Yearly Round Up

This year has been a busy one for Brighton & Hove Local Safeguarding Children Board. In our final newsletter of 2017 we reflect on the work of the safeguarding partnership over the past 12 months and look ahead to the coming year.

In November we welcomed our next Independent Chair Chris Robson, who brings a breadth of safeguarding experience from working as a practitioner, manager and strategic lead in some of London’s most challenging boroughs. We were sad to say goodbye to Graham Bartlett, who chaired the LSCB for four years, but will maintain a close working relationship with him as he continues to lead the Safeguarding Adults Board. We also welcomed many new Board Members this year and recruited three new Lay Members, and are pleased that our Board meetings and subcommittees have continued to consistent and engaged representation.


What we’ve been doing 

The Board have met four times in 2017, with a further two extraordinary meetings to consider our Serious Case Reviews. You can read more about each meeting in our Board Briefings. Highlights from this year’s Board discussions include:

  • Early Help The Board agreed to the formation of an LSCB Early Help group. This group provides some strategic direction around the multi-agency delivery of Early Help and promotes a joined up Early Help approach across the city. The group has now met three times and was so well attended that we now need to find a bigger room!
  • Management Information Report Data on how well we are keeping children safe is now presented in a more visual way. Efforts are being made to incorporate more meaningful information from partners other than Children’s Social Care to give us a more holistic view of the breadth of child protection work in Brighton.
  • Self harm We have been worried about the numbers of children self-harming, we have been keeping an eye on numbers and hearing about all the work taking in place in schools to support children and families with this issue. We have also published a Self-Harm and Suicidal Behaviour procedure with colleagues across Sussex to help professionals respond appropriately.
  • Child Neglect This is a major concern for the Board. Nationally Over 26,000 children were identified as needing protection from neglect in 2016, and Neglect is a factor in 60% of serious case reviews. Locally, of the 392 children who have a child protection plan recorded at 31 March 2016, 120 (30.6%) had neglect recorded as the latest category of abuse, whilst this is below the national average of 44.9% and statistical neighbour average of 41.5%, Brighton & Hove has a higher percentage of children who have a child protection plan in place as a result of emotional abuse (of which neglect is a component), 52.6% compared to 38.3% nationally. This year we have published our Neglect Strategy which outlines how we will all work together to tackle this abuse.
  • Front Door For Families This has been introduced as a single point of access in Brighton & Hove, bringing together the Early Help Hub, Family Information Service and Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. We have heard how this has supported a better understanding of safeguarding thresholds and helped provide a more rapid response to enquiries relating to children which in turn has helped with ensuring the right support has been provided to those who need it most. brighton-hove.gov.uk/frontdoorforfamilies
  • LSCB Annual Report We published our  LSCB Annual Report 2016-17, reflecting on our achievements and challenges over the year.
  • Racism in Schools At our most recent Board meeting we heard from the Education Safeguarding Officer about pupil’s experience of racism in the city’s schools. Although there  is no longer a government requirement to report centrally about this, in Brighton & Hove schools continue to record and report bullying incidents. Many of our schools are now also recording both prejudice-based abuse and bullying incidents

Learning from Serious Case Reviews (SCRs)

In 2017 the LSCB published two Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) and undertook a learning review looking into services an interventions offered to a family in the city where neglect was a feature. You can read more about this review  here.

Next year will see the implementation of  the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel which will carry out reviews which may have national significance. For example, where a case raises or may raise issues requiring legislative change or changes to statutory guidance. Local arrangements will be put in place to continue to review cases which highlights or could highlight improvements needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in Brighton & Hove.

Child A SCR

On 21 June 2017 Brighton & Hove LSCB published a SCR on Child A, a 17 year old looked after child whose body was found on a railway track at the start of last year.Child A had been exposed to physical and emotional abuse and neglect in the context of chronic domestic violence in his early childhood, and had been subject to a Care Order since 2004. A had been placed in a number of foster homes, none of which were able to manage his behaviours,  before being placed in therapeutic units from the age of 8.As he approached 18 plans were made to transfer A to a foster home, in preparation for independence, and the review identified that these plans had created tension between the unit and Brighton & Hove City Council as the Corporate Parent.This SCR is a thorough exploration of the services provided to A and his family over five and half years, and has identified effective systems and good professional practice, as well as examples of systemic weaknesses and areas for development. You can read more in our Learning Together from Case Reviews Briefing.

