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December 2021

Wanted: safeguarding ‘ecosystem’ builders

Recently I have been asking myself this question – how can we build a ‘social movement’ against abuse and harm?

If asked, the vast majority of people would say that abuse and harm of another adult or child is morally and ethically wrong, something which has no place in a modern society. Most people would say that abuse of another person runs directly against their values and beliefs, and that it must be opposed.

If that is so, why are we seeing a rising number of safeguarding concerns being reported to the local authority, particularly since the end of the lockdown? Of course, the reasons for abuse are many and complex, but it will be rooted in an exploitation of power.

Some might say this will always happen, it is not possible to change it … but I don’t agree. Movements have changed many things for the better and I thank Helen Bevan for sharing a report on Twitter which caught my eye.

Making Change: What works? from the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Runnymede Trust (UK’s leading independent thinktank on race equality and race relations) sets out the what the most effective movements for social change have done to do just that ... change the world.

This very insightful and compelling read opens with the following:

‘Throughout history, loosely organised networks of individuals and organisations have sought changes to societies – and won. From the abolitionist struggle and campaigns for voting rights to #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, the impact of movements can be seen everywhere’

The report sets out five ‘insights’, all of which speak directly to building a social movement against abuse and harm. One which particularly caught my eye was – Build an Ecosystem of Influence. It’s a great way to think about our Local Safeguarding Adults Partnerships.

In a previous role I supported one of the LSAPs as its chair. Being relatively new to safeguarding adult work, this was to prove a valuable opportunity to

  • enhance my understanding, knowledge, confidence and skills on safeguarding
  • connect to different organisations / services
  • establish new working relationships with a wide range of colleagues (who helped with safeguarding questions and other things besides)
  • open the door to play a greater role in the board’s work
  • help me deliver my role within my own organisation, including how to shape its safeguarding culture
  • make a difference in a very tangible way
  • and raise the profile of my own organisation in the ‘ecosystem’

Our LSAPs sit at the centre of what we are trying to achieve and are led by outstanding colleagues – Simon & Laura, Steven, Sue & Lynn and Nina & Katherine. Our work and support to the LSAP has been significantly improved and tightened since Becky Booth has been in post as NSAB Deputy Board Manager. LSAPs are now working with a much greater focus and structure in our locality partnerships, benefiting from themed topics linked to our strategy. It all helps build safeguarding ecosystems of influence. At the next board meeting in January 2022, one of the lead items for the board will be actions to further support and strengthen our LSAPs.

While being a chair or co-chair for an LSAP is an extra ask, you get back many more benefits – new skills, a unique personal development opportunity (with evidence), and the chance to make a solid difference for the better. LSAPs can draw in a diversity of groups, which as Making Change: What works? explains, give us the advantage of simultaneously pushing for change from different angles and perspectives: to target multiple and different leverage points, using different methods.

So, if this is making you think … ‘I am up for playing a part in my ecosystem of influence for safeguarding adults in Norfolk!,’ give me or Becky a call, and we can tell you more. We are looking for a chair and co-chair for the Western LSAP (King’s Lynn & West Norfolk) and a co-chair to work with Steven (South Norfolk).

Come and help build our safeguarding ‘ecosystem’, be part of making that change.

Thank you.

Walter Lloyd-Smith
NSAB Board Manager
Email: walter.lloyd-smith@norfolk.gov.uk

Monday 06 December 2021