At Thursday’s meeting of Melksham Town Council, the welcome decision was taken to open the Splash Pad for the remainder of the summer.
In advance of the meeting I submitted a number of questions to the Locum Clerk at the council about the important issue of safeguarding. Principally I asked:
“I see from paragraphs 2.6, 4.1 and 4.2 in the report for Agenda Item 7 relating to the opening of the splash pad that staff and volunteers will be responsible for the management of the children using the facility and controlling access.
I have not seen any reference to a requirement for DBS checks to be undertaken for these adults who will be responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children using the facility and therefore assume the decision has been taken that DBS checks are not necessary. Could you please supply a copy of the Risk Assessment that covers the safeguarding requirements of running the facility please to provide the reasoning for this decision.”
Unfortunately there was no information supplied at the meeting that answered the important safeguarding questions was supplied so I asked for this advice from the Clerk to be supplied to councillors in writing.
Tragically, however many times I asked this was declined and despite several councillors expressing concern as to if DBS checks were required or not, the advice from the clerk will not be released in writing.
By the time the matter went to the vote it was unclear what was actually being voted on, and if the council felt that DBS checks were required this year, next year or not at all – and the advice of the Town’s professional advisor will be kept secret.
On this basis I felt that I could not support the motion to open the splash pad without understanding what the safeguarding implications for children in the town would be. I didn’t want to stop it opening and therefore simply abstained from voting and I really hope that the Town Mayor and the Locum Clerk will reconsider their position and share the written advice on safeguarding so that all councillors minds can be put at rest.