COMMISSIONER for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, last week, told the Assembly’s Committee for Health, Personal Social Services and Public Safety that a new Safeguarding Board must be independent.
In her submission to the Committee, Ms Lewsley said that it was important to make sure that the new regional body is given the powers it needs to be effective in strengthening safeguarding arrangements for children and young people.
“The role of the Safeguarding Board is to ensure that statutory agencies and others are working together to protect children to the highest possible standards”said the Commissioner. “It is therefore vital that the Board can carry out its work and speak freely on these issues without interference from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.”
Ms Lewsley, who was a witness in the committee’s clause by clause investigation into the Bill that will establish the Safeguarding Board, also said that legislation must also guarantee the involvement of children and young people.
“It is always challenging to make sure that children and young people can have a say in important decisions that affect their lives, and more challenging when those children and young people have had distressing experiences,” she said.
“However, the new Safeguarding Board must listen to children and young in order that they can give the real and relevant experiences that can inform the Safeguarding Board’s work.”
Notes for Editors:
- The submission to the Department of Health, Personal Social Services and Public Safety's consultation on a Safeguarding Board can be found here
- Submission by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the Proposed Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland (February 2010). This can also be viewed in MS Word format here.
- Submission by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the Safeguarding Board Bill (July 2010). This can also be viewed in MS Word format here.