Ruth Henke QC appointed to Wales’ new National Independent Safeguarding Board

April 05 2016

In today’s announcement, Mark Drakeford, Health and Social Services Minister, said the National Independent Safeguarding Board will work alongside the regional safeguarding adults boards and safeguarding children boards to secure improvements in safeguarding policy and practice throughout Wales. The Board, chaired by Dr Margaret Flynn, has been established under the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

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, Dr Flynn 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 appointed five members to the Board:

• Ruth Henke QC, an eminent lawyer in the protection of children and vulnerable adults;
• Keith Towler, the former Children’s Commissioner for Wales;
• 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.

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.”