Chair's Blog

Dear Colleagues,

There is a constant tension in our safeguarding work between nurturing and developing the relationships and structures needed for effective partnerships – and actually concentrating on the risk and issues that face children and young people. The AILC Board meeting this month is looking at a number of current issues to try to harness our collective attention and knowledge. The topics include:

  • Strengthening our national strategic response to CSE and Online Grooming
  • Home Education
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s inquiry into thresholds which starts soon
  • The recent statements from Sir James Munby and inspectors on the availability and safety of welfare and secure beds
It is vital that we keep these challenges in focus as we confront change and reorganisation over the coming year. Please let us know of local or national issues that are causing concern with your Boards (by emailing and ensure that your Boards are testing how well your local arrangements are doing to identify and address factors that help keep children safe.

There is a great deal of good practice now established around Section 11 audits, challenge events, self-assessment processes etc., but the equally important Section 175 audits for schools, are often less prominent and, do not always inform Boards about safeguarding issues across the education sector. With schools’ relationship to the new arrangements uncertain, it is vital to make sure that we have a solid baseline of how well schools, of all types, comply with their safeguarding responsibilities. Not all LSCBs make use of the S175 results, make sure that your education colleagues see this as a key part of Working Together (see here for ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ HM Govt 2016)

The recent coverage of the implementation difficulties in meeting the 30 hour nursery place offer
highlights how key nursery and child minding settings are for supporting families, and for being aware of safeguarding and protection issues. In my own Board, a recent SCR highlighted gaps in how early year settings are supported and informed about safeguarding best practice and how they access advice when they have concerns, so we have now set up an Advisory Group to the Board which is tackling these issues. Across a large rural county, we have many very local and dispersed services who can become isolated from our larger system. It has struck me how we have to keep asking fresh questions about safeguarding practice all the time – it doesn’t just happen, but has to be worked on, built and sustained.

A few random observations from me this month – must be that start of term feeling! We will have further bulletins in October and November before the Conference – please let me know any issues that are of concern to you or you’re Boards. As always, please send me any comments or views on the Newsletter – it is meant to be a helpful compendium of thoughts and information, but we need feedback in order to improve!

David Ashcroft
AILC Chair

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