WELCOME

 

ALL CHANGE?

The 29th of September marks another significant step in the long history of the collective response to the challenges of coordinating joint working to safeguard children and young people. As yet our picture and understanding of what the new arrangements will look like is partial but is likely to emerge in due course.

It seems fitting that we should note and pay tribute to all those who have worked hard and been so committed to the former LSCB arrangements. For now, it seems that many are wanting to build on the many positive attributes of this legacy.

We should be in no doubt that the changes are significant and present opportunities to re-set and re-approach some of the essential characteristics and functions embodied in effective safeguarding partnerships, old and new.

Perspectives and levels of ownership will no doubt remain diverse, which emphasises the importance of a continued endeavour to find common ground, build the picture and respect the different ways partnerships will go about seeking to bring unity and a shared purpose to safeguarding activity, that is effective by any measure.

From what our members are telling us, some of the common themes and different approaches are starting to become clearer. It is to be welcomed that government, in so far as it is able to maintain its focus on safeguarding at present, has recognised that transitions will be gradual and that these will benefit from ongoing support. Likewise at a national level Statutory Partners are investing in bringing some focus to change, and it is hoped that this will continue after March of next year.

Support for TASP is promising, and membership will shape and support how priorities are set, within the remit of bringing a positive approach that values learning, recognises the importance of being able to share experience and help all to have a clear view of the principles that have served to ensure that our approach to safeguarding is of the highest standard.

Some of the emerging issues and themes such as the new leadership arrangements, the retention of partnerships outside of a formal “Board” model, different degrees of ambition in respect of whole or part system focus, new applications of “independence” and its relationship with scrutiny and other governance and operational aspects are probably not the only ones that will emerge.

To take this forward we have introduced a new “spotlight” section, this will provide the opportunity for stakeholders and members to suggest and share key issues and experience, which they feel will add to the shared task of setting the new landscape. This month we focus on the new DWP Reducing Conflict Programme, as some members felt raised a number of opportunities around strategic join up and the wider debate around prevention and safeguarding.

We also take a first look at “Independent scrutiny” and thanks to Jenny Pearce for sharing her thoughts and work on this.

It is important for us to say that in sharing information and perspectives, we include these on the basis of the contribution they may make to your own arrangements and forming a wider perspective, and therefore do not necessarily intend these to be reflective of our position. When this is the case we will try to be clear about this.

It is probably fair to observe that there are mixed views about how things will develop so some words from Abraham Lincoln may be helpful in embodying the efforts of all to form and forge ways in which partnerships can make a difference and build on the strengths of the past. “The best way to predict the future is to create it”

We hope that you will find this newsletter helpful, and in addition to commissioning future items we welcome any suggestions and or contributions.

 TASP UPDATE

 

New Members 

 A warm welcome to the last five members who have joined us; Calderdale, Durham, Luton, Surrey and Suffolk.

Members Survey

We will be circulating a brief online survey to our members to kick off consultation of the development of the future TASP offer and, what members feel should be priorities.

Website

Open access will remain for all interested parties as we continue the process of migrating content to the archives and developing TASP focused content. It looks like we will either overhaul the present site, then launch a new hosting address, or commission a new site. We want to time this with the feedback from members, so your continued patience is appreciated.

Registration of TASP

We recently heard from the Charity Commission who are currently experiencing a significant backlog in dealing with new registrations, so as soon as we have news we will let you know.

Advisory Group

We held a very productive first Advisory Group Meeting and many thanks again, to all who volunteered to join, and to those who were also able to attend. We will be holding another meeting shortly and the thinking is, pending the establishment of the Board of Trustees and the appointment of the staff team, that it will be good to draw on the experience of those who are in the thick of it; this will help inform decisions and direction. So please, if you have any free time, do let us know if you could join this group. Contact at frankie.good@lscbchairs.org.uk to do so.

Membership Fees

For the year 2019/2020 we have set this at the same rate as the old AILC fee. However we do want to review this for 20/21 in consultation with members. For example whether in addition to the current model which is partnership focused and allocates 5 individual access/benefit packages, there is room for other types of membership. We are also aware that there are a number of partnerships that operate across a number of LA/CCG areas. So we are working on an interim solution to a fee for these types of arrangements that offers them some benefit from economies of scale, but also reflects the need to ensure a proportionate balance with the majority of partnerships that focus on one area and 3 statutory partners.

We welcome and encourage statutory partners and Business Managers to express interest and commitment by joining us now!

Please Contact Us or Join Us by phone on 07880 209 788 or email at frankie.good@lscbchairs.org.uk if you have queries or comments.

  SPOTLIGHT

 Department of Works and Pensions "Reducing Parental Conflict" Programme


We were able to talk with Patrick Myers who leads on this programme and felt it would be helpful for members to hear from him.

