Agenda and minutes

Local Safeguarding Children Board
Friday, 24 November 2017 9.30 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Fourth Floor, Easthampstead House, Bracknell. View directions

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

No. Item


Local Authority Children, Young People and Learning Transformation Project


Thom Wilson attended the meeting to give a presentation on the Local Authority’s Children Young People and Learning Transformation Project, and offered to attend meetings with any partner organisation to communicate the messages.


The Transformation Programme had approached the whole of the Children, Young People and Learning directorate, in the contact of a recent strong Ofsted outcome, rising demand and the pressure of public sector finances.


The programme’s Analyse phase had sought to collect information and advise improvements which were delivered.  More time had been spent analysing social care and early help rather than education, as the majority of spend and demand was in social care.


Demand, number of contacts and pathways had been assessed across social care to ensure children were accessing the correct services. The number of contacts and referrals into social care had increased. Thom commented on the rise in referrals to social care during August when schools are closed, resulting in referrals from the police which often led to assessments. Single assessments had been examined, and practice variance across a team of social workers had been found, which would be addressed.


With regard to the Early Help and Common Assessment Framework (CAFs), there had been twice as many cases stepped down to Early Help as stepped up to Social Care during the Analyse phase. However, 284 children had been considered by the Early Intervention hub in the last year, compared with 14,000 assessments through social care.


Arising from the workstreams, three common recommendations had been made:

1. Integrated ‘frontdoor’ approach to Early Help and Social Care

2. Support for social workers undertaking Single Assessment, to better advise them of the options available

3. Performance management – different approaches in different parts of system.


There was also work ongoing to increase the number of positive outcomes from Early Help, increase timely support to a family and bring together Early Help services across all Council directorates. Thom commented that the Family Safeguarding Model was also likely to deliver significant improvements and required all organisations’ support.


To address the increase in children looked after and in residential care, the Family Safeguarding Model and Edge of Care service was being implemented to support moves to family environments.


With regard to educational resources (support to schools and traded services), the focus was on closing the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children. Early Years providers would need to work closely with schools, to ensure achievements in Early Years Foundation Stage was not lost at KS1.


The School Improvement service had been restructured with a new team, which had proved to be more effective.


The High Needs Block funding available to Bracknell Forest to meet needs of SEND children could be used more efficiently. Recommendations had arisen to be more effective in spending, and to align with the new SEND strategy. 

The directorate was also establishing its traded services, and was beginning to think commercially.


In response to questions, the following points were noted:


Online Safety


Alison Burnell presented the Online Safety report.


The Community Safety Manager had delivered a presentation to the LSCB in March 2016, as the Community Safety Partnership were looking to disband their online safety group. The LSCB had asked the Children and Young People’s Partnership to establish a group to address the issue of e-safety. A task and finish group led by Debbie Smith had looked at sexting as one aspect of e-safety. A recent  document by UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS)  considers research and reports published since 2012. It was agreed that this report formed a good framework for a task and finish group to explore implementation in Bracknell Forest. It was anticipated that the group would meet three times, and any volunteers were welcomed.  (Action: Any volunteers or ideas for representatives should be sent to Alison Burnell by January 2018.)


In response to questions, the following points were noted:

  • Young people should be included in the task and finish group where possible.
  • Lisa McNally offered the support of Public Health.
  • It was agreed that the Designated Leads would be approached.
  • A representative from Kooth/Xenzone was suggested.
  • A representative from the CAMHS patient participation group was suggested.
  • The Police offered their support through Cybercrime work.
  • Online Safety was due to be considered as a topic at the young people’s consultation event in February 2018.


Early Help

a.    CAF report 2016-17

b.    EI Hub 2016-17

c.    Young Carers Strategy (to follow)


Melanie Julienne, CAF Support Officer attended the meeting to present the CAF report.


Despite the decrease in the number of CAFs being completed, the number of CAF reviews had doubled according to the tracking system.


Training had been delivered in Signs of Safety, and all Family CAFs and Reviews included Signs of Safety methodology.


Uptake of Family CAF had increased, and Early Help were now completing higher proportion of assessments.


Lots of positive feedback had been received from parents and young people regarding CAFs.


