It was a privilege to meet so many
Chairs, Board Managers and other colleagues at the AILC national
Conference last month – and I am delighted that more than a few of you
said that it felt the best conference we have held. The venue was
congenial, the programme varied, and the contributions and interest from
all delegates were stimulating and challenging. There was a great deal
of common purpose and determination to be ambitious for children – and
to make sure that new safeguarding arrangements really do make a
I tried through my opening keynote
address to set out some of the challenges and opportunities we face –
please make use of these arguments and ideas, and the other material available on our website here.
In particular, I
sought to articulate the context of austerity, the rising demand
pressures, the significant funding shortfalls and new and evolving risks
that face families, children and young people. As an Association, we
have put together a number of documents and plans over recent months
that not only help frame our national work – but are also, I trust,
useful and relevant to local discussions about safeguarding priorities.
If you were not able to attend Conference I hope you will find these of
interest and helpful:
- AILC Strategic Plan for 2017-2018 setting priorities for the coming year based on shared assumptions and a description of the context in which we operate
- Our regular reports on Ofsted Reviews now showing 52% of Boards are good or outstanding
- Our regular Newsletters and Annual Report providing information and suggestions for local action, and reporting on the activity undertaken so far
- Our initial “Big Issues” paper on the Working Together Consultation which will be developed into a comprehensive response to the Government’s proposals
- Our regular surveys of LSCBs, Chairs and Business Managers about how you are confronting the prospect and opportunities of new arrangements
- Our initial working paper on possible new configurations and membership and purpose for AILC itself
- Our developing exchange of information and ideas about new local partnership arrangements and the so-called “early adopters”
The December issue of Children and Young People Now carries an article on the new plans for local safeguarding arrangements, and I was interviewed for this to highlight some of our concerns and hopes for the new arrangements. I repeated my concern that there is a risk that the new arrangements are based on what agencies can afford rather than what is best for children – as a time of increasing demand and need. There is still a lot of work to do to hammer out agreements on footprint, functions and funding. What is encouraging and stimulating is the various ways in which several LSCBs and chairs are taking the lead in fashioning new local arrangements, looking at different ways of structuring and focusing local leadership and enhancing frontline practice.
Alan Wood is quoted that LSCBs and Serious Case Reviews were not, in his view, sufficiently effective. With the continuing evidence that many Boards are inclusive partnerships, working well and developing innovation, I think this can no longer be sustained as the basis for change and future improvement. We need to root that loudly and clearly in what makes a difference for children and young people – not in the structure of inter-agency working.
Good News about “Good” LSCBs
63% of LSCBs are “OUTSTANDING” or “GOOD” this year
This information is hot off the press as AILC has just analysed the very latest of Ofsted’s published reports of LSCB reviews. AILC’s analysis shows an excellent trajectory with increasingly numbers of LSCBs judged to be good or better – up to 63% in the latest round, and 52% overall. This challenges the assumption that LSCBs are not effective or efficient in their work and sets a new benchmark about what should be transferred into new Multi-agency arrangements.
Look out for AILC’s next analysis of Ofsted reports in early 2018, with all comments about Chairs/Board staff, and analysis within themes – this will be provided to members first as a benefit.
There are no plans currently for there to be any dedicated inspections of the new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements (MASAs) or even that all plans will be centrally reviewed and agreed at meeting minimum requirements.
This matter was raised as highly significant at Conference – how can government create a new safeguarding system and at the same time cease/not hold future inspections of such arrangements to ensure children’s safety across the country? This is being taken up by AILC.
AILC National Conference - A Great Success!
A most sincere thank you to all who took part in this year’s national Conference, ‘Safeguarding Outcomes : Ambitious for Children’.
Excellent presentations including the Child’s Voice in Inquiries, Early Adopters, Neglect, Inspections, Leadership & Diversity were equaled by highly engaged debate amongst delegates (supported by MeetingSphere around issues important to children, children whom some astute delegates recommended, should be regarded as the 4th Safeguarding Partner.
Many Conference materials are now available for delegates to access via our website. We have circulated to members and delegates, a list of comments arising throughout sessions, divided into the ‘Working Together’ consultation questions. And a report of the Conference will shortly be uploaded on our website. Headline feedback is that:
- Many delegates wanted AILC to be assertive in raising concerns about the impact upon children of the new safeguarding system, and of austerity
- 91% of delegates rated the quality of the Conference as Very Good or Good
- 56% of delegates rated themselves with High/Very High Knowledge, Skills and Confidence before conference, and 89% after Conference
Safeguarding in Education
AILC is supporting a really important piece of research examining how schools work with other agencies to safeguard children. Schools are our best safeguards as they see almost all children on a daily basis, so we do hope you will respond positively to the questions being sent to LSCB Board Managers in January. Click here to access.
The Children & Social Work Act Update
With only a few weeks remaining before DfE’s consultation on ‘Working Together’ closes on 31st December 2017. AILC urges all LSCBs, individuals and organisations to contribute to the consultation process and make their views clear to DfE with as many submissions as possible.
The need for dedicated inspections, the need for a list of minimum functions, and the need to define and set standards for scrutiny and challenge, will be major aspects in AILC’s submission, which will be shared in January.
The results of our October survey, on changes around the country, were sent to members in advance and shared with delegates at Conference. Findings from a response rate of just under a hundred include:
- “Having preliminary discussions” was the most common stage across LSCBs
- Setting out core functions such as Performance Management/Quality Assurance; Learning and Improvement
- Independent Scrutiny and resolving differences and making collegiate decisions across the partnerships were cited as important to be included in guidance by over 70% of respondents
- After clear guidance, respondents wanted to share understanding and information about the development of changes in LSCBs and partnerships
- Funding was the most common issue being asked to be taken up nationally
- Asked “When you make changes, what will these be?” most responded “No change” or “Other”; just under half in equal numbers thought that joining up with adults or other areas was likely either through joint Boards or merged Business Units
AILC’s survey is one strand of many being developing to help us all understand the national picture of change. Our ‘Early Adopters’ examples will be refreshed in the New Year – these are based upon information received, but also depend upon your notifying us of any changes you are making- the more we share the more we learn - so please do drop a line or two regarding your changes to Sarah Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a reminder of the Indicative Implementation Timetable: