Director for Children’s Services; Chair of Operational Board; and an Independent Improvement Consultant
- a new Improvement Board will meet quarterly and will be jointly chaired by the Chief Minister John Le Fondré and the appointed Children’s Minister Senator Sam Mézec and attended by other senior leaders, States Members and the Children’s Commissioner
- a new Operations Board will be formed, which will meet more frequently (monthly) and will focus specifically on ensuring that immediate actions are being delivered