New chairman appointed to lead Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board

PUBLISHED: 14:57 07 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:57 07 February 2014

A new independent chairman has been appointed to further strengthen Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB).

David Ashcroft, who also chairs South Tyneside Local Safeguarding Children Board and Lincolnshire’s Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership, will take the reins from Colin Chapman.

A spokesman for the board said Mr Ashcroft has considerable experience in working with boards and partners in areas where safeguarding has been judged as inadequate.

Mr Ashcroft said: “Colin has worked tremendously to ensure that the NSCB has strong foundations. The board is now well placed to continue to improve and has strong governance arrangements in place, which will ensure that Norfolk’s agencies are working collectively and prioritising the safety and welfare of the county’s children and young people.

“I am pleased to be joining Norfolk at such an important time and look forward to working with colleagues to make a difference to the county’s children and young people.”

He has 25 years of working across social services, working within councils and for local safeguarding boards. He has also authored serious case reviews in several areas.

He is currently working alongside Mr Chapman, to determine next steps for the board, before Mr Chapman formally steps down at the end of February.

Mr Chapman and Mr Ashcroft will work together in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

Mr Chapman joined the organisation in April 2013 and has used his skills in chairing multi-agency partnerships to bring partners together and ensure stronger oversight of the NSCB’s work.

Having led the NSCB through a governance review, Mr Chapman has decided that Norfolk would benefit from a chairman with more relevant experience in safeguarding.

He said: “Throughout my time as chairman, I have worked hard, using the skills and experience I gained in a totally different career, to make the changes in governance, performance management and culture required by the NSCB so that it can become a truly excellent board, which safeguards children and young people in Norfolk.

“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank NSCB for giving me insight into the work done by many partners and individuals to safeguard and protect children and young people. It is an environment which carries enormous responsibilities, risks and challenges, but which can also bring huge satisfaction. I can only admire and pay tribute to all who give such effort and commitment, and give my most sincere best wishes that Norfolk will successfully meet the particularly difficult challenges it currently faces.”

Mr Ashcroft and Mr Chapman will work together to prepare the initial report for the Department for Education, which is required as part of the directions notice issued to Norfolk County Council earlier this month (January).

Mr Ashcroft will then take over the role of chair.

James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding at Norfolk County Council, said: “David has a proven track record in improving safeguarding standards and we very much look forward to working with him to ensure that the services in place to protect children across agencies continue to improve.

“Colin has done a fantastic job in improving the structures within the NSCB and ensuring that the work is much more child focused. David will be able to pick up where he has left off in ensuring that services are the best they can be for Norfolk children and their families.

“Strong governance is in place in the NSCB and we know that the organisation is better able to scrutinise the work of the County Council and other partners. This is very welcome if we are to ensure that there is greater challenge and transparency in all of the services that work together to protect the county’s children.”

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