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What a difference a week makes

I hope all readers had a peaceful Easter and that chocolate was enjoyed, perhaps in moderation.

The last blog made mention of the Everyone’s Invited website and since its publication, Ofsted have been tasked with conducting an inquiry into sexual abuse in schools, and the NSPCC have been commissioned to establish a helpline. A quick response that seems to have been welcomed by the Everyone’s Invited team. It’s always quite encouraging when there is well-timed response, but I am sure that we can all recall times when public bodies have been far more dilatory and, on occasions, appeared totally inactive, even when the situation and evidence to prompt action was so compelling.

Another big story last week was the giant ship which ran aground in the Suez Canal. Now freed, it appears that a gust of wind helped the ship lodge itself in the sandy bank. We often hear about how much time and effort it takes to stop or turn a super tanker, but here was a ship weighing 200,000 tons knocked off course by a strong breeze. My background reading tells me that the stacks of containers aboard can act as gigantic sails and this is what caused the problem.

At first sight there may not seem to be any parallels between the two stories. But in both cases, it was an apparently small development which made a big difference. A website that had served to provide a safe space for school students to log their stories suddenly found itself in the limelight as it caught the #Metoo wind. With favourable publicity, within just a week or two of it becoming more widely known, the Government (often criticised for being like a super tanker, cumbersome and slow to react) decreed something must be done and took action. Out in Egypt, a misdirected gust of wind in the middle of a sandstorm, and much of the world’s trade came to a standstill for a week. In Zoom calls it was quite a talking point. Was Europe’s supply of toilet paper and just in time furniture for a newly permitted garden party on board? From small beginnings come mighty consequences.

You never know when a small dedicated project will make a major difference. But we do know that in safeguarding, if we pay full attention to the small details in our work, the record keeping, the risk assessments and just being observant, then we can avoid major personal catastrophes later on.

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