The Goddard inquiry
If you didn’t notice, the Goddard inquiry got underway on 7 July. Well, it’s actually called the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA) but that is a bit more difficult to say, so Goddard will do.
The five inquiry panel members are each leading workstreams with Ivor Frank taking on national and private service organisations. Health falls in this category. The workstreams are informed by 3 simultaneous projects: research, national truth and public hearings. Most of the panel’s work will probably start in earnest next year.
When Justice Goddard spoke on 7 July she challenged NHS organisations to ‘review your files, records and procedures voluntarily and to take the initiative to self-report instances of institutional failure…..Above all, review your current safeguarding policies to make sure that they are consistent with best practice, and take whatever steps you can to provide a safer environment for children now.’
The inquiry has major implications for the health service. Organisations that aren’t yet preparing for it ought to do so. The NHS Jimmy Savile investigations posed a major challenge when the allegations surfaced in 2012 but we completed and published most of them under two years later. Goddard is an altogether different prospect – far bigger, more complex, covering a longer time period and involving all present day NHS organisations and their predecessor bodies. The reputation of the NHS depends on how we all respond.
Perhaps the single most important task in response to Goddard is to ensure your organisation’s safeguarding arrangements are up to scratch. Kate Lampard and I recommended this in our Savile lessons learnt report earlier this year. It is not too late to check if you haven’t yet done so.