09:50 Safeguarding Update Quarter 1
Howard Cooper noted the actions that have been conducted and overseen by the Wirral Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB).
· A rapid appraisal of all children subject to a child protection plan by District Managers which included an analysis of social work visits and actions outstanding on the plan.
· A small sample of children were seen and spoken with about their view of safeguarding arrangements for themselves, as well as their carers who were asked about their knowledge and involvement in plan.
· PCT and Acute Trust produced a written report to the LSCB on health action on child protection plans and their own compliance with planned action .Further to this the NHS partnership has undertaken a review of their safeguarding arrangements following the Quality Care Commissions national review and will report to the LSCB in September. This review will include the capacity of the Trust to support the work of the LSCB and its sub-committees.
· Merseyside Police with the 5 LSCB’s undertook an audit of 66 randomly samples cases across Merseyside that had been referred by police operational staff. A full report and Executive summary was produced with an associated Action Plan for a Learning Together Partnership day in June 2009. Each LSCB will report to the Governance Group, chaired by Assistant Chief Constable and consisting of the DCS’s, on their respective action.
Independent chairing of the LSCB- was a recommendation from Lord Lamings report ‘The Protection of Children in England – a Progress Report ‘. Wirral LSCB agreed to tender for an independent chair and an appropriate level of funding was agreed by the Board in June 2009. Interviews will be held in October for this position.
Howard noted that the law in relation to LSCBs has changed since the Serious Case Review (SCR) of Baby Peter. These changes include the recruitment of an Independent Chair and the presence of the Lead Member of Children’s Services on the Board (to take place in December). As the linkage between the CTB and the LSCB is strong a report will be presented on a quarterly basis.
With regard to SCR’s there should also be an independent chair and information that is to be published should be completely anonymous. Wirral have had two SCRs assessed. The JSC has been rated as outstanding and is being used as an example of good practice. A second review on AP was assessed as an adequate. SCR is underway on child CF which has met delays due to criminal proceedings.
Howard noted that work has been carried out across Merseyside to ensure threshold levels are consistent. He added a comment on the interaction of criminal law and family law in such cases, and which takes primacy.
Howard outlined the complexity in producing management reports that support SCRs. He noted the difficulties in finding the right person to produce the report. It requires someone whom has enough subject knowledge to produce a comprehensive report but also a degree of separation from the case.
Cllr Sheila Clarke asked about “full disclosure” of SCRs and who may be entitled to that information. Caroline McKenna replied that there are no plans to introduce “full disclosure” however there are plans to make the executive summaries more comprehensive and the lead member will also be sat on the Safeguarding Board so will have more details of the case. Howard also added that SCRs are exempt from Freedom of Information requests.