2.2 Surrey Safeguarding Children Board
The Children Act 2004 required each local authority to establish a Safeguarding Children Board. The Surrey Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) was established on 1st April 2006.
Chapter 3 of Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 sets out in detail the arrangements for the work of each Safeguarding Children Board. This chapter provides a summary only.
- 1. Role and Functions
- 2. Scope of the Role
- 3. Accountability
- 4. Integration with Other Forums
- 5. Membership
- 6. Structure
- 7. Annual Business Plan
- 8. Annual Report
- 9. Media Interest in Child Abuse
1. Role and Functions
The Surrey Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) is the key statutory mechanism for agreeing how the relevant organisations in Surrey will co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to ensure the effectiveness of what the member organisations do individually and collectively.
The SSCB will contribute to the delivery and commissioning of services through the Children and Young Peoples Plan and the Children and Young People’s Partnership arrangements.
Specific objectives of the SCB are to:
- Develop and agree inter-agency policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, consistent with Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, including:
- The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
- Training of those working with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
- Recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
- Investigation of allegations concerning persons working with children;
- The safety and welfare of privately fostered children;
- Cooperation with neighbouring Surrey Children's Services authorities and their Board partners.
- Participate in the planning and commissioning of services for children in the local authority area;
- Communicate the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child;
- Develop procedures to ensure a coordinated response to unexpected child deaths;
- Monitor the effectiveness of what is done to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- Undertake reviews of serious cases and advise the authority and Board partners on lessons to be learned.
As part of the Monitoring and Evaluation Function of the SSCB, there is a requirement for the SSCB to ensure appropriate links exist with any secure settings in its area and to be able to scrutinise the use of restraint, and incidences and injuries. bartik
2. Scope of the Role
SSCB’s role includes the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Children; this is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s health and development;
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
SSCB co-ordinates work to safeguard children locally, monitoring and challenging the effectiveness of local arrangements, for example:
- Mechanisms to identify abuse and neglect wherever they may occur;
- Work to increase understanding of safeguarding children issues in the professional and wider community, promoting the message that safeguarding is everybody's responsibility;
- Work to ensure that organisations working or in contact with children, operate recruitment and human resources practices that take account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
- Monitoring the effectiveness of organisations' implementation of their duties under section 11 of the Children Act 2004;
- Ensuring children know who they can contact when they have concerns about their own or others' safety and welfare;
- Ensuring that adults (including those who are harming children) know who they can contact if they have a concern about a child or young person;
- Work to prevent accidents and other injuries and, where possible, deaths; and
- Work to prevent and respond effectively to bullying.
Effective safeguarding arrangements adhere to two key principles:
- That safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility;
- That a child centred approach ensures that there is a clear understanding of the needs and views of children SSCB pro-actively supports work to safeguard and protect particular groups of vulnerable children and young people who are potentially more vulnerable than the general population, for example, children living away from home, children who have run away from home, children missing from school or childcare, children in the youth justice system including custody, disabled children and children and young people affected by gang.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 requires that SSCB publishes a threshold document that includes:
- The process for the early help assessment and the type and level of early help services to be provided; and
- The criteria including the level of need, for when a case should be referred to local authority Surrey Children's Services for assessment and for statutory services under the Children Act 1989;
- Section 17 Child in Need;
- Section 47 Reasonable cause to suspect children suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm;
- Section 31 Care Orders.
Section 20 Duty to accommodate a child Local authority Surrey Children's Services has the responsibility for clarifying the referral process.
SSCB pro-actively supports through sub groups work to protect children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, including;
- Children abused and neglected within families including those harmed in the context of domestic abuse, or as a consequence of the impact of substance misuse or of parental mental ill health;
- Children abused outside of the family by adults known to them;
- Children abused and neglected by professional carers within institutional settings or anywhere else where children are cared for away from home;
- Children abused by strangers;
- Children abused by other children or young people;
- Children abused through sexual exploitation;
- Young perpetrators of abuse; and
- Young victims of crime.
Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015, Chapter 4, requires SSCB to maintain a local learning and improvement framework. This enables organisations that work with children and families to be clear about their responsibilities learn from experience and improve services as a result.
The SSCB is additionally responsible for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of training, including multi-agency and single agency training, for all professionals in the local area who are working with children and young people.
Whilst the SSCB has a role in coordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of local individuals’ and organisations’ work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, it is not accountable for their operational work.
Each Board partner retains its own existing lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by their services.
The SSCB does not have the power to direct other organisations.
