Welcome to TASP’s early Spring Newsletter. Following our Christmas break we are pleased to announce the resumption of our free monthly webinars.
We have invited Sir Alan Wood back to our February event (22nd Feb at 4pm) where we will discuss with him the contents of his review of the changes to Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements and learn how our work may continue to evolve as more evidence of good and innovative practice emerges. If you haven’t booked your place yet, be quick because we are nearly at capacity. Click here to register.
All our Webinars are recorded. We publish these on our website along with the slide presentations and full reports on dialogue generated during Q&A and breakout meetings during the session by attendees. These are available to watch and to download for our TASP Members. To review all topics, take a look at our website at www.theasp.org.uk/webinars.
There are two new pieces of content for members only as well as the standard broadcast!
- Laura Anderson from the Department for Works and Pensions re-recorded her session, explaining their new stream of work, sharing their local representatives contact details and answering the questions raised at our Webinar (13). Click here (and log in) to view
- Dez Holmes, from Research in Practice joined us for a follow up conversation on Transitional Safeguarding, where she reflected on statements and questions posted by attendees. This is a great Podcast! Just over 30 mins. Click here (and log in) to view
The challenges of safeguarding are consistently with us and recently a variety of reports consultations and reviews on distinct aspects of child welfare and professional practice have been released. In this newsletter we will look at:
- The independent review into children’s social care
- The Children’s Commissioner’s reports into child poverty
- The Government’s child sex abuse strategy
- The LGA’s concern over the increasing incidence of serious harm suffered by children during Covid
- The Journey of the Domestic Abuse Bill through the Houses of Parliament
- Changes to Working Together ‘18
Over the past few weeks, the trustees of TASP have continued to work with a reference group and other stakeholders to seek to make the association relevant and useful to its members.
To that end, we are delighted to announce that we have expanded our expertise base by appointing Nasima Patel as our latest trustee. Here is her biography.
Nasima is a Social Worker who has worked in both the voluntary and statutory sector at Director level undertaking policy work, developing and leading services for children and families over many years. Nasima led on the early development of services for sexually exploited and trafficked young people nationally for which she received a lifetime achievement award and then on a major change programme. Nasima has been working in Newham for over two years on various programmes mainly related to early help, preventing exploitation, supporting the Covid response and service improvement.
Nasima is keen to see a shift in children’s work from a reactive response to families to a practice model that is steeped in relationship-based partnerships and one that is able to integrate the lived experience of families and communities especially with regard to poverty, poor housing and discrimination at its centre.
TASP now has six Trustees with two further discussions in the pipeline. Watch this space, or take a look at our website for further updates.
Independent Review into Children’s Social Care
This has been trailed for some time by the DfE but was announced formally on 15th January. It is to be led by Josh McAllistair.
Josh is a former teacher and was the founder of Frontline, the social work charity. (https://thefrontline.org.uk). The reviews terms of reference can be found here .
Josh and his team will be supported by experts by experience. If you would like to be or nominate someone to be an expert by experience you can find out how to by visiting the Government review home page.
TASP has been in contact with Josh’s team to see if there is a possibility of getting a direct audience with Josh for our members, to have a discussion and they have responded positively to date. TASP will continue to pursue this.
Children’s Commissioner Report into Child Poverty
An impressive group of people from the full range of the political spectrum, as well as third sector experts have contributed essays to the Children Commissioner’s recent report into the state of child poverty in the UK.
The key issue that the report draws out is that the gap between well off and poor children after several years of lessening has started to widen again and without some bold action is likely to accelerate. See the report here.
The Government Child Sex Abuse Strategy
Published in January, the Home Office “Tackling Child Sex Abuse Strategy” has three objectives:
- tackling all forms of child sexual abuse and bringing offenders to justice
- preventing offending and re-offending
- protecting and safeguarding children and young people, and supporting all victims and survivors
It contains an aspiration to impose new duties on tech companies and proposes some new powers for the police and justice agencies to manager known offenders. It wants to see strong local partnerships working together (and sharing information) to protect children from harm, bring offenders to justice and support victims and their families and communities. The full Strategy documentation is available here.
