It was revealed two weeks ago – on the first anniversary of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry – that Ofsted investigators had found that while no children were at risk of immediate harm they were still being failed by the Island’s care system.
At the time, the Council of Ministers pledged that a new improvement plan would be in place within a fortnight which would set out the urgent actions that need to be taken and state how, when and by whom they would be carried out.
The plan, which was announced this week, has been built around five key areas: a stable and high-performing workforce, early help and prevention, placements, improving families’ journeys through the system and performance quality and risk.
It has been described as a ‘dynamic’ plan by Children’s Minister Sam Mézec.
To ensure the improvement plan is implemented on time there will be a series of high-level meetings to scrutinise its progress, the government said in a statement.
Weekly progress meetings will be held with senior officials including the Director General of Children, Young People, Education and Skills, the group director of Children’s Services and an independent improvement consultant.
Meanwhile, an Improvement Board, which will meet every quarter and be jointly chaired by Chief Minister John Le Fondré and Senator Mézec, has been set up. And an Operations Board that will meet monthly to focus on ensuring immediate actions are being carried out has also been established.
Senator Mézec said: ‘It is crucial that this plan has strong governance to ensure actions are delivered within agreed timeframes.
‘As part of improving the lives of children in Jersey, it will be critical to get the whole system working together. Services for children are not good enough and progress to remediate this has been too slow for too long.
‘We have responded promptly to the early feedback from Ofsted, ensuring a clear focus on what needs to be done, who will do it and when it will be carried out by. This is captured in this dynamic improvement plan, which sets out the actions to be taken and also, importantly, considers the impact that this will have on children and families.’