The Michael Sieff Foundation Thirty Years Plus 1986 – 2017
Our 30 Year Celebration
The Michael Sieff Foundation is a registered charity which has been at work since 1987. In recognition of the achievements of the Foundation and the individuals who have contributed to the Foundation’s aims over the past thirty years a celebration was held at the Reform Club in London on Friday 1 September 2017 and kindly sponsored by Lady Elizabeth Haslam.
This page includes links to the Anniversary Brochure published to mark this important milestone in the life of the Foundation, brief thoughts from the the Founder, the Chairman of Trustees, the Trustees, and the Past President, along with images from the event, and concluding comments from the Secretary to the Foundation.
A full copy of the Anniversary Brochure can be downloaded here.
Thoughts from: The Founder, The Chairman of Trustees, Past President & The Secretary
Lady Elizabeth Haslam, Founder of The Michael Sieff Foundation
My Lords Ladies and gentlemen Chairman, trustees friends and family, thank you for coming here this evening to celebrate The Michael Sieff Foundation’s thirtieth birthday.
Very few of you here this evening knew Michael Sieff, my husband and father of my two children. His grandfather was the founder of Marks and Spencer. Michael was made an honorary colonel after the war; worked in the family business for 49 years.
He was vice chairman and managing director of Marks and Spencer, everyone loved and respected him, he had a schoolboy sense of humour his love of people knew no bounds, those close to him he referred to them as lovekins, children were all lambkins. He championed ethics and understanding of his fellow human beings; he would say: ‘things are not important, people are.’
He chaired various committees and groups; visiting other countries promoting British export and was known as the Match Maker in that field; and was awarded with a CBE.
You may remember in the late 1970s and 1980s there were serious industrial disputes; he started a series of conferences at the request of The Queen Mother to promote understanding conflict in industry. These were held at Cumberland Lodge, in Windsor great Park.
Windsor Great Park, my school run, has to be one of the finest school runs in the world! It was on the school run I heard on the radio about Jasmin Beckford how she had been murdered aged four after appalling suffering at the hands of her stepfather, who as a boy also suffered physical abuse and was known to the NSPCC.
Jasmin Beckford was known to the authorities, Brent council, on the at risk register, known to the police, her nursery, but let down by everyone, including her mother. I turned the car around and headed towards Cumberland Lodge, and our Working Together three day conferences began.
The following year Michael died and I founded our charity in in his name.
Michael initially, was not keen on my determination to try to get the authorities together to have a conference at Cumberland Lodge, he said it was important, but it could take over my life and of course he was right; until I managed to surround myself with clever able people; who took hold of the concept and have made this tiny charity with its tentative start into the highly regarded, authoritative, and influential organisation it has become.
Finalising the 1989 Children Act was one of our first successes; but It is colleagues steadfastness over these thirty years that has kept the charity alive and made it strong. There are so many people I should be thanking but alas too many to mention tonight. However I would like to say a special thank you to Richard White, currently our secretary. He has worked diligently throughout our thirty years since our very beginning. Many tasks going unnoticed and unappreciated. The stalwart of our charity for so many years; we haven’t always agreed; but that’s healthy. Our shared objectives have never wavered.
Our multi organisation deliberations have discussed over the years all aspects of child protection. You can see our achievements in our updated brochure; but the project that gave me personally, the greatest pleasure was our special project A Second Chance; Norman Woodhouse and I organised day release for young offenders to ride and study horses at The Northern Racing Collage.
The National Grid was approached and we made an acclaimed video showing young offenders the training and job opportunities they can grasp on release. Sadly some young offender institutions had to be prodded into showing the film and taking follow-up action. We managed to involve Manchester United to visit a young Offenders prison; Wes Brown a first team player, and their coach gave instruction during a seven a side, they played in trainers on a tarmac surface when there were two pitches, but never used as they were water logged; we held a question and answer session, later we heard a star had been spotted, the youngster was promised a place in a division following completion of his sentence. During that day that Manchester United visited; we were told, the alert alarm bell for help, was not used, as all the youngsters were so engrossed in the football event.
A chance meeting with Lord Guthrie Sir Charles then head of the armed forces was not wasted; the plight of young people leaving prison was put to him and he was told about our new register of companies and organisations who were prepared to give young people a second chance by way of an interview, would the army consider visiting Feltham prison?
I tried to find out from the army what had happened to the forty or so lads that had joined up on leaving prison but to their credit, they were unable to tell me as the youngsters had been totally assimilated.
