Welcome to our latest newsletter. The risks posed by COVID 19 are having a significant impact on us all, Situations like this gives cause for all to stop and think about our vulnerability. As well as the part we all play in facing up to such challenges whether on a personal, professional or collective level. This is of course not a new challenge for safeguarding partners given their role in protecting children and young people. Safeguarding partnerships are generally about getting the best from the efforts people make, to protect people and try to prevent or change the circumstances that can give rise to harm. Although the characteristics of a possible epidemic or pandemic might differ in some ways, the emergent response highlights the value of effective arrangements for working together and reminds us that such efforts represent steps made in good faith and the best use of intelligence and experience. The commonality probably rests in where we find ourselves in promoting hope in the face of fear.
Recently there was an interesting letter in the Times, following a leading article responding to what needs to be done to improve how we protect children. The author of the letter made a powerful point, which parallels with our response to COVID 19, that we could well improve our understanding of why abuse happens, particularly child sexual abuse, and therefore ensure that prevention is more effective. Although time and resources can work against achieving a coherent narrative and approach to how we understand and can recognise those who present a risk to children at a local or a national level.
We must surely look to provide further investment in pulling together research and experience if we are to shift from our often reactive approach? Too often local partnerships are trapped in trying to keep up and meet with diverse and often moving expectations, (not to mention debates as to currency and worth), that they are not able to achieve the level of presentation and engagement that the current response to COVID 19 appears to be achieving. There must be merit in galvanising the public and professional response to threats that by their very nature undermine or raise questions about that which we tend to take for granted.
In this newsletter we bring to your attention a number of key recent publications, which serve to inform how partners and partnerships continue to shape their vision and versions of local arrangements. There are further details about our conference in June and we are pleased to have signed up some interesting key speakers and workshops, which we intend will help and promote with the continued transition between the former and the new arrangements. TASP will also be looking to work with Sir Alan Wood in the second phase of his review.
Requests for members including renewals are being sent out, and as we move into the first full year of TASP we need to build on the commitments made by partnerships this year. Importantly we are launching membership for a range of other partnerships and safeguarding partners who are charged with promoting joint working focused on safeguarding, across the private and voluntary sector. We are also in discussion with other important organisations who may want to join TASP in creating a learning network that share and promotes the values and experiences that arise from safeguarding governance arrangements and practice.
TASP Conference - Strengthening Safeguarding Partnerships: sharing the learning from the journey so far.
The inaugural annual conference of the newly formed TASP will be held on 24th and 25th June, 2020. This will be the first opportunity to for all lead safeguarding partners to reflect nationally on the impact of the reforms suggested by Alan Wood, and later embedded in the Children and Social Work Act (2017) and in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018). The conference will give participants an opportunity to hear the latest thinking from high profile national figures and to engage in practical workshops addressing the key challenges facing the new partnerships. Topics covered will include: the role of the three lead safeguarding children partners; the National Panel; the function of independent scrutiny; reporting to local and national bodies, and engaging with children, young people and families. The conference is a unique opportunity to network with your fellow professionals and leaders who are addressing shared national challenges and to ensure you are up-to-date with recent developments.
As situation develops with COVID19 we are actively looking at a number of options but we do want to emphasise we are committed to making the conference happen this year, subject to changing government guidance. We will of course, keep you all up to date, as decisions are made.
TASP Membership Renewal - Your membership renewal requests will be distributed this week. The letter will include details on rates and flexibility for new Partnership structures as well as how to ensure your renewal is seamless. We hope you will be able to support TASP for a further year and look forward to your responses.
TASP Trustee Position - You are able to view our Charity Status here. Our Constitution allows for up to twelve trustees and requires us to have a minimum of three; which we want to achieve as soon as we can, we currently have two. We are keen to ensure that our Trustee Board is diverse in make up; both professionally and demographically.
If you would like to be a trustee or have someone you would like to recommend please contact Chris Miller on email@example.com for a conversation.
Review of New Arrangements - TASP have agreed to support Sir Alan Wood in the second phase of his work – more detail to follow!
