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Lay Members

Working Together 2015 sets out a requirement for all LSCBs to have at least two Lay Members on their Board. As of December 2014, Brighton & Hove LSCB includes five Lay Members representing the local community, and the Safeguarding Adult Board took on their first two Lay Members in early 2017. Lay members are key members on our Subcommittees, they have their own Subcommittee and they take it in turns to attend the Leadership Group and the main Boards.

This allows Board arrangements to be opened up to increased public scrutiny, with an aim of supporting stronger public engagement in, and understanding of, children’s safeguarding issues. It is also motivated by awareness that local representatives can add a great deal of value to otherwise exclusively professional discussions, helping everyone to stay in touch with local realities, and the issues of concern in our communities

To find out more about the role of our Lay Members please see our LSCB Lay Members Induction Booklet or our SAB Lay Members Induction Booklet and read their latest news and reflections below:

Why I wanted to be a Lay Member

“I first heard about the existence of Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards through a course with the Open University. As a parent in Brighton however, I had not heard much about the local board and how it co-ordinates the work of all the agencies across the city to keep our children safe from harm.

I am a great believer that working together on difficult issues is the best way forward. As any member of the public can apply to be a Lay Member, I thought it would be a great way for me to understand more about what is going on across the city to protect children; to listen to what is working well and also to learn from the very real and difficult experiences that children are still facing.

I wanted to use my own life experiences, learning and my perspective as a local working Mum, to bring a fresh look at what is currently happening and to be ready to question what happens next and how to keep going. I also wanted to make good use of some of the skills and knowledge that I have gained from my work in human services and extensive study over the past 20 years. I am self employed now and independent of any organisation. So I can speak freely and challenge the status quo!

My eyes have been opened even within the first couple of meetings to the immense commitment from organisations across the city to change the lives of children who are in need of help and support or that are sadly at risk of harm.”

Impressions from our Child Sexual Abuse & Harmful Sexual Behaviours Conference in May 2015

“I go to a good many meetings and conferences about this and that, often with a sinking feeling, since it is a fair bet that a percentage of the presentations and the speakers are not going to be either informative or inspiring.

I am therefore delighted to report that this event started amazingly with Sue Berelowitz’s keynote address and continued at a very high standard thereafter. Both police presentations were of a high standard, and the lawyer gave us an insight into how complex things can be.  But for me the stand-out session was that which dealt with how professionals elicit information from very young children and help them through the court process – inspiring, uncomfortable and challenging, all at the same time.

A thought for future occasions of this kind – we rightly focus on safeguarding children, but it is clear that in the next decade the Safeguarding world is going to be dealing with a great many adults who will be disclosing sexual abuse suffered in childhood. I have sadly had to deal with many instances of this in 40 years of parochial ministry, and one of the insights I have gained is that victims/survivors of CSA need as careful and sensitive handling as do children whose abuse is more recent. Some in my experience tend to experience an arrest in their emotional development roughly equivalent to the time at which they were first abused. It is salutary to be confronted in a counselling/listening situation by 8 year old emotional reactions from someone who is physically in their 80s.

Perhaps a session or sessions could be arranged around the particular issues in seeking to respond appropriately to those who have this kind of historical story to tell.

That said, and to sum up – a conference for which it was well worth giving up a rare day off!”

Following our March 2015 Board Meeting

“I felt welcome at this meeting – some were a little surprised to see a clerical collar!

The meeting was well run and chaired, and a wide range of topics covered. It seemed that everyone who wished to contribute was given the opportunity to do so.

The use of breakout groups for one item was a good idea, although their arrangement within the space could have been better; there were issues of audibility. The venue is necessarily large but acoustically unfriendly.

I also think that all Lay Members should be able to attend, although not to speak at, all Board meetings.

This would enable us to follow the course of certain items meeting by meeting, and would give us a better idea of the sweep and scope of the Board’s concerns over the cycle of meetings. It would also help us feel more involved and “owned”. The Venue is large enough to accommodate the extra numbers that would be involved, assuming we all attended.”

Following December 2014 Board Meeting:

  • I have been impressed to see such a comprehensive range of services and agencies represented at on the Board and in Sub-Committees – Even better if – a broader range of voluntary sector organisations that are supporting children, young people and families were also represented; if children and young people from a range of heritages and backgrounds were also represented.
  • I have seen a genuine commitment to keeping all children safe in our city, through effective preventative services and in effective responses to risks that children and young people face. – Even Better if – there were clear, shared understandings of what ‘effective’ looks like – useful measures which piece together a picture of a child’s life when they are ‘Safe from harm’ that are relevant for each aspect of a child’s wellbeing (such as, my education, my home and social life, my physical health, my emotional and mental health, my economic situation).
  • I have seen evidence of a significant amount of work going into developing and collating data which shows what activities the Board is coordinating in its work to keep all children safe. – Even Better If – there was a clearer, shared understanding of the purpose of collecting the data