Message from the Chair

I have the great privilege of being the Independent Safeguarding Chair for Leeds Children’s Board (LSCP) and currently in my second year of my tenure. I bring my experience of changing, creating and shifting policy and practice in the lives of the most vulnerable children, young people and adults.

What underpins my role is to provide an independent, objective voice for the LSCP, with effective and productive challenge, ensuring the delivery of its core functions and responsibilities. I really enjoy the part of my role that involves promoting a collaborative approach to ensure that partner agencies cooperate and effectively safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, calling agencies to account when this is not achieved. My approach is to lead open and honest dialogues and this can include having challenging conversations in order to meet our sole objective, being safer outcomes for children.

Throughout my career I have ensured that the voice of those we seek to safeguard inform policy and practice and this continues as at the heart of my role is to ensure that the voice of children and young people is heard through their participation and feedback in all work undertaken by the board and sub-committees. I have just completed my first Annual Report in which we report on areas of good practice and need for further improvements. This includes ensuring that we are progressing in the LSCP priority areas and ensuring that our work links to the plans of other LSCP agencies. I have personally led on the recent priority of Children and Young People and responses to those that witness and/or experience domestic abuse. This has involved leading a number of discussions with partners, including survivors and young people, to identify how we as a city are effectively responding. The responses have been truly engaging and the final report will be shared with the Executive Board and broader partners with an aim of working together on the recommendations from the LSCP review.

My role is supported by The Business Support Unit, a team of dedicated individuals that engage on connecting with partners and seeking assurances, this can be an areas that we have identified or areas of national significance. A priority that we will soon be embarking on next relates to ‘Vulnerable Learners’ and within this priority area I will be leading on seeking assurances for those that are educated at home. This has increased during the pandemic and since, so it is an opportunity for us as a city to take a closer look at this. My role is incredibly rewarding on so many levels and no two days are the same. I came into this role to make a difference and to build on the great safeguarding partnerships and systems that exist in Leeds. The role is about embedding changes to ensure our children and young people are safe and have opportunities to live their lives to their full potential. This for me as a survivor, mother and now grandmother is a vision that I strive for not just for my children but every child in our city.

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