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July 2021

‘High Vis’ safeguarding

This blog is dedicated to Joan Maughan who steps down as NSAB’s independent chair soon. Thank you Joan for your all your hard work and dedication.

Coming over the crest of a hill while out for a ride at dusk recently, I came across some emergency road repairs with stop / go boards. I could see the workmen from some distance, all dressed in high-vis clothing, shimmering in the half light, like the kids in the Ready Brek ad from the 1970s.

According to a 2011 BBC article How high-visibility took over Britain, high-vis fabric was invented by an American, Bob Switzer, whose ambitions of becoming a doctor ended when he was injured in an industrial accident during the 1930s. While recuperating, he developed a fluorescent paint before fashioning the first item of high-visibility clothing from his wife's wedding dress.

High-visibility clothing first came to the UK in 1964 when it was trialled by railway maintenance workers in Glasgow. The 1974 Health and Safety At Work Act and 1992's Personal Protective Equipment At Work regulations – both of which required employers to guard against potential industrial hazards – ensured its widespread uptake.

Standing out, luminescent, clearly seen … this is the point really.

As I pedalled back that evening, I noticed more people wearing high-vis – delivery drivers, a few pedestrians and of course cyclists. (I have a Proviz REFLECT360 cycling gilet that makes me look like a glow stick).

This notion of ‘standing out’ kicked off a thought … how we can stand out within our practice of safeguarding adults? We can do no worse than emulate some of the qualities Joan has brought to the role of chair in her seven years in post.

As some of the readers of this blog will know, Joan will be stepping down soon (although at the invitation of the Director of Adult Social Services she will continue a little longer in a limited role to finish off some specific tasks linked to the recently signed off Safeguarding Adults Reviews).

Trained originally as a social worker (working for 24 years in social care with people with learning disabilities), Joan quickly became involved in the development of new approaches to service delivery for children and adults with learning disabilities. During her career, apart from working in the statutory sector, she was a Director for services to disabled children for the Children’s Society and a Regional Director for United Response, a voluntary sector provider for adults with learning disabilities focused on providing Supported Living and Day opportunities. All of this shaped and honed Joan’s high-vis safeguarding skills.

Joan chaired her first Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board in July 2014, as the partners were working towards moving the arrangements on to a statutory basis as part of the Care Act. She was appointed to lead the board through this period of key transition. Her encouragement, enthusiasm, drive, challenge (and good humour) has led the board and the wider partnership to where it is now: growing, building its profile and maturing into its vital role for Norfolk.

Since I started working with Joan in September 2015, I have had the benefit of her highly visible leadership at first hand. Her professionalism, commitment, support and when needed her challenge for us to do better, as well as her independence of mind, all stand out. What I take most from working with Joan is her ability to encourage everyone to have safeguarding front and centre in whatever role they have. This notion of encouraging all of us to be highly visible in challenging and acting against abuse and harm whenever and wherever it is found is central to Joan’s leadership, focusing on promoting empowerment and an inclusive attitude.

Joan leaves Norfolk in a much stronger place for safeguarding adults at risk of abuse and harm, and under her skilled leadership we have moved forwards in ways which are positive and collaborative. The process of recruiting a new chair has started and interviews will take place on 7th and 8th July (we have excellent candidates to choose from). Whoever the new chair is can build on the visibility Joan has helped shape.

Thank you Joan.

A new website for a new chapter

As we move into a new chapter of work with a new chair, you may be reading this blog on NSAB’s new website.

I give all credit for this excellent and improved resource to Becky Booth and Andrea Smith from the NSAB Team who, I think you will agree, have delivered something special. They have completely redesigned the website to make it more user friendly, more intuitive, including a search function. Do have a look around it.

One action everyone can then do is share it with a colleague and ask them to have a look too. Thank you.

Walter Lloyd-Smith

NSAB Board Manager

Email: walter.lloyd-smith@norfolk.gov.uk

Tuesday 28 June 2021