To receive the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Annual Report.
The Board received a report and presentation from Brian Boxall, Independent Chair of the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board on the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Annual Report 2021/22 outlining the key points covering the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Support was requested for its further circulation. This was the third report from the Safeguarding Board.
The Board was reminded that under the Care Act 2014, the Safeguarding Board was required to publish an annual report that must clearly state what both the Board and its members had done to carry out and deliver its objectives and should set out the content of its strategic plan.
During 2022, the Board had agreed to extend the duration of the plan to 2023.
The plan adopted a systems approach to ensure approaches to statutory safeguarding responsibilities and was underpinned by the following strands:
1. Prevention – Partners working together.
2. Protection – Ensuring a robust outcome focused approach to protect people at risk experiencing abuse and neglect.
3. Partnership – Will seek out assurance about the effectiveness of local partners and collaborations to safeguarding
4. People – Will seek out assurances that people who use the services are involved in the safeguarding process.
The overarching strategic direction for 2023-2023 was:
“Working together, and as individual partners, we will be vigilant to be able to identify, understand, prioritise and respond quickly to risks and issues arising throughout our local community, particularly those caused or intensified by the impact of Covid-19 as captured in the Board’s risk register.”
The report outlined the Safeguarding Board’s structure and multi-agency safeguarding arrangements and it was noted that, although there were a number of joint learning sessions, it was also down to each partner to complete its own individual training to staff. Partners were asked to report back on training completed. There were supported learning events with the Fire Service to discuss safeguarding and also an individual session with the Thames Valley Police to see what safeguarding was in place.
All agreed that there had been very good partnership working as detailed in the Strategy with a completed risk register, however, it was noted that there were budget pressures, an increase in demand, staff fatigue and mental health workforce pressures and recruitment and retention risks to keep in mind.
Information sharing was going well with the Memorandum of Understanding in place as well as working together to avoid all working on the same thing and not duplicating each other.
There had been a 10% increase in contacts in the past year, but only 18% had led to referrals into the Children's Service. One of the concerns was around what was happening to the other significant amount of information that had come in and that had been reviewed as part of the MASH. The number of reports relating to adults was less. There was an audit taking place to look at that at whether the information was correct and whether it was going to the right places. The figures to the end of December indicated 7000 contacts so far relating to children with around 18% leading to referrals. Contacts relating to adults were around 700 with around 30% leading to inquiries, a significant increase.
While Covid-19 had continued to provide challenges to the Board and partners during 2021-22 they would continue to review the emerging priorities and would formulate plans that addressed both short and long-term issues. In line with the Board’s Strategic Plan, the following challenges would be addressed through the work of the Board and its subgroups:
· Serious violence and exploitation including developing work to gain assurance of adult exploitation.
· Contextual safeguarding.
· Understanding roles and responsibilities.
· Evaluating the impact of training, learning from case reviews and the work of the Board itself.
· Evaluating impact of partners’ prevention and early help work.
· Maintaining focus on understanding the safeguarding environment as a result of COVID-19 and taking account of extra pressures due to the cost-of-living crisis and war in Ukraine.
· Maintaining focus on co-production and understanding lived experiences.
There would be an independent review of the report shortly before being circulated and published.
The Board NOTED the report.