December 2017

Quarterly news and information.

Joint Targeted Area Inspection (JTAI)

We continue to co-ordinate a programme of mock inspections to assist partner agencies in preparing for a Joint Targeted Area Inspection. The current theme of JTAI inspections have examined how local partner agencies - including local authorities, health, probation services and the police - work together to protect children living with, or at risk of, neglect.

The series of 6 joint targeted area inspections (JTAI) involving Ofsted, Care Quality Commission (CQC), HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation began in May this year and the current theme will finish at the end of this year. We undertook seven days of mock inspection to prepare local agencies in the event that Derbyshire were selected for inspection in relation to the current theme.

The JTAI inspections will have a new theme from January 2018 and this theme is expected to be a deep dive investigation on the response to child sexual exploitation and children missing from home, care or education. This is an area that JTAI inspections have focused on previously so there is a thematic review of the previous findings which is available to consider.

View the inspection guidance and reports on child sexual exploitation and missing children.

We will mirror the current JTAI themes in the quarterly mock inspections. All agencies are thanked for their co-operation with these inspections which result in valuable learning across the partnership.

Key findings from the mock inspections

Lack of use and completion of the child sexual exploitation (CSE) toolkit

It is vital that the CSE toolkit is utilised to identify and react to risk. View the CSE guidance and toolkit and information for professionals

Lack of 'smartness' in plans, including child protection plans

There was a lack of evidence of the ability to measure the effectiveness of the plan and the impact of any changes. This is linked with the issue of appropriately identifying the nature of the risk (categories of harm) and therefore identifying a 'SMART' plan.

Health assessments and/or reviews not being completed in a timely manner

It is vital to have a base line of the child's health and wellbeing from which to then be able to assess change.

Evidence of drift

It is important to ensure that plans are progressed and that all processes are co-ordinated, including the use of the public law outline for those children who may be on the cusp of care proceedings.

Being able to demonstrate joined up thinking across agencies

Ensuring attendance from all key agencies at child protection conferences and core groups will ensure information is shared effectively and plans are robust.

Effective use of chronologies 

This will assist in ensuring that risk is better identified and any change measured.

Review of the child protection process

We've commissioned an independent expert to undertake a review of the child protection process to ensure that this is as effective as possible in protecting children and young people and bringing about positive change in their lives.

The review has been prompted in part by the significant increase in the number of child protection plans in recent years with the aim of understanding the reasons for this increase. The independent expert has observed child protection conferences across all localities and has run focus groups to gain an understanding of the process from the perspective of all the key agencies.

Some preliminary findings of this work have highlighted the following:

Number of children subject to child protection plans

The statistics continue to indicate that the number of children, per 10k child population, subject to CP plans in Derbyshire are higher than both national and statistical neighbour averages. This is compared to numbers of children in care which has been consistently significantly lower than both national and statistical neighbours.

All but one locality area has seen an increase in the S47 inquiries initiated, of these an average of 53% proceed to Initial Child Protection Conference. The review has recommended a key leadership role for Child Protection Managers to develop an understanding of local needs and demographic influences based on effective use of data and local intelligence.

Categories of abuse

The policy of using more than one category of abuse is being considered to see whether this results in plans which are both SMART and effective.

Quality and robustness of plans

The quality and robustness of plans is central to the effectiveness of the child protection process. Plans should be SMART and have a clear focus on reducing risk, managing change and monitoring safety. This has an impact on the ability to recognise change, measure the reduced risk and, and improving the decision making about the timely end of a plan.

Conference standards

A set of standards for conferences have been recommended. Once we've approved this it will be rolled out and provide a benchmark against which the practice of Chairs and professional participants can be measured.

Review of report templates for conferences

All existing templates for reports to conferences are to be reviewed. In addition a programme of work is to be undertaken with all contributing professionals across all agencies to improve the quality and robustness of assessment and the analysis of risk in reports to conferences. The documents used within the conference operating model are to be standardised to ensure that the child remains at the centre with attention placed on the significance of harm and ongoing risk.

Review the guidance on child protection conferences.

Our Priorities

We'll be reviewing the current Board priorities at our development day on 16 January 2018. Our current priorities are to:

  • promote, monitor, coordinate and evaluate multi-agency effectiveness in safeguarding children and young people across the child's journey
  • strengthen and support a competent and equipped workforce that is committed to learning and developing safeguarding practice with assurance that safeguarding is everyone's responsibility
  • continue to promote on-line safety initiatives, including the involvement of young people within the scoping and development of this aim
  • to improve the response to situations of neglect
  • ensure the extensive use of early help assessments across all agencies
  • explore the potential benefits of a Public Protection Board
  • evidence the impact of the DSCB.

We'd would welcome your views regarding the priority areas of safeguarding activity. email: janelakin@derbyshire.gov.uk by 9 January 2018 

Training programme

View our training programme for the period October - March 2018. The training programme supports the implementation of our priorities.

View our training programme.

Policies and Procedures

Our policies and procedures are updated on a bi-annual basis along with the quarterly review of the documents library via the Policies and Procedures Sub Group. The latest updates in the Policies and Procedures are due to go live on 23 January 2018. You can register for safeguarding policy and procedure updates.

Two key documents - Escalation Policy and the Threshold Document have been revised, please make time to review these important documents in the documents library.

Safeguarding board Chair

Chris Cook will be leaving his role as Interim Independent Chair on 31 January 2018. We would like to thank him for the work he has undertaken as Chair. The details of the new DSCB Chair will be announced in our next newsletter following the completion of the current recruitment process.

Future newsletters

If you have information or news that you would like to share via the newsletter, please email: robert.harwood@derbyshire.gov.uk

The deadline for the next bulletin is 19 January 2018.