The St Helena Safeguarding Children Board is pleased to report that the majority of registered Crèches and Childminders on the Island have successfully passed the necessary inspections required to renew their registration for providing child care services on St Helena.

Inspections ran from 26 April to 13 May 2016 and, during this time, all registered crèches and childminders were visited by a Senior Social Worker and Social Care Officer to assess provision of child care providers and application of all current safeguarding, welfare & wellbeing, and general health & safety procedures. Alongside this, the St Helena Fire & Rescue Service visited the same properties to ensure that fire & safety procedures were also in place.

These inspections were recommended by the Wass Inquiry (2015) and were progressed as a collaborative process between the St Helena Safeguarding Children Board, Children’s Services and crèches and childminders. This was also an opportunity for those caring for children to ask any questions or raise any concerns they might have with staff from Children’s Services.

Children’s Champion Councillor Christine Scipio O’Dean said:

“All children attending a crèche or childminding facility should feel secure and safe while they are away from their home environment – this plays an important role in their development before joining school.”

A presentation will take place soon to present crèches and childminders with their well-deserved registration certificates.

SHG

24 June 2016

The meeting today was held in the Governor’s Office while the Council Chamber is undergoing some much needed refurbishment. The Governor welcomed Members and in particular Councillor Gavin Ellick who was standing in for Pamela Ward Pearce and Councillor Mike Olsson who was standing in for Lawson Henry.

The first item on the Open Agenda was the extension of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Governor expressed the view that this treaty, which had been ratified by the UK a number of years ago, was an important tool in protecting the rights of women. All Members agreed that the Convention should be extended to St Helena.

The Attorney General then introduced a Draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning closer co-operation between the Governments of British Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and the UK Government – to facilitate the joint sharing of information for the purposes of more effective safeguarding of children. The AG explained that this document had been proposed by the Falkland Islands Government at a recent Attorney Generals’ conference and had also been raised at the Joint Ministerial Conference in the UK in late 2015. This MOU encourages all signatories to exchange information and learning from their operations. It was acknowledged that recent experience in St Helena was valuable to other Territories and that we could all learn from each other. It was also acknowledged that there was a great deal of information sharing already happening. Council agreed that St Helena should sign this MOU.

The Financial Secretary then introduced a request from Saint FM for financial assistance. Members had approved a similar request in July 2015 and in anticipation of the media review report – which is expected shortly – agreed to extend further requested funding to Saint FM for this financial year to the value of £15,000. Members recognised the value of Saint FM to the community of St Helena.

ExCo then agreed to adjourn the consideration of Social Security Regulations and the Road Traffic Regulations papers, as more work was needed on both these issues.

The final item on the Open Agenda was the St Helena Capital Programme Performance Improvement Plan. Members acknowledged the relatively poor performance of the capital programme over recent years and welcomed the plan to improve this. It was noted that the plan was in two parts – governance & assurance and project delivery.
Members were also eager to reassure the public that work is continuing on some of the larger projects in the programme such as the Prison at Sundale, the new Fire Station at Alarm Forest, the water storage projects at Harpers III and Hutt’s Gate, sewerage for Half Tree Hollow and Jamestown, Phase 1 of the Rupert’s Development Project, Rockfall Mitigation work and the R2 project for Side Path and Field Road.
All of these projects now have firm timescales and all delivery partners are committed to meeting their targets during 2016. The targets relate mainly to the development of robust designs and consultation where appropriate, including on applications for planning permission. It was recognised that the timescales for some projects are challenging, but failure to deliver was not an option.

The projects would be supported through better governance and assurance measures and consideration would be given to setting up a new Major Projects Support Unit to deal with the capability and capacity issues being experienced by some delivery partners.

In the Closed Session Members were advised of the current progress on exploring options to ensure continued access to St Helena. There had been some significant progress in identifying suitable aircraft and air service operators, although there is no immediate solution available. This work will take some time, and in the meantime the continued use of the RMS is being explored. It is hoped that an announcement on the favoured access option for the immediate future will be made soon, although this is very much dependent on the outcome of a range of discussions currently under way. Naturally, we maintain close contact with colleagues in DFID and with aviation experts who have been contracted to undertake some of this the work.

ExCo
31 May 2016

Governor Phillips with Public Works Team
Governor Phillips with Public Works Team

Last week Governor Lisa Phillips continued her programme of getting to know the staff and operations of SHG, with a visit to the Environment & Natural Resources Directorate.

Governor Phillips met staff at the Public Works Yard and Essex House for discussions about housing and property, maintenance, planning and the marine environment. At Donkey Plain she met with the entire Roads Team who were gathered for a ‘toolbox’ talk, and then went up to meet the staff at the Government Garage who were busy at work with repairs to a wide range of vehicles.

The last leg of the visit was to Scotland to meet staff there and discuss forestry, agriculture, bio-security, fisheries and environmental management.

