In November 2016, the University hosted Children Lost in a Fractured System: A Courageous Conversation; an inter-professional panel discussion examining the issues facing the child safeguarding system in the UK.

The panel discussion, hosted by the University of Westminster with Nib Shared Vision, was chaired by Tim Donovan, Political Editor for BBC London News and made up of professionals from across the sector and included a young persons panel to share a wide variety of life stories and experiences from very varied backgrounds, cultures and communities.

The panel warned that a lack of communication and an absence of an integrated approach between different parts of the system, children and young people are being lost in the fractured UK safeguarding system. Major reform is needed in how they can access services in England and Wales the inter-professional panel warned.

The professionals agreed that the system could be improved by joining up communication between the bodies involved; listening to children, young people and practitioners to design and deliver care; giving a bigger weight to prevention; and simplifying the system and the language used.

Karl Donaldson delivers a speech at the Courageous Conversations debate
Karl Donaldson delivers the closing remarks at the Courageous Conversations panel debate

The debate started a discussion that will feed into an advisory position paper due to be published in March 2017. The recommendations for the inter-professional delivery of services are expected to be presented to Parliament.

The panel included Dave Hill, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services; Chief Constable Simon Bailey, Lead for National Chief’s Council on Children and Child Protection; Dr Peter Green, Chair of the National Network for Designated Health Professionals; Stephanie Brivio OBE, Assistant Director for Child Protection for the Department of Education; Westminster alumnus Rex Howling, Family Law QC at 4 Papers Building chambers; and Michelle Lee-Izu, National Director for Projects, England and Wales, Barnardo’s. The young people’s panel provided a clear understanding of what it is really like to be children in the ‘system’. The event was closed by a speech from current psychology student Karl Donaldson.

The full debate is available to watch online. 

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