David Peplow, the Independent Chair of Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board, introduced the annual report for 2014-15, and in doing so set out some of the key achievements and highlights, which included:
· Learning from the publication of the Serious Case Review “Julia”, as the previous review had been undertaken in 2008 and much had changed since.
· Policy development and refresh of the Pan Essex Child Protection Procedures
· The development of the Early Offer of Help and a member of the project board, in addition to the development and support of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
· Strengthened links with Youth Cabinet
· Positive community engagement through the ‘Big Lunch’ and ‘Tilbury Family Fest’ events.
The Chair thanked David Peplow for the comprehensive report.
Councillor S. Little was concerned that only 3 schools had provided feedback, which was not wholly positive, and queried whether greater engagement was needed. She also questioned whether enough was being done to address their concerns.
The Committee were advised that engagement work was ongoing and the questions surveyed had been to ask what the challenges were, rather than positive feedback and it was highlighted that the reporting period only covered the first six months of the operation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub; therefore responses were likely to be greater during the next reporting period.
Mrs Wilson expressed concern that complainants may not be informed of the action taken, which officers felt was an isolated issue as communication was continually reviewed to inform all parties involved of the outcome.
Councillor Gupta commended the detailed report and asked how far parents were aware of the work of the LSCB.
The Independent Chair of Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board highlighted that much work had been done regarding community engagement at various community events throughout the year, in addition to safeguarding promotional items and messages through Social Media.
Members were informed that much work had been undertaken regarding ‘Prevent’ training through the Community Safety Board, including briefing sessions for Elected Members, Head Teachers and Staff, although Councillor S. Little felt that school and parent governors should also be offered training or briefing sessions.
Myra Potter questioned whether Thurrock had higher rates of Mental Ill Health, in response it was explained that Thurrock did not have a particularly higher prevalence but there were emotional and attachment needs. The Committee were advised that a report on Mental Ill Health was being referred to the next meeting and strategies regarding reducing self-harm, depression and suicide were set out within the Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Councillor Halden felt that Elected Members could assist the LSCB in contacting schools and inviting feedback on surveys and recognised that there was a data system pilot being undertaken by Southend Borough Council which could provide learning for the future.
Councillor Halden further reported that to assist such work the LSCB should be offered a standing update item on the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee agenda, in much the same way as HealthWatch on the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, so that any concerns or areas that Members could help with could be identified as appropriate. Members agreed to this suggestion.
1. The Committee note progress made on children’s safeguarding for the 12 month period April 2014 to March 2015.
2. That the Committee provide comment on the report.
3. That a standing Local Safeguarding Children Board item be included on the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee agenda so that feedback could be provided as appropriate.