The discussions with staff were quite informal and enthusiastic, with one member of the team remarking that this was the first time a Governor had ever been to Donkey Plain!

The Governor has expressed an interest in going out again soon, to see first-hand some of the good work being delivered on the ground and see for herself the challenges to be addressed in the coming years. This will also give her a chance to meet some of the staff who missed her last week.

Governor Phillips commented:
“It was great to meet the men and women who take care of St Helena – including the roads, cars, housing, waste, environment and many more areas besides. I thanked them for their valuable contribution which is often unseen by the rest of the community.

Governor-Phillips-with-Roads-Team-photo-by-Darrin-Henry.jpg
Governor-Phillips-with-Roads-Team-photo-by-Darrin-Henry.jpg

“Coming new to the Island, it has struck me how well maintained the Island is given the limited resources we have. And, although the state of the roads features regularly at the Constituency meetings that I’ve attended, in my humble opinion, the roads actually seem pretty good thanks to the hard work of the Roads Team.”

Two photos are attached to this release.

SHG
31 May 2016

Reminder

The public is reminded that the 2016 Provisional Register of Electors for St Helena was published in an Extraordinary Gazette (No. 50) on Monday 23 May 2016. Members of the public now have just 10 days to make any amendments to the Register.
The public can apply to amend the Register if they would like to add or remove their name, remove the name of someone who has died or left the Island, correct the name of someone who has married, change an Electoral District or change an address on the Register.
To register, persons must:
· Be over the age of 18 years with St Helena as their ordinary place of residence
· Have St Helenian status or be the spouse or life partner of a person who has such status.

The 2016 Provisional Register of Electors can be found on the SHG website at http://www.sainthelena.gov.sh/government-gazettes/ and hard copies can be inspected between 9am and 12.30pm and 1pm and 4pm on any day (except Saturdays, Sundays, or public holidays), at the Office of the Registration Officer, The Castle, Jamestown.
Copies will also be available, during the respective normal opening hours, at the following locations:
• Customer Service Centre, Jamestown
• Public Library, Jamestown
• ENRD Offices, Scotland, and
• Rural sub-Post Offices.

Copies can also be obtained from Assistant Registration Officers, Gina Benjamin and Desmond Wade, and from the Officers listed below:

HTH – Karen Yon, Michelle Yon, Connie Johnson
Jamestown – Robert Essex, Alicia Thomas, Olive Williams
Longwood – Paula Moyce, Christina Henry
Levelwood – Ronald Coleman, Pamela Joshua
Sandy Bay – Alfred Isaac, Anita Legg
Blue Hill – Elizabeth March, Georgina Young
St Paul’s – Alfreda Yon, Jackie Moyce

On Ascension, Assistant Registration Officer Gerrilyn Crowie, and the office of the Ad­ministrator will also hold hard copies.

Applications for additions or changes to the Register must be made in writing on the correct form (available at each inspection venue), although applications may be made by letter. Applica­tions can be delivered directly to the Registration Officer at The Castle, or handed to an Assistant Regis­tration Officer. The deadline for applications is 4pm on Wednesday 8 June 2016.

If your name is not on the Register you will not be able to stand or vote in any upcoming General or Bye-Election.

The final Register will be published on Friday 1 July 2016 and will be used for the Bye-Election to be held in August/September 2016

Further information about registering and making amendments can be obtained from Assistant Registration Officer, Gina Benjamin, at the Castle on telephone 22470 or via email at: gina.benjamin@sainthelena.gov.sh
SHG
30 May 2016

Executive Council met today, Tuesday 15 December 2015, with two items for discussion on the Open Agenda.

The first item sought approval for an Application for Development Permission to erect 16 polytunnels, buildings to house a tractor and equipment, and toilet block facilities, in the Ex-ADA Fields, Longwood.  ExCo approved the Application with five conditions as recommended by the Land Development Control Authority.

The second item sought approval to introduce Dark Skies legislation, prior to public consultation on this matter. ExCo supported the idea of having legislation and recognised the value to the Island in being able to achieve Dark Sky status. ExCo also recognised the need for specialist support in drafting the legislation and, once drafted, for this to be subject to public consultation.

The meeting concluded at 10.15am.

ExCo

15 December 2015

The second round of Calibration Flights is planned to take place between Sunday 13 December and Sunday 20 December 2015.  The calibration flights are essential to calibrate navigational aids at St Helena Airport in order that Instrument Flight Procedures can be flown safely.

The calibration tests will be undertaken by Flight Calibration Services Limited who will travel to St Helena on an aircraft leased from TAB in South Africa.

Whilst final confirmation on timing is still awaited, the aircraft is expected to arrive on the afternoon of Sunday 13 December, subject to suitable weather conditions and other factors.

