AILC Newsletter - March 2018

 Chair's Update -  by David Ashcroft

 

Another busy month – with the DfE response to the Working Together consultation coming out at the end of February and indicating some important shifts in emphasis and the significant and essential addition of the need to have a threshold document published in each local area.  You will note that much of what we anticipated in last month’s newsletter has been addressed – although we still have to see the final wording in June. The details are set out in the section below.

I really feel that this shows how the collective voice we have been able to present on safeguarding is now fully recognised as well-informed, powerfully argued and responsible in the interests of children and young people. That is only possible because we can represent the majority of LSCBs and Chairs – so thank you for the continuing support. It is clear that in most areas it will take time to put the full set of new arrangements in place – we fully anticipate that LSCBs will be operating well into 2019.

Mental Health support for young people, CSE, historic abuse cases in the churches and sport, have all been high profile subjects in the media over the past month. I am sure that these will have featured on recent Board agendas across the country in various ways. The other dominant factor has been the funding pressures not just on children’s social care, but across all services working with and for children. We are starting to see increasing evidence of the impact of poverty and austerity on the capacity of families to cope with pressures of all types. It does appear that this argument – made by ourselves, LGA, ADCS and many others - is starting to be recognised as well founded.

There is also a growing examination of the safeguarding risks for children who fall outside setting regulated and institutional education settings.  Several chairs have argued loudly and clearly for a long time on the need to address the risks of some elective home education for some children (it was a powerfully articulated point when the Minister last attended our national conference). The recent ADCS survey has helped raise the issues, and in my own Board we recently received a very comprehensive report on the numbers, reasons and prevalence of EHE which helped the Board form a full appreciation of the issues.

The last of our reports on the Ofsted reviews of LSCBs is now published and continues to set out the key components of effective Boards and strong partnerships. Please use this evidence in your local discussions about future arrangements.

At the next AILC meeting in April we will be hearing from the National Crime Agency about the lessons from the Falder abuse case – we also hope that this will be an opportunity to discuss with senior NCA colleagues about how LSCBs can work more effectively with them in the future and be better briefed on complex and challenging investigations and abuse cases. If there are any specific issues you want raised please let me know.

These newsletter introductions have now been posted to AILC’s website under News/Chairs Perspective.

 

Association News

 

The Children & Social Work Act Update

The timetable for implementation of the Children and Social Work Act is currently as follows:

  • Regulations laid before Parliament from 19 March – likely debate and approval after the Easter recess (May 2018)
  • June 2018 for publication of final version of Working Together and any transition guidance
  • 12 months following publication - LSCBs/MASAs to have developed and published their arrangements after agreement between the three statutory partners and independent scrutiny of the Plan – June 2018 to June 2019
  • Implementation of new arrangements within 3 months – by September 2019

“As the regulations are subject to the affirmative Parliamentary procedure, the statutory instruments will be debated and voted on by both Houses of Parliament in the Spring. Following commencement of the relevant provisions of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, an updated version of ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ will be published, and the new safeguarding arrangements will come into effect. Local areas will have twelve months from the date of commencement to develop and publish their arrangements, and a further three months to implement them in full.” DfE Feb 2018.
The Regulations set out two formal requirements of the new arrangements: the list of relevant agencies who may be included in safeguarding arrangement; and the arrangements for local and national reviews.
In most cases the relevant agency is identified as the governing body or chief officer – this is an interesting assertion of the individual accountability of key people for safeguarding, not just the inclusion of a list of organisations.
An important addition is that sports and religious organisations are now included. The details of which organisations this will cover is still not precise nor are the mechanics set out for how they will be meaningfully included in local arrangements. The Association welcomes the inclusion of these important sectors with whom LSCBs already do a lot of work – but we suggest that it is important that local arrangements go beyond a merely token inclusion of these partners. There are important issues of training; workforce development and support; accreditation and accountability; quality assurance and validation of policies and procedures; that will all need to be tackled in local plans.
Despite calls from several parties to the WT consultation for the Regional Schools Commissioners to be included they are not listed. Nor are all parts of the NHS – such as NHS Improvement, or primary care and GPs (except as far as they fall within the commissioning remit of CCGs). Adults’ social care and other branches of local government are also not specified other than under the general heading of local authorities.
The other significant part of the Regulations is the framework for local and national reviews. These regulations are the ‘barebones’ that need to be set out with formal powers – there will no doubt be a lot of other practical details about how both local and national reviews will work. The Regulations include the criteria for reviews, and appointment of reviewers and the powers and duties of the national Panel, together with the local responsibilities of the safeguarding partners for local reviews.
The Chair of the Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has been announced – it is Edward Timpson, previously Children’s Minister before the last election. The rest of the Panel will now be recruited and there is likely to be further detailed guidance about how future arrangements will work in practice.
You may feel that there are still significant points to be made about the regulations and the discretionary framework that they will set for further local arrangements – please consider whether you wish to lobby your MPs to inform them of your views when the debates take place after the Easter recess. Parliament returns on 16th April 2018.

