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FCYP Update September 2015

The Families Communities & Young People Policy Committee met on Tuesday 15 September.

Over the summer months the committee was involved in the planning and delivery of two workshops at the ADCS annual conference looking at the Prevent agenda and the DfE’s Innovation Fund. FCYP has also led on a number of consultation responses on behalf of ADCS such as the plans put forward by the YJB for in-year reductions to the Youth Justice Grant. This news was unexpected and will involve some very difficult decisions for local authorities. Making staff redundant will not yield any savings in this financial year, in fact quite the opposite, so the only option will be to reduce the quality and quantity of services, particularly the early help and preventative work that has underpinned the success of YOTs to date.

A representative from the National Audit Office joined the meeting to discuss useful areas of focus for a future study on safeguarding. The NAO has already met with a number of stakeholders and some emerging lines of inquiry include the role and effectiveness of LSCBs, a cost benefit analysis of SCRs, the effectiveness of safeguarding interventions and the role of the DfE in safeguarding. Some other topics put forward by the group included measuring the impact of Ofsted on safeguarding and the impact of over-intervention.

The group then discussed a number of safeguarding issues including welfare secure placements, the national inquiry into historical abuse and the recently announced review of youth justice provision by the MoJ. The group also considered the draft practice guidance published by the Home Office which deals with the mandatory reporting of FGM and shared local approaches in tackling this serious issue. The general consensus was that community-based responses are more effective rather than statutory interventions and these views will feed into the ongoing consultation on the guidance. The group also felt it would be helpful to gather resources and examples of good practice in addressing FGM for dissemination via the ADCS website.

The group received an update from the chair of the Asylum Taskforce detailing the flurry of activities he has been involved in over the summer relating to recent consultation by the Home Office to review the support offered failed asylum seekers and other illegal immigrants, the establishment of a national dispersal scheme for unaccompanied asylum seeking children arriving in the UK via Kent and other key ports and preparations for receiving Syrian refugees.

The next meeting of FCYP will take place on Wednesday 4 November in Islington. The group agreed that one of the substantive items on the agenda should be children’s centres and the early years. The relevant team from the DfE will be invited to attend.

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