January 2018

Chairs Introduction from David Ashcroft

Although we are near the end of January can I wish all our members a very Happy New Year and every encouragement to keep safeguarding for children at the heart of all our work in 2018.

This will be a challenging year, and we need to ensure that we are not distracted from making sure that children are protected and kept safe, while we deal with the new arrangements for safeguarding partnerships. As an Association we will try to make sure that we continue to highlight the issues that affect children as well as respond to the debates about the future of LSCBs and the future shape and purpose of the Association.

My thanks to all those who contributed to the highly successful national conference that we held in November. Your feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and I sensed a great deal of common purpose and determination from all partners to be ambitious for children, and for us to continue to speak truth to power about the impact of austerity, the growing demands on our statutory services, and the risks of dismantling multi-agency arrangements without a clear sense of what will succeed them.

It was great to hear about the continuing innovation in ways of working that are being developed by Boards around the country- really asking some profound questions about what difference we make for children. As we outline in this Newsletter we will continue to share new ideas and emerging practice as this is available. We learnt about how different local solutions are being developed to make sure that we have proportionate, focused and affordable structures in place.

The contribution of many Board and Business Managers was a really important part of the conference, reflecting the reservoir of knowledge and experience that we have in these staff. AILC wants to make sure that we continue to support staff and will be exploring how we can extend membership and involvement for all those who champion safeguarding.

I will be writing very shortly to Chairs and Partnership with our Membership Offer for the coming year. We are not increasing rates, and in a year of transition I would strenuously urge both individuals and partnerships to continue your commitment and support for the Association. We can only play an effective role and engage with other partners at national, regional and local level if we have a viable basis of subscribing members. I believe there is much greater recognition with colleagues from health, police and local authorities that our network needs to be part of the coalition developing future arrangements – but we can only do that if sufficient boards continue to subscribe. We are a network that needs diverse views and alternative thinking – we are not a closed shop to protect existing structures – and please use all your powers of persuasion and influence to ensure that we get the tangible support that will allow us to sustain what we can do.

Association News


AILC Charting LSCB Changes Across the Country

AILC has recently undertaken further analysis of the October Phase 2 C&SW Act Survey, to help you keep abreast of changes. The summary report on this second survey is already available on the website. Members will recall that we uploaded initial information from seven LSCBs who were making early changes last year. We had presentations for some of these at Conference. Our further recent analysis has now resulted in the identification of a further 20 LSCBs who may have made recent changes. We have written to those LSCBs and are beginning to receive helpful information which we think will be useful to all LSCBs – Structure charts, Governance documents and summaries of change. This information will be uploaded in February - look out on the ‘Resources, Early Adopters’ page, for members only.

As reported in the last Newsletter, and our Survey Report to you at Conference, we are still not seeing many changes to LSCBs, nor any common patterns emerging – developments tend to be mostly around a small change in partial merging with some adult’s functions (mostly in LSCBs with joint adults and children’s chairs), particularly in sub-groups, and also a few area/footprint changes. We have always maintained that Boards continue to evolve, streamline and revise their arrangements to keep pace with new requirements, and that the caricature of a bureaucratic and toothless meeting is not a fair reflection of many partnerships.

Business Managers and Chairs

If you have made any changes to your LSCB arrangements, particularly if your LSCB did not complete the October Phase2 C&SW Act Survey, or if you would like to talk more about LSCB developments, please do drop a line to Sarah Webb at policy@lscbchairs.org.uk, or call to discuss on 07880 209788.


Safeguarding in Education

Just a few days left for LSCBs to submit their response to the national research on schools interface with other agencies/LSCBs. AILC is supporting this really important piece of research - schools are our best safeguarders, seeing most children on a daily basis - we do hope that LSCB Board Managers will complete their responses by 31st January 2018. Click here to access.

“Lack of duty on schools could compromise safeguarding shake-up” said ‘Children & Young People Now’ this month. ADCS and LGA are quoted expressing their significant concerns here.


News from LSCB Areas


Children Staying Safe in Taxis

Sheffield LSCB have compiled this useful information and AILC has uploaded this in ‘Community’ within AILC’s Resources/A-Z Effective Safeguarding Partnerships.

Thresholds

Rochdale have produced a Children’s Needs and Response Framework focussed upon thresholds - see ‘Thresholds’ in AILC’s ESP Directory, as above.

LAC

Leicestershire & Rutland have produced useful information on Notifying the LA about a LAC - LSCBs may be interested in this ‘Protocol agreed across the East Midlands LSCBs and Local Authorities’ – see ‘Children Looked After’ in the Directory as above.

Colin Morris

AILC is sorry to report that Colin Morris, Chair of Newcastle LSCB, as well as several adult boards and past chair of Stockton, Sunderland and Darlington, passed away last week after a valiant struggle with cancer. We are sending condolences to the family.