I salute all those in the past and those in the future who use, our charity, bringing their own speciality and organisations, to promote working together for children’s welfare; because as we know, only by working together, can real lasting change take place in this vital work of child protection. We also know, there is still so much to do.
I am greatly impressed to know that The Michael Sieff Foundation Trustees are committed to continue and strengthen their strategy to bring this about. To accomplish better prospects for children.
It should be remembered we were set up to work with others; being small means we are flexible and can join together with others, particularly when time maybe of the essence.
I am delighted that Lord Laming is here with us this evening and will say a few words, he needs no introduction from me; thank you.
John Tenconi, Chairman of Trustees of The Michael Sieff Foundation
My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to add my thanks to those of Elizabeth and Richard that you have all been able to attend this evening. It means a great deal to Elizabeth the Trustees that so many friends and supporters of the Michael Sieff Foundation over so many years can help us to celebrate such an eventful and successful 30 years.
I also want to express a personal thanks to David Jefferies a true captain of industry and one of our trustees, who unfortunately passed away about 18 months ago. When Elizabeth approached me to become a trustee, I was unable to accept due to existing volume of commitments. She, however maintained pressure on me unrelentingly and finally I was forced to submit through exhaustion.
I did not of course realise that almost my first act as trustee was to be to accept the chairmanship as Richard had decided to step down. David felt I think a little guilty at being a co-conspirator and promised me that he would not resign as trustee until I told him it was ok to depart. If anyone thinks that being chair of a group of highly talented, accomplished and committed trustees is easier than chairing a board of directors, I can tell them it is decidedly not easier at all. David to his eternal credit stood by me steadfastly when I felt as I did at times that my attempts to ensure that we focused our energies and resource on projects where we could and would make a difference, must be some aberration shared only by me. He provided considerable reassurance that this was a model that was both sensible and which could deliver expected and hoped-for outcomes.
I want to tell you about some of the exciting things we plan for the next few months and into 2018 and some outcomes, which we hope to achieve.
Of course, we will continue to respond ad hoc to important issues which arise and also continue to monitor opportunities to move forward long held values such as raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.
We will continue to strive to bring about the translation of the Carlile Inquiry into the Youth Justice system as supplemented by the Taylor review. We have made great headway, and in partnership with a number of organisations such as the Standing Committee for Youth Justice and the Centre for Justice Innovation, many of the recommendations have been or are being implemented.
We are very hopeful that the Government is intending to give powers and influence back to the Youth Justice Board, having whittled them away over a number of years. If so then much more can be achieved and perhaps there may even be an opportunity for a complete new piece of Youth Justice legislation addressing outstanding issues.
It remains to be seen to what extent political turmoil and uncertainty continues to disrupt progress in this matter. Of note at a political level is how much better outcomes could and would be if policies were supported cross party and for the medium term.
On November 2nd of this year (2017) we will hold a debate at the Nuffield Foundation to try to reach agreement on the continuing question of whether youth justice should be administered solely in the Youth Court and if so in what way that forum might be adapted to deal with arguments in favour of the Crown Court as a venue in certain cases or whether there are any occasions when proceedings should be in the Crown Court.
Our Thanks must be extended to Lord Carlile and Lord Ponsonby, who are with us this evening, for their role in the Parliamentarians’ Inquiry together with those colleagues, who cannot be here. I would extend a very special thanks to Lord Carlile, whose unswerving support has been so important in making and continuing to make such good progress to implementation.
Thanks also to Dr Eileen Vizard for her work over many years on young defendants and to Chris Stanley for the commitment he has put into this project, which arose out of that work, and to Richard White, who is relinquishing his ongoing role in supporting the Youth Justice project for all he has done on this. Welcome to Philippa Goffe, who has accepted the role of taking this on. This project will continue well into 2018 and perhaps beyond.
In addition, in line with our operating model, we will convene a multi -disciplinary meeting of interested parties to assess the current state of the relatively new system under the Children and Families Act 2014 for the issuance of Education, Health and Care Plans ( EHCP) for those with Special Educational Needs.
The EHCP system is supposed to be a comprehensive development from the previous “Statement” system. There have however been many expressions of concern that the new system is not working properly and a significant opportunity to help both children with special needs and their parents is being poorly or inadequately implemented.
If that meeting identifies areas where the Foundation could reasonably be expected to make a difference by identifying outcomes to be sought and working to make those happen then this will be our next major project. Richard will support this group because of his longstanding interest in the subject and Maggie Atkinson will I hope act as the lead trustee on this matter.
