Newsletter July 2017
Chair's Introduction from David Ashcroft
It is marvellous that we have another group of effective Boards recognised with recent Ofsted reports as we identify below. Congratulations to all concerned. What is clear is that there is now a good benchmark of what is required to deliver effective local arrangements that improve the outcomes for children – and we need to ensure that these characteristics, and the partner commitment and capacity to deliver them – is carried forward into the new arrangements that will replace LSCBs by September 2019.
Yes - the timetable is now running into 2019! The redrafted Working Together is not expected until the end of this year, and a recognition that it will take some time to work through the details of preparing and publishing a local safeguarding plan, and agreeing budgets, personnel, and securing proper partner sign-up, means that it is expected that it will take most of 2018-19 to finalise local details. The Department for Education has issued a statement (see below) on this and further bulletins will be circulated over coming months.
Hidden Issues Now Surfacing!
As local discussion starts about future arrangements it is clear that we are unpicking a number of issues that may not have been identified earlier, and certainly aren’t covered in the Act itself. The FOI position in relation to LSCBs has been clear and confirmed by the courts (as not subject to FOI):
- What will be the rules applicable to new partnerships?
- How will this affect future case reviews?
- Who will provide professional, legal and other specialist advice to the partnership and will it be independent of the agencies?
These and other issues are starting to come into focus – please raise any that emerge from your local discussions with AILC. Thank you to those who have already contacted me about these and other questions.
How Safe are Children?
Following on from the debate about future arrangements, we have recently had a series of publications and events that have brought the spotlight back onto the real opportunities and risks for children in our society. As I said in last month’s newsletter, we must ensure that there remains at national and local level a paramount emphasis on the practical safeguarding of children, even while we debate new structures and partnerships.
In June the NSPCC published their annual overview of child protection in the UK – How safe are our children? The Early Intervention Foundation and LGA published their research on Improving the Effectiveness of the Child Protection System – together with a further set of research papers produced, amongst others, by RIP and NSPCC.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) produced an assessment of the impacts of child sexual abuse this month. At the ADCS conference in Manchester we also heard informative presentations from the Child Poverty Action Group and others which set out the impact of poverty for families in work on the outcomes and opportunities for children.
The Children’s Commissioner produced her first report into the extent of vulnerability for children in England, and also spoke out about asking questions locally, in the light of recent events, about how well our emergency plans recognise the impact on children. We need to consider the same questions. Has the work of housing partners and responsible councils to make high rise buildings safe already been a subject for your Board’s discussion? Has the LSCB questioned how well emergency plans deal with the risks for children and particularly recognised the need for longer term support and engagement beyond the crisis response?
All these reports and information are items that you may consider discussing in your Boards – and they provide a basis for asking questions about how well local areas are serving children and young people.
I am pleased to report that the issue of Home Education, and the connected challenge of those out of school or attending unregulated (or illegal) provision, which several Boards have been raising as a significant issue of safeguarding risk, is now being picked up by parliament and by inspection. The new Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, made the following comments at the ADCS Conference:
“Whether in alternative provision, being tutored at home, or being taught in some of the small non-association independent faith schools that we are increasingly concerned about, the education and welfare of these children is our collective responsibility. And the related problem of children being put at risk in illegal unregistered schools is also something I intend to tackle with the same zeal and passion as my predecessor. These are evolving challenges that require creative and joined-up solutions.”
There is currently a bill before the House of Lords introduced by Lord Soley to create a duty for local authorities to monitor home education. We will see whether this progresses. AILC has been lobbying that this issue needed to be addressed, so I am pleased to see at least some indications of movement. It is also clear that some police areas are starting to address this issue in respect of risks to children. I hope we will have more information over coming months.
AILC Strategic Plan
Last month I set out the priorities that AILC is working on for the rest of this year:
- To influence the implementation of the CSW Act and related guidance
- To deliver a successful and inclusive national conference in November
- To sustain support for members
- To collate, influence and disseminate new models for local partnerships
- To develop the Association for the future
- To ensure there is a paramount emphasis on the continuing robust safeguarding of children and young people
As part of this work we have been trying to capture some of the assumptions that we should make in a time of change and transition. I would welcome comments, additions and views on these. We are assuming:
- That there is merit in a national network for those involved in leading local safeguarding arrangements – this can be a wider pool than current LSCB chairs
- Peer support and sector-led improvement will continue to be key drivers
- Existing networks are not always focused on multi-agency and multi-professional perspectives
- That support for those exercising an independent or challenge role is necessary and valuable
- That there is value in collating and exchanging information and expertise
- That this expertise can, and should, contribute to both policy and implementation, and can influence others in the interest of children and effective safeguarding
- That there are sufficient common interests across other safeguarding and public protection agendas to support wider networks of individuals and interests
- That AILC has been a success and seeks to have a positive legacy
Please contribute your thoughts, reactions and views on these assumptions as this will help shape the work we undertake into 2018 and beyond.
