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Stephen Livings Profile  – Chair of Clifton Diocese Safeguarding Commission

I served as a police officer for over 30 years in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary retiring in 2001 as Chief Superintendent the District Police Commander for South Bristol. Prior to that I had been a Detective Superintendent (Senior Investigating Officer) within the Force CID.

Throughout my police career I have been involved in Child Protection (Safeguarding) and was a member of the Bristol Multi-agency Area Review Panel assessing children on the ‘At Risk’ Register in the South Bristol area. I headed the Constabulary Family and Child Protection Teams (1991-1997). During this time I was a member of the 5 Unitary Area Child Protection Committees (Counties within Avon and Somerset). I was also the chair of Bristol Drug Action Team for 3 years 1999-2001. My role was to work in partnership with the other professional agencies

I was a member of a multi-agency National working group researching how the Sex Offender’s Register could work practically by identifying high-risk offenders and making recommendations to the Home Office on multi-agency risk panels with consideration to the risks posed. I then provided lectures though the Local Government Association and Law Society groups on this subject and the wider area of Child Protection.

I was a founder member and Director of the Childsafe Charity set up by Avon and Somerset Constabulary providing advice to sport and leisure clubs in child protection issues.

In a voluntary capacity I chair the West of England Business Council supporting the work of the Duke of Edinburgh Award for the 16-25 year age groups in the greater Bristol area encouraging the use the Award as a personal development scheme. I am a Director and Trustee of the Greenhouse (Bristol) formerly known as Avon Sexual Abuse Centre (ASAC) providing support services and free counseling to people who suffered from sexual abuse in childhood.

The Bishop of Clifton has recently appointed me as the Independent Chair of the Clifton Diocese Safeguarding Commission.

The Safeguarding Commission is a partnership, which includes statutory and non-statutory partners with the sole purpose of achieving continual improvements in practice that safeguards vulnerable people in our Diocese. I was delighted take up this voluntary post in August this year especially with Louise Gordon as Vice Chair who has a wealth of experience in dealing with vulnerable adults. I am struck by the clear commitment of everyone to improve outcomes for the vulnerable.

Our current challenges are varied, and have arisen from our learning during previous years and from other Dioceses and I would like to highlight in particular the work of our volunteers, the parish representatives who act as the ambassadors for safeguarding. They are the backbone of ensuring our mission to create a safe and nurturing environment.

I am keen to take forward the work of the Commission, which needs to:

• Improve how we engage with the community we serve, learning from their experience how to improve our work. To that end I am proposing to develop a 3-year plan and will consult widely before publication.

• Develop our systems to assure ourselves that they are as efficient and effective as they can be.

• Continue to develop our understanding of when a safeguarding response is the most proportional one to address an allegation or concern.

• Look at victim care and how we approach this whole area.

• Ensure we continue to have the right partners around the table at the Commission.

• Fulfill our commitment to preventative work to ensure our staff, clergy and volunteers receive the appropriate training.

Alongside our current challenges, we need to recognise that in particular the safeguarding adult landscape is ever changing, and this will bring us new challenges.

On a personal note, I would like to express my appreciation to all those who have welcomed me into my role, and I look forward to supporting the Commission in taking forward these issues during my term of office.