To consider a report of the Executive Director Core Services (Item 5a attached) in respect of BSAP’s Annual Report (Item 