2.2 Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership

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The Children Act 2004 required each local authority to establish a Safeguarding Children Board. 

Safeguarding Children Boards were replaced by Safeguarding Children Partnerships in 2019 with statutory responsibility for safeguarding arrangements being led by the local authority, the police and Integrated care boards (ICB).

 Working together to safeguard children 2023: Chapter 2  sets out the new requirements for multi-agency safeguarding arrangements. 

Contents

1. Role and Functions

The Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership (SSCP) 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.

Specific objectives of the SSCP 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 2023, including:
    1. The action to be taken where there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare, including thresholds for intervention;
    2. Training of those working with children or in services affecting the safety and welfare of children;
    3. Recruitment and supervision of persons who work with children;
    4. Investigation of allegations concerning persons working with children;
    5. The safety and welfare of privately fostered children;
    6. Cooperation with neighbouring Surrey Children's Services authorities and their partners.
  • 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 identify any lessons learned. 

2. Scope of the Role

SSCP’s role includes the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Children; this is defined in Working Together 2023 as:

  • providing help and support to meet the needs of children as soon as problems emerge
  • protecting children from maltreatment, whether that is within or outside the home, including online
  • preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development
  • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • promoting the upbringing of children with their birth parents, or otherwise their family network through a kinship care arrangement, whenever possible and where this is in the best interests of the children
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes in line with the outcomes set out in the Children’s Social Care National Framework

SSCP 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;

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 SSCP 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 2023 requires that SSCP 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.

SSCP 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.

 

3. Accountability

Whilst the SSCP 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 safeguarding partner retains its own existing lines of accountability for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children by their services.

The SSCP does not have the power to direct other organisations.

4. Strategic leadership and accountability

As stated in Working Together 23, Strong, joined-up leadership and clear accountability is critical to effective multi-agency safeguarding, bringing together the various organisations and agencies. It is therefore important that the head of each statutory safeguarding partner agency plays an active role in these arrangements. They (hereafter ‘lead safeguarding partner’ or ‘LSP’) have been named because they are able to:

  • speak with authority for the safeguarding partner they represent
  • take decisions on behalf of their organisation or agency and commit them on policy, resourcing, and practice matters
  • hold their own organisation or agency to account on how effectively they participate and implement the local arrangements

The LSPs for safeguarding partners are: Chief Executives of Local Authorities20, Chief Executives of the ICBs, and Chief Officers of police forces.

Each LSP is responsible for discharging their own statutory and legislative duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. As leaders of their organisations and the statutory safeguarding partners, it is for LSPs to assure themselves that their local arrangements are effective and keep children safe. This includes systems of assurance and accountability within each of their organisations, including inspection findings.

LSPs are jointly responsible for ensuring the proper involvement of and oversight of all relevant agencies, and should act as a team, as opposed to a voice for their agency alone. They should meet sufficiently regularly to undertake the following core functions: Through what mechanism and how often is for local decision.

5. Structure

To assist the SSCP with its objectives the SSCP has a supporting structure and the Terms of Reference for each of the groups are available through the SSCP website. Structure and Sub-Groups - Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership

6. Annual Business Plan

The SSCP produces an annual business plan setting out the priorities for the SSCP.

The Business Plan is approved by the SSCP. The agreed plan forms the basis of activity planning within the SSCP sub groups and regular reporting of progress towards targets. 

7. Annual Report

Safeguarding partners must jointly report on the activity they have undertaken in a 12-month period. That reporting should be transparent and easily accessible to families and professionals. The focus of these reports should be on multi-agency priorities, learning, impact, evidence, and improvement. Reports must include:

  • what partnerships have done as a result of the arrangements, including on child safeguarding practice reviews
  • how effective these arrangements have been in practice

In addition, the report should also include:

  • the contribution of each safeguarding partner to the functioning and structure of the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements
  • any themes emanating from aggregated methods of scrutiny, for example, reviews and scrutineer activity and multi-agency audits
  • evidence of the impact of the work of the safeguarding partners and relevant agencies, including training, on outcomes for children and families
  • an analysis of any areas where there has been little or no evidence of progress on agreed priorities
  • an analysis of learning from serious incidents
  • a record of key decisions and actions taken by the safeguarding partners in the yearly cycle, including in relation to implementing the recommendations from any local and national child safeguarding practice reviews and the impact this has had
  • ways in which the safeguarding partners have sought and utilised feedback from children and families to inform their work and influence service provision
  • the breakdown of costs in delivering the arrangements for that period, including the financial contributions of individual partners, any changes to funding and an assessment of the impact and value for money of this funding
  • evidence of how safeguarding partners are ensuring the adequate representation and input of education at both the operational and strategic levels of the arrangements
  • an overview of how data is being used to encourage learning within the arrangements and evidence of how information sharing has improved practice and outcomes
  • a review of the impact and learning from independent scrutiny arrangements to ensure the leadership is strong and the arrangements are leading to the desired and necessary impact
  • any updates to the published arrangement with the proposed timescale for implementation
  • evidence that national reforms have been implemented, taking into account key decisions and actions taken by safeguarding partners in response to reforms, and any issues or concerns encountered within the yearly cycle

Where there is a secure establishment in a local area, safeguarding partners should include a review of the use of restraint within that establishment in their report, and the findings of the review should be reported to the Youth Justice Board, the Youth Custody Service, and His Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons.

Safeguarding partners should make sure the report is widely available. A copy should be sent to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (Mailbox.NationalReviewPanel@education.gov.uk) who will review it to identify any issues that may need escalation to a national level and Foundations (What Works Centre for Children and Families) (policy@foundations.org.uk), given its focus on learning within 7 days of publication. To allow for consistency across local areas, these should be submitted and published by the end of September every year, starting from 2024, and should be reflective of work undertaken the previous financial year (April to March). If partners fail to submit the yearly report this may be escalated to the Secretary of State.

This page is correct as printed on Monday 15th of July 2024 09:03:29 AM please refer back to this website (http://surreyscb.procedures.org.uk) for updates.