Working Together

In last month’s Newsletter we let you know that we had written to the new Secretary of State, asking him to give full consideration to the over 700 responses to ‘Working Together’
The Department has now published its detailed response to the consultation – indicating where they will take account of the representations made by AILC and many others, click here to access.There are some significant changes which we strongly welcome. These include

  • Safeguarding partners will be required to publish a threshold document
  • The required seniority of those representing agencies is likely to be strengthened
  • There will be further strengthening of the reciprocal responsibilities for all types of education settings (including early years settings) to be involved in local arrangements
  • There will be greater detail on what is to be covered by independent scrutiny
  • The CDOP guidance will probably look to areas that can review 60 deaths a years rather than 80-120, and the guidance is likely to be edited and made more multi-agency rather than medical in tone.

There have also been repeated assertions of the need for all three safeguarding partners to be on an equal footing – how this translates into difficult areas such as funding remains to be seen.
The Association has met with the Department to discuss these indicated changes – we now await the final wording for Working Together, but we have been assured that the Association will have an important and contributing role in the implementation of the new arrangements – supporting local initiatives, working through the complexities and variations of local circumstances, and providing the expert knowledge and evidence of what works well. We will continue to maintain our core propositions as the basis for judging the best interests of children and young people.
Please review the consultation response. I am particularly pleased that the work we have done to present a strong, evidenced set of comments has been recognised by the Department and by the other organisations who have agreed with our views and comments. Many thanks to the large number of LSCBs (95) who responded. Of the 497 identified respondents out of a total of 703 representations, 141 were from education establishments; 139 from health; 95 from LSCBs; 67 from social care; 21 from children’s charities and 15 from the police, with 19 miscellaneous organisations identified.
Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi addressed the social work profession at the National Learning Conference on 27th February, including reference to new arrangements – you can see his speech here.
Here is our regular reminder of the 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

AILC Charting LSCB Changes Across the Country

A summary of information on those LSCBs making changes across the country has now been uploaded – click on ‘Early Adopters’ in ‘Resources’.

There are still limited changes to structures across the country with most LSCBs either not wishing to change significantly or awaiting publication of the ‘Working Together’ guidance. The most common type of changes amongst the 17 LSCBs for which AILC has uploaded information are footprint/partial merging with other LSCB/s, streamlining of groups and partial merging of some functions with adults.

Business Managers and Chairs. Thank you to those who have shared their changes – others, please do not hesitate to share your local ideas and developments with Sarah Webb at policy@lscbchairs.org.uk or call to discuss on 07880 209788.

News from LSCB Areas

Faith Matters – Bristol and Birmingham LSCBs - AILC has just uploaded information useful to LSCBs on Faith – “A guide to Child Protection and Adult Safeguarding for Faith Based Establishments. Jointly produced by the BSCB and BSAB, adopted from Faith Associates, Birmingham City Council.” Click on Resources in Effective Safeguarding partnerships.

Children Visiting Families In Prisons - Has the issue of children being enabled to have access to imprisoned relatives come to the attention of your LSCB at all? If so, Bath & NE Somerset LSCB would be glad to know/share info -please drop a line to policy@lscbchairs.org.uk, or call 07880 209788.

LSCBs in Lancashire - Police Safeguarding Report - HMICFRS have just published their latest report here, which covers the Lancashire LSCBs and says about the interface of LSCBs with police:
Lancashire Constabulary needs to provide better protection to children at risk of harm – but shows encouraging commitment to improvement…. Professional relationships and engagement with partners involved in safeguarding across all levels of the constabulary were described to HMICFRS as very positive, with the ability to challenge where appropriate. The directors of children's services (DCS) and the LSCB chairs were all positive about Lancashire Constabulary's commitment to protecting children, particularly in relation to the significant amount of collaborative work in developing MASH processes." 

Do you know where to find Inspection reports regarding safeguarding in the police, for your LSCB area? You can find your local report in a list here.

AILC’s New Analysis of Ofsted Reports of LSCBs – now available

AILC’s most recent publication, our seventh ‘Review of LSCB Inspections Report AILC Review of Ofsted’s LSCB Inspection Reports’ has already proved very popular with Chairs and LSCBs alike. It covers the latest analysis of Ofsted's inspection judgements, and themes identified, together with comments made regarding LSCB Chairs, and what ‘Good’ looks like across 3 years of reports. You can access the report by clicking on ‘Ofsted Analysis’ in Resources.