The Children & Social Work Act Update

DfE’s consultation on ‘Working Together’ closed on 31st December 2017. AILC’s response can be seen here.

The need for dedicated inspections, a list of minimum functions, and setting standards for scrutiny and challenge, are major aspects in AILC’s submission.

As a new benefit for members, we have uploaded (at the above link) the submissions made by partner key organisations all in one place; LGA, NPCC, ADCS, RCN, BASW and BASPCAN. Here are a few extracts:

"Whilst BASW England has always held the view that LSCBs should be improved, we did not call for their abolition and we consider this to be a regressive, negative and radical change at a time when the system is facing such severe challenge” BASW

“The current Boards, while imperfect, provide a much valued focus and hub and have developed many strengths. We are concerned that the lack of any real guidance on the structure or requisite functions of new arrangements. We risk losing what has been gained over many years with the introduction of an untested new approach and the provision of what is effectively a blank sheet to partners.” BASPCAN

“We have long argued that this flexibility must be couched in a robust regulatory framework to ensure consistency of quality and effectiveness. Unfortunately we believe the provisions outlined in the consultation fall some way short of this ambition” LGA

“Remain concerned that education and in particular schools are not named as a fourth safeguarding partner with equal responsibility” NPCC

Here is a reminder of the Indicative Implementation Timetable, and requirement to continue to comply with existing legislation and guidance:

 

“LSCBs must continue to undertake their Statutory functions, as they are legally required to do, until the new safeguarding arrangements are in place.”
DfE 2017

National Policy News


Ministerial Appointments


‘Downgrading minister's role shows children are slipping down the political agenda’
, Anna Feuchtwand of NCB wrote in the Guardian this month. The previous Minister for Children, Robert Goodwill, after being in post for only 7 months has been replaced – at a lower level by Nadhim Zadawi MP as the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

AILC has written to the new Secretary of State setting out why safeguarding must remain a high priority and pointing out that there has been limited listening so far to the representations made to improve WT. “Without significant revision to the guidance we believe that there is a real risk to the safety of children and a fragmentation and weakening of our existing safeguarding arrangements.” We have asked to meet the Secretary of State to brief him on our concerns.

What was striking in the responses from so many different organisations, was how ADCS, LGA, NPCC and others across health and social work all raised powerful arguments and common concerns. We have provided links to these submissions on the AILC website and would urge Chairs and BMs to read these and to consider how they can be used to inform local discussions about workable solutions. I suspect that the Government response overall will be that local permissiveness allows us to find our own solutions – we must take the lead in helping partners find those solutions that are clear about functions, funding and footprint.


Plans for Removal of ‘Reasonable Punishment’ of Children in Wales

A briefing has been provided this month by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales: on the ‘Legislative Proposal for removal of the defence of “reasonable punishment” which should be of interest to LSCBs in England.


CSE – New Briefing on Hub and Spoke Evaluation

The Alexi Project and the University of Beds has just completed a longitudinal evaluation of the ‘Hub and Spoke’ model of CSE service delivery, which may be of use to LSCBs. New Briefing papers, hot off the press, each cover a different aspect, the first one below in particular with its focus on ensuring the voluntary sector retains a seat at the table under new arrangements.

The Children and Social Work Act: The role of voluntary sector CSE services in new safeguarding arrangements. This briefing outlines the policy and practice implications of the Hub and Spoke evaluation for the implementation of the new safeguarding arrangements. It highlights the importance of specialist voluntary sector CSE services being considered 'relevant agencies' and explores evidence on how they can best be integrated into multi-agency responses to CSE. Access the briefing here.

The full report and a range of other resources are at the:

Alexi Project website https://www.alexiproject.org.uk/publications. For further queries please email Julie.harris@beds.ac.uk.


EHE Update


Of interest to LSCBs re EHE:

A recent article by Eleanor Schooling, Ofsted’s National Director, who discusses how to more effectively safeguard some children who are currently home educated here.

NCB are publishing a new piece of research showing numbers of children who drop off the school roll and do not receive a suitable education elsewhere (for example, through home schooling), based on a Freedom of Information Request completed by 137 local authorities in England. The full report will be available here on Wednesday 31st January 2017A preview article regarding this, can be accessed here. 

Contact the Association

Please do phone the Association on 07880 209 788 if you would like any help at all, or email mailto:info@lscbchairs.org.uk if you have queries or comments.

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I always welcome feedback on the Newsletter or the activity of the Association.

Please contact me at chair@lscbchairs.org.uk

 

With best wishes,
David Ashcroft
AILC Chair
www.lscbchairs.org.uk
Association Phone 07880 209788
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