A former assistant chief constable has been appointed as the new independent chair and scrutineer of Durham Safeguarding Children Partnership (DSCP).

David Pickard retired in 2014 after serving with Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police for 30 years. Since then, he has served as the independent chair of both Hartlepool and Stockton Safeguarding Children Boards and, from 2019, the combined Hartlepool and Stockton Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Mr. Pickard believes strongly in the power of partnership work to make a positive difference to the lives of children and their families, and he brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He has taken over from Michael Banks who was the partnership’s independent chair for two years. During this time, Mr Banks oversaw the transition from the Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) to DSCP. This is a partnership of key agencies that play a vital role in keeping children safe, including Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary and local clinical commissioning groups.

Mr Pickard said: “It’s a great honour to be appointed as the independent chair and scrutineer of DSCP. I am committed to offering the best possible advice, support and challenge to all partners as we work together to protect children and young people in County Durham. I would like to thank Michael for his professionalism and leadership in overseeing the move from Durham LSCB to DSCP. He has left some excellent foundations to be built upon.”

Mr Banks said: “It has been a privilege to work in partnership with such committed professionals who are dedicated to safeguarding children and promoting their welfare. In County Durham, we have utilised the legislative framework and guidance to transform partnership working through the establishment of DSCP.

“We must be the best we can be for every encounter with every child and I am delighted that Dave has been appointed as Independent Scrutineer, to ensure that the partnership is effective in its work.”

In a joint statement, members of DSCB said: “We would like to place on record our immense thanks to Michael. He has, with real integrity, effectively led us through the transition into the new working arrangements, and now over a year on, they are well embedded. He has always had at his heart the desire to keep children safe, so that every child can flourish, achieve their full potential and live life in abundance. Dave has demonstrated equal integrity and determination in Stockton and Hartlepool, and we are looking forward to working with him to ensure the best possible outcomes for all children in County Durham.”