The Early Help Hub now included representatives of other support teams, such as  Drug and Alcohol and SEN officers to offer a more holistic approach.


The main source of referrals to the Early Help Hub came from social care, resulting in 124 children stepped down to Early Help. The Early Help team worked closely with the Family Intervention Team (FIT) and with the MASH.


Partners commented that Bracknell Forest’s social care and MASH was easy to access and navigate when making a referral.


The Young Carers report was deferred to a future meeting.


Lay Member Report


Peter Floyd presented the Lay Member report.


The main challenge for the Lay Member was time, and co-ordinating with the availability of others to meet.


Peter was also conscious of becoming professionalised, and was aware that other Boards had a higher turnover of Lay Members. This also made establishing contacts with Lay Members in other LSCBs very difficult.


New ways of engaging with schools and parish councils had been explored for capacity reasons.


Peter had begun attending meetings of the Council’s Community Cohesion and Engagement Partnership.


HassenBoodoo had been recruited as a Lay Member around a year ago, and had brought a different background and approach to the role. 


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

  • The Board agreed that Peter raised valid challenges of the expectations of the Lay member, particularly around resourcing and capacity
  • Lay Members were not a statutory requirement on the Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board, however the Business Manager had been considering the matter.
  • The role of the Lay Member varied significantly between LSCBs, depending on Board, expertise, and availability.
  • The role of the Lay Member was not prescriptive in the new Working Together documentation.
  • The Board recognised the value that Peter and Hassen brought to the partnership, and thanked Peter for his report.


Communication and Community Engagement Sub-group


Peter Floyd presented his report on the Communication and Community Engagement Sub-group.


Since establishing in March 16, the subgroup had held 7 meetings with 2 in the reporting period. There was a small core group of attendees.


Peter had received only four responses to his cascade approach request, and asked that Board members consider their organisation’s cascade communication method and inform Peter of the best approach. The request would be recirculated to all Partners. (Action:  Partners to provide Peter with details of their organisation’s communication approach.)


The young people’s consultation event which was due to happen in July would be going ahead in February 2018. The output of this event would inform the work and aims of the subgroup.


It was felt that the sub-group did not have the capacity or communications experience to address high profile media issues as had been initially intended.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

  • Lisa McNally commented that Public Health had access to the corporate  Council social media accounts, which could be used for any particular messages.
  • It was agreed that the sub-group should remain strategic, and needed to be assured that partners were sharing the LSCB’s key messages. It was agreed that it as less important that the public were aware of the LSCB, and more important that they understand how to raise safeguarding concerns.
  • The Children’s Act 2004 required LSCBs to promote the requirements to safeguard children, and did not specify whether to the public or to professionals.


Pan-Berkshire CSE Report


Jonathan Picken presented the report on the Pan-Berkshire CSE sub-group.


The subgroup had been established in response to anxieties that shared learning opportunities were being missed across Berkshire and the Thames Valley Police area. It had been suggested that local SEMRAC and strategic CSE groups be disbanded in favour of the pan-Berkshire arrangement, however Bracknell Forest had resisted this and maintained local arrangements in addition to the new group. The Berkshire approach was robust, and had benefited from Andy Howard’s Chairmanship and Sandra Davies’ assistance on behalf of Slough Borough Council.


Common themes arising from the subgroup included information sharing challenges, however there had been opportunities to share best practice around this.


The use of shared screening tools had been a positive example of bringing partners together, although analysis was needed whether shared tool were as effective as possible.


The subgroup had been challenged by the increase in organised crime and the related risks to children, such as threats, violence, and intimidation. It had been agreed that this concern spread wider than CSE.


Slough had recently appointed a new Business Manager, who would be assisting the subgroup.


In response to discussion, the following points were noted:

  • It was suggested that the subgroup should focus on individuals subject to violence, exploitation, DA, and gang  violence
  • It was agreed that it was a good opportunity to reassess the Terms of Reference of the group, as partners had found the pan-Berkshire approach useful, particularly around County Lines.


Minutes and Matters Arising (with action log)


The minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2017 were approved.