Widening the TASP Network – we are currently liaising with a range of national organisations, who have an interest in safeguarding and partnerships, to explore how we can collaborate and create a broad learning network.
New Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children appointed - Vicky Ford MP was elected to the Chelmsford seat in 2017 and was previously an MEP. She has briefly held roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development. She has a background in commerce and finance. She has spoken in Parliament debates on a number of issues relating to children and young people. She is the fifth person to hold this office in five years.
Ofsted Annual Report 2018-2019 was published in January 2019. This met with a number of responses, including LGA and ADCS.
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel - We have no news yet as to when the chair will be replaced, but they have just announced their publication of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s Annual Report and First National Review. Their annual report highlights patterns in practice they have gleaned from the 538 rapid reviews notified to the Panel since it was established in July 2018. From this analysis, teenagers and infants appear most at-risk of death and serious harm in the context of abuse and neglect. This worrying trend is something that they want to analyse further. Adolescents at risk of criminal exploitation is the focus of their first national review. "It Was Hard to Escape: Safeguarding Children at Risk from Criminal Exploitation", examines 21 cases where children died or were seriously harmed, in which criminal exploitation was a factor. The review identifies areas of innovative good practice and contains recommendations at local and national level. Despite a good level of awareness of the dangers of co-sleeping, the Panel has still seen a high level of sudden unexpected deaths of babies in the context of abuse and neglect. The national review into this issue is expected in Spring 2020.
A new report by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, calls for improvements to the safeguarding system.
Headlines Relating to Issues Partnerships are Likely to be Interested in:
- Home Schooling - Northamptonshire have published a case review which provides further evidence that this is an issue that needs to be addressed
- Unregulated Care Homes have been featured by BBC News and Ministers have pledged to introduce a ban on the use of these types of placements for under 16’s
- Many partnerships are embracing Police led developments regarding Violence Reduction strategies some of which are embracing domestic abuse and driving forward learning from Operation Encompass
|Spotlight on... Some Significant New Publications
Child Sexual Abuse Centre has just published its Typology of CSA Offending as a part of their ongoing research programme. This is an interesting and helpful contribution to better understanding child sexual abuse in a familial setting, and encourages us to look at patterns of behaviour as opposed to focusing on the characteristics of either the offender or the victim. The research report is intended to be looked at in the context of the parallel work undertaken by the CSA team looking at Perpetration. The aim of the research is to inform practice, and help those who are responsible for policy and practice develop a stronger understanding of CSA in order to better address the complexity, dynamics and different presentations of this form of abuse, which as we know is often under reported.
The Early Intervention Foundation have just published a report “Adverse Childhood Experiences: What we Know and Don’t Know and What Should Happen Next”. Increasingly when partnerships focus on early intervention and approaches that unify and provide focus across agencies ACE comes up. It seems to divide opinions between those who feel it has the potential to be a game changer and those who are somewhat doubtful about its value as a strategic means of improving how we tackle abuse and neglect within a preventative and early help focused approach. The report provides a welcome and comprehensive overview, and constructively provides evidence and direction for how the potential of ACE can play a role. The report, in our view, will help local discussions that seek to determine whether and if so how best to invest in this sort of approach.
Research in Practice (RiP) have published the Complexity & Challenge: A Triennial Analysis of Serious Case Reviews 2014-2017 with resources to support the application of learning into practice. Analysing 368 serious case reviews, relating to incidents between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2017, this is the sixth consecutive analysis of serious case reviews by this research team; together these reports cover 14 years from 2003-2017. Developed in collaboration with Research in Practice, University of East Anglia Centre for Research on Children and Families and the University of Warwick, the resources support the application of learning from the Department for Education Report.
A Helpful Publication given the Leadership Arrangements for Safeguarding - Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published a thematic report following inspections of the child protection work of police forces in England and Wales. The report includes evidence from 64 inspections, and considers the ways in which the police service, its safeguarding partners and the government need to adapt and respond in order to meet the challenges they face. Recommendations to Government include: the development of a national early help and prevention strategy to address the root causes of harm for vulnerable children; and a review of the unnecessary detention of children. Recommendations to chief constables include taking steps to reduce the unnecessary criminalisation of children.