A Date for your Diaries – Your national AILC Conference 28-29 November 2018

We have secured the fantastic Crewe Hall for a second year running as you gave such positive feedback - booked for 28-29November 2018. We hope you will all put this date in your diary now. If you have ideas for this year’s conference, or would like to be involved in the planning, please contact Sarah Webb policy@lscbchairs.org.uk

 

 National Policy News


Contextual Safeguarding – Dedicated LSCB Page

Do you know that there is a dedicated webpage for LSCBs within Contextual Safeguarding Network/ International Centre University of Bedfordshire website? This covers webinars, research, case reviews and interface with schools, and the voluntary sector. You can find it here.

Safeguarding Amendment to Data Protection Bill

The new amendment 85 adopted by the House of Commons on March 13th will ensure that sensitive data can be processed, without consent in certain circumstances, for legitimate safeguarding activities that are in the substantial public interest. Farrer & Co have published a briefing on this safeguarding amendment, here.

Useful Summary of Protection and Promotion of Children’s Rights

The Children’s Society and Children’s Rights Alliance have produced a useful summary on Children’s Rights. In addition to summarising the legal basis for rights, this report outlines amendments to the European Union Withdrawal Bill to ensure that any changes made by the Government are made with due regard to the UNCRC, you can access this here.

 

Alternative Provision – Poor Effects upon Children’s Wellbeing

MPs have been hearing concerns about internal units becoming 'dumping grounds', as well as perverse incentives for schools to exclude pupils - The Commons Education Select Committee recently held its second evidence session for its inquiry into alternative provision – click here to access.

There are eight key points here that came out of the hearing which should be of interest to LSCBs, including:

  • Internal inclusion units can be ‘dumping grounds’
  • Financial incentives to exclude pupils
  • ‘Not enough scrutiny’ of decisions is affecting children
  • Zero-tolerance behaviour policies that do not include “reasonable adjustments” for pupils with disabilities could be illegal – access here.
  • Concerns about ‘completely unregulated’ system for alternative-provision referrals

Learning from the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme

Isabelle Trowler, the Chief Social Worker at DfE, recently summarised the key takeaways from the first round of Innovation Programme projects, introducing the seven key features of practice. These features of practice along with the seven outcomes are detailed in a new report here which explores what the seven features of practice look like ‘on the ground’, alongside the challenges and successes of implementation, and the difference the features make to children and families. The seven features of practice are:

  1. Using a clear, strengths-based practice framework
  2. Using systemic approaches to social work practice
  3. Enabling staff to do skilled direct work
  4. Multi-disciplinary skill sets working together
  5. Undertaking group case discussion
  6. High intensity and consistency of practitioner
  7. Having a whole family focus


New LAC Guidance

The new DfE guidance on ‘Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children’ and ‘Designated Teacher’ guidance now refers specifically to the higher likelihood that such young people will experience periods of mental ill-health as a result of their early experiences. In particular, the guidance says that designated staff should have a good understanding of attachment issues. The importance of listening to the Voice of the Child is highlighted, and Staffordshire Virtual School pupils have contributed their five top tips when listening to looked after children:

  • Be available, take the time to get to know me
  • Notice if I am upset or angry and listen to me when I need help
  • Understand that even though I’ve had a different past than most people, it doesn’t mean I need to be treated differently
  • Understand my experience of being looked-after
  • Understand that my past will affect my present and my future behaviour even if I don’t notice

Designated teacher for Looked After Children and Previously Looked After Children - Statutory Guidance (February 2018)

Download: Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children - Statutory Guidance (February 2018)

SCR Thematic Briefings Update

There are some new SCR thematic briefings available – on Children not educated in School, and Infants access here.

CSE Principles, Cards to Share From YP – Good for LSCB Websites

Working with a Young Researcher's Advisory Panel, the University of Bedfordshire’s Alexi Project have synthesised the messages into 10 principles for working with young people affected by CSE. We then commissioned the artistUnato illustrate the principles and have turned these into 10 postcards that can be shared online and in print form with professionals. Postcards for sharing online, which could easily be uploaded onto your LSCB website describe in simple text and colourful graphics:

View all 10 postcards in one file here.

Updated Home Office Guidance on Indecent Images of Children

On 15 March 2018 the Home Office updated their guidance for young people on indecent images – again something for consideration of uploading onto your LSCB website here.

 

Contact the Association


Please do phone the Association on 07880 209 788 if you would like any help at all, or email info@lscbchairs.org.uk if you have queries or comments.
  • Does this Newsletter meet your needs?
  • What else would you like to see covered? 
I always welcome feedback on the Newsletter or the activity of the Association. Please contact me atchair@lscbchairs.org.uk

With best wishes,

David Ashcroft
AILC Chair

www.lscbchairs.org.uk
Association Phone 07880 209788
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