Agenda item

Julia - Serious Case Review Action Plan Update, dated 7/1/2016


The Head of Children’s Social Care introduced the report which provided an update on the Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), multi-agency action plan in relation to the 'Julia' serious case review.


The Committee were advised that some action points for partners were attributed ‘orange’ status but that latest updates had not yet been received and therefore it was likely that some of these action points would in fact be categorised as ‘green’ or ‘purple’ and consequently on track. It was anticipated that further updates would be provided through the Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and a fully updated document referred back to the Committee in due course.


Councillor Gamester observed that certain issues were reoccurring as ‘amber’ and asked if there was any way of ensuring that these were on track and ‘green’ promptly.


At 7.20 pm Reverend Barlow left the meeting.


Councillor Halden explained that he was comforted that the social services team understood what the problem was and have taken action accordingly but expressed concerns regarding whether lessons had been learnt from partners such as the Probation Service, Basildon Hospital and GP’s.


David Peplow, Independent Chair of Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board, highlighted that Essex Police continued to face challenges but that the LSCB worked hard to communicate with all partners to receive updates.


A brief discussion took place on the problems that may affect the Police, whether behaviour had become entrenched, or if the value of partnership working had been lost sight of.


Members were informed of the good partnership working with GP’s through the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub and that Senior Managers regularly attended GP surgery meetings which fostered closer working relationships.


The Committee were in agreement that partners should have better responsiveness to providing updates through the LSCB on such an important issue and the LSCB should undertake further work to drive this forward as a priority.


Councillor Halden highlighted that professionals should be aware of procedures, such as, that although the Mental Capacity Act and informed consent are relevant to young people between 16 and 18 years, this should not prevent the sharing of information in relation to neglect under the ‘paramountcy’ principle and queried the progress made against this action point.


In response, the Head of Children’s Social Care explained that it was a target of Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital for 95% of front line staff to undertake Level 3 mandatory Safeguarding Children training, but an update was required as to progress against this target and alternative proposals for the remaining 5% of staff.


Councillor Halden further queried to what extent safeguarding functions were being communicated to individual GP’s, to which it was explained that GP’s had undertaken learning and training to develop advocacy.


Councillor Gupta expressed concern that safeguarding functions could be overlooked by GP’s due to the nature of their busy workload and queried whether there was a nominated lead to drive forward change and ensure high standards in safeguarding.


The Committee were advised that much partnership work had been undertaken with GP’s, and that there was a designated GP Safeguarding Lead who acted as a source of advice and means of consultation.


The Independent Chair of Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board summarised the good work that had been undertaken by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in engaging with GP’s and that a number of initiatives had been developed which included taking conferences out to GP surgeries directly.


Councillor Halden asked for further explanation as to what action was taken against the individuals involved in the case of ‘Julia’. In response the Head of Children’s Social Care stated that no action was required against individual Police Officers, and in the case of the Social Worker the matter was referred to the professional body for determination, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


Councillor Gamester was concerned that partners had failed to take appropriate action, which officers felt was not the case but that a fully updated report was needed to assure Committee Members.


Mrs Wilson felt that the matter should be prioritised and that partners should attend meetings to ensure reliability and consistency.


The Chair reaffirmed that partners should do more to provide timely updates and proposed that a new recommendation be added to highlight this as a priority, following which an updated report could be circulated and referred to the Committee as appropriate. The Committee agreed to this proposal.





1.         That the Overview & Scrutiny Committee continues to monitor progress against the multi-agency action plan with a particular focus on Children's Services.


2.         That partners be contacted and requested to provide updates to the action plan as appropriate as a matter of priority, following which a fully updated document to be circulated and referred back to the Committee for consideration.

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