Sibling W&X Serious Case Review

On 27 July 2017 Brighton & Hove LSCB published a  SCR to evaluate multi-agency responses to vulnerable young people at risk of exploitation through radicalisation. It followed the deaths of two brothers, ‘W’ & ‘X,’ in Syria in 2014. They had received services from local agencies in Brighton & Hove before leaving the UK.

This Serious Case Review identified 13 findings about the safeguarding system in Brighton & Hove, grouped into four priority areas: Working with trauma; working with high risk adolescents; working with children vulnerable to radicalisaion; working with minority ethnic groups.

Please read our Briefing for Front-line Staff which will give you an overview of these issues and pose a series of questions to help you consider the implications for your practice.

If you work with children & families in Brighton & Hove, there may also be additional specific actions & recommendations for your agency and your role. Please ask your manager, or contact your representative on the LSCB.


Learning from Quality Assurance 

In 2017 the LSCB undertook two in depth multi agency audits. A range of agencies participated in these audit days, and you can read more about these below.

Next year our multi-agency audit activity will focus on how well the safeguarding partnership responds to child sexual abuse in the family, as well as undertaking our first joint piece of quality assurance work with the Safeguarding Adult Board with a combined audit on parents with learning disabilities.

Neglect Multi-Agency Audit

The Board considered the recent multi-agency audit on 9 cases where neglect was identified. The sample included children over three age ranges; 0-5; 6-11 and 12-18, and open to different levels of intervention from Early Help to Child in Need and Child Protection, including children with disabilities.

Examples of what is working well:

  • Identification & response to neglect – agency referrals were clear and there is clear evidence in the decision making that the previous history and experiences have been considered
  • The majority of plans explicitly identify how neglect will be addressed with a focus on both used to reduce the risk of/prevent neglect
  • There is evidence of good multi- were considered in most cases in the majority of cases

Examples of what needs to improve:

  • No evidence of using the Quality of Care Tool which has been designed to support practitioners to assess neglect cases and monitor improvement
  • Not all cases had an up to date chronology

The recommendations from this audit have fed into the development of the Neglect Strategy, and the actions will be overseen by our Monitoring & Engagement Subcommittee. You can read more about this audit in our Professionals Briefing

Children with Disabilities Multi-Agency Audit

Research has found that disabled children are three to four times more likely to be abused and neglected than non-disabled children (Jones et al 2012; Sullivan & Knutson 2000). The LSCB completed a multi-agency audit in October 2017 to examine whether a robust and timely service is provided to disabled children who are in need of protection and whether we are making a difference.

Examples of what is working well:

  • There is a good awareness and understanding of safeguarding by staff working with children with disabilities in their identification and response to child protection concerns.  It is also clear that thresholds for child protection are understood.
  • Child protection concerns are identified early and there is a prompt response by the professional network.
  • Assessments take into account the impact of the child’s disability on their siblings and overall family functioning.  There is good analysis of the family situation and appropriate consideration is given to historical information and previous concerns.
  • Five out of six parents rated the help that they have received as ‘good’ and felt that things had improved for them and their children.

Examples of what needs to improve:

  • Not all of the appropriate agencies have contributed to the strategy discussion in all cases.
  • In one case there were 31 professionals listed in the Initial Child Protection Conference as being involved with the child and their family, and there was some confusion about who was attending the Core Group, with professionals assuming that someone else from their agency is dealing with the case. The audit team recommends that in cases where numerous health professionals are involved with the child and family, a lead paediatrician is required to provide an oversight of all of the medical conditions, interventions and outcomes and to prepare a robust health report for the CP Conference.
  • There is wide variation in how well the voice of the child is heard. – in two cases there has been too much of a focus on the parents’ needs.  In another case the older sibling’s voice can often dominate the records.

The recommendations from this audit will lead to an action plan to be overseen by our Monitoring & Engagement Subcommittee.


Learning & Development

It has been a busy year for our training team, and we would not have achieved the amount we have without the overwhelming support of our Training Pool, to whom we say a BIG thank you. We have had 825 agency staff from safeguarding partners within Brighton & Hove attending LSCB training during 2017. Some of your comments have included:

  • It was a very enlightening day, and the tutor was very knowledgeable and passionate about the topic
  • Updates on changes to the local safeguarding referral process, meeting and exchanging practice ideas with other professionals in a range of fields. Really knowledgeable & helpful trainers
  • Networking with other professionals was really useful. The course content was interesting & easy to follow. 

