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Margaret Flynn to chair Wales’ new National Independent Safeguarding Board

This press release was published under the 2011 - 2016 Welsh government

Dr Margaret Flynn has been appointed the chair of a new national board to oversee the work of protecting adults and children in Wales, Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.
Thursday 11 February 2016

The National Independent Safeguarding Board has been established under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. It will work alongside the regional safeguarding adults boards and safeguarding children boards to secure improvements in safeguarding policy and practice throughout Wales.

Dr Flynn has a wealth of knowledge of adult safeguarding. She undertook the serious case review into the physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour at Winterbourne View Hospital in south Gloucestershire.

In December 2013, she was commissioned by the First Minister of Wales to undertake a review of the neglect of older people living in care homes in Gwent, investigated as Operation Jasmine.

The Minister has appointed five members to the board:

  • Keith Towler, the former Children’s Commissioner for Wales
  • Ruth Henke QC, an eminent lawyer in the protection of children and vulnerable adults
  • Simon Burch, a former director of social services at Monmouthshire Council
  • Jan Pickles OBE, programme director at the NSPCC
  • Rachel Shaw, designated nurse, safeguarding children at Public Health Wales.

The chair and board members were appointed by Welsh Ministers through an open public appointments process.

Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“The new National Independent Safeguarding Board will play important role in ensuring we have the right policies and initiatives in place to safeguard children and adults across Wales.

“I am therefore very pleased to announce the appointment of Margaret Flynn as the first chair of the new board. Margaret has a wealth of knowledge of adult safeguarding, and I’m delighted we have secured someone of her calibre to be the board’s first chair.

“I’m also pleased to appoint Keith Towler, Ruth Henke, Simon Birch, Jan Pickles and Rachel Shaw as members of the board. Each will bring a broad range of experiences and expertise to the board.”


Margaret Flynn

Margaret Flynn is the independent chair of Lancashire's Safeguarding Adults Board and the joint editor of the Journal of Adult Protection (with Bridget Penhale). Since chairing the Steven Hoskin Serious Case Review, Margaret has chaired and written several reviews addressing the deaths of adults with learning disabilities and of adults with mental health problems. These considered cruelties such as torture, sexual humiliation, coercion, theft and suicide as well as murder and separately, self-neglect. She wrote the Winterbourne View Hospital serious case review with Vic Citarella. In December 2013, she was commissioned by the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones to undertake a review of the neglect of older people living in care homes investigated as Operation Jasmine.

Keith Towler

Keith Towler is the former Children's Commissioner for Wales. His career began in South Glamorgan County Council's social service department, and then in youth justice. He became head of crime reduction charity NACRO Cymru in 1998 and in 2001 was appointed NACRO's director of crime reduction. In 2006 he became the programme director for Save The Children Wales, and chair of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for Wales. He was appointed Children's Commissioner for Wales in March 2008 following Peter Clarke’s term in office. He was succeeded by Dr Sally Holland in 2015.

Ruth Henke QC

Ruth Henke was appointed to the Queen’s Counsel in 2006 and is recognised as a leader in the field of the protection of children and vulnerable adults. She regularly appears in the high court and county court in sensitive and complex Children Act proceedings (both public and private law) and in proceedings brought under the inherent jurisdiction.  She appears in the administrative court in relation to education and the provision of services both to children in need and to vulnerable adults. Ruth has a significant court of protection practice.

Simon Burch

Simon Burch recently retired from the role of director of social services in Monmouthshire where he was accountable for all children’s and adult safeguarding issues and also served as the inaugural chair of the South East Wales Safeguarding Children Board.

Jan Pickles OBE

Jan is a qualified and registered social worker who has worked in government, the third sector, the probation service and the NSPCC. Jan was awarded an OBE in 2004 for her work on developing multi -agency responses to domestic abuse risk assessment and management across the UK. From 2006, Jan chaired a partnership model for the management of sexual violence in the establishment of Cardiff and the Vale sexual assault referral centre with its radical intelligence sharing model. Jan was awarded a First Minster Recognition Award for this work in 2010.

Rachel Shaw

Rachel Shaw is a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Health Visitor and has worked all her career with children young people and their families. She is currently a Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children working for the Safeguarding Children Service, Public Health Wales. She is a member of the North Wales Safeguarding Children Board and Vice Chair of the Regional Child Practice review group. She has extensive experience of multi agency working and of undertaking Child Practice Reviews and Serious Case Reviews and will bring a wealth of knowledge from the health sector.



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Health and social services 11 February 2016 Legislation Legislative programme Programme for Government - Healthcare Programme for Government - Supporting People Mid Wales North Wales South East Wales South West Wales

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