I am really pleased to be given the opportunity to share with you the work that I am currently involved with at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). I am an Assistant Director from Dorset Council Children’s Services Department seconded to work on the Government’s Reducing Parental Conflict programme. I want to share with you the aims of the Government’s work to reduce parental conflict, as well as the scale of the issue. Having been involved in the early pilot work with DWP and now the roll out of the national programme, I know that the programme has been built around strong evidence and as such should have a clear impact on family dynamics and improve children’s lives and outcomes.

Inter-parental conflict that is frequent, intense and poorly resolved is not good for children and can result in negative outcomes that can be felt across the life course. It can affect their early emotional and social development, their educational attainment and later employability - limiting their chances to lead fulfilling, happy lives. Our goal is to reduce conflict between parents, and we know that this is important whether a child’s parents are together or separated. We know that sometimes separation can be the best option for a couple, but even then, continued co-operation and communication between parents is better for their children.

Backed by up to £39m in funding, the Reducing Parental Conflict programme is encouraging councils and their partners across England to integrate evidence-based services and approaches to addressing parental conflict that work for their local families.

The Government has already announced plans to transform the way we think about and tackle domestic violence and abuse, while the focus of the Reducing Parental Conflict (RPC) Programme is on conflict considered to be below that threshold. Parental conflict can range from a lack of warmth and emotional distance, right through to swearing and shouting.

We know that this is a significant issue. Where a child lives with both parents in the same household, more than one in ten children have at least one parent who reports relationship distress. And children living in workless families are three times more likely to experience parental conflict than in families where both parents are in work.

The poor outcomes for children exposed to parental conflict can lead to increased pressure on public services, and yet we know that support to reduce parental conflict is not yet fully reflected in many of the local services offered to families. The RPC programme is looking to address and advise local provision.

Early pilot work with 12 local authorities has informed the various strands of the programme. There are four primary strands:

  • Funding to support strategic leadership across local authorities’ footprints to make effective plans with partners to address the issues related to inter parental conflict
  • Practitioner training across all 151 local authorities to equip frontline staff with skills and knowledge to help families where conflict is evident
  • Four areas (30 local authorities) piloting a range of interventions to reduce inter parental conflict with the express intention of improving children’s outcomes
  • Specialist training in those pilot interventions should they prove to be effective.

In addition, the DWP is collaborating with Public Health England and the Department for Health and Social Care on the Innovation Fund for Children of Alcohol Dependent Parents, which has provided nine areas with support to work in this challenging area. And our £2.2m RPC Challenge Fund is funding 10 innovative projects, to support families who face particular disadvantages, as well as digital support to reduce parental conflict. For further information, please contact me at patrick.myers@dwp.gov.uk.

 

It was interesting to learn more about the Department of Work & Pensions “Reducing Parental Conflict” programme which we feature in this newsletter. This, and other similar developments and approaches can have so much more value if they are embraced by partnerships who can promote the linkages between good and effective ideas and, the potential to apply learning so that it results in elements of system re design, changes in practice and building a more “curious workforce and joint working” as well as impacting on the many and varied service or organisational specific funding rewarded targets?

We think it will continue be important for each partnership to set the parameters of their aspirations, but there is growing evidence that many are recognising the opportunity to establish a shared view of the interconnectedness of the lives and worlds that children and their families experience which places a greater emphasis on “heading of at the pass” the things that can negatively impact on how children grow up and flourish.

 

 Other Safeguarding News

 

Departments of Education, Health and Social Care and the Home Office

The three Departments continue to work together to support the changes in safeguarding partnership arrangements, and are looking at the future role of Reform Board and Evaluations group. The former has involved external stakeholders and AILC has been able to contribute to discussions, as it has with the proposals to commission external evaluation.

The DfE Implementation Board for Child Safeguarding Reform have now gone live with the sector expert tender. This is for up to 60 days of work between 31 October 2019 and 31 March 2020. Click here to access the link. (Editors note – we know the closing date has past, but thought the information would be helpful and once an appointment is made we will feature this).

We are hopeful as TASP becomes established that there will continue to be a place at the table for the association, as we can uniquely draw on and channel learning and development from across member partnerships.

We understand that DfE officials are working their way through the plans, in order to inform their strategic assessment and to offer feedback to partnerships. This highlights the importance of being able to start to get a sense of directions of travel and details, and TASP is currently consulting its members as to how we might add to this picture. It would be good to hear from any partnership that has taken part in the DfE compliance exercise.

Sensibly there seems to be a recognition that changes will take time to implement, especially as so many of the plans recognise the importance of continuity and the potential significance of the changes. As the statutory partners work towards a clearer understanding of the commonalities and differences.

The National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel – Children’s Serious Incidents Notification System

As you probably know, the online referral system for reviews went live in February and all areas must register to use it by 30 September 2019 - is your partnership signed up? Click here to access.