Keeping Children Safe in Education - Government is consulting on revisions to ensure more of a focus on vulnerable children. The Department for Education (DfE) is consulting on proposed revisions to the Keeping Children Safe in Education statutory guidance which sets out what schools and colleges should do and the legal duties with which they must comply to keep children safe in England. A table of substantive changes is included in Annexe G and include: changes to the role of Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools so that they have a greater focus on improving the academic achievement of children on the edge of care; and managing allegations of abuse against staff. The consultation also includes the Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children in schools and colleges advice, which sets out what governing bodies and proprietors should be doing to ensure reports of child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment are managed appropriately.
Barnado's has published a report looking at the hidden impact of domestic abuse on children and young people in areas including: mental health; child development; harmful sexual behaviour; future cycles of abuse and youth offending. Published ahead of the Domestic Abuse Bill, the report makes recommendations including: that the Domestic Abuse Bill explicitly recognises the impact of this crime on children; that domestic abuse and coercive control are referenced as a key risk to children’s health and wellbeing and changes should be made to legislation to offer statutory support to child victims of domestic abuse.
CO-VID-19 Guidance for social or community care and residential settings on COVID-19.
Suggestions for spotlight items are welcomed. They need to demonstrate a direct relevance to current arrangements and issues, in order to highlight and contribute to local and national dialogue. Please email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org
Items we have been asked for and are planning for:
- Emerging learning from annual reports
- Pen pictures of partnerships
- A day in the life of --- Independent Scrutineer--- Business Manager --- Statutory Partner
- The future of multi-agency training
- Unified Single Review Pilot in Wales
- Moving from SCR’s to CSPR’s
Spotlight on ... Gender Identity
We know that partners and partnerships are committed to issues of equality and diversity, so we though it would be helpful have a look at the issues and challenges around gender identity as this might impact on partnerships as they review or develop their position.
It is of course a complicated, complex and potentially controversial matter, but as many press reports highlight it is an issue that is increasingly important to some young people, their parents and carers. Therefore it is also important that partners as they represent and are responsible for services and measures to safeguard children will want to address.
The guide produced by Action for Children provides a useful introduction.
We also know aside from the complex issues around access to and consent for help, therapy and treatment for transgender young people, that being brave to be different can make people a target for bullying, so it is most likely that local policies will address this.
Much of the recent press coverage and related academic articles confirm that this is a difficult and highly politicised area, this probably means that partnerships will want and need to review where they are in respect to the range of issues it reflects, as well as more generally to the fact that we know that LGBT and TG people are more likely to be vulnerable and may not always recognise the traditional approach and gateway to safeguarding support as being for them.
If you have any experience or resources you would like to share then let us know.
From an internet search, we found these:
Havering Safeguarding Children – Transgender Guidance
Warwickshire Transgender Toolkit
Ofsted held their regular consultation and communication event with interested agencies in late February 2020. TASP were invited to attend. We did and were able to contribute thoughts to the impending review of Children in the Care System. This is to be extensive and wide ranging and may mirror the relatively recent Scottish Review.
There is currently a consultation exercise on unregulated placements; with a closing date of 18th April. We urge members to contribute.
Unregulated placements will be the subject of the next focused inspection.
The next JTAI will deal with the subject of early help and early intervention.
We regularly receive and scan for information and news that we think will be helpful for partnerships. You can often find further information on the website and we will try to signpost this whenever we can. The things we include in the newsletter are guided by direct relevance, topicality and contributions and suggestions from members and TASP supporters. Inclusion and any commentary should not be seen as a direct endorsement but rather to help you have a look and make up your own minds.
We would really 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 email@example.com.
Please phone the Association on 07880 209 788 if you would like any help at all, or email Frankie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have queries or comments.
With best wishes,
Association Phone 07880 209788