The Social & Community Development Committee (SCDC) held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, 13 June 2018.

There were two items on the Open Agenda.

The first item proposed changes to the St Helena National Trust Ordinance. The present Ordinance came into force 16 years ago when the Trust had only one fulltime member of staff. Today, there are 24 fulltime staff and six part-time staff and a turnover close to £350,000 per annum. The proposed changes started in 2015 when the Public Accounts Committee recommended a change in the time the Trust would have to complete its annual audit. This presented an opportunity for the Ordinance to be reviewed to ensure it remained relevant to how the Trust has evolved. The changes proposed have been considered by the Trust Council, the Attorney General and other senior officers of St Helena Government. The Trust has also received advice from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a UK based Non-government organisation which has supported the Trust since 2006. Discussions with SCDC started towards the latter part of last year. Following comprehensive consideration and taking into account the views of the Administration, the Committee gave approval for the proposed changes, subject to a final legal check on the draft, to be submitted to Executive Council who will be asked to consider and approve the Bill to be published and listed for consideration at a future formal Legislative Council meeting. In attendance for this item was President of the St Helena National Trust, Mrs Ethel Yon OBE.

The second item was about a Children’s Champion. Recently, this position was incorporated into the law which provides for a Children’s Champion to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Chairman of the SCDC. The current Children’s Champion, Councillor Christine Scipio O’Dean, will not continue in this role. Elected Members were subsequently consulted and Councillor Derek Thomas expressed an interest. Subject to confirmation on his return from the UK that he is prepared to accept, the Committee gave their support for Councillor Thomas to be recommended for appointment as the Children’s Champion. Provision in law for a Children’s Champion can be found in the Welfare of Children (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

For the Closed Agenda, Statistical Commissioner, Neil Fantom, attended for a discussion on the Minimum Income Standard (MIS). The MIS is a shopping basket which is used for adjusting Income Related Benefits and Basic Island Pension. Members sought confirmation and were satisfied that the MIS is fit for purpose based on current SHG policies. The Committee also favoured using, in future, an adjusted food component of the basket following advice from the Dietician as this was in line with SHG policies and uses a broader and healthier selection of items than that previously used.

Safeguarding Director, Matt Ansell, provided an update on Safeguarding which, among other things, included the following:

  • Quality Assurance Consultant, Gavin Thomas,  had completed his review of the Adult Services provision and this has been shared with key members of staff. Based on this, individual service areas have been developing improvement plans for their respective areas. Gavin’s formal report is expected soon
  • Work has continued to establish links with the National Autistic Society (NAS) to support St Helena in developing a specialist service
  • The Directorate is also looking forward to a visit on Saturday, 23 June, by Michael Cotterall (FCO Senior Child Protection Adviser) and Anthony Douglas (CEO of Children & Family Court Advisory Support Services). They will be spending a week on St Helena undertaking an audit of child protection services on the Island.

The Committee thanked Matt for his dedicated work for the Safeguarding Directorate. Matt’s last day will be 5 July, after which Stephanie Jones will become the new Director of Safeguarding. Stephanie, who the Committee had warmly welcomed at the start of the meeting, will take over on 6 July.

The SCDC comprises of voting members Councillors Anthony Green (Chairman), Cyril Leo (Deputy Chairman), Kylie Hercules, Derek Thomas and Gavin Ellick. Non-voting members are the Director of Safeguarding and the Government Economist. The Committee Secretary is Nicole Plato.

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19 June 2018

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470