The Annual Report of the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) is part of the safeguarding partners accountability to members of the full Partnership, the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, relevant agencies and, most importantly, Surrey’s children and families who are the principal beneficiaries of the activity of the Partnership.
Simon Hart - Independent Chair and Scrutineer of the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP)
Paul Bailey - Partnership Development Manager (SCC)
Key points raised in the discussion:
1. The Partnership Development Manager (SCC) noted:
· that publishing an Annual Report was a statutory responsibility of the SSCP and had been approved by the SSCP’s executive group and SSCP as a whole and had been scrutinised by the Independent Chair and Scrutineer.
· that since its formation in 2019 the SSCP had matured and developed its priorities.
· the collective work in continuing to safeguard children during the Covid-19 pandemic, fulfilling the statutory responsibilities and continuing to develop programmes of work.
· that the SSCP had cleared the backlog of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) from the former Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board, had strengthened its practice in responding to serious child safeguarding incidents through holding Rapid Reviews, commissioning Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews, and disseminating the learning from those cases.
· the need to focus on building good quality multi-agency safeguarding practice system-wide to prevent such incidents from happening.
· the progress made on the three SSCP priorities for 2021-2024 and areas for improvement.
· that more work needed to be done around neglect, and emotional wellbeing and mental health.
· that the next steps were to focus on the implementation of the SSCP’s priorities, improving the quality of practice and the lived experience for children and families.
2. The Independent Chair and Scrutineer (SSCP) noted:
· that his role was to make an objective comment on the analysis contained within the Annual Report.
· Four of the themes identified from his scrutiny:
- Governance arrangements:
- that when the SSCP was created it was recognised that it needed to be different to the Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board and that aim had been delivered;
- the operating arrangements followed the strategic priorities;
- the membership was extensive across all of the organisations that had a safeguarding interest in Surrey;
- that leadership accountability whilst resting with the three statutory partners, was shared by extended leadership arrangements with key partners;
- management arrangements were in place through the sub-groups;
- the SSCP is well resourced through funding and commitment from its safeguarding partners to their safeguarding responsibilities.
- Scrutiny arrangements:
- scrutiny was a key responsibility of the SSCP and arrangements for effective scrutiny included: his role to challenge was strongly encouraged by all partners particular concerning legacy cases, the Peer Review undertaken by Isles of Scilly and Cornwall Safeguarding Children Partnership, collaborative work was encouraged working with Surrey County Council and its relevant select committee and taking note of all formal inspections with a focus in the first year on the Ofsted Priority Action Board, looking at Surrey County Council’s improvement programme such as around youth justice services;
- escalation arrangements in place were highly important;
- there is a need to work more closely with partners to ensure that the views of different practitioners across organisations working with the same families are respected and understood;
- further scrutiny of formal inspection reports must focus on NHS services, schools and children’s homes.
- Case Review work:
- the SSCP has achieved more than expected in its first eighteen months, down to the hard work of its partners;
- the SCR work had been transformational despite recovering from a backlog, some reviews having taken four years to complete, now rapid reviews were consistently completed within fifteen days - the aim was to complete fuller reviews within no more than six months;
- the work around mental health and adolescent suicide stemmed from the case reviews, welcoming the SSCP’s collaboration with the MHPB;
- the work commissioned on legacy cases was a direct challenge from him as the Independent Chair, to look at areas where there may have been disagreement about practice in schools and social care, and how to improve collaboration and appreciation of different professional views.
- Children’s Services improvement:
- the importance of the collaborative work, such as alongside the Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB).
· that challenges going forward included:
- the need to embed the learning from the various safeguarding practice reviews in a timely and consistent manner, translating decision-making within the SSCP into practice;
- the need to continually build the reputation of the SSCP - held accountable by the national Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel;
- the increasing pressures around recruitment and retention, and impact on safeguarding delivery and changes in operating arrangements.
· the extraordinary work undertaken during Covid-19 particularly in the initial period, and business continuity was in place.
· that whilst the SSCP has concentrated on three strategic priorities, it remained adaptable to future challenges.
· the SSCP received support from Surrey Police who was leading on a piece of work on online safety.
· that there was close collaboration with the Domestic Abuse Management Board.
· the SSCP has made a positive and encouraging start, the infrastructure, culture and commitment was in place to address challenges, working collaboratively with the safeguarding partners.
· that he was happy to follow up on any questions outside of the meeting.
3. The Chairman welcomed the report and noted that Board members could send any questions to the Independent Chair and Scrutineer (SSCP).
1. Noted the Annual Report which has been approved by the Executive and the full Partnership and has been published.
2. Noted the SSCP’s priorities for 2020 to 2021.
3. Noted the need to focus on the impact of activity of improving the quality of the SSCP’s work with children and families and being able to evidence improvements in the lived experience for children.
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