Arising from the minutes, the following updates were raised:

  • Ian Dixon commented that although the contacts for EHE officers in other Local Authorities had been collated, the group had not yet met. It was felt that the limited capacity and statutory powers in Local Authorities to combat the issue would be common across all Local Authorities. However, the group had agreed to meet in the New Year.
  • Ian Dixon agreed to circulate the outcome from National Conference, to which over 100 Local Authorities had responded to express their vulnerability with regard to EHE.
  • The S11 submission from BF Housing had been challenged, but not yet concluded.
  • Lisa McNally advised that the STP’s mental health programme recognises self harm in young people between 16 and 20 as major priority, which was welcomed.


CSC Statutory Complaints Annual Report 2016-17


Lorna Hunt presented the Children’s Social Care Statutory Complaints Annual Report 2016-17.


There had been an increase in the number of complaints received in 2016-17 compared with the previous year. 38 complaints had been received, 9 of which were deferred and 1 of which progressed to Stage 3. 4 complaints had been upheld in entirety, others had been upheld partially or not at all. The opportunity for learning from complaints was recognised.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

  • BHFT had found that managing service user expectations had become a common theme in their complaints, and other partners agreed that this was the case across their organisations.
  • It was noted that it would be useful to receive generalised complaints reports from other partners to facilitate learning, beginning with BHFT and CAFCASS complaints reports. (Action: Lucy Cooke and Spencer Hird to provide a summary of the relevant complaints information from BHFT and CAFCASS)
  • It was noted that the number of young people making complaints against social care been reduced.
  • Children’s Social Care were recruiting a permanent complaints manager and it was hoped that this role would improve the complaints process. 


Domestic Abuse Update

a.    Quarterly Monitoring Q2 2017-18


The LSCB received the Domestic Abuse Strategic Action Plan. Superintendent Shaun Virtue commented that the Domestic Abuse situation was improving, resulting in reduction in crime rates associated as victims were seeking support earlier. There was still a reluctance to report Domestic Abuse to enforcement bodies such as the Police, but victims were more likely to approach Health professionals. Community awareness of Domestic Abuse was increasing, and systems across partner organisations were becoming more closely embedded.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

  • Representation would be made on behalf of the LSCB to the Domestic Abuse Executive and CSP to challenge the funding and resourcing challenge to the plan. (Action:  Alex Walters to write to the Chair of the DA Exec)
  • Resulting from the Council Transformation Plan, it was commented that children’s needs around Domestic Abuse needed to be addressed, and the gaps in provision needed to be identified.


Health Visiting and School Nursing (to follow)


Lisa McNally reported on the Health Visiting and School Nursing procurement process.


Health Visiting and School Nursing service had been recommissioned by Bracknell Forest Public Health, which represented the most significant Public Health spend. As the process had not yet concluded, the preferred provider could not be identified. A two year contract had been offered to bidders, with three possible extensions totalling a maximum of five years.


The Public Health team had considered bringing the service in- house, but had decided against this approach in favour of integration with partners at service delivery. It was also recognised that stability in NHS services would assist recruitment.


With regard to performance, 95% of babies in Bracknell Forest received new birth visits within 7 days compared to 88% in England.  92% of children received a 12 month review before their first birthday, compared with a national average of 76%. This demonstrated existing good performance in Bracknell Forest.  (Action: Alison Burnell to include birth visits to the performance data.)


Performance Reports

a.    Q1 Performance Report – Alison Burnell

b.    Local Authority Children Young People and Learning scorecard Q2 – Elizabeth McClelland

c.    FJB quarterly update – Spencer Hird


The LSCB welcomed Elizabeth McClelland to the meeting to present the Local Authority scorecard. The Quarter 1 LSCB data had been provided at the Learning and Improvement Subgroup, and was summarised in the papers.


The scorecard demonstrated comparison data against the previous years, targets (where possible) and direction of travel against the national target. The scorecard included data on Early Help, frontdoor, Child Protection, Looked After Children, Looked After Children Health, Looked After Children Education, Complaints, and LADO amongst others. Each target which was not met would include an exception report from the Head of Service.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

  • The quarterly narrative behind performance was recorded elsewhere, although the importance of commentary, impact and outcomes was recognised. Areas highlighted as concerns in exception reports would be focussed on.
  • The value of Business Intelligence professionals was recognised, as they provided a welcome challenge.
  • The challenge of correct data inputting was noted, however when managers experienced the benefit of having good data, inputting often improved.


