Julie Morgan MS, Deputy Minister for Social Services
Today, I am launching a consultation on proposed changes to introduce the Single Unified Safeguarding Review (SUSR) in Wales.
Whenever any life is lost or is significantly impacted through abuse, neglect or violence, as public agencies, we need to work together to identify what more could have been done to prevent such a tragic incident occurring and what could be done differently in the future.
Historically, devolved, and non-devolved agencies, have had the responsibility of reviewing such tragedies, all of which did so using different processes, procedures, legislation and guidance. These included Adult and Child Practice Reviews, Mental Health Homicide Reviews and Domestic Homicide Reviews. Welsh Government commissioned an academic review and a practitioners review to fully understand the complexities of review processes in Wales. Following these reviews, recommendations were submitted and agreed by Ministers and the SUSR project commenced in December 2019.
Welsh Government needed to understand how these systems could be improved to eliminate the need for families to take part in an onerous and traumatising cycle of information-giving and waiting for the conclusions of multiple reviews. We also needed to ensure once all this important information was accumulated that we used it in every way possible to prevent harm and improve our public services in Wales.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2022, has also introduced Offensive Weapon Homicide Reviews for England and Wales. Statutory Guidance is being consulted upon in Spring 2023 as well as the commencement of three pilot areas in Birmingham, London and South Wales. By working closely with the Home Office, we have agreed that the SUSR can be the vehicle to undertake such reviews, thereby preventing an additional review process in Wales.
Cardiff University, as part of the SUSR project, has developed the Wales Safeguarding Repository which will hold all historical and current reviews. Using computer science and machine learning technologies, the repository will provide unique pan-Wales thematic oversight and learning. The SUSR Coordination Hub, working with Regional Safeguarding Boards will facilitate training and local, regional, national, and international learning. Together these systems will support any changes to practices, processes and cultures which will prevent future harm.
The SUSR is a unique and groundbreaking example of how, through collaboration and co-production across political, organisational and geographical boundaries, we have tackled a complex shared problem and delivered a simpler shared solution. Over 190 stakeholders have been engaged in the design and delivery of the SUSR, all of whom have put the victim, families and communities first and at the heart of this change in approach.
This consultation will help to ensure where any life is lost, or an individual is seriously harmed we do everything we possibly can to identify lessons and insure they are implemented in order to make the future safer.
Further detail about the changes being proposed are set out in the consultation material.
The consultation will be open until Friday 9th June. Feedback from the consultation will be used to finalise the Statutory Guidance document and allow commencement of the new SUSR process across Wales.