Further updates, particularly on the timing of the flight, will be provided in due course. Interested members of the public are asked to listen out for radio updates.

Vantage Points and Vehicles

The same arrangements will apply as for the first calibration flight on 15 September.  The public is therefore reminded that there is no public access to the Airport Site.

Members of the public will be able to view the landing of the aircraft from vantage points at Millennium Forest, Horse Point and Bradleys.  Other vantage points, such as Woody Ridge, will be available – but there will be no traffic management at those places. The public is therefore asked to take extra care when driving to and parking at other vantage points on the Island.

Basil Read has granted permission for part of the Access Road, normally closed to the public, to be used as part of a one way system on the day to alleviate congestion. To approach the vantage points below, vehicles will be allowed through Longwood Gate and through to Bottom Woods. To return, vehicles will be directed past Reggie’s Takeaway at Bottom Woods, along the Access Road, through to Foxy’s Garage at Deadwood and then back to Longwood Gate (See attached map).

The entrance to Fisher’s Valley will be closed to all traffic other than residents.

Bradley’s Camp/Garage Area

 

  • The Airport site will remain off-limits to the general public.  A barricade will be in place just before the turning to Bradley’s Camp to mark the area that is out of bounds.
  • A viewing area before the barricade will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

 

Millennium Forest

 

  • A good view can be had from the Millennium Forest. There will be limited parking available.

 Access Road

 

  • Exceptionally, parking will be allowed on this day on the left hand side of the Access Road from the area of Reggie’s Takeaway at Bottom Woods to the barricade at Bradley’s. Vehicles should be parked sensibly to facilitate emergency vehicle access to the Airport and the Waste Management Facility at Horse Point.

 Horse Point

 

  • On the day, Horse Point will only be accessible on foot – this is to protect Wirebird nests and other endemic species from accidental damage. A barrier to vehicles will be in place along the track that leads to Horse Point, just past the Waste Management Facility.
  • Limited parking will be available at the Waste Management Facility itself, but all vehicles will need to vacate the site by 3pm on Sunday 13 December. The Waste Management Facility will be secured at this point and will reopen to the public on Monday 14 December.
  • The public should be mindful that Horse Point is an environmentally sensitive area and care should be taken when moving around that area.

 

SHG

10 December 2015

Thursday 10 December 2015

St Helena Government (SHG) today welcomes publication of the Wass Inquiry Report into Allegations Surrounding Child Safeguarding Issues on St Helena and Ascension Islandwhich follows an independent and comprehensive review of claims relating to child abuse on St Helena and Ascension Island carried out by Sasha Wass QC and the Inquiry team.  The team visited St Helena and Ascension Island in March of this year. The report was published at 09.40hrs today in the UK Parliament, by means of a Written Ministerial Statement by Minister for the British Overseas Territories James Duddridge. Both the statement and the report can be viewed on the FCO website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/484129/51735_Wass_Inquiry_Web_Accessible_PDF.pdf

SHG acknowledges and reaffirms the independence and credibility of this Inquiry – which received its full support and cooperation – and accepts the report’s recommendations.  Executive Council welcomes today’s publication of the report as an essential step towards securing St Helena’s good name.

At this early stage, we note in particular the following broad findings and recommendations:

 

  • The report refutes the claim that child abuse is endemic on St Helena.  It states: ‘The Inquiry Panel found no evidence that child abuse was either endemic or routine’
  • Nor was there a cover up or corruption. The report ‘found no evidence of corruption in the St Helena Police Service, the St Helena Government, the FCO or DFID. Nor was there any evidence of a cover up, as suggested to the public.’
  • The report finds that media headlines in 2014 were sensational and ‘gave a totally misleading and distorted view of the people of St Helena and of the institutions that serve them.’
  • The report acknowledges that child sex abuse does happen on the Island, as in any country in the world
  • The report highlights serious management failings on St Helena going back many years and makes various recommendations, including on recruitment, handovers, induction and training – which SHG accepts and has started to implement
    • The report notes poor standards of facilities, including at the Hospital, CBU and Barn View.  In this context, SHG notes the Ebony View development, and the refurbishment of the Hospital and Barn View
    • The report found no evidence of police corruption or paedophilia on Ascension Island
    • The report notes that attention needs to be given to the travel needs of St Helenians living on Ascension Island post-RMS, although this has recently been overtaken by the selection of Comair to provide an air service between Ascension Island and St Helena
    • The report observes that an anomaly in the jurisdiction between St Helena and Ascension Island relating to the sentencing of offenders to community orders needs to be dealt with.  This will be one of a number of priorities
    • The report recommends that ‘no further reports should be requested by either the St Helena Government or the FCO without first determining whether the area of concern has been dealt with previously by an earlier study.’