This will allow the notification to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel if it’s known or suspected that a child has been abused or neglected.

This service should be used if:

  • a looked-after child dies including where abuse or neglect is not known or suspected
  • a child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority’s area
  • a child dies or is seriously harmed outside England while normally resident in the local authority’s area

We are told that some authorities have not reported any cases meeting the serious incident threshold since 29 June 2018. Further analysis is taking place in the Department for Education to see whether any further action is necessary. The National Panel will report the findings from the first National Review in the Autumn.

We are in the process of arranging one of our regular meetings with Edward Timpson (Chair) and a panel member, so if there are issues that you feel we could raise please let us know.

National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub Conference 2019 - This will be the first NPCC Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) Conference to be held and it will provide much needed networking with experts from around the country and is not solely aimed at Police: if you feel that any of your local partners would like to attend please feel free to share this. This will be held on 1st – 2nd October 2019 and the location is the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester. Click here to access further information.

We are grateful for the support being shown by the NPCC in setting up TASP, along with that provided by the Department of Health and Social Care, through Loraine Parker (NPCC) and Liz Balfe (DHSC) who have dedicated roles until March 2020. We are sharing NPCC's newsletter which is also sharing resources. You can find it here.

NHS Improvement

NHS Improvement recently launched their new Patient Safety Strategy. Hopefully it will continue to build bridges re the necessary focus on clinical risk and a focus on safeguarding, and may be food for thought for safeguarding partnerships. Click here to access.

Safeguarding Research

The Independent Inquiry into CSA has commissioned the National Centre for Social Research and ResearchAbility (both independent research organisations) to carry out research into safeguarding practice in residential schools. The study explores awareness, understanding and experiences of safeguarding practice in relation to child sexual abuse among school staff, students and parents, as well as in local authorities, with the aim of sharing best practice as well as identifying areas for improvement. Researchers would like to speak to local authority staff as part of this research, and will contact the Director of Children’s Services in some local authorities in the coming weeks to invite individuals in their teams to participate. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch via email to residentialschools@natcen.ac.uk

Recent Tweet from Matthew Gibson

We can forget, in our efforts to rightly focus on positive outcomes for children and young people, seeing things through the eyes of practitioners - our approach to scrutiny and learning may not always look at things from this perspective?

Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse

Centre of Expertise on CSA have published the next paper in their Key messages from Research series, focusing on looked-after children and child sexual abuse.

They have also recently published Key Messages from Research on identifying and responding to disclosures of child sexual abuse.

Safeguarding in Faith Communities - NSPCC

The NSPCC has released the latest episode of its child protection podcast series. This week’s episode focuses on what safeguarding means to faith communities and groups.

The podcast discusses the important role faith communities play in children and young people’s lives, and covers topics including: why faith groups need to understand their safeguarding responsibilities; the challenges that safeguarding children and young people in faith communities brings; and how faith communities can develop a safeguarding culture that works alongside other cultural beliefs, values and customs. Click here to access.

  SPOTLIGHT

Independent Scrutiny


A big thanks to Jenny Pearce for agreeing to share her recent work and thoughts on Independent Scrutiny. We know that along with other aspects of the new arrangements, there are different interpretations and approaches to this.
 
We welcome further contributions that can help add to our understanding of this and we would want to support a “healthy debate” so please tell us what you think and we will do our best to share this. Click here to access Jenny's report.


 

New Report from Children’s Commissioner

A report has been published showing new research on the thousands of children growing up in homeless families. The report, Bleak Houses: Tackling the Crisis of Family Homelessness in England. Bleak Houses, reveals the terrible reality of how some children are living in converted shipping containers, office blocks and B&Bs, in cramped conditions, often miles away from their schools.

The report shows that while official statistics show 120,000 children in England are living in temporary accommodation, this does not include the hidden homeless who are ‘sofa-surfing’, often in very cramped conditions. New analysis conducted for the Children’s Commissioner for England estimates that in 2016-2017 there were 90,000 children living in sofa-surfing families.

A Manifesto for Children – Children’s Commissioner

The manifesto, published ahead of any upcoming General Election, calls on Britain’s political parties to include a six-point plan in their election manifestos to transform the life chances for disadvantaged children and to help all of England’s 12 million children to thrive.

The manifesto sets out some of the key issues that children have told the Children’s Commissioner’s Office are affecting their lives, and reflects many of the subjects the Children’s Commissioner has been shining a light on in recent years – children growing up in chaotic families, inadequate children’s mental health services, children’s safety and children living in poor quality housing such as B&Bs, converted office blocks or shipping containers.

A Recent Tweet from Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner

 

For our next newsletter, we would 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.


With best wishes,

Richard Burrows
AILC Chair

www.lscbchairs.org.uk
Association Phone 07880 209788
Follow us on Twitter @AssocLSCBChair