4. Integration with Other Forums
It is important that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is seen as part of the wider context of the Children and Young People's Partnership and that the SSCB’s policies, guidance and procedures such as these, reflect and contribute to the wider goals of improving the wellbeing of all children.
The SSCB is a formal consultee during the development of the Children and Young Peoples Plan.
The responsibilities of the SSCB are complementary to but independent from those of the Children's Trust to ensure the effectiveness of the arrangements made by wider partnership and individual agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The SSCB in general does not commission or deliver services to children, young people and their families.
There should be agreed local protocols between the SSCB and Children's Trust Board to ensure the SSCB is able to challenge and scrutinise effectively the work of the Children's Trust Board and partners.
To achieve the quality of local activity and the ability to challenge organisations, different people should chair the SSCB and Children's Trust Board
Working in partnership, the SSCB and the Children's Trust Board should work together to produce a clear and strategic approach in understanding children, young people and families' needs and improve, reshape and develop effective specialist services.
The SSCB annual report will provide information for the Children's Trust Board to develop and review the Children and Young People's Plan and show in the plan how they intend to respond to issues raised by the SSCB. Also see: Section 8, Annual Report.
The SSCB is made of organisations which will designate particular, named people as their SSCB member so that there is a consistency and continuity in membership.
Members will be those with a strategic role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within their organisation. They should be able to:
- Speak for their organisation with authority;
- Commit their organisation on police and practice matters;
- Hold their own organisation to account and hold others to account.
Members of the SCB must include:
- Surrey Children's Services;
- Adults’ Social Care Services;
- District Councils;
- NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation trusts;
- NHS Commissioning Board;
- Clinical Commissioning Groups;
- Youth Offending Team;
- Any Secure training Centre;
- Any prison which ordinarily detains children;
- Two representatives of the local community;
- Representation from schools (i.e. representatives of the governing body of a maintained school; the proprietor of a non-maintained special school; the proprietor of a city technology college, a city college for the technology of the arts or an Academy; and the governing body of a further education institution the main site of which is situated in the authority's area. Representation of independent schools, Academies and Free Schools should also be included as appropriate).
Other members may include:
- Faith groups;
- State and Independent Schools;
- Further Education Colleges;
- Children’s Centres;
- Independent Health care organisations;
- Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations;
- Armed Forces.
In addition, the SSCB will make strategic links with other organisations and individuals, for example Drug Action Teams, the local MAPPA, dental health services, the Crown prosecution Service, either through inviting them to join the Board or through some other mechanism.
The belief is that the SSCB Chair will be independent of local agencies.
To assist the SSCB with its objectives the SSCB has a supporting structure and the Terms of Reference for each of the groups are available through the SSCB web site.
7. Annual Business Plan
The SSCB produces an annual business plan setting out the priorities for the SSCB:
The Business Plan reports on:
- Progress and achievements in the previous budget year;
- A work programme for the following year to include measurable objectives;
- Relevant management information on child protection activity in the previous year which is presented as part of the SSCB Performance Management Framework.
The Business Plan is approved by the SSCB. The agreed plan forms the basis of activity planning within the SSCB sub groups and regular reporting of progress towards targets on an agreed reporting calendar.
8. Annual Report
The Independent Chair of the SSCB publishes an Annual Report which reports upon the effectiveness of safeguarding and promotes the welfare of children in the local area.
The report lists the contribution made to the SSCB by partner agencies and details of what the SCB has spent.
The report is submitted to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, the local police and crime commissioner and the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board. Through the annual report the SSCB will provide a comprehensive analysis of safeguarding in its area. The report should challenge the work of the Children and Young People's Partnership and its partners to ensure that necessary over arching structures, processes and culture are put in place to ensure that children are fully safeguarded.
The Children's Trust Board will draw on the advice and evidence in the SSCB annual report to inform the development and review of the local Children and Young People's Plan, and should show in the Plan how they intend to respond to issues raised by the SSCB.
9. Media Interest in Child Abuse
Final reports of Serious Case Reviews must be published, including the SSCB’s response to the review findings on the SSCB’s website, for a minimum of 12 months.
It is the responsibility of senior managers in each agency, and the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB) Chair to anticipate media interest in the death or serious injury of a child, or in the investigation of organised abuse by Surrey Children's Services and the Police.
The SSCB Chair, together with the relevant senior managers in liaison with their press officers, must consult to formulate and agree any prepared press releases and make the necessary arrangements.
It is their duty to ensure that all staff undertaking enquiries, are aware of the agreed response to approaches by media representatives, and are enabled to proceed with their work without excessive public pressure and exposure.