Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 2 - Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Janice Monty  Children and Young People's Department

No. Item


15:00 Apologies Introductions, Declarations of Interest





Joanne Chwalko, Jane Harvey, Jane, Owens, Lindsay Davidson and Sallie Taylor.



Cllr Smith (Chair), Cllr Clements, Cllr Meaden, Julia Hassall, Maggie Atkinson, Elaina Quesada, Medwyn Jones, Deborah Gornik, Debbie Veevers, A Davies, K Podmore, John Weise, Kerry Crichlow, Julie Graham, Kerry Mehta, Terri Cartwright, Caron Drucker, Fiona O’Shaughnessy.


·  Cllr Smith welcomed Professor Maggie Atkinson, the new Chair of Wirral Safeguarding Children Board and Kerry Mehta, the Interim Head of Safeguarding.


·  Viv Harrison is retiring and will be replaced by Joanne Chwalko.


·  John Weise attended in place of Jane Owens (Wirral Governors Forum).


·  Julie Graham attended in place of Jane Harvey.


Declaration of Interest


Cllr Meaden declared that her daughter works for Children’s Services.


Terms of Reference


Kerry Crichlow outlined the new Terms of Reference and highlighted in particular that:


·  There is a strong commitment to the Children’s Trust continuing

·  There will continue to be 3 meetings per year

·  The Children’s Trust will have permission to challenge different areas in depth and will include a Deep Dive focused on one area at each meeting



15:00 Minutes of the Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 405 KB

To consider any matters arising from the minutes that are not dealt with elsewhere on the agenda.


J Hassall said that Minute Item 5 Resolution 3; the protocol has been finalised since the papers were sent out for this meeting and she will circulate them to this group.


It was resolved that:


1.  the minutes were taken as accurate

2.  J Hassall will circulate the papers re: the work on the protocol between the Children’s Trust, the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board and the Health and Well-being Board.



15:10 Information: Update on Improvement Journey including progress on Wirral 2020 Pledges - Julia Hassall

Powerpoint presentation


J Hassall informed the meeting that the LA’s Improvement Plan was submitted to Ofsted on 23rd December but remains in draft until Ofsted have reviewed and approved it.


Ofsted inspectors are visiting this week for 3 days and during this visit they will:


·  Examine up to 15 cases

·  Concentrate on the Multiagency Hub and One Front Door

·  Audit 6 cases which are new since the last visit and compare their audits with Wirral’s own self audit of these cases.


J Hassall gave a presentation highlighting the improvements Wirral have made so far.


These include:


·  Increased engagement with staff, including the means for staff to submit comments either face to face or anonymously and for the LA to respond to the concerns raised.  Responses include looking at the Social Worker recruitment process, recruiting more personal assistants and looking at the role of lead professionals.


·  Holding conferences to develop the wider workforce’s understanding of thresholds, assessment tools and revised arrangements at MASH. The first has been held and feedback was very positive particularly in relation to clearer understanding of thresholds where there is a lower level of risk or chronic neglect.  At the last inspection Ofsted picked up that whilst the LA did well when there was a high level risk it did less well with lower levels of risk.  Two more conferences are planned.


·  Update on recruitment of staff to ensure that the LA have the right staff in the right posts.  The Deputy Director for Children’s Social Care, Group Manager for Children in Care and Care Leavers and the Interim Senior Manager Children’s Safeguarding have been appointed.


·  Improvements in practice are taking place:


o  Managers’ standards have been issued, along with letter from the Director regarding compliance with core tasks

o  Front line manager training continues

o  Training for elected members has been delivered with a session on:

§  Child Protection, what to do

§  How to recognise significant harm

§  Social Workers operating environment

·  Performance improvements to date include:


o  Refreshed Performance Management and Quality Assurance Framework developed in partnership with children’s social care managers

o  Ensuring that data is robust and accurate:


§  Monthly performance clinics established, reviewing live data against core performance measures

§  Regular data quality checks


M Atkinson highlighted that she would expect to make significant improvement in how the Safeguarding Children Board functions rapidly. The Board are now looking at data collected by the LA and will scrutinise why it is being collected and what the LA will do with the data.  She added that it was a pleasure to have been selected as the Chair of the Safeguarding Children’s Board and is looking forward to fulfilling her role.


Deborah Gornik commented that at the first Threshold Conference some of the feedback was about the need for more support in using tools.  As a result some workshops regarding this will be rolled out.


It was resolved that the Board noted the report.




15:30 Voice of the child - Participation Strategy - Lindsey Davidson and Fiona O'Shaughnessy pdf icon PDF 119 KB


Caron Drucker presented the report on the Voice of the Child; explained the Youth Engagement Framework and highlighted the work of the Youth Voice Group and the Youth Conference.  The report presented gave a flavour of what the young people are doing, but they do much more.  Ofsted talked to the young people and their findings were that the LA is good at listening at a high level but not so much at an intermediate level and that the Children in Care team is better at listening than the Care Leavers team.  As a result a Care Leavers’ Council is being set up to generate discussion which will be followed up with action. 


D Gornik said that young people are participating in the Improvement Board and through this are telling the LA how they want to be involved and this is then made to happen. 


Fiona O’Shaughnessy added that young people are involved in recruitment panels including for the selection of the Chair of the Safeguarding Children’s Board. 


