Meet Colette, Safeguarding and Prevent Lead | Bristol Community Health Careers Bristol Community Health


Safeguarding and Prevent Lead

“The work is really varied; no two weeks are ever the same - it’s why I love the role so much.”

  • Tell us about your role. What do you get up to on a typical day/week?

    The work is really varied; no two weeks are ever the same – it’s why I love the role so much. I manage a small team to ensure all BCH staff have access to specialist safeguarding support and resources when they need it. So one minute you’ll be discussing the safeguarding concerns that a member of staff has about their patient, the next you’ll be part of a multi-agency group doing an audit, making recommendations to influence safeguarding practice across every organisation working with adults with care and support needs in Bristol.

    My role is to ensure that BCH have safe systems for managing risks to patients from potentially our own abuse and neglect. I work closely with others in the Clinical Directorate, so that we can learn from when things go wrong. There are a number of safeguarding related policies to keep up to date, there is a regular audit of practice and I work closely with the operational teams so that we are constantly making improvements. We also want to learn from our patient’s experience of our care and what has helped them feel safe and, what’s more, what we can do when they are at risk of or actually experiencing abuse. There’s a very strong focus in safeguarding on working with other organisations. I take our commitment to the Safeguarding Adult Board seriously and BCH really benefits from being a member of the Board as well as its sub-groups. We can contribute our knowledge and experience, but equally, learn from others. For example, at the last board meeting we heard from British Transport Police about their safeguarding of vulnerable people on the trains.

  • What’s the best thing about working at BCH? What motivated you to join the organisation?

    The best thing about working at BCH for me is the people. I feel that everyone, no matter what their role, are trying to not only do their best for their patients, but also for each other. I personally applied because I wanted to work for a service that directly provides care for people and which had a good reputation for providing high quality care. I previously worked in a Local Authority team and I sat within commissioning. So the move to a provider of services has given me a very different perspective on safeguarding and that added a new and really interesting perspective.

  • Describe the working culture here?

    I haven’t worked anywhere previously where the vision, strategy and values were so clearly shared. I haven’t experienced a CEO ever who has turned up to every induction course – actually I haven’t worked in many places where there was such an investment in induction! I have seen the values being lived out in so many ways – the card to say welcome signed by all your new colleagues, the thank you card from the CEO when you have been here a year, the BOSCAs celebration of staff each year, the generosity of colleagues to help out. I feel that I work for an organisation that is prepared to do things differently and is committed to continuously reviewing how it can do things better. I like the fact that there is honesty – health care is operating in a very tough climate, but rather us doing it with genuine care and compassion and experience of Bristol and its people, than anyone else. I like that there is a sense of realism in equal measure with ambition.

  • What do you think makes someone successful here?

    I think that if you genuinely care for your patients, are committed to learning, and are prepared to work hard, you’ll get on great.

  • Tell us about the learning and development and career progression opportunities?

    I feel I have been very fortunate; I have had access to a range of learning opportunities since I started here. It has ranged from shadowing colleagues, to attending courses – both internal as well as external. I have really valued Leadership Live – to have individual coaching, taught sessions and the project work with other managers is a real investment. Plus, there’s been action learning sets and that has made me feel like I can contribute to the work of others, which in turn makes me feel valued by the organisation.

    Career progression for me will always be about gaining more experience and knowledge in safeguarding and further developing as a subject specialist. It’s an area of almost constant learning, unfortunately because the risks that vulnerable people experience keep developing and emerging, it means that there are constant challenges. But also, multi-agency partnerships are subject to constant change and so that equals progression for me.

  • What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?

    Everything you do in a safeguarding capacity makes you feel that what you do matters and that you can make a positive difference to people’s lives. Safeguarding situations often reflect the best and the worst in human behaviour. I never stop being amazed at the victim’s resilience in the most awful of situations, it’s humbling.

  • What do you think employees would say about the service you provide?

    I think they value what we do. We are removed from having direct patient contact and that’s for a really good reason. It enables us to be objective as well as to apply the learning from being a subject specialist across a range of situations. I think they feel we are approachable and that we are part of their wider network of support for advice when safeguarding situations have extended beyond their own experience.

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