LGA’s concerns over serious injuries suffered by children during pandemic
The LGA have reported a 34% rise in serious incident notifications. This is clearly a concern and the LGA are seeking resource to understand the issue better. The rise in numbers, while certainly a concern may also be linked to the change in the way in which serious incidents are now referred to the National Panel. Accessed here
This should become law in the late Spring. However, its most recent hearing, which was a committee of the whole House of Lords, had two days of debate and many amendments to it have been tabled. In a few days’ time those amendments will be subject to further debate and scrutiny. There may be a number of significant revisions to the Bill when it eventually becomes law.
Changes to Working Together 2018
We have been provided with a list of the changes to WT 18 which constitute what this time is a fairly minor update. Below is a complete list.
- Clarifying that consent is not needed for information sharing of safeguarding concerns arising from the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR.
Working Together 2018 suggests that consent would have to be obtained to share information about safeguarding concerns. There have been concerns that the Data Protection Act 2018 and the GDPR altered the understanding of consent to information sharing, such that it is generally not applicable in safeguarding. The information sharing section of the guidance has now been amended to make clear that information sharing around safeguarding concerns does not need consent where other legal bases for sharing will be more appropriate, for example, information about safeguarding concerns should be shared where this is necessary (e.g., in the child’s best interest) as part of the performance of a task in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority. Corresponding changes to the non-statutory Information Sharing Guidance: advice to practitioners providing safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers (2018) will follow to a later timescale in late Spring 2021.
- NEW Inclusion of references to Domestic Abuse/ insertion of definitions and strengthening words on domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour
to include definitions and strengthen wording on domestic abuse and controlling or coercive behaviour to reflect the forthcoming Domestic Abuse Bill which will introduce a statutory definition for domestic abuse and incorporate the impact of domestic abuse on children as victims in their own right. These minor changes also respond to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the draft bill where we committed to amend Working Together to clarify that coercive control is included within the existing definition of harm.
- New para on - Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 insertion of a section 213 B into the Housing Act 1996- duty to refer: and corresponding inclusion in the Working Together Statutory Framework document.
This duty has been in force since 2018 but was missed in the last full revision of Working Together. The duty to refer to local housing authorities’ cases of (threatened) homelessness as a result of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (which amended the Housing Act 1996) places duties on public authorities, including local authorities, to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas. This duty applies to all social services functions, including early help, leaving care and child protection; and is intended to increase early identification and intervention, which is critical for safeguarding against homelessness.
- Updating contact details and streamlining the section on Armed forces
- Minor clarification on the voluntary, charity, social enterprise (VCSE), faith-based organisations and private sector paragraph.
- Footnoting Public Health England (PHE) reference to reflect forthcoming re-structure.
- Inclusion of reference to the words missing children
- Text inclusions to align with ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) guidance 2020
- Inclusion and clarification on multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
- New table included to strengthen clarity on notifying a serious incident, rapid review and local child safeguarding practice review
- Change of title in relation to the term ‘Contextual Safeguarding’
- Inclusion Toolkit/ Framework on CSE/ CSA
- Adding reference to children of offenders
- Strengthening the wording around the safeguarding of children in mental inpatient settings
- Deletion of link in Appendix B- Guidance on safeguarding children with illness fabricated or induced.
National Police Chief’s Council
The Vulnerability Knowledge and Practice Programme (VKPP) are running a virtual conference, “Protecting Vulnerable Persons – Learning the Lessons and Developing Policing Responses” on Tuesday 16th March 2021. They hope to look and discuss how agencies can effectively work together to meet these challenges and they invite colleagues to attend. For more details and to register for the conference, click here.
Thank you to all colleagues who have supported TASP this financial year. We recruited 63 Safeguarding Partnerships as TASP members, with Greenwich, Sefton and Buckinghamshire joining since our last newsletter. We have done some analysis on geographical spread of membership and have noted that we have a weaker coverage in the North East, North West and South West. We are in conversation with colleagues in the North East and we would like to appeal to the North West and South West regions to reach out and let us know if there is any way that we may be able to support Partnerships in these regions in a way that we have not been able to do so to date. We will also be sending out a brief survey to all current members to ensure we are meeting your needs. April will be the beginning of our financial year, and membership renewals will be upon us. If you need any further information or support, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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 Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have queries.
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