Here at Researching Reform, we have been pushing for creative, personalised, child-focused policies for what seems like a lifetime, and it finally looks as if the system wants to push for more common sense and careful approaches to child welfare. Enter Andrew Webb, the President of ADCS, which focuses on National Children and Adults Services.
Andrew gave a speech two days ago, which is now available on-line, to those attending a conference in Harrogate, and it was nothing short of brilliant.
Setting aside his obvious eloquence and acute insight into how to connect and engage, not only with professionals in the sector but also with members of the public who might be exposed to his thoughts and his organisation’s work, Mr Webb treads a beautifully thoughtful line between candid critique of the system and a positive approach to making things better.
But that’s not all. You have to read his speech to understand the sheer intelligence that’s powering the thought-processes in this piece. Mr Webb sees the obstacles the system faces with clarity, and an appealing diplomacy, neither mitigating past mistakes or labouring too long on them, and his message is outstanding: work creatively and collaboratively, look at every part of the system as units of a whole and above all, focus on engaging and supporting children in a meaningful way, by actually creating genuine relationships.
None of this is rocket science, but in a world where too few people seem to understand the potentially enormous impact common sense like this could make, to hear it from senior stakeholders is hugely exciting. Only yesterday did we hear Keir Starmer talking about shaping up the system in relation to child abuse trials and it looks as if these men are part of a growing movement to inject some real brain power into the sector. At least, we hope so, very much.
We haven’t been this awed by a speech for some time – it is a must read, for everyone in the family justice system and beyond. A truly stellar delivery, which will leave you feeling uplifted and more than just a little hopeful that things are getting better.