Newlsetter: 2019 - Christmas and New Year Edition

That was the year that was..

Welcome to our end of year newsletter, in this edition we focus the spotlight on inter familial sexual abuse and the work the Centre for Child Sexual Abuse is doing. They are keen to reach out to partnerships. We also look at the year and take stock, and we are grateful for the contribution from some business managers.

2019 will probably be remembered for lots of different reasons, but in terms of the history of safeguarding, it was the year when we saw a big change in how joint working arrangements are led, coordinated and assessed. Rightly, the justification and intention behind the changes, is to improve outcomes for children and young people in terms of how they are protected and their welfare is promoted.

For many the impact of, and differences the changes will make, are still taking shape, and publication of reports with their intended focus on identifying significant learning, will help inform a clearer and wider picture. Though of course the majority of these will not be available till late in 2020.

This raises a number of questions about what are the best ways of sharing learning, is there a role for higher level analysis, and how best do we arrive at an objective understanding of what is working well and how are the new arrangements resulting in better outcomes?

Government through the 3 departments has provided within the available resources and priorities a lead and coordination. It has been recognised that the pace and shape of change will be gradual and incremental, and discussions continue as to how best to identify an approach that supports change that is evidence based and ensures a balance between direct interests and the wider need to be confident that developments are sustainable.

The dedicated roles that focus on the perspectives of the Police and Health as statutory partners has done much to support and inform development, and it is to be hoped that these roles will continue to be available after March 2020. The recent announcement that Sir Alan Woods has been appointed to the advertised “sector expert” role, is a welcome recognition that development will benefit from support. Hopefully by January we will be clearer as to what we can expect from this investment.

For many partnerships and those involved, transition is not without its challenges, especially when we remember that any move from “prescriptive to permissive” probably requires some re: thinking and re: setting of things that had perhaps been taken for granted.

It was good to share at the recent conference organised by Making Research Count, the emerging learning from a number of different perspectives. This highlighted the need to consider developing new ways of assessing and understanding progress and the impact of the changes. It is clear now that there are significant differences in where people have started from and when they started. Similarly though end points may not of been reached they are likely to result in a more diverse and interesting mix of arrangements. As we understand developments and the emerging picture, and see how different interpretations of guidance, a tripartite approach to leadership and accountability and how this translates into priorities and application of independence and scrutiny, it seems likely that we will need to rise to the challenge of finding new and better ways of creating an informed narrative and assessment? Therefore it seems that we will all need to make efforts to ensure we are all talking about the same thing and trying not to force “square pegs into round holes?”

In a short space of time the idea of TASP has moved to becoming a reality with 30 + partnerships supporting us in this initial phase, and many more indicating that they will be ready to come on board (no pun intended) in 2020. This support signals we believe a commitment to the principles of creating a network and community of learning, that can also contribute to helping form the important wider picture of how collectively we can continue to ensure that children and young people are as safe and protected as possible.

In the new year as we appoint trustees and form alliances with other organisations, we will be giving further shape and form on the basis of what partnerships and partners say is important to our offer. Although we all know that not all good ideas turn out to be that, we also know given the sensible ways local leaders and partnerships have approached transition, we should continue to focus on what the differences tell us and how best we can work towards identifying new ways of finding common benchmarks to ensure that the sum of the parts continues to be greater.

So as we turn to the year to come, we should celebrate the efforts all have made to embrace change and work on a smooth transition. We may also want to reflect on that good ideas by themselves are rarely enough to get us to where we hope to be. The new year will provide all whether at a local or a national level to confirm or otherwise that partnerships have an essential and central part to play putting what we have learnt from 60 + years of a collective approach to protecting children and promoting their welfare.

With all good wishes for the festive season and new year from the TASP team.

 TASP UPDATE

 

The Charities Commission has approved our application and we have 2 interim trustees. We will be moving to appoint up to 12 trustees in the new year. This will establish the new governance arrangements and ensure that TASP can reflect all perspectives and interests.

