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Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services

First published:
11 February 2016
Last updated:

This was published under the 2011 to 2016 administration of the Welsh Government







The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act introduced the biggest transformation of Social Services in Wales for over 60 years.

Part 7 of the Act sets out a new legal framework to strengthen safeguarding arrangements so people at risk can be protected more effectively. It ensures local safeguarding agencies are supported by more robust leadership and a stronger, more effective framework for multi-agency co-operation.

To achieve a more coherent leadership, the Act establishes a new National Independent Safeguarding Board, consisting of a chair and up to five members.

The national board is an advisory body which will work alongside safeguarding adults boards and safeguarding children boards to secure improvements in safeguarding policy and practice throughout Wales. It will play a key role in advising Ministers on matters concerning safeguarding in Wales.

In August 2015, my officials began an open public appointments exercise for a chair and members of the board. There was significant interest in the appointments.

Following the appointments process, I am delighted to announce the appointment of the chair and members of the National Independent Safeguarding Board. They bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge from a variety of backgrounds. Collectively, they demonstrate the ability to be firm advocates of adult and child protection, drawing on personal experience of safeguarding issues.  



Key among the national board’s responsibilities will be its relationship with the safeguarding boards and the wide range of safeguarding agencies which support the safeguarding boards to protect adults and children from neglect and abuse. To achieve this, the legislative framework underpinning the functions of the national board require it to meet with safeguarding boards twice a year and to hold annual consultation events at least once a year with those affected by arrangements to safeguard adults and children in Wales.

I am sure the national board will make a real contribution to ensuring we do all we can in Wales to prevent children and adults at risk in Wales from suffering abuse and neglect.


Dr Margaret Flynn

Margaret brings a wealth of experience from her work in social care, the voluntary sector and teaching and research. Margaret has direct experience of chairing a safeguarding board and more recently has led the review of Operation Jasmine into the neglect of older people living in care homes in Wales.


Simon Burch

Simon has recent experience of leading and managing practitioners to support people at risk of abuse or harm with a particular focus on domestic abuse and violence against women and the development of safe and fulfilling relationships.

Ruth Henke QC

Ruth is an expert in the law relating to adults and children and has acted on behalf of local authorities, health boards, parents and relatives, incapacitated adults and children.

Jan Pickles OBE

Jan is an experienced social worker and has worked in the third sector, the probation service, the police, government and NSPCC. Jan led the development of the multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC), which makes victims and children who experience domestic and sexual violence and abuse safer. This is now a national model.

Rachel Shaw

As a qualified nurse, midwife and health visitor, Rachel brings significant health experience to the national board. Rachel has contributed to practice reviews as both a reviewer and as a panel chair.


Keith Towler

Keith was the children’s commissioner for Wales between 2008 and 2015. A respected children’s rights expert, he has more than 30 years’ experience in social work, youth work and justice roles. Keith was a member of the Welsh Government’s National Children’s Safeguarding Forum as well as a panel member of the Family Justice Review.

These appointments began on 1 February and will be for an initial period of three years. They were made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.