M Atkinson said that whilst this involvement is all good, young people also need to be able to challenge health, police and other services as they will also have contact with these services and not just social care.  The WSCB will look at taking this forward.


K Podmore says that there needs to be a group to challenge how feedback is followed through; there should be people accountable for seeing it through.  J Hassall agrees that this a theme picked up by Ofsted; that Wirral listens but then doesn’t always follow through.  Fiona O’Shaughnessy said that this needs to be done within a given timeframe and added that the Housing model was a good example, where young people “inspected” and then returned to ensure that actions were followed up. 


E Quesada reminded the group that young people need to be involved in the Commissioning process and should receive training to enable them to participate in the tender evaluation and decision making process so shaping services from day one.


D Veevers informed the meeting that the DWP have a separate protocol for care leavers but it needs to be publicised so that other agencies are aware of it.


It was resolved that the Board noted the report.




15:50 Deep Dive - Integrated Front Door/ MASH - Terri Cartwright/Liz Davenport pdf icon PDF 753 KB


J Hassall gave an introduction to this item and the Terri Cartwright presented.


Lots of work has been done on MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) and the integrated front door.  Ofsted chose this as the main theme for looking at recently.  There will be just one front door which will signpost to the right service, so even if young person/family does not meet thresholds they will be given information about alternative places to go for help and support.


Instead of an assessment framework the assessment will take the form of simple questions such as “What worries you and what can we do about it?”  If a parent rings a trained Social Worker will advise and decide if they need to talk to a Social Worker or need to be signposted to other services. 


Slide 4 shows how signposting/referral works.  There should be no more than 24hrs from referral to either signposting or MASH.  MASH have 72hrs to get out to the right service.  The Front Door will have a telephone system that, if a person is already open to services, will direct them to that service.  There will be portals which will enable access to virtual partners.  It is hoped that this will lead to there being no referral to district teams which result in no further action as they will be dealt with otherwise.


The final slide shows that we will give prompt feedback to referrers via letters which are automatically triggered.  Consent is an issue so the electronic form now has a consent box and the form cannot be submitted until this box is completed.  There will be tools included to help evaluate thresholds. 


A Davies asked if triage staff are in post yet and T Cartwright informed the meeting that they would be by 13th March. 


Cllr Clements asked how the automated telephone system would work and T Cartwright explained that it would use a very simple menu of choices.


Cllr Meaden asked what would happen to calls coming in after 5.00pm and T Cartwright said that they would automatically be routed to the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) and E Quesada added that there is a group looking at the role and function of the EDT. 


Cllr Smith asked for an update re this at the next meeting.  J Hassall added that the group that developed the Integrated Front Door feeds into the Local Safeguarding Children Board and that the Safeguarding Board must sign off its development.


It was resolved that the Board noted the report.



16:30 Partner updates - open forum


D Gornik informed the meeting that following on from the Early Help Conference in late 2016, thresholds have been looked at and on 16 February 2017 there will be another Conference to discuss Early Help.  Thresholds for Early Help are clearly defined when Safeguarding is an issue but we need to get smarter about lower levels of need.  Early Help is the responsibility of everyone.  We must work with partners, with families, health, police, 3rd sector as well as all locality teams.  Not everything needs to come to the Front Door if communities are working well.  The Conference will look at where people currently go to find out information and we need to base Early Help in those locations.


D Gornik then talked about the pledge re school readiness for 0-5 year old children.  All services in early childhood from pre-birth are involved and KPI’s are looked at across health, LA, and some 3rd sector partners.  We came up with 7 outcomes and are now cross referencing these with partners to see what is happening towards these outcomes.  We are making progress with obtaining outcomes data from partners and now have in place a sharing agreement with multi agency providers so we are able to talk about shared actions/outcomes. 


This is challenging schools as children are now very ready when starting school.


J Graham talked about young people being ready for work.  Work is being done with Chamber of Commerce to improve awareness of differences in how some GCSE’s are now done.  In order to improve life chances we are looking at issues such as CSE, teenage pregnancy etc and making links with partners; we have created a booklet for signposting and are working on community pilots to make communities aware of what help is available.


K Crichlow asked if Wirral is joined up with those already in statutory services.  J Hassall responded that the challenge is around working in some communities where there are low aspirations and low expectations of professionals who work with families in communities; these are often communities where there are high numbers of children and families receiving statutory services.  J Graham said we are working to raise expectations.  M Atkinson added that schools and GP’s would be prime partners who know the families. 


Cllr Meaden expressed concern that in some areas which are not being piloted things are getting worse. 


E Quesada suggested that at the next meeting this group could look at how we commission locally, regionally etc and how to develop more effective commissioning strategy in order to develop services where they are most needed.


J Hassall reminded the meeting of the effectiveness of the 2 pilots carried out in schools; they needed just a small amount of money to draw in more money from the community.  We need to build on this model.


J Graham said that we also need to ensure that we deliver services in locations which are most appropriate for people to be able to access them.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


16:50 Forward plan



Looking forward, a working group should be set up to look at the agenda and to ensure there is a multiagency focus (this to be a one off meeting).  E Quesada to lead on this and people can email suggestions to her, by mid-April if possible.


It was resolved that all agreed to this.


Action: E Quesada to lead on organising the working group.




16:55 Any Other Business


No other business


The meeting was closed at 17.10.