This year saw a closer collaboration between the local authorities across Sussex, culminating in a very successful Pan Sussex LSCB Conference on Neglect at Brighton Racecourse as part of the Safeguarding Sussex Week last month. This event was attended by over a hundred staff from all safeguarding partners working across the county, and showed that all the local authorities are tackling the issues relating to Neglect in a constructive way.

Our full training programme for 2018-19 will be released in the new year, but some of these sessions can already be booked through the Brighton & Hove Learning Gateway. We are updating our courses to make sure they cover emerging threats such as Child Criminal Exploitation, and radicalisation, and are introducing a new day long session on Safeguarding Adolescents to look indepth at the particular risks and vulnerabilities for this cohort of children. Our three core safeguarding courses: Developing a Core Understanding, Assessment Referral & Investigation, and Child Protection Conferences and Core Groups, will be running throughout the year, and please see our webpages for upcoming training and events.

We will also be hosting a conference in association with West Sussex LSCB on Perplexing Cases in March 2018. The day will look at the whole spectrum of medically perplexing cases, including Fabricated or Induced Illness, and seek to build staff confidence to discuss concerns, identify processes and consider the medical, legal and safeguarding perspectives when working with these complex cases.

And finally Dave Hunt, our Learning & Development Officer has also been nominated for the NSPCC/BAPSCAN “Child Protection Trainer of the Year” and will be attending a conference in January 2018, which will include the award ceremony. We’ll all be keeping our fingers crossed for him to win, and are delighted that his hard work has been recognised.

 

 

Sussex Safety and Safeguarding Conference

21 & 22 February 2018, Amex Stadium
Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group would like to invite you to attend their conference for Health and Social Care staff from across Sussex. Following on from their popular ‘Are You Confident?’ training sessions, this two day symposium will focus on the wider themes of the Safety and Safeguarding of adults and children.

The conference has a variety of sessions and is designed to enable delegates to attend either, or both days and choose the subjects that are most relevant to them.

With expert speakers from around the UK, the sessions will include patient stories, examples of best practice, learning from adverse incidents and ‘human factors’ to encompass a wide range of topics within the themes of Safety and Safeguarding.

The conference is free to attend and lunch will be provided – however, any delegate who accepts a place and does not attend without cancellation at least 48 hours in advance, will be liable for a £50 per day non-attendance fee.

We anticipate high demand and recommend early booking using the links below

  • Day 1 – Safety (Human Factors, Frailty, Deteriorating Patient/ NEWS, Falls, Pressure Damage, LSerious Incidents, Medicines Safety, Suicide Prevention, Infection Control, End of Life, Care Nutrition,Dementia)
  • Day 2 – Safeguarding (MCA/DoLs, Honour Based Violence, FGM, Mental Health in Children, Elder Domestic Violence, LeDer, Learning from Domestic Homicide, Modern Slavery)

The December Dilemma 

As we approach the end of another year, our Learning & Development Officer Dave Hunt reflects on the festive season:

There is a quote that says –

Yesterday is History, Tomorrow is a Mystery,
Today is the “present” and a gift, to be used.

As professionals there will be that particular case that has you confused and frustrated, although you have tried to utilise all the options you can think of, it still remains a dilemma.

You will not be alone, we have all been there!

Therefore in December, why not use your colleagues, they are that gift, you have access to, on a day by day basis. Bring the case to a group supervision session, or team meeting. Then discuss what you tried historically (yesterday), utilise their knowledge and understanding to see if they can “think out of the box”, and see if you can try something different tomorrow.

You have access to a wide array of material, via your own agency or organisation, and others. You are also able to utilise the information held on the LSCB website.

In particular see if any of our practice point scenarios share similarities to your case, and maybe use that as the framework for your discussions.

Remember that Safeguarding is Everyone’s Responsibility.


Working Together Consultation

Next year will see some significant changes and the government are currently undertaking a consultation on revisions to Working Together to Safeguard Children – the statutory guidance which sets out what is expected of organisations, individually and jointly, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. These revisions are being made largely to reflect the legislative changes introduced through the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

The main changes are:

  • Replacement of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) with local safeguarding partners
  • Learning from serious cases and new regulations on local and national reviews
  • Transfer of responsibility for child death reviews from Local Safeguarding Children Boards to new Child Death Review Partners

You can read more about the consultation here and please make sure that your views are heard by completing the online consultation by 31 December 2017.