The Officer presented the report to Members which highlighted the key strategic, operational, technological, partnership and practice developments that related to Child Sexual Exploitation as progressed by Thurrock Council. The Officer referred to the recommendations and stated that the post of a data analyst for Thurrock would work closely with the Police to work on child sexual exploitation, missing children and trafficking. This data analyst would be specifically just for Thurrock.
The Officer stated that she was trying to secure a visit from Emma Jackson, a child sexual exploitation survivor, to come to Thurrock to talk to councillors to engage in some child sexual exploitation discussions and training. The Officer stated that training was vital and that councillors played a key role in helping to embed recognition and how to respond appropriately.
A consultation between Thurrock, SERIC and the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board will be undertaken with victims of child sexual exploitation.
The Officer stated that training played a vital part and had already been undertaken by:
• Thurrock Children’s Social Care Staff
• Thurrock Foster Carers
• Thurrock Licenced Taxi Drivers and Passenger Assistants
• Thurrock Housing Staff
• General Practitioners
• Multi Agency Group
Councillor Redsell invited Claire Pascoe to speak to the Police and Crime Panel in Chelmsford.
Councillor Redsell asked the Officer would all taxi drivers have to undertake the training. The Officer stated that working with the Licensing Team and the Licensing Committee this training would become a condition of a license, therefore no training would mean no license.
The Chair thanked Officers for a well done report with some impressive measures and stated the next milestone would be for the 49 Thurrock Councillors to work together and undertake the relevant training.
The Chair asked who would fund the proposed data analyst position. The Officer stated that this would form part of the data performance team at no extra funding required from social care. The analyst would sit and work alongside the Police Community and focus on Thurrock areas.
Councillor Snell asked the Officers for a landscape view of child sexual exploitation in Thurrock. The Officer stated that this was an area that was still being understood and developed but as this was an open forum committee it would be inappropriate to go into too much detail.
Neale Laurie stated that there were no underlying issues in Thurrock and that these were isolated incidents and that work was being undertaken with the Police and the Community Partnerships.
Councillor Watkins asked how close Thurrock worked with other authorities. The Officer stated that they worked very close with Southend and Essex. Work was also undertaken within the Eastern Region and topics tended to be theme led. Information sharing was undertaken with local authorities and inviting members from the Eastern Region group to come to Thurrock to show them Thurrock’s strategies.
Councillor Watkins asked whether Thurrock had reached out to other organisations such as bus companies, local shops and schools. The Officer stated that the Safeguard forums and “The Walk Online” roadshows were held yearly with the next one planned for March 2017 where 3,000 Year 5 pupils are invited to attend a half-day session. Adult versions of this training are also held quarterly but struggled to get parents to attend.
Anne Sentence asked had local churches been involved in any of the training as they had youth champions that would benefit from this. The Officer stated no but would obtain further details from Anne after the committee.
1. That the Police and Community Safety to consider securing a data analyst for Thurrock, specifically to work on Child Sexual Exploitation, missing children and child trafficking data. An analyst would work in collaboration with the Essex Police and would enable professionals to target resources efficiently and effectively.
2. That the need to provide ongoing training and awareness session with Thurrock Councillors and be encouraged to fully engage in Child Sexual Exploitation training.
3. That to strengthen Thurrock’s response to victims, it was proposed that along with SERIC and the Local Safeguarding Board, consult further with victims of Child Sexual Exploitation to inform them of our strategic and operational planning.
Claire Pascoe and Neale Laurie left the Committee Room at 7.55pm.