Next Upcoming Event

Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

Tale of Two Safeguarding Boards

In Kirklees, where I work as Director for Children and Young People Services, I have regular catch up meetings with Bron Sanders, the Independent Chair of Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board – and so we met this week.

Bron also met recently with Mike Houghton-Evans the newly appointed independent Chair of Kirklees Safeguarding Adults Board.

A key part of this new role is to drive forward the continuous development of the board and ensure local organisations work together closely and effectively. This is especially important as we work towards the implementation of the Care Act.

Although the Adult Safeguarding Board was created on a statutory footing with the introduction of the Care Act, there has been a Board operating in Kirklees for the past nine years.

We have given careful thought to how the Boards work together, and there is already some great collaboration taking place, especially around overlapping agendas such as domestic violence, parents with learning disabilities, impact of mental health on safeguarding children and families, etc.

It was decided that in order to establish both Boards on a secure footing, separate Chairs and dedicated infrastructure was needed to support their work. However, saying that there is scope to look at how we can share synergies in the back office and utilise the expertise and knowledge available.

It’s essential that we capture the overlapping agenda between the two Boards and also the links to the community safety partnerships as well.

One example of how learning can be shared is the introduction of domestic homicide reviews which follow a similar approach to that of adult and children’s serious case reviews. Whilst the focus of these reviews is different, and the way in which they are carried out gives a different purpose and flavour, there are lessons to be learned from the experience of conducting these types of reviews.

Arguably there would be benefit in Department for Education, Department of Health and the Home Office collaborating more on this at a national level too.

Talking of sharing good practice, one of the things that Bron was able to tell me about was the development of a multi-agency approach to early pre-birth assessments in the East Riding. Because Bron chairs this safeguarding board, as well as the one in Kirklees, she is able to cross fertilise ideas between the two to help us easily capture learning from one another. This multi-disciplinary approach has speeded decision making for children and has helped to reduce the time taken to achieve adoption for children. It may help us to refine our existing pre-birth arrangements here in Kirklees!

We also talked about the Board’s oversight of child and adolescent mental health services. Here in Kirklees, we have been facing a number of operational challenges. As well as the close engagement with Clinical Commissioning Group colleagues to ensure that improvements are made, the Safeguarding Board has a vital role in challenging and asking questions about the progress that is being made.

Bron briefed me about the conversations amongst partners at the Safeguarding Board and we talked through how this accountability enhances the scrutiny and challenge to the system to make sure we address the shortcomings which have been identified in our local offer to children and families. I will want to be sure that the regional CQC office is fully sighted on the child welfare issues in this case.

An interesting line here is the accountability to CQC around the quality for the area of the system which is delivered through NHS organisations, whereas our usual relationship is with Ofsted for most children’s services.

Finally we talked about the recent appraisal of our Independent Chair by the Chief Executive and confirmed how the outcome of that appraisal will be reported to the Board. We also talked about the schedule of meetings between the Independent Chair and the Chief Executive and the involvement of our Lead Member, Council Leader and me in that pattern of meetings throughout the year.

So, this week a glimpse into the day job for a Director for Children’s Services.

Tags assigned to this article:

Related Blog Articles