My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have spoken long enough but I hope you have a clear sense of the ongoing vitality of the Foundation and its trustees. We hope you will all continue to support us for many years to come.
The Right Honourable The Lord Laming, Past President of The Michael Sieff Foundation
On behalf of the guests thank you for inviting us to a very special celebration marking 30 years of real achievements. Anyone seeking to understand better the work of the Michael Sieff Foundation only has to look around the room. One of the great strengths of the Foundation is its ability to bring together in one place the key players in addressing a particular topic of great public concern. Very briefly I will comment on only one topic which is the avoidable criminalisation of young people.
As a result of the hard work of many here this evening there has been a marked reduction in young people in youth custody. But that does not apply to children in public care or who have been in care.
These young people have to look to the state to be a good parent for them. It is our opportunity to help them turn their lives around, and to develop the skills to mature into fulfilled citizens.
It can be done because in places it is being done. The task before us is to make good practice, standard practice everywhere and for each child. So we wish the Foundation continued success for the next 30 years and that deserves a toast!
Richard White, Secretary of The Michael Sieff Foundation
Good evening, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen. And thank you to Lord Laming for your kind words.
The Michael Sieff Foundation has a unique history, which I want to spend a few minutes exploring with you. It is a remarkable 30 years, to this exact day as it coincidentally happens, since Lady Haslam set up the Foundation in the name of her husband Michael.
Over those years so many influential people have contributed to its development, often inspired by Elizabeth’s enthusiasm.
The Foundation is essentially a forum for professionals and policy makers to share experiences about concerns for the welfare of children, with the objective of inspiring, promoting and taking actions to resolve them.
As you have heard from Elizabeth she initiated some highly innovative projects, largely dependent I think on her magnetic personality. Historically the Foundation organised around its annual residential conference at Cumberland Lodge. There were additional conferences on an important theme of the day, usually when Elizabeth spotted an acute issue, like cross border trafficking of young people or child sex tourism.
In 2011 it became clear that the conference model was no longer achieving our objectives. We sought to link with other organisations, using the Foundation name as promotion. This led to a partnership with Child and Family Training and their conferences and publications.
When Chris Stanley joined us as a Trustee, he wanted to build on the work already pioneered through the Foundation over twenty years by Dr. Eileen Vizard on youth justice. We forged a link with the National Children’s Bureau through Enver Solomon and together developed a new model for what led to the influential Carlile Inquiry on Youth Justice.
I believe this model bears close examination, because it may be, without being prescriptive, that it could usefully be expanded in other areas of the social justice and welfare fields. What we did was to convene an initial exploratory meeting to which we invited a number of leading commentators and practitioners in the field of youth justice. At that meeting working with Enver Solomon from the NCB, we identified some of the areas that required investigation and considered a process. That process involved establishing an Inquiry under the Chairmanship of Lord Carlile, with a panel of parliamentarians on all sides of both Houses of Parliament. We also appointed Ali Wigzell to assist with the administration and evidence gathering for the Inquiry and with the subsequent report writing. What this produced was an influential report on the current state of youth justice with recommendations for change.
And most importantly we determined that the Foundation would continue to fight for implementation of those recommendations. Suffice to say our lobbying activities have helped to get reforms, though we know, particularly from our recent focus on much needed improvements in youth justice – what a prolonged challenge it can be.
As can be seen from the content of our 30th anniversary brochure which (I hope) you have all had, our activities over the years demonstrate the continuing – and compelling – need for the type of activity in which the Foundation has been engaged.
Services for improving the mental health of young people, refugee children, the latest approaches to safeguarding, special educational needs, they are all areas which might benefit from our unique approach.
The last of those we will be exploring in the next few months. We have already had discussions with Froebel College and the Institute of Education, which we hope will go further.
But it seems to me that one of the problems we face is that at a time of supposed limited resources and so-called austerity, central and local government have become expert at deflecting the debate from what we truly need to do to enable our young people to manage and grow in our society. They talk about improving services but we have little actual information about successful outcomes.
We press for changes in the youth justice system, and will continue to do so, but politically we have faced a fairly blank wall in the last few months, as Brexit dominates and government changes. We will persist.
