We are delighted that Liz Warren, Safeguarding Manager, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her work to support the most vulnerable people in Berkshire, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the Safeguarding Manager at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, she has worked tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable people in Berkshire can access life-saving support, resulting in a huge increase in safeguarding referrals. In the past five years, she has overseen an increase in safeguarding referrals of 1008%.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand increased dramatically, with referrals where people had received a ‘Threat of Arson’ climbing by 74% within a year. With limited additional resources, she ensured that referrals continued to be processed within the corporate target of 24 hours, meaning victims could access vital support despite the increase in pressure.
Liz recently designed a peer review process for Safeguarding that is being adopted across Berkshire as a model of best practice. She has worked industriously to develop strong relationships with partners in all six unitary authorities in Berkshire, navigating differences in procedure between Safeguarding functions to make sure vulnerable people receive support as swiftly as possible.
In addition, she has unwaveringly championed Safeguarding within the Service to ensure that everyone is confident in recognising situations in which someone is in need and feels empowered and supported in making a referral. To this end, she has developed training that she delivers herself, which is open to all staff members so that everyone can support those in need.
Liz said: “I am humbled to receive this recognition of my work and enormously proud to serve the community, alongside my colleagues in Royal Berkshire and Fire and Rescue Service and our unitary partners.
“Many of the people we’ve worked with have been going through the most difficult time of their lives and I hope that through our work we have helped ensure that they have access to support and they don’t feel alone in their darkest hour.”
Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer said: “In her role Liz has had to face incredibly challenging and emotionally draining situations, but the resilience and compassion she has shown has been exemplary. Her unwavering commitment to protecting the most vulnerable people in Berkshire in times of crisis goes above and beyond the call of duty.”
Councillor Colin Dudley, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “Congratulations to Liz on receiving a British Empire Medal for her services to the community. Serving her community is in her DNA and she frequently goes above and beyond to ensure people can access support at their time of need.”