Published: 11/11/2004, Volume II4, No. 5931 Page 32

Jane Appleby is children at risk co-ordinator for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHA and Trent SHA

What does your role involve?

Developing an overall strategic direction for child protection and looked-after children, and building local and national networks with partner agencies. I also analyse the selfassessment audits that both SHAs complete about their arrangements for safeguarding children and young people.

I work across 44 NHS organisations in the two SHAs and they are all at different levels of development.Working with so many organisations is one of the biggest challenges. I tend to set up groups with representatives from different areas to start discussions and foster a joint approach.Although it is challenging, one of the things I enjoy most is that I am working on the bigger picture.

How was your job created?

When Trent SHA was being set up, we were starting to see quite a few things happening around the children's agenda.That included national discussions about social services, education and health.Trent, in a way, was quite innovative.

It decided to develop a role within the directorate of policy and strategy looking at the children's agenda across the NHS. I was seconded to that role.

Then, when Lord Laming's inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié was published in 2003, both Trent and Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHAs decided they had to give greater focus to child protection.My current role was developed from there.

As far as I am aware, there is not another post the same as mine in the country.

What is your career path?

I started as a nurse. I had a variety of posts and then, in 1989, I did some management training and moved into general management.

I managed a range of people working with children, including medical and administrative staff. I also led several service reviews and became involved in joint agency strategic planning and commissioning.

In 2002, I took up the secondment at Trent SHA.When the children at risk co-ordinator role was created in 2004, I transferred to that post.

A large percentage of the clinicians working with children are nurses, so my background in nursing gives me an understanding of the issues they face.

How do you think the role will develop?

I do not want the role to be a long-term one. It is about development, so once the organisations get to a certain level and form robust action plans and strategies for the delivery and commissioning of services, there will no longer be a need for this role in its current form.However, SHAs will always have the need for a more general performance improvement role.