Chair's blog

On 21st October 2019 I took up my appointment as Independent Chair for the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership. I stepped down as Chief Officer for Karma Nirvana last year and had given great thought to where I would like to go next to make a difference. My experience of working with partners across Leeds has always been one that left me feeling impressed by their willingness to have open and honest conversations and of not being afraid to ‘think outside the box’ to get things done.  Therefore, Leeds and this partnership for me is the right place for me and I remain delighted to be appointed. Taking on a new role requires a period of time to establish; who are the key people and how the partnership is structured, what is the vision and how can I really make a difference? 

So my starting point was my team. As someone whose philosophy has always been how ‘you are only as effective and/or good as your team’ it was important that this was my priority, as they sit at the heart of safeguarding and LSCP business.  This led me to having individual meetings with each member of the LSCP Business Unit to understand everyone’s contribution overall to safeguarding children and young people.  I have to say that I remain in awe of the sheer dedication and commitment of the LSCP Business Unit.

There are lots of ongoing safeguarding initiatives, and the volume of work increases and can often be challenging. I understand how safeguarding in any institution can be challenging and learning lessons often from tragic events is part of the course.  However, I sense a deep commitment and willingness from all partners and the ability to have on-going open and transparent conversations in the interest of prevention and safeguarding to be at the heart of the LSCP.

As a champion of safeguarding I will be working with partners, whilst ensuring that I am also a critical friend by providing scrutiny and challenge. I have plenty of relevant documents and reports to read! I certainly have a better appreciation of the embedded long standing partnerships across Leeds, but know there is plenty to learn.  I am in the process of planning meetings and engagements, and hitting the ground running and as of next month I will be chairing a cross partnership event on contextual safeguarding.

I intend to meet children and young people, parents, faith leaders and to hear the experiences of those who have experienced safeguarding issues, as I feel it is important to hear their perspectives to inform our vision. As someone who was taken out of education aged 15, did not read a book until I was 27, faced many personal life challenges and worked across safeguarding for over two decades, I feel I am in the best place to make a contribution and look forward to working with you all.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE