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Agenda item

Barnardo's ReachOut Service Update and Barnardo's ReachOut Final Evaluation Report


Further to Minute No. 5 of the Improving Lives Select Commission held on 5th June, 2018, consideration was given to the report presented by the Deputy Leader and Acting Strategic Commissioning Manager which detailed how the Barnardo’s ReachOut project was established in Rotherham under a three year partnership funding agreement between Barnardo’s, the KPMG Foundation, Department for Education, Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.


The project, an innovative outreach service, strived to support and protect children and young people in Rotherham who were at risk of child sexual exploitation. The key areas of work for the project were:-


·             Preventative educations in schools and other settings, primarily delivering the healthy relationships education package ‘Real Love Rocks’;

·             Targeted outreach to young people at risk;

·             Direct Support to individual young people and their parents.


The ReachOut Service began delivery in January, 2016 and, therefore, had been operational for just over three years.


The project had been the subject of a full independent evaluation which was undertaken by the University of Bedfordshire and DMSS Research to evaluate the impact of the project and provide ongoing learning and feedback. This report presented an update of the key areas of service delivery, a summary of the full independent evaluation report, and the responses to the recommendations made at the Improving lives Select Commission on the 5th June, 2018.


Following on from an initial update on the ReachOut Project last year further information was provided on the engagement with primary schools, the outcome of discussions with young inspectors about improving the project’s profile and the discussion with the Assistant Director, Education and Skills, including information circulated to schools.


The outreach work had evolved and reached over 10,000 people in Rotherham. Barnado’s had also attended community events, targeted help for those considered at risk and had reached a wide audience about the risks of child sexual exploitation as well as working closely with the training of taxi drivers, the Fire Service and Roma community.


Whilst there was still more work to be done in terms of education in schools, every secondary school had been visited over the three year period and engagement had commenced with up to 50% of primary schools as well. 


Further action had been recommended on improving engagement, liaising with young inspectors around any ideas or approaches that would improve engagement through the Real Love Rocks offer and promotion of training on social media.  All suggestions would be considered as part of improving engagement with schools. 


RMBC, CYPS Commissioning, in Partnership with Barnardo’s were successful in their bid for £1m funding from the Home Office’s Trusted Relationship Fund to widen its remit to include young people at the risk of Child Criminal Exploitation or “County Lines”.


Barnardo’s were building strong links with the Youth Offending Team and with providers who have a proven track record in delivering services for this cohort of young people.  In addition were further developing their assessment indicators to include the risks and vulnerabilities attributed to this exploitation.


A discussion and question and answer session ensued and the following issues were raised and clarified:-


v   Had referrals increased following the work undertaken  with different partners and agencies, including the training with the Fire Service and taxi drivers?


Most of referrals came from the normal routes through the MASH as a result of concerns through social care, early help and schools.  There had been no referrals made by the public or taxi drivers.


v   How was information shared, including low-level historical intelligence, and used to support Barnardo’s areas of work?


The ReachOut Team Manager attended Police meetings and within Barnardo’s there were regular meetings and discussions on a daily basis.  The service worked closely with early help and social care and fed into weekly meetings.


As well as raising awareness for vulnerable children on county lines was information shared about how to raise concerns regarding adults who may pose a risk.


Barnado’s shared awareness about people who may pose a risk and how to recognise the signs and approaches of grooming.


Was work targeted across the borough to reduce the risk of grooming and involvement in gangs? Whilst the report was very positive, much of it was based on work in Eastwood and Ferham. ; was there a reason why these two areas were highlighted?


Staff had taken the bus to other parks in Rotherham, and did attend other areas on a regular basis, however had not seen much activity.


Reference was made to Eastwood and Ferham particularly as a result of responses to intelligence. The outreach work in Eastwood and Ferham had been used as case studies.  Analysis had been undertaken of the direct work referrals. 


There had also been referrals from each secondary school across Rotherham  This clearly showed the spread of work and the good coverage across the borough.


v   When children were referred for outreach work, was information shared with schools and teachers in case of a need for a re-referral?


If further support was required for a child,  information would be shared appropriately to ensure needs met.


v   How closely did Barnado’s work with the Early Help service?


The two services worked closely in partnership. Barnado’s worked with the children whilst Early Help tended to work with parents.  .


v   Were faith schools taking up the offers of support? Were there plans to for this work to inform mandatory relationships education in the future?


There had been take up from the catholic schools in the area.


Barnado’s had received funding to look at lack of uptake in some Muslim communities and would be working with the University of Sheffield to establish need.


v   Were Barnardo’s liaising with any victims?


Yes the service was liaising with some victims.


v   From the evaluation of the service was there anything that would be could have been done differently..


Overall the ReachOut project was very positive with good feedback from Children and Young People’s Services and other agencies.  There were currently no elements highlighted as that would have been better done differently.  The project had evolved and elements of learning were incorporated as the project progressed.  Earlier outreach work had learnt what worked better and how best value for money was achieved. 


The three strand model had been very effective and built the foundations for further awareness and targeted education.  This gave confidence in people for coming forward for support.  This was a model which could be transferrable to other contexts. 


v   Did the service feel it had done enough awareness raising and training to make this sustainable? 


The project had managed to reach people and embed the thinking and approach.  This was going to continue and it was valuable and raised awareness to children and staff allowing them to talk on an ongoing basis about issues and concerns.



v   Figures quoted suggested 50% of primary schools had received input with the addition of a further twenty schools.  What were the numbers previously?


About 30% of all primary schools had received input, but from October with offers promoted regularly in the bulletin to schools this had increased.  More schools were added each time it was highlighted.  There had been lots of activity with some recent discussions about how support could be varied and analysed.  It was hoped that to building momentum and importance through liaison with academy chains.


Following the meeting of Improving Lives last year every school had been telephoned and emails sent.   There had been attendance at the Safeguarding Forum at the Rockingham Centre and a feature placed in the bulletin for schools and since October staff had been trained in 26 schools.


v   Barnado’s were committed to continue working to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation, but as the focus shifted towards “county lines”  was the service confident that child sexual exploration prevention initiatives were sustainable.


With additional funding this support was seen as extra rather than a dilution.  . 


There was wider remit as often young people presented with risks, but this may be child sexual exploitation, may be gang related exploitation or drugs.  With a wider remit and clearer assessment indicators this would ensure links with the Police and Youth Offending.  There were other branches of Barnardo’s in other parts of the country like Bradford and Manchester and discussions were taking place with them and agencies who were dealing with “county lines”. 


The Chair thanked officers for their attendance and the information they had shared, welcomed the positive report and suggested work take place on how best schools, that had not engaged in the project, could be encouraged to do so.


Resolved:-  (1)  That the Barnardo’s ReachOut Service update and the independent evaluation report be noted.


(2) That a further update be presented in twelve months’ time to report on progress, particularly regarding the widened remit of the service.


(3)  That a further piece of work with schools be initiated for those that had not engaged, the reasons why and how the engagement could be improved upon further.

Supporting documents: