Although we are near the end of January can I wish all our members a very Happy New Year and every encouragement to keep safeguarding for children at the heart of all our work in 2018.
This will be a challenging year, and we need to ensure that we are not distracted from making sure that children are protected and kept safe, while we deal with the new arrangements for safeguarding partnerships. As an Association we will try to make sure that we continue to highlight the issues that affect children as well as respond to the debates about the future of LSCBs and the future shape and purpose of the Association.
My thanks to all those who contributed to the highly successful national conference that we held in November. Your feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and I sensed a great deal of common purpose and determination from all partners to be ambitious for children, and for us to continue to speak truth to power about the impact of austerity, the growing demands on our statutory services, and the risks of dismantling multi-agency arrangements without a clear sense of what will succeed them.
It was great to hear about the continuing innovation in ways of working that are being developed by Boards around the country- really asking some profound questions about what difference we make for children. As we outline in this Newsletter we will continue to share new ideas and emerging practice as this is available. We learnt about how different local solutions are being developed to make sure that we have proportionate, focused and affordable structures in place.
The contribution of many Board and Business Managers was a really important part of the conference, reflecting the reservoir of knowledge and experience that we have in these staff. AILC wants to make sure that we continue to support staff and will be exploring how we can extend membership and involvement for all those who champion safeguarding.
I will be writing very shortly to Chairs and Partnership with our Membership Offer for the coming year. We are not increasing rates, and in a year of transition I would strenuously urge both individuals and partnerships to continue your commitment and support for the Association. We can only play an effective role and engage with other partners at national, regional and local level if we have a viable basis of subscribing members. I believe there is much greater recognition with colleagues from health, police and local authorities that our network needs to be part of the coalition developing future arrangements – but we can only do that if sufficient boards continue to subscribe. We are a network that needs diverse views and alternative thinking – we are not a closed shop to protect existing structures – and please use all your powers of persuasion and influence to ensure that we get the tangible support that will allow us to sustain what we can do.