Following the nomination of Frances Oldham QC to chair the committee of inquiry into historical abuse 2 members are also being nominated to serve on the committee alongside her.
Subject to the approval of the States, Alexander (known as Sandy) Cameron CBE and Alyson Leslie will serve on the committee. Sandy Cameron is a retired Director of Social Work who also spent 7 years after his retirement as Chairman of the Parole Board for Scotland. In addition to his direct experience of residential child care as a social worker from 1969 he has worked throughout his career to improve the quality of residential care for children and has been instrumental in several initiatives to improve training and research in this area. Alyson Leslie, of the University of Dundee, is one of the UK’s leading child protection experts who has chaired and advised on some of the most difficult cases of abuse and child fatalities over the past three decades, including an inquiry in the Isle of Man in the 1990s. She has also undertaken a number of Serious Case Reviews and undertaken work on the contribution families and victims can make to reviews. In addition she has drafted procedural guidelines for the conduct of public inquiries that have been widely used in the UK.
Sandy Cameron and Alyson Leslie were selected to serve on the committee following interviews held in the UK by a selection panel comprising Frances Oldham QC, Michael de la Haye (Greffier of the States), Belinda Smith (Senior Legal Counsel – Child Protection at the NSPCC) and Ed Marsden (Verita).
Michael de la Haye said “The selection panel was delighted to be able to identify Sandy Cameron and Alyson Leslie to serve on the committee. Both have directly relevant experience in relation to the terms of reference and I am sure they will make a significant contribution to the inquiry’s work. Sandy Cameron explained to us at the interview that he had first been involved in placing a child in residential care in 1969 and he therefore brings vast experience of child care practices throughout the period that will be covered by the inquiry. In addition we considered that his 6 years as Chairman of the Parole Board in Scotland, where he had to assess huge amounts of paperwork and sit in a quasi-judicial capacity to hear conflicting evidence, have provided him with experience that will assist him greatly as a committee member. Alyson Leslie has significant experience of procedures for public inquiries but, more importantly, she has been directly involved either as Chair or as an Advisor in a number of extremely difficult and challenging public inquiries involving child abuse and child fatalities. She has a strong reputation for being independent and impartial and chaired a major inquiry in the Isle of Man in the 1990s. We felt that this experience of conducting an inquiry in a small island community was particularly relevant for the Jersey inquiry.”
Frances Oldham QC said “I intend to do all I can to ensure that the inquiry in Jersey is conducted in a way that encourages victims of abuse and other witnesses to come forward and give evidence in an atmosphere of trust so that we can produce a clear, evidence-based, report at the end of the process. When recruiting the 2 committee members to sit with me I was determined to find people who not only had the relevant skills and professional background but who also shared my vision of the way in which the inquiry should be conducted. It became very clear during the interviews that both Sandy Cameron and Alyson Leslie’s proposed approach to the inquiry was in line with my own and I am sure that their personal style and manner is exactly what is required to create the correct non-adversarial atmosphere for the inquiry. All 3 of us are available to start the inquiry early in 2014 and once our appointments have been ratified by the States Assembly we will be meeting to begin making plans”.
The nominations of Frances Oldham QC, Sandy Cameron and Alyson Leslie must be approved by the States and the Chief Minister will be lodging the necessary proposition so that the appointments can be considered by the Assembly in December.
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