Wirral Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report 2017-18
The report is attached.
Lorna Quigley presented the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board’s (WCSB) Annual Report 2017-18. It set out how WSCB had responded to the need continually to improve safeguarding in the borough. It was noted that 2016-17 had seen the start of that improvement and 2017-18 had built on it. The report captured how the Board and each partner agency on it, had undertaken safeguarding that placed children and young people’s wellbeing at its core.
The Joint Strategic Commissioning Board noted that the Annual Report included reports on the Board’s crucial work in independent challenge and scrutiny, both key roles expressing the Board’s statutory responsibilities. WSCB’s core purpose was to ensure, and where necessary to require improvement in, the effectiveness of Wirral-wide, all-agency safeguarding for children, young people and their families. The report focused on WSCB’s delivery of its priorities, capturing and reporting organisations’ activities and ensuring they made positive differences in children’s lives.
The Annual Report recorded continued improvement of practice through the use of Wirral’s new intervention, child protection and family support model, Supporting Families Enhancing Futures (SFEF), which had been co-designed by all Wirral partner bodies and was intended for use across the board in their work with children and young people. Its use sought to ensure the families with whom SFEF was used could be true partners with, as well as often vulnerable recipients of services.
It was reported that this was an opportunity to celebrate some of the work that had been carried out. It was the second year of the improvement journey and it was pleasing to see a number of initiatives in place. Teams had worked in a multi-agency way to ensure the additional work necessary had been completed in year 2. Children were now at the centre of decision-making and joint working had ensured that the WSCB was compliant with its statutory responsibilities in respect of safeguarding arrangements.
Reference was made to the poor communication around safeguarding which was frustrating. The different agencies had not been communicating well. The Joint Strategic Commissioning Board wanted this to be fixed as a priority. The Corporate Director for Children’s Services informed that the structure and processes were now in place and it was expected; now there was stability, that there would be an improvement in communications.
The Joint Strategic Commissioning Boards attention was drawn to the Chair of the WSCB, Dr Maggie Atkinson’s foreword where she had warned that the ongoing challenge of “doing still more with still less” was now a matter for grave concern to all who worked with children and young people. She had said that it was not alarmist to state that the borough may find that in the worst circumstances, there were now palpable and recorded threats to the safety and wellbeing of some children. Dr Atkinson had made no excuses for stating this, as an independent Chair who was charged with saying what must be said no matter how hard it was to hear. It was not the partner agencies at the WSCB table who were to seek a remedy to this but those who continued to impose unrealistic monetary limits on what the partners were funded to do.
The Joint Strategic Commissioning Board turned its attention to future arrangements, noting that Wirral had not realised how bad things had got but noted that the WSCB had considered what could be replicated in respect of Adults Services in the Liverpool City Region and this had not been the right approach.
The WSCB would not be continuing in its present form and there would be new arrangements put in place for next year and these arrangements would include scrutiny. A peer challenge was required along with bench marking. Members looked forward to a different version of the Annual Report next year.
That the report be received.