There is a real need for a coming together on thinking. I don’t see this as being achieved through party political activity, which has become a debate of extremes. What has most impressed me over the years is the recognition that when non-governmental organisations, charities and others, work together for the well-being of children the ability to achieve progress is much enhanced. Of course this has to be done with central and local government but if they are reluctant or otherwise too distracted to focus adequately on the welfare of young people, then we have to find ways to press our concerns. Sometimes we have found that a concerted approach is one policy makers will accept.
The Foundation has always been fortunate to have as our driving force dedicated trustees who are greatly respected for their professionalism and expertise. By and large other charities recognise that we have the status, strategy and determination to succeed and are happy to work with us. Over the years the NSPCC, Child and Family Training, TACT and NCB stand out in this respect.
In conclusion I observe, as our strap line states, that Working Together remains our core commitment.
Supporting the work of The Foundation
The Foundation is always grateful to receive donations or grants towards its work. Should anyone be interested in making such a charitable donation then please contact Richard White or John Tenconi in the first instance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Foundation benefits from gift aid and will always respect confidentiality if required. Alternatively an easy way to make continuing small donations at no cost is via the Give as you Live website at https://www.giveasyoulive.com/join/michaelsieff
30 Years Anniversary Celebration Guests
Fiona Abbott, Magistrates’ Association
Rob Allen, Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
Maggie Atkinson, Trustee
Kate Aubrey-Johnson, Youth Justice Legal Centre
Phil Bowen, Centre for Justice Innovation
Jerry Bull, Solicitor, The Law Society
Lord Carlile CBE QC, Chair, Parliamentarians’ Inquiry on Youth Justice
Susana Castro, SEN Research Froebel College
Chris Cloke, NSPCC
Nick Crichton, District Judge
Anthony Douglas CBE, Chief Executive CAFCASS
Naomi Eisenstadt CBE, Research Fellow Oxford University
Michele Elliott, Kidscape
Ben Estep, Centre for Justice Innovation
Kathy Evans, Children England
Jon Fayle, Chair of Trustees TACT
Dominic Goble, Youth Justice Magistrate
Philippa Goffe, Michael Sieff Foundation
Henry Goldberg, Pianist
Liz Goldthorpe, Retired Tribunal Judge / Writer
Jenny Gray, ISPCAN
Oliver Hanmer, Bar Standards Board
Peter Harris, Michael Sieff Foundation Former Secretary
Hereward Harrison, The Child and Family Practice
Di Hart, NCB
Professor Judith Harwin, Lancaster University
Lorna Hawthorne, Nehemiah Project
Maggie Hennessy, Director, Penna Public Sector Executive Search
Mike Herlihy, Chair of the North West London Youth Court Panel
Margaret Hewetson-Brown, Social Worker
Peter Hewetson-Brown, District Judge
Pam Hibbert OBE, Youth Justice
David Hitchcock, Website Manager, Logical Events
Lady Elizabeth Haslam, Founder Michael Sieff Foundation
Nick Hillman, Wineservice
Dr Anne Hollows, Sheffield University
Dr. Bob Jezzard, Dartington Fellow
Gareth Jones, Youth Offending Team
Nikki Kerr, Kidscape
Lord Laming, House of Lords
Earl of Listowel, House of Lords, Trustee, Michael Sieff Foundation
Lord McNally, Youth Justice Board
Richard Monk, former Trustee, Michael Sieff Foundation
Joyce Moseley, T2A
Melanie Nazareth, Barrister
Ruby Newton, Bar Standards Board
Terry Philpot, former Trustee, Michael Sieff Foundation
Dr Mary Piper
Stephen Pizzey, Child and Family Training, former Trustee Michael Sieff Foundation
Arran Poyser, Dartington Fellow
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbred, House of Lords, Member of the Parliamentarians’ Inquiry
Bob Reitemeier, ICAN
Amelia Roberts, UCL Centre for Inclusive Education
Wendy Rose, Oxford University
Mary Ryan, Ryan Tunnard Brown
Elizabeth Sieff Rafferty
Sam Silver, Action Attainment
Alistair Smith, Ferguson Maidment, Accountants
Roger Southcombe, District Judge
Chris Stanley, Trustee, Michael Sieff Foundation
Malcolm Stevens, Justice Care
John Tenconi , Chairman of the Trustees, Michael Sieff Foundation
Professor Jane Tunstill, Royal Holloway College
Dr. Eileen Vizard CBE, Trustee, Michael Sieff Foundation
Amy Weir, Safeguarding Consultant
Richard White, Secretary, Michael Sieff Foundation
Margaret Wilson, Youth Magistrate
Peter Wilson, Place2Be