25 November 2019
The Social & Community Development Committee (SCDC) held three meetings in November 2019.
The first meeting took place on 4 November where the Social Security Review Recommendations were further discussed and the Committee agreed the majority of the recommendations. Further work will be progressed over the coming weeks.
On 7 November, the following proposed legislation was approved by the Committee to be presented to Executive Council for endorsement. These were:
- Criminal Justice (Fixed Penalties) Bill 2019 – this legislation will create a Fixed Penalty Notice regime. At present most offences are dealt with by way of a criminal prosecution or a police caution. Fixed Penalty Notices will provide for minor offences to be treated as civil penalties and can be used to avoid a criminal record for the offender
- Police and Criminal Evidence (Amendment) Bill 2019 – currently all offences are recorded by Police and subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 are detailed as part of criminal record checks. This legislation will introduce a distinction between recordable and non-recordable offences
- Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Application) Order 2019 – the aim of this order is to prevent residents of St Helena being unduly penalised for previous offending. It will also modernise the law.
On Wednesday, 13 November, the regular monthly meeting took place and included the following items:
Equality & Disability legislation – work will continue to identify the precise legislative requirements to protect the vulnerable and disabled people in society.
The Committee was happy to welcome back Lynval Thompson who previously came to the Island to deliver the Corporate Parenting training and to help with the Fostering campaign. Lynval was introduced to the Committee in his new position as Senior Social Worker (Children’s Services).
The Committee agreed for the Information Bill to remain on hold until the full impacts of introducing this legislation are fully understood. It is hoped to secure funding for technical assistance support for Freedom of Information (FOI) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was endorsed by the Committee. This is a legally binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the child regardless of race, religion or abilities and includes the right to life, survival and development.
The Committee endorsed two Threshold Documents for Children and Adults Social Care (C&ASC) which covers various aspects of risk protection and provides guidance on the thresholds for social care interventions. These documents have been uploaded to the Government website and can be accessed via the C&ASC Directorate page: https://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/directorates/social-care/
The proposed options for charging for care at the Princess Royal Community Care Centre (CCC) were considered and discussed by the Committee but further work is to be undertaken on these options and the public will be kept updated.
The Committee was pleased to note the positive shifts in the C&ASC Directorate which included the development of services and adequate staffing levels throughout the Directorate and improvements in maintenance and renovations to the CCC which are ongoing.
The Social & Community Development Committee were voting members Councillors Anthony Green (Chairman), Cyril Leo (Deputy Chairman), Derek Thomas and Gavin Ellick and Non-Voting Members, Director of Children and Adults Social Care, Tracy Poole-Nandy and Deputy Chief Secretary, Gillian Francis. The Committee’s Secretary is Nicole Plato.
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25 November 2019