Speaking up for those involved in Safeguarding and Working for children and the vulnerable
Welcome to our winter letter. TASP is now 12 months old and we face the start of a new year in a very different position from how we might have imagined things to be last autumn.
Covid has brought a myriad of professional problems for those involved in all areas of child protection but it has also encouraged and accelerated innovation. It is hard to see how recent progress and increased uptake in digital communications will not significantly change working styles forever. The challenge for us all will be to make sure that more efficient working methods don’t compromise the safeguarding of the vulnerable.
The substantial retreat of professionals from the service user’s living space makes sense to prevent run away infections but once Covid’s threat has subsided we need to have a clear-eyed look at what the overall impact of care at a distance has been.
TASP was at the forefront of discovering what was happening in the early stages of Covid through our Spring webinars, where we explored the challenges facing safeguarding partners. Two of our trustees have written an article for the Journal of Children’s Services on the observations and issues arising from these webinars. This will soon be available at the Journal of Children’s Services. We will include a further link on publication.
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 for download to TASP Members. To review all topics, take a look at our website at www.theasp.org.uk/webinars
The aim of the Trustees has been to establish our organisation as a significant voice for safeguarding and to make known the important role that partnerships play in keeping children and the vulnerable safe. We also want to be a place where those involved in safeguarding can find a community of people with a range of linked experiences, who are prepared to share their expertise and contribute to learning and improvement in safeguarding. We want their opinion to be sought and their knowledge respected.
For us to reach that point we feel we need to attract at least 50% of England’s safeguarding partnerships as members. We are pleased that we have made steady progress towards this goal and now 60 partnerships (out of 131 in England) are members.
The starting point for TASP was the changes made to the former LSCB arrangements, so our efforts are, for now, focused on this significant transition. However, we are exploring with non-statutory safeguarding bodies how they might contribute to and be supported by TASP. To that end we have appointed some new trustees who will help us extend our reach. TASP also collaborates with other groups and bodies who share similar objectives such as the Safeguarding Adults Board Chairs network and the Association of Child Protection Professionals (AoCPP).
We are delighted to announce that we have increased our trustee body through the appointment of the following trustees, and you can see from their brief biographies how they will add to the knowledge, expertise and influence of TASP.
Deborah Hodes is a Consultant Community Paediatrician and lead paediatrician at the Lighthouse, Camden. Deborah studied medicine at the Royal London Hospital and trained in paediatrics. Her first consultant post was in Hackney until she moved to UCLH in 2003; she was designated doctor for safeguarding in the London Borough of Camden from 2014 for six years. Deborah is a fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and has an active role there. Her expertise lies safeguarding children, and in particular child sexual abuse and female genital mutilation.
Nazir Afzal was Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England and most recently was the chief executive of the country’s police and crime commissioners. He has many current senior roles. He is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisations, is advisor to the Welsh Government on gender-based violence and is the independent member of the Oxfam Safeguarding and Ethics Committee
TASP has provision for 12 trustees. Over the next few months, the current trustees will be working on plans for developing the Association, consolidating our recent progress and exploring new ways of providing value to members while attracting a wider range of partners
TASP Webinars and MeetingSphere
TASP has run 12 webinars since April and intends to continue them into 2021. You can check out the topics covered on our website www.theasp.org.uk/webinars. If you are a member of TASP, you can also view the recordings, download the presentations given and read the reports created out of attendee Q&A and discussion on our website.
The way that TASP webinars work delivering engagement and providing feedback is beginning to receive recognition as an effective way of conducting consultations with safeguarding partners. The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and the National Police Chiefs Council have both recently used the TASP methodology to help them communicate with stakeholders with a view to improve forward planning.
Those of you who have attended the TASP webinars have also commented on the way that we gather material through our use of the interactive tool MeetingSphere. If you would like to know how you can make use of this technology in your work or if you have an idea for a webinar, please contact email@example.com.
Sir Alan Wood's Review - Phase 2
On 7th July Sir Alan Wood sent a phase one report to the DfE of his review findings in relation to the changes to multi-agency arrangements for safeguarding children, which have taken place since June 2019. His phase two report is likely to be completed at the end of 2020.
