Presented by the Local Safeguarding Children Board’s (LSCB) Vice-Chair, the annual report for 2017/18 reflected the priorities set within the LSCB Business Plan for 2017/18, the progress achieved and areas for further development during 2018/19.
The report concluded that LSCB’s priorities for 2018/19 were:
· To continue to develop a Board fit for change with the introduction of a Strategic Group to oversee the changes to the new safeguarding arrangements.
· To support the development of the changes in outcomes of the refreshed early help provision of the Brighter Futures programme.
· To support the implementation and roll out of Signs of Safety and Graded Care Profile 2 processes.
· To develop our workforce to be more effective in safeguarding.
The LSCB ended by saying that this type of report would be delivered one last time before it changed to reflect the new safeguarding arrangements in the future.
Referring to the ‘Schools’ section on page 35 of the agenda, the Church of England Representative queried the methods the LSCB used to encourage schools to participate in the termly Safeguarding Leads Meeting for Schools and Academies. The Corporate Director explained the meetings were held with schools to communicate with each other in terms of safeguarding accountability. There were also annual meetings held with schools regarding performance and safeguarding issues. Adding on to this, the LSCB Vice-Chair said education representatives attended meetings on a quarterly basis with LSCB and these representatives would feedback to their cohorts of schools.
The Church of England Representative went on to ask about the ‘additional business processes’ mentioned on page 36, third paragraph under Learning and Improvement Programme. Explaining this referred to the strengthening of processes, the LSCB Vice-Chair said the business team were placed on training programmes which were audited through the Board.
Pointing out the graph for Multi Agency Training on page 37, Councillor Redsell questioned why attendance appeared low. The LSCB Vice-Chair answered there were areas that required strengthening but the graph had not captured the full picture of safeguarding. It did not clearly reflect attendance numbers and the training that had been delivered through primary care forums. The process would need to be reconsidered in the next year so the results would give a clearer picture.
Under LAC reviews on page 32, Councillor Anderson queried the 84% given and asked if this was an increase or decrease on previous years. The Corporate Director explained 84% was not the expected number for performance and the ideal number would be between 90 – 95% which would mean a good performance. This was an area that the service was improving in and children in care were expected to have reviews every 6 months.
Councillor Redsell asked the Corporate Director if meetings should take place more often rather than every 6 months. Explaining that this was the minimum statutory requirement, the Corporate Director went on to say that it applied to the first year. Once there was a change of child care placement, the child care plan would need to be looked at again.
On page 42, under Voice of the Child, the Youth Cabinet Representative 2 sought clarification on the sentence ‘the Board has strong links with the Youth Cabinet’. The LSCB Vice-Chair explained the Board had worked with the Children in Care Council and one of the results had been a Health Passport for children aged 13. This enabled children of those ages to record vaccinations, dental records and other health records. The Health Passport was currently in its testing stages and it would be rolled out to children in care if it effective. The Youth Cabinet Representative 2 said the Youth Cabinet would welcome any suggestions on how the Board could work with the Youth Cabinet as suggested in the report.
Referring to page 22 of the agenda under section 6, the Chair questioned if it was true that the report had no impact on corporate policies, priorities, performance and community. The Corporate Director confirmed this was not the case and would take this back to the report author to ensure it would be incorporated in the future.
The Chair asked how education would fit into the future of LSCB after the new safeguarding arrangements took place. The Corporate Director answered that schools were fully involved with their representative bodies and engaged in wider safeguarding strategies. It was also part of schools’ statutory duties to fulfil safeguarding obligations and Thurrock’s schools were good at this.
Councillor Redsell voiced concern on schools and looked after children where sometimes issues ‘slipped through the net’ and schools had to have more control over this. Referring to schools and councillors, she said all were corporate parents and they were all accountable.
Referring to the changes of LSCB, the LSCB Vice-Chair said the other agencies were partners and the Chair of LSCB should provide independent scrutiny to the 3 statutory partners. There was no guidance or script for the LSCB to adopt, so the LSCB were looking to describe the arrangements for the next year.
That the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee Committee noted the report and progress made on children’s safeguarding.