Congratulations to LSCBs recently rated as GOOD and OUTSTANDING
Congratulations to Derby City LSCB from AILC - the latest LSCB to be judged as Outstanding. The report was published in June, see AILC's tweets here regarding Derby LSCB, which summarise some of the key points heralded by Ofsted on challenge, induction, lay members, sub groups and Annual Report:
"Outstanding Derby LSCB…. A culture of respectful challenge modelled by the board’s highly capable chair.... All key partner agencies play an active role.... New board members receive induction that makes clear expectations and responsibilities.... with a full range of active sub-groups.... benefits from long-standing engagement of two capable lay members.... Annual Report is high-quality"
Derby City’s Chair, Christine Cassell says:
"I am particularly pleased with the Ofsted comments about the board 'making a sustained and significant difference to how well agencies in the city protect children and promote their welfare' and about the LSCB being a 'highly influential strategic partnership.' I think that the report proves how successful LSCBs can be in promoting shared ownership of safeguarding across partners and engendering a culture of continuous improvement. The DfE must ensure that its new guidance enables and strengthens partnership working of this kind under the new safeguarding arrangements.”
AILC's latest Analysis of Ofsted reports on LSCBs between August 2016 and March 2017 show nearly half are “Good” or “Outstanding”. Those being judged “Inadequate” or “Requiring Improvement” also have important learning points for other LSCBs, as well as good practice.
LSCBs recently judged “Good” by Ofsted since April 2017 are:
- North Tyneside
- Bedford Borough
- Bath & NE Somerset
- Bracknell Forest
LSCB Examples Recently Uploaded on your Website - 44 topics
AILC has uploaded recent examples from LSCBs across the country now, with a policy or example of local practice, for others to access/share in the Effective Safeguarding Partnerships section of AILC’s website. If your LSCB is not yet included, do send us your preferred document- preferably a link to some work on your LSCB website. Recent examples uploaded are;
- Leeds LSCB Neglect Strategy 2017-2022
- Luton LSCB on Lay Members Briefings
- Brighton & Hove LSCB on Modern Slavery Practice Points
- Lincolnshire LSCB Community Campaigns list
See these examples within the 44 new A-Z Subject and Process headings.
In last month’s Newsletter we highlighted a couple of examples of LSCB policies including the Safeguarding in Sports example (within the Community section). The Sports example was developed in Rotherham but in the newsletter we mistakenly identified it as a York example. Apologies to Rotherham and York LSCBs for this incorrect reference.
Have you made your Priority Booking for the National Conference in Crewe?
Your Annual Conference on 21st and 22nd November 2017 will be examining approaches to the delivery of safeguarding arrangements in the context of a new legislative framework and the revised guidance that will underpin the safeguarding of children. You can expect an engaging, thought-provoking, two-day event offering you multiple ways to network with your colleagues and engage directly in the key issues impacting upon the safeguarding of children. Your attendance at Conference will help shape the direction of the Association and influence developments being implemented locally and across the country. The Conference Planning Working Group have been developing this year's Programme, to be published shortly. To book your place, click here.
Advertising Posts Related to LSCBs
Your LSCB can advertise any related posts for FREE if you are a member (cost for non-members is £650 for a four week period). Click here for further information.
National Policy News
The Children & Social Work Act Update
We have been briefed that the new Working Together will be shared for consultation in November 2017. Local plans are expected to be prepared for April 2018, and that 2018-2019 will be required to secure local agreements, clarify details and set up new arrangements. The date by which all new arrangements should be in place is proposed by no later than September 2019.
“LSCBs must continue to undertake their statutory functions, as they are legally required to do, until the new safeguarding partner and child death review arrangements are in place. In the meantime, local areas are advised to begin thinking about what the new legislation will mean for them. It is particularly important that the future safeguarding partners and child death partners in each area begin to think through how the new arrangements might operate in practice, considering what is working well in the area, and what could be improved.”
We will keep you abreast of further information - keep checking AILC’s website News page - the new briefing from DfE is there for you, including:
‘How Safe are our Children’ NSPCC 2017 – how safe is your LSCB?
LSCBs will need to consider the NSPCC’s latest report – “the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the 4 nations in the UK for 2017. The report sets out 20 different indicators. Each indicator looks at the question of 'how safe are our children?' from a different perspective. They also include historic data, to help track progress over time.” Key findings include:
- Increased numbers of children on child protection plans and registers and increased numbers of CLA
- Mental/emotional health was the most common main concern in ChildLine counselling sessions in 2016-2017
- In 2016/17 8 per cent of counselling sessions were about suicide compared with 3 per cent in 2009-2010
Troubled Teens: A Study of the Links between Parenting and Adolescent Neglect (The Children's Society)
Commissioned by Luton LSCB to support the development of their strategy on neglect and Informed by young people themselves, this report lifts the lid on the significant scale of teenage neglect. Teenagers describe the experiences with parents or carers who failed to monitor their activities outside of the home, ensure they received adequate healthcare or took little interest in their education. Materials include a useful Policy and Practice Briefing.
Improving the Effectiveness of the Child Protection System (Anita Schrader‐McMillan and Jane Barlow)
The Improvement Board of the LGA commissioned this piece of work in order to better understand the evidence on what works in child protection, and to consider how the evidence can be used locally to inform decisions on how best to manage demand on Children’s Social Care services within the constraints of existing resources. This joint‐funded collaboration between the LGA, EIF and NSPCC.
A new report from Public Health England on child sexual exploitation (CSE) summarises the emerging evidence on CSE and PSHE, and provides practice examples to support frameworks for prevention and intervention- LSCBs should ensure this is taken into account in health and education plans.
Public Health England CSE Report highlights "critical role" PSHE can play in prevention
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