Significant progress has been made in safeguarding on St Helena over recent years and months, including the creation of a new dedicated Safeguarding Directorate, improved care facilities, extra specialist staff, and better training for those working with children.  All of this is bringing strong results in case management, protection, investigations and successful prosecutions.

We will continue to work closely with FCO and DFID to ensure we do all we can to protect children and the vulnerable. We know that there are concerns about abuse, as there are in any community, but solid progress continues to be made in improving our safeguarding capabilities.

In conclusion, SHG and the UK Government take all accusations of child abuse extremely seriously and we are committed to ensuring that victims are heard and protected. Child abuse is a scourge that is totally unacceptable, but it is not unique to St Helena. Much safeguarding work was underway here before the Inquiry was established and has been carried out since the team departed the Island – but there is clearly more to be done.

Of course, it would be naive to think that Government can tackle all of this alone. Everyone on St Helena and Ascension Island has a responsibility to work together to help to protect the vulnerable in our community and anyone with information that would assist the authorities is urged to come forward in confidence.

SHG will now study the report’s findings in detail and in response will develop a plan of action and timetable, working closely with all stakeholders. With the Wass Inquiry recommendations on which to build, we will benchmark our delivery against UK standards and continue to strive for further improvements on St Helena, including beyond the scope of this Inquiry.

A copy of the Inquiry report will shortly be made available on the SHG website, and hard copies will be placed in the Public Library, the Human Rights Office and the Public Solicitor’s Office.

Note for Media: A press conference will take place this afternoon at 2pm in the Governor’s Office at the Castle.

Notes to Editors

The Inquiry was commissioned by FCO and DFID Ministers to establish the truth of various allegations by carrying out a multi-disciplinary investigation into the claims made, providing an assessment of their genuineness, and making recommendations as appropriate.  The allegations behind the Inquiry involved claims relating to child abuse in St Helena, police corruption and incompetence, and a conspiracy by SHG, FCO and DFID to cover these up.

The Inquiry was headed by Ms Sasha Wass QC, an accomplished barrister with substantial professional experience of dealing with these types of issues, supported by a multi-disciplinary team of experts.

 

SHG

10 December 2015

WHITE GATE TO FRANCIS PLAIN ROAD

The Highways Authority has given approval for the road to be closed from White Gate to Francis Plain Road on Tuesday 15 December 2015 to Thursday 17 December 2015. This is to enable the Roads Section to carry out planned works on ‘Swampy Gut’ Bridge.

The road will be closed from 9am to 3pm, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Diversion signs will be in place and as normal only emergency services will be granted access.

The Roads Section would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused, and thank the public in advance for their continued cooperation.

SHG

9 December 2015

Further to the press release of 4 December 2015, St Helena Airport Manager Nigel Spackman has today advised that the second Calibration flight is now due to arrive on Sunday 13 December 2015.

The calibration flight has been rescheduled due to the late arrival of the RMS and the necessity of having the Air Traffic Controller as an Observer in place on the Island when the flight arrives.

It is difficult at present to determine the exact arrival time of the flight but it is likely to be during Sunday afternoon.

As before, the calibration tests will be undertaken by Flight Calibration Services Limited (FCSL), with the aircraft leased from TAB in South Africa.

The public will be kept informed.

SHG

8 December 2015

WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMPLETE IT ONLINE?

The Statistics Office is now in the final stages of preparing the Questionnaire to be used in the 2016 Population & Housing Census.  In addition to the traditional paper questionnaire, there will also be an option to complete it online.

The pilot exercise held in November provided useful feedback which is being incorporated in the design of the final questionnaire.  During the development of the Census consultations have been held and feedback has been given by the general public and key stakeholders. Thanks to the efforts of everyone who took part, the team has been able to develop the best possible Census questionnaire for St Helena.

Dr Paula McLeod, Statistician and Census Supervisor, said:

Online completion may be a better option for some households – many people now prefer to complete and return information online rather than filling out traditional paper forms. For some households, the opposite will be true.  

“Online completion carries advantages for the Statistics Office, as it is cheaper to administer and we have much quicker access to the data.  As a new option, it is natural that there will be some questions and concerns – but we are working to make sure that online completion is easy, secure and at no cost to the respondent.

Additional megabytes will be provided to households to ensure that online completion does not ‘cost’ anything to people taking up this option. To ensure resources are allocated appropriately, the Census team requests that anyone who is interested in online completion registers their interest by providing the team with the following information:

  • A contact email-address and telephone number for you
  • Your District

You can provide this information by email (statistics@sainthelena.gov.sh) or by telephoning 22138.  Alternatively you can call via the Castle switchboard on 22470, or just pop in to the office.

Remember – We Count Because YOU Count.

If you have any questions about any aspect of the Census, or are interested in joining the team as an Enumerator, please get in touch by using the contact details above.  Please note the Statistics Office has now moved one floor up in the Castle, directly above their old office.

SHG

7 December 2015