On 2nd November 180 TASP members and other guests joined Sir Alan for a webinar where we explored issues concerning:
Items we have been asked for and are planning for:
- Impact on Practice
- Independent Scrutiny
- And under a catch all of any other issues
- The role of business managers
- The financing of multi-agency arrangements
- Benchmarking and inspection (or arrangements)
We are hoping that Sir Alan will join us again in 2021 to share his final report and discuss with him the next steps.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA)
Recently IICSA published its reports into the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church. Both reports explore the issue of mandatory reporting and we might expect some recommendations from IICSA concerning that later on. In relation to the Anglican Church there is a recommendation that information sharing agreements with local statutory agencies are put formally in place. This will clearly impact local partnerships
A review into sexual and emotional abuse in British Gymnastics led by Anne Whyte QC has begun and will report next year. With the input of Quinton Newcombe (a criminal barrister working on this), we hope to run a webinar on this in 2021.
The Domestic Abuse Bill is about to have its second reading in the House of Lords.
Its aims are to:
- Create a statutory definition of domestic abuse, emphasising that domestic abuse is not just physical violence, but can also be emotional, coercive or controlling, and economic abuse.
- Establish in law the office of Domestic Abuse Commissioner and set out the Commissioner’s functions and powers.
- Provide for a new Domestic Abuse Protection Notice and Domestic Abuse Protection Order.
- Place a duty on local authorities in England to provide support to victims of domestic abuse and their children in refuges and other safe accommodation.
- Prohibit perpetrators of abuse from cross-examining their victims in person in the civil and family courts in England and Wales.
- Create a statutory presumption that victims of domestic abuse are eligible for special measures in the criminal, civil and family courts.
- Clarify by restating in statute law the general proposition that a person may not consent to the infliction of serious harm and, by extension, is unable to consent to their own death.
- Extend the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the criminal courts in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to further violent and sexual offences.
- Enable domestic abuse offenders to be subject to polygraph testing as a condition of their licence following their release from custody.
- Place the guidance supporting the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme (“Clare’s law”) on a statutory footing.
- Provide that all eligible homeless victims of domestic abuse automatically have ‘priority need’ for homelessness assistance.
- Ensure that where a local authority, for reasons connected with domestic abuse, grants a new secure tenancy to a social tenant who had or has a secure lifetime or assured tenancy (other than an assured shorthold tenancy) this must be a secure lifetime tenancy
This will offer many new protections for domestic abuse victims and their families. It will also create new obligations for Local Authorities. Interestingly, at the moment, most of those responsibilities fall on upper tier authorities, so in London the Greater London Authority rather than the 32 boroughs will have much of the new responsibility arising from the Bill.
The second reading in the House of Lords may see this challenged.
Data on Children in the Child Protection System
On 26th November data was published on children in need, children looked after and children in the child protection system. You can view it here.
Barnardo's Launches Specialist
A helpline supporting vulnerable Black, Asian and minority ethnic children and families, who have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis, has recently been launched by Barnardo’s.
The helpline offers therapeutic support and through its live webchat facility offers a lifeline to communities struggling to deal with issues such as sickness and bereavement and rising hate crime due to the pandemic, on top of entrenched existing inequalities, including poverty, financial hardship and health problems.
Thank you to all colleagues who have supported TASP this year. We hope to see many of you at our webinars in 2021.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please phone the Association on 07880 209 788 if you would like any help at all, or email Alison at email@example.com if you have queries.
Advertising with TASP
Paid advertisements appear in TASP publications, including print and other digital formats including links to third party sites. TASP does not endorse or evaluate the advertised product, service, or company, nor any claims made by an advertisement. Advertising does not influence editorial decisions or content. TASP reserves the right to refuse, reject, or cancel any advertisement for any reason at any time without liability. TASP does not accept any responsibility or liability for the content of those advertisements and sites and the offerings made by third parties.
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This month, Me Learning are advertising with us to promote their safeguarding training. Please see the details below.