I am pleased that I have been asked to write a blog about safeguarding in Barnsley.

I am the Independent Chair of both the Safeguarding Children Board and the Safeguarding Adults Board. Being Independent of the organisations that are members of the safeguarding boards is important; it means that I am not involved in the delivery of services to people so I am able to chair the board in a way that means I do not have a conflict of interest when issues are being debated.

Both boards exist to ensure that partners are working together effectively to keep people safe. As the chair, I am happy to report that all members of the boards show a consistent commitment to working together to do their best to safeguard local people.

The boards have a number of sub groups that lead on specific pieces of work. For example, the Safeguarding Children Board has sub groups that cover: Work Force Development, Performance and Quality Audits, Children with Disabilities and Complex Needs, Policies and Procedures, Child Sexual Exploitation, Child Death Overview Panel, Serious Case Reviews and our most recent group is one that has been formed to look at Neglect as neglect is the most prevalent reason for children to be on Child Protection Plans or taken into care. More detail on the work of the sub groups can be found in the annual report of the Safeguarding Children Board which is available on the web site www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/children-families-and-education/safeguarding-children-in-barnsley/barnsley-safeguarding-children-board/

The Safeguarding Adults Board has two sub groups: Pathways and Partnerships and Performance and Quality Audit.

The boards give considerable attention to performance data but are very interested, not just in the numbers, but also the quality of the services being provided. With that in mind, both boards have a programme of audits that look at case files to see and check the quality of the work being undertaken by staff.

The boards have a wide range of members including Social Care, the Police, Health Service Representatives, Probation Services, Housing, the Voluntary Sector, Education and lay members.

Recent pieces of work completed by the boards include a Neglect Strategy that is owned by the partner agencies, an Anti Bullying Strategy, Operational Guidance for staff working with Adults at Risk and a joint Safeguarding Awareness Week that saw many events being held across the borough to raise public awareness of safeguarding issues.

Whilst the agencies that attends the boards have a particular role in Safeguarding, we recognise and firmly believe that Safeguarding is everyone’s business. We need the public to be aware of safeguarding and to know what to do if they have a concern. The Safeguarding Board web sites hold lots of information that may interest the public, including what to do if they have a concern.

We have started to venture in social media so please look to follow the boards on twitter.

Bob Dyson, Independent Chair of Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board and Safeguarding Adults Board