Agenda item

Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report

Laura Gough to present



Laura Gough, Head of Safeguarding Quality and Practice, gave a powerpoint presentation on the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) Annual Assurance report for October, 2020-September, 2021.  The report provided a summary of assurance that the RSCP had sought to keep children and families safe in line with statutory guidance.  The key priorities were:-


-    Safe at Home

-    Safe in the Community

-    Safe Safeguarding Systems


The key focus throughout 2020-21 was on:-


-        Ensuring that the Partnership response to the Covid-19 pandemic effectively safeguarded children both at strategic and operational level, regular senior leadership meetings and development of the operational Vulnerable Children’s Group being an example of good practice of which came the baby clinic

-        Developing the governance framework, assurance work of the Executive Group and Delivery Groups to strengthen accountability e.g. serious child safeguarding incidents, notification of and local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews

-        Better cross-agency scrutiny, constructive challenge and multi-agency audit work

-        Launch of revised Neglect Strategy

-        Independent scrutiny delivered through the role of RSCP Independent Chair, external inspection and Peer Review


Key assurance sought around

-    Children in Education especially for those who became EHE (Electively Home Educated) (where a large increase in numbers had been seen) or who were missing from education

-    Adequacy of CAMHS provision – large increase in the number of children with mental health issues and especially eating disorders exposed a shortage of TIER 4 beds and long waiting lists for treatment

-    Ensuring CSE/CE work was continuing and effective

-    Multi-agency Safeguarding and Self-Assessment challenge sessions were facilitated jointly with practitioners from both Adult and Children’s Services


What is working well

-        Governance and ownership across 3 key partners – CCG, RMBC and SYP – this has evolved and strengthened over the last year

-        Wider engagement and willingness of safeguarding partners to work together including Public Health and Adult Services

-        Safeguarding Awareness Week

-        Child Death Overview Processes (CDOP)


What we need to do more of

-    Embed neglect awareness across the whole of Adult and Children agendas

-    Ensure that all agencies understand the Early Help Pathways to access family support and how to undertake Early Help Assessments

-    CE/CSE – ensure that all agencies understand and were alert to the signs that might indicate that adults/children they worked with may be at risk of criminal or sexual exploitation and how to share information through the right channels

-    Ensure continued effective and joined up leadership across the whole Safeguarding agenda especially as family/fuel poverty and hardship increases and impacts on family lives


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised/clarified:-


·        The Vulnerable Child Partnership Group, chaired by the Head of Service who managed the Front Door, and also attended by representatives of Early Help, had provided an invaluable forum for problem solving and planning for vulnerable groups of children during the pandemic and lockdown periods


·        The parents of children that were Electively Home Educated had to make sure there were arrangements in place in terms of registering their children to be home educated and that the education met certain standards.  Should there be concerns about those children, there were robust Safeguarding processes in place to be followed.  Although a Health representative sat on the Vulnerable Group, it was not thought that Primary Care was informed of any concerns


·        A Local Authority’s statutory role in terms of children educated at home was quite limited and had no right of entry into a home.  The role of the Vulnerable Group was crucial in alerting agencies to any concerns


·        The forthcoming increase in fuel prices would see an increase in fuel poverty and real challenges for families which in turn could have associated Safeguarding issues


Chris Edwards reported that, subject to Parliamentary approval, the CCG would cease to exist by the end of June.  He undertook to make sure that the new Integrated Care Board would continue the partnership work.


Resolved:-  That the Rotherham Safeguarding Children Partnership (RSCP) Annual Assurance report for October, 2020-September, 2022, be noted.

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