Welcome to the East Sussex Safeguarding Children Partnership (ESSCP) Board Briefing. The briefing is intended to provide you with the key headlines from each Board meeting so that you can quickly catch up with decisions and learning, and disseminate them to your staff. Minutes of the meeting will continue to be circulated to Board members.
This briefing covers news from the 16 July 2020 Board meeting. If you have any comments on the briefing, or questions about the contents, please contact us on ESSCP.Contact@eastsussex.gov.uk.
East Sussex Covid-19 related multi-agency safeguarding challenges
The Chair updated the Partnership on local safeguarding practice reviews, noting that a number of rapid reviews had been conducted recently. The Chair informed the Board that a practice review has been agreed, following the death of a child in East Sussex, where it is felt there could be significant learning for partners. The Board noted that an ‘Infant Injuries learning briefing’ has been completed, following the Child V and Child W serious case reviews signed off by the Board last year, (but awaiting publication due to ongoing criminal proceedings). The group also noted that these cases will be featured in a thematic review conducted by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.
The Chair informed that local SPOA and MASH referrals are now back up to pre-lockdown levels, noting the role of the partnership to reduce and mitigate risks for the most vulnerable children and families during COVID-19 lockdown. Partners also shared how COVID-19 has impacted on their service, including issues with socially distanced venues to see children and impact on different types of referrals and service engagement.
This Association of Directors of Children’s Services briefing provides a useful summary of the challenges for children during the COVID-19 lockdown.
East Sussex PREVENT annual Report
Lucy Spencer, from the Safer East Sussex Team, presented a snapshot of local PREVENT activity (safeguarding and support to vulnerable people to stop them from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism). Lucy highlighted that as early adopters of the National Prevent Referral form, East Sussex referrals are now automatically forwarded to relevant safeguarding teams who screen all the information, ensuring an efficient sharing of concerns early on. Lucy also highlighted that East Sussex continue to receive low numbers of referrals in to Channel. Generally referrals come from the education sector, predominantly male, with mixed unclear unstable ideologies and with undiagnosed/diagnosed autism. The Board discussed how local programmes can respond to the needs of young people with autism and the successful workshop programme delivered in schools which focus on relationships.
Secure Settings Annual Report
Helen Simmons, Manager at Lansdown Secure Children’s Home, highlighted safeguarding and behaviour management practice at the unit over the past year. Annual presentation of this report to the ESSCP is a regulatory requirement given the significant vulnerability of young people in secure establishments. The Board noted how the unit uses and monitors techniques such as enforced separation and restraint; and how a more values based style at the unit had impacted on the continued reduction in use of these techniques. The Partnership agreed to support further scrutiny of the use of these techniques through a quarterly review by representatives of the Partnership.
Youth Offending Annual Report
The Partnership welcomed Nicola Maxwell, attending the ESSCP for the first time in her role as Strategic Lead for Specialist Adolescent Services (ESCC). The partnership noted recent scrutiny of the service through the Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI) on mental health, and internal audit work, noting how the service will be focusing on supporting young people in education over the next year. The Partnership noted that through Nicola’s new role, there has been significant strengthening of the YOS’s links with other areas of work, such as the Adolescent Risk Panel and involvement in Contextual Safeguarding projects.
The Partnership discussed how during COVID-19 engagement with young people has improved, as staff have moved away from inviting children in to offices and towards meeting with young people in their own community and/or using technology. Nicola noted the service will look to build upon this in the future.
The Partnership noted that LAC and BAME children continue to be over represented. The group discussed that although numbers are small it is important for the partnership and service to understand the reasons and respond.
Mental Health JTAI action plan
Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services, presented the JTAI action plan, following the multi-agency inspection on children’s mental health conducted in February 2020. Stuart noted the logistical challenge of organising 74 meetings, involving 162 individuals, across multiple organisations. No priority actions were identified for individual agencies, and no graded judgement was given but report highlighted areas of strengths and areas for development. Noted that areas for improvement were ones already known by partners and therefore action plan reflects a number of developments already in place.
The ESSCP agreed to oversee the delivery of the action plan. The ESSCP Chair agreed that the action plan would become a standing item on the Steering Group, noting that once completed, the plan would deliver real tangible improvements for children and young people locally.
Multi Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) Update
The Board welcomed Detective Chief Inspector Chris Mayle, Safeguarding Investigation Unit, who took on the role at the end of March 2020. Chris highlighted 2019/20 performance information, noting the significant increase in recorded offences for sexual grooming and facilitating child exploitation. Chris noted these are Pan-Sussex figures and rise also due to increase of Police awareness and understanding of these issues. Chris also drew the Partnership’s attention to proposals to set up a separate ‘Missing Persons Team’, which should have a significant impact on the way the Police responds to missing children. Other multi-agency developments were also discussed.
2019/20 Annual Report of the Director of Public Health: focus on Health and Housing in East Sussex
Ben Brown, Consultant in Public Health, presented the 2019/20 Annual Report of the Director of Public Health, which focuses on Health and Housing in East Sussex. Housing is an important determinant of health and in order to improve the health and wellbeing of East Sussex residents, and to reduce inequalities, the broader determinants of health need to be addressed.
Ben stressed that the report is a useful resource whatever your role or level of influence, and includes practical support for those working on the front line. The report highlights the impact of housing on children and the safeguarding of children. In particular, how housing impacts on accidents of under-fives (for example accidental poisonings), impact of temporary housing on children’s wellbeing and mental health, how to advocate for families.
ESSCP Priorities update
The Chair informed the Board that leads have now been identified and action plans are being developed for the agreed future priorities. These include continuing with Education Safeguarding and Child Exploitation and two new priorities around the Partnership Learning Hub (including improving transparency of the partnership, and sharing and promoting training and learning), and Safeguarding under 5s (including infant injury).