AILC will be formally closed by the end of March 2020, with transfer of any remaining assets to TASP. Until then AILC continues to support the establishment of TASP.

There continues to be a healthy level of enquiries about membership, and we have recognised that for many it makes sense to line this decision up with the new financial year. We have formalised a pro rata (quarterly) fee payment and continue to trial membership fees to reflect the different compositions of partnerships.

We continue to welcome enquiries and renewals, and so long as we continue to attract new memberships at the rate we have, this will ensure a) sustainability and b) allow us to invest in a new infrastructure to drive forward the member led offer. This will also allow us to advance the move to a new website.

We are grateful to the support we have received from across the country and are looking forward to building on a number of ongoing discussions we are having with those organisations who have a commitment and an interest in ensuring there is a focus on and support for safeguarding partnerships.

Whilst TASP will always have a significant focus on safeguarding partnerships
that focus on statutory joint working led by the 3 Statutory Partners, we are committed to exploring and extending support and shared learning to other areas, recognising the common challenges, opportunities and how others utilise a “partnership” approach.

From January we will start to re introduce dedicated and restricted access for members.

Our advisory group (Richard Burrows, Julia Caldwell, Alan Caton, Kevin Crompton, Alison Cutler, Nick Frost, Chris Miller, Jenny Pearce & Alison Thorpe) continues to meet virtually and will meet again in January – If you are interested in being a part of this please get in touch (by emailing alison at manager@lscbchairs.org.uk).

Sadly Frankie our adminstrator suffered an unexpected close bereavement so has needed to take a months compassionate leave. Our thoughts are with her and her family and we look forward to her return in the new year.

 CONFERENCE UPDATE

 

We are pleased to announce the dates and venue for the first TASP annual conference.

This will take place at Crewe Hall, Crewe on 24th - 25th June, 2020 with accomodation also available the night before on 23rd.

Professor Nick Frost has agreed to lead the task group and as before we welcome members. If you are interested in joining the task group please email Alison at manager@lscbchairs.org.uk

The overall theme is to be agreed but we will focus on the key learning and issues emerging from the new arrangements, bringing people together to share their experiences and helping to shape future direction.

Members are guaranteed a discounted rate AND get priority booking

The Booking system opens early in the new year.

 

 SPOTLIGHT ON CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Are we missing children who are, or may have been, sexually abused? – Anna Glinski, Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse

We know there are many more children being sexually abused than come to the attention of statutory services.  Despite the high numbers of children thought to be affected, those subject to assessment or a child protection plan remain strikingly low, with numbers decreasing by nearly 2/3 over the last 25 years, while other categories have continually risen.  Furthermore, there is significant regional variation between neighbouring Local Authorities (regionally and statistically) both in relation to numbers of assessments and CP plans for sexual abuse.  

In many ways this is hardly surprising.  Pre-qualifying education in relation to intra-familial sexual abuse is significantly lacking across all professions.  In terms of post-qualifying multi-agency training, this is inconsistent, with a disproportionate focus on child sexual exploitation (as one form of child sexual abuse).  With the majority of the most serious sexual abuse taking place within the family, this is a situation which is in need of address if we are to protect and support children proactively.  Developing the knowledge, skills and confidence of the workforce must be fundamental to this.   

The complexity of child sexual abuse means that responsibility for prevention, protection and support rightly sits with a number of different professionals.  For the child, the response will therefore come from multiple agencies and so how we work together is fundamental to the service they receive.  In comparison to other safeguarding concerns there is considerably less activity within SCPs with respect to intra-familial child sexual abuse.  This is in relation to strategy, case reviews, auditing and training offers.

The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse 
aims to reduce the impact of CSA through improved prevention and better response.  If you are not already aware of our work, please visit our website and follow some of the links below.  Clearly the new arrangements (Safeguarding Partnerhships) are key to achieving effective arrangements and as such we are keen to engage with local and regional partnerships to ascertain views on how we can usefully support them in this area of work.  If you are willing to discuss this further, please contact Anna at anna.glinski@csacentre.org.uk.


