Venue: Virtual Meeting - Web ex meeting. View directions
Declarations of interest
Please see note (a) at the end of agenda.
No declarations of interest were received.
The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 17 September 2020 were agreed as a correct record.
The committee to scrutinise the new safeguarding arrangements which came into effect on 15 July 2020. The Independent Scrutineer to present their interim annual overview report on the effectiveness of local arrangements for the scrutiny/oversight boards for each of the safeguarding partners.
The Director of Children’s Services will respond to questions relating to the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Executive (GSCE).
Representatives from the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Police will be in attendance.
Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (DfE July 2018) is attached to the agenda for information.
3.1 The committee was pleased to welcome Kevin Crompton (Independent Scrutineer), Annette Blackstock (Deputy Health Lead for Safeguarding Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group), Detective Superintendent Arman Mathieson (Gloucestershire Police), and Chris Spencer (Director of Children’s Services) to the meeting.
3.2 Mr Crompton informed the committee that this had been an exceptionally challenging year, but that the response from all partners had been good, and that there was a clear commitment from partners on safeguarding matters. He reminded members that under the Working Together arrangements safeguarding children in Gloucestershire was no longer the sole responsibility of the council but was now a shared responsibility between the council, Gloucestershire Police and the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG), collectively as the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Executive (GSCE).
3.3 Mr Crompton indicated that whilst there had been an improvement in how partners now worked together and talked to each other, improvement in the pace of response and improved working practices was still needed, particularly with regard to tracking responses to issues, eg. Child Sexual Exploitation. He informed the meeting that in response to a serious case review (SCR) some years ago a neglect toolkit had been developed; this had not been utilised effectively across the partnership, in part due to the lack of capacity. This was now under review.
3.4 The Director of Children’s Services (DCS) stated that he felt that Mr Crompton’s report and presentation to the committee was a fair reflection of where we were as a partnership, and agreed that there was still work to be done. However, he was cautiously optimistic about the future of the partnership.
3.5 In response to questions Mr Crompton explained that every effort had been made to engage with schools through their representation groups, eg. Gloucestershire Association of Secondary Headteachers (GASH).
3.6 With regard to concerns re the drop in referrals during lockdown it was explained that the Police had given a lot of consideration to the impact of lockdown and the knock on effect in terms of referrals. Specially selected officers, experienced in dealing with vulnerable people had been utilised; and the Police had conducted sensitive visits to ensure that crime was not going on behind closed doors (this was not just about knocking on people’s doors). Members were also informed that known risks had been managed as best as possible.
3.7 The DCS explained that the lockdown had raised important questions. Children’s Services had been able to sustain good quality services throughout the lockdown; but it had, of course, had an impact. With children out of the sight of schools, one of the biggest referrers to the MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub), the risks had been heightened. The DCS informed members that he shared their concerns and was why the council had ran the (social) media campaign ‘Out of sight but not out of harms way’ early in the lockdown. He assured the committee that officers had done everything they could to make sure that children remained ... view the full minutes text for item 3.