A report from the Executive Director of Children’s Services is attached. (Non key)
(8.20 – 8.30 pm)
Councillor Doug Taylor (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Executive Director of Children’s Services (No.112) presenting the Enfield Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report 2016-17.
Councillor Taylor welcomed Geraldine Gavin, Independent Chair of the Enfield Safeguarding Children’s Board, to the meeting and invited her to present the Annual report to the Cabinet. Members received a comprehensive and informative presentation on the Annual Report and the work of the Board including the following points:
· 2016/17 had been a positive year with the Board working within a well-established partnership.
· 2017/18 would bring new and increased challenges with the implementation of new legislation which would abolish Children’s Safeguarding Boards. Work was being undertaken on the transitional arrangements and plans for the future arrangements. Dialogue would continue with all of the agencies involved.
· The work undertaken by the Board was highlighted, as detailed in the Annual report.
· The extreme budget pressures being experienced were recognised.
· The importance of early intervention in cases was noted.
Councillor Taylor thanked Geraldine Gavin for her informative introduction to the work of the Board. Following the presentation, comments and questions were invited from Cabinet Members.
1. That the new legislation would set out the shared responsibilities of the three statutory agencies: the local authority, police service, and clinical commissioning group. The potential risks and complications were acknowledged. Considerable work was being undertaken to prepare for the changes in arrangements. Consultation was currently taking place. Whilst it was acknowledged that some of the changes were viewed positively there was still a considerable amount of work to do. It would be important to avoid duplication in moving forward and to ensure that resources were used as effectively as possible.
2. Members suggested that a Shadow Board be established to test the new relationships between the agencies and to minimise any risks in moving forward. The complexity of the work was acknowledged together with the changes and pressures being experienced within the three key agencies.
3. The work being undertaken to monitor and mitigate risks, particularly during the transitional period, were outlined to Members. It would be important to continue to review and provide effective challenge in moving forward.
4. The content of the Annual report and summary of the activities undertaken during 2016/17. Whilst the report did not include specific statistics, it highlighted current themes and identified potential areas of risk. The work which had been undertaken was acknowledged and discussed.
5. In moving forward, it was suggested that an effectiveness matrix be established particularly in the light of the new arrangements. It would be important to establish appropriate mechanisms to measure performance. However, it was acknowledged that performance indicators should not be solely relied upon. Other measures were also important including effective audit and review work and thorough Ofsted inspections. This was a complex and broad area of work.
6. In response to questions raised, it was noted that a wide range of awareness raising sessions would be provided on the new arrangements including various forums and groups within the voluntary sector and supplementary schools.
Alternative Options Considered: None, the report was for information only.
RECOMMENDED TO COUNCIL to note, for information only, the progress being made to safeguard children and young people and specifically note this report and the Draft Enfield Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report.
Reason: Enfield Safeguarding Children Board required the commitment and support from multiple partners and from colleagues across the Council in order to continue to focus on improvements with the clear aim of reducing harm.