New Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements
Councillor Bernie Mooney began by thanking David Robbins for all of his hard work on the safeguarding arrangements. She informed that without his input the Council would not have been able to make as much progress. Mr Robbins had worked tirelessly on this. Councillor Mooney then introduced a report which informed that under the Children Act (2004) Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB’s) were currently responsible for ensuring agencies effectively worked together to safeguard children. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 replaced LSCB’s with new local safeguarding arrangements, led by three safeguarding partners (Local Authorities, Chief Officers of Police, and Clinical Commissioning Groups). It also placed a duty on child death review partners (Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups) to review the deaths of children normally resident in the local area.
The Cabinet noted that three safeguarding partners had equal and joint responsibility for the new local safeguarding arrangements.
The Cabinet also noted that the three safeguarding partners must set out how they would work together and with any relevant agencies whose involvement they considered may be required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in particular cases. They must also set out how their arrangements would receive independent scrutiny. Once agreed, the safeguarding partners must publish the arrangements.
Councillor Bernie Mooney reported that the purpose of the local arrangements was to support and enable local agencies to work together in a system where:
· excellent practice is the norm
· partner agencies hold one another to account effectively
· there is early identification of ‘new’ safeguarding issues
· learning is promoted and embedded
· information is shared effectively
· the public can feel confident that children are protected from harm
Attached to the report at Appendix 1 was the proposed multi-agency safeguarding arrangements, the proposed model for consideration and approval.
Cabinet Members noted that no other options had been considered because the three statutory safeguarding partners were required, under the Children and Social Work Act, to develop new multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. The model itself had gone through many iterations and refinements in its development journey before being finalised presented to the Cabinet.
Councillor Phil Davies informed that the Council was responding to changes which the Government had introduced. Councillor Davies thanked Maggie Atkinson, who had chaired the Safeguarding Children’s Board. Ms Atkinson’s advice and guidance had been invaluable to the Council in navigating its way through the changes that would need to be made in light of the Ofsted Report. Councillor Davies also thanked the other members of the Safeguarding Children’s Board and was pleased to see the Council was ahead of schedule in terms of putting the new arrangements in place which would commence with effect from 1 September 2019.
Councillor Anita Leech reiterated the fact that the Council was ahead of schedule and was pleased that it had six months to shadow the two systems without any additional financial implications. Councillor Leech also thanked Councillor Phil Davies personally for all of the work that he had put into this as Cabinet Member for this Portfolio.
(1) the proposed model be approved; and
(2) the model be published ahead of shadow implementation on 31 March 2019, with full implementation going ahead on the 1 September 2019 (when the Wirral Safeguarding Children Board will be stood down).