We will be uploading some resources onto the website for members.

 

Suggestions for spotlight items are welcomed, they need to demonstrate a direct relevance to current arrangements and issues, in order to highlight and contribute to local and national dialogue. Please email Alison at manager@lscbchairs.org.uk

 

 NEWS FROM...

We regularly receive and scan for information and news that we think will be helpful for partnerships. You can often find further information on the website and we will try to signpost this whenever we can. The things we include in the newsletter are guided by direct relavance, topicality and contributions and suggestions from members and TASP supporters. Inclusion and any commentary should not be seen as a direct endorsement but rather to help you have a look and make up your own minds.

 Election Mania


You may have noticed there was a general election! We thought it might be interesting to randomly share some of the analysis and focus there was in the run up on issues that directly relate to children and young people. Sadly it was difficult to find any real focus on safeguarding and protection! – With thanks to those organisations that shared this. We must stress that this is only a partial sample provided for the purpose of information and the views reflect those of the organisations concerned.

"Young Minds" published their analysis on where all the parties stand on young peoples mental health. To read the blog - click here

CYPNow reported on The British Youth Council's urges to tackle child poverty and improve mental health - read the article here.

The National Youth Advocacy Service played an instrumental role in the development of 30 General Election Pledges, launched today by Together for Children, an alliance of organisations and individuals focused on promoting a rights-based children’s social care system. Read the detail here

Action for Children demand political leaders to set out their solution to the social problems that can leave children "scarred for life", including child poverty, mental health, domestic abuse and serious youth violence. Read the news story here.  

 Other News...

 

We always recommend a look at the AOCPP newsletter and this blog caught our eye  “Are we overcomplicating safeguarding and creating a self serving industry?
A challenge we might all want to take into 2020?

We hear that some Partnerships are contributing to important developments around how best to ensure that children and young people who feel they are not the gender they were assigned at birth, and would be interested to learn more so that we can start to create a share point for what people are learning. See here

On line sexual abuse and harm, increasingly this is being recognised as an important area where partnerships want to ensure that joint working arrangements are effective and this recently published research reported in Children and Young People now, may help in giving shape and form to this.

Lest we forget the other parts of the United Kingdom interesting news from Wales.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the future of safeguarding  - we know that in many areas where MASH type approaches are adopted and from the need to form a fuller picture across prevention/early help and statutory interventions as well as the positive learning from ways of managing risk for children who are being or at risk of sexual exploitation, that how data and intelligence is used in the safeguarding context is an area of interest for many, and sometimes as this shows from unexpected sources!


We would really welcome contributions, especially if you have a story you would like to share that others would benefit from. Drop us an email and we can discuss how to include this at chair@lscbchairs.org.uk.

Please phone the Association on 07880 209 788 if you would like any help at all, or email Frankie at frankie.good@lscbchairs.org.uk if you have queries or comments.

 SPOTLIGHT - WHAT DO BUSINESS MANAGERS HOPE THAT THEY WILL FIND UNDER THEIR XMAS TREE?

from Business Managers in the East of England

  • A new sat nav, so we can see the new landscape and know who is where and what is there. This will help us route to support and sharinG
  •  A new tool box and tools so that we can make the best use of our time and make sure that we can support the new arrangements
  • A bigger pot of glue – to help hold things together
  • A new instruction manual – to recognise that our role is changing

Whilst these may be some of the presents hoped for, on a more serious level this and the dialogue that sits behind it signals our intentions to focus in the new year on how best we can support this important role.


 

Thank you all for your support and interest in 2019. We look forward to the future of safeguarding in 2020.

With best wishes,

Richard Burrows
AILC Chair

www.lscbchairs.org.uk
Association Phone 07880 209788
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