Andrew Carter presented the report that included a summary which was provided to the Local Children’s Safeguarding Board and stated that under regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board Regulations 2006 set out the requirements for Local Safeguarding Children’s Board to undertake this serious case review and to learn from the findings. The report was published on the Thurrock web site from the 1 December 2016 and will remain on there for 18 months. The same report will be published on the NSPCC national website. The same report was presented to the Children’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee in December 2016. The reports contained 6 findings and 16 recommendations and were drawn up into an Action Plan.
Andrew Carter updated Members on the recommendations and actions in the Action Plan and stated that Update Pending meant the Council were waiting for the agency responsible for that recommendation to undertake their work.
Councillor Redsell stated that the report identified that people were not joining up and not communicating and asked Officers for reassurance that the Council was now more joined up based on the lessons learnt. Andrew Carter stated that staff could not have predicted the outcome of James and that a learning event had already taken place with practitioners. Andrew Carter stated that he could not give 100 per cent assurance but the department continued to strive and communicate.
Councillor Watkins asked if Norfolk Children Social Care had been given any timescales for responses. Andrew Carter stated that it was not known what action Norfolk had taken. Norfolk Local Safeguarding Children Board took on the responsibility which Thurrock Local Safeguarding Children Board could not monitor. That the Serious Case Review had been published nationally and that Ofsted encouraged other reviews to be studied.
Rory Patterson stated that the national overview of serious case reviews contain the learnings and pulled out key items, such as the involvement with gangs and safeguarding.
Councillor Snell stated that it appeared James had been given the support and the opportunities to engage but decided that this was not part of his agenda.
Andrew Carter thanked Councillor Snell for his comment and it would be a reassurance for those involved. Andrew Carter stated that work continued with young people to get the message across about gangs.
Councillor Allen stated that there should be a practice in place to monitor and trigger alerts when minors are reported to the police, social services or other local authorities. Andrew Carter stated that work was in progress with sharing information especially on health matters.
Rory Patterson stated that around the table event had been held by Essex Police on how to work more effectively with gangs and with the Youth Offending Service on how to share information and communication.
Councillor Allen suggested that a “Vulnerable Youth System” be created so that minors can be flagged up and information could be shared more easily.
Rory Patterson stated that there were already good systems in place by the police to track and report missing children to local social services but unfortunately for James this did not happen.
Councillor Redsell stated that the Police Crime Commissioner was looking at how gang activities could be addressed.
The Chair stated that James did well at school but asked whether the school should have been more involved. Andrew Carter stated that James did well at school but he did not engage post 16 years of age.
1. That the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee consider the progress to date by Children’s Services as set out in the responses to the Serious Care review recommendations at Appendix A.