- Meeting of Children's Select Committee, Tuesday 15th January 2019 10.30 am (Item 8.)
For the Committee to receive an update about the Safeguarding Board's performance for improving outcomes for Children and Young People and the proposed new ways of working.
Fran Gosling- Thomas - Independent Chair (BSCB)
Julie Davies - Head of Quality, Standards and Performance - Children’s Services
Joanne Stephenson - Safeguarding Business Manager
Kevin Brown - Superintendent Commander Wycombe LPA- Thames Valley Police
Gilly Attree - Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children and Looked After Children, Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group
The Chairman welcomed representatives from the Bucks Safeguarding Children’s Board (BSCB) who introduced themselves as:
· Kevin Brown - Superintendent Commander Wycombe LPA- Thames Valley Police
· Gilly Attree - Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children and Looked After Children, Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group
· Fran Gosling- Thomas, Independent Chair (BSCB)
· Julie Davies - Head of Quality, Standards and Performance – BCC Children’s Services
During the presentation the following main points were noted:
· There had been a requirement for all local areas to have a safeguarding board which had representation from a number of key groups and individuals. Each of those partners had their own duties and requirements and the role of the Board was to ensure these were well-coordinated, that partners had worked well together and effectively delivered the Board’s aims.
· An annual report which would focus on safeguarding children and children’s welfare would continue to be produced under the new arrangement. This would provide a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of local services, areas of weakness or blockages and orchestrated actions, from all partners, to remedy these.
· The Board had been meeting 6 times a year but the majority of work had been carried out within associated sub-groups and task and finish groups
· There had been a number of effective subgroups which dealing with a range of pertinent issues. The Board had been particularly proud of their work and progress with e-safety across the educational sector
· They believed the workload is now more evenly shared between key partners than it had been 4 years ago
· The largest task and finish group and workload in recent times had been the reshaping of safeguarding arrangements
· As there had been legislative changes and an inadequate Ofsted rating within Buckinghamshire, the safeguarding board had used this as an opportunity to make improvements. The new safeguarding arrangements would support the council’s improvement plan and change the way that child death and serious case reviews were undertaken. BSCB would improve working between the three identified strategic partners.
· The Board would have an executive group made up of police, local authority, the clinical commissioning group (CCG) and education. Education had been chosen as a strategic partner due to the fact they had the most access to children across a broad spectrum of ages. This group would meet quarterly.
· The current Independent Chair would be stepping down and an advertisement for her replacement would run until the end of February. This would provide a fresh perspective for how the safeguarding board would operate
· Five subgroups would sit below the executive group; each with their own terms of reference. The Board would review which partners sat on each subgroup to ensure the right specialists would be represented.
· Working groups would come out of the subgroups and would involve partnership working with agencies not involved with the Board, which would be put together on an ad hoc basis
· There would be a safeguarding conference, twice a year, for all agencies working with the Board. This would provide updates, next steps and be a chance to gain feedback for improvement.
· All key issues of focus would remain the same but the Board would look at the whole family and implications, instead of focusing on just the child.
· New arrangements and priorities would be finalised in June 2019 and would be in place by September 2019.
· Improving outcomes for children was the overarching priority
In response to questions, representatives of the board made the following main points:
· In response to the rise in neglect cases the Board had implemented a graded care tool, developed by the NSPCC, which had reduced the incidences of neglect and helped to deliver a multi-agency approach to families. The neglect strategy would be reviewed for effectiveness.
· Board meeting attendance rates had not been reflective of partnership working or contributions. A lot of good work had happened away from formal Board meetings. The Board had been proactive in ensuring partner contribution and commitment.
· There had been positive multi-agency working with children’s homes which had reduced incidences of children reported as missing from care. They had ensured the safety of these children through innovative measures and risk-based approaches, such as drawing up extended curfew contracts.
· There had been extensive ongoing work which ensured children were safe from all forms of exploitation, including ‘County Lines’. All agencies had used preventative measures and fast response to flag issues.
· Coordinated working and joint strategies had improved. Partners contributed their part when solving issues and nothing would fall between the gaps
· The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) had undergone a comprehensive review which had improved the service and ensured good partnership working. Digital solutions introduced provided partners with rapid, remote access to any shared information, necessary for them to carry out their duties.
· Private fostering arrangement numbers had remained low and were known to be underreported. A campaign had taken place to highlight the importance of making these arrangements known to the authority. There had been an increase in reported cases in the last two years.
· E-safety campaigns had been rolled-out across Schools and had been well-received by staff and children. There had been specific sessions for parents and children who were home-educated. Schools had been known to deliver e-safety sessions to parents during well-attended, unrelated events, to ensure they received the information
· A draft of the next annual report would be available in July 2019
The Chairman thanked representatives of the BSCB for attending and thanked the Independent Chair for her hard work over the four years of her term.