The LSCB thanked Elizabeth for attending the meeting.


FJB update

Spencer Hird reported on existing delays in Berkshire court which had delayed data provision. The Designated Family Judge had recently resigned, and a new judge was due to start on 27 November. The LSCB recognised the fact that the data was for Berkshire rather than Bracknell Forest, and agreed it would be useful to see the data on a quarterly basis.


It was commented that Children Social Care were concerned for the families expecting court hearings in the coming weeks, given the disruption through the courts.


Challenge Log


Alex Walters presented the current challenge log which had been updated.


It was commented that the housing provision for registered sex offenders had been progressed.


Training analysis was underway in the Local Authority, and the findings would be presented to an extraordinary meeting of the Training Sub-group. The recommendations of the Training Sub-group would be brought to the January LSCB.


It was commented that face to face training for school staff who were not teachers was very valuable, however schools had found that waiting lists for training were long. The training dates from April 2018 were soon to be published once agreed.


Neglect Strategy (to follow)


Jonathan Picken presented the draft LSCB Neglect strategy, and thanked partners for their input.


Mairead Panetta had chaired a multi agency task and finish group to explore the guidance and procedures to establish an LSCB strategy. Significant progress had been made, and partners were asked for any feedback at this stage. It was noted that a condensed version of the strategy could be produced for professionals, in addition to the full length strategy.


Further updates on the strategy would be brought to the Board.


LSCB Consultation (AILC document)


Jonathan Picken and Alex Walters presented the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs report on the new Working Together guidance.


The consultation on guidance was open, and would close on 31 December 2017. The new guidance proposed significant changes to existing safeguarding practices, which was less prescriptive and LSCBs in their current form as led by Local Authorities and Chief Executive were no longer statutory. Rather, the Local Authority, Police and CCGs were named as joint safeguarding partners expected to co-operate.


It was recognised that work in Bracknell Forest around safeguarding had been effective so far under the LSCB arrangement, and that a new approach under the new guidance could be similar to existing arrangements.


The new arrangements did not have to be Local Authority area focussed, and could be any area agreed by the three safeguarding partners. It was suggested that this permissiveness could lead to a lack of focus and scrutiny.


The consultation on statutory guidance asked questions around Working Together, the transitional arrangements with proposed timetable, Child Death Review guidance which would become the joint responsibility of Local Authorities and CCGs amongst other issues. The AILC were also addressing some concerns which were not detailed in the 27 questions of the consultation.


Arising from discussion, the following points were noted:

·         The initial thoughts of the Board were that whilst permissive allowed for flexibility, the Board recognised the risks around governance and accountability. There were also concerns around the lack of additional mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of new partnerships. The Board also note the lack of clarity around the functions of the proposed partnership, regarding S11 and S175 in particular.

·         The consultation and new guidance did not mention the changing CCGs and Accountable Care Systems. It was proposed that the Berkshire LSCB Chairs needed to ensure a standardised approach across Berks.

·         It was suggested that population figures may have been useful in prescribing regions for safeguarding arrangements.

·         The Board were concerned that schools and governing bodies were not included as a partner in the new arrangements.

·         It was stressed that current commitment and funding needed to be maintained.


Partners were asked to send any comments on the strategy Jonathan Picken who agreed to put together a short response on behalf of the LSCB.



Partnership minutes


The CSP minutes were noted.



Date of Next Meeting


The LSCB was scheduled to meet on 19 January 2017.




Peter Floyd asked the Board to agree that the key message of the meeting would be the Council’s Transformation programme, and this was agreed.


Young People on Takeover Day thanked the Board for their experience.


Lorna Hunt circulated the Family Safeguarding Model newsletter, and asked that any questions be sent to her.


Hannah Powell informed the Board that the OPCC commissioned a Healthy Relationships Programme across Thames Valley for Domestic Abuse perpetrators outside of the court system.


Information Items


The following items were noted as information items, and were circulated electronically:

  • Independent Chairs’ report
  • LSCB dataset Q1 2017-18
  • CYPL Statutory Complaints report 2016-17
  • EI Hub report 2016-17
  • CAF report 2016-17
  • BWA report 2016-17
  • FGM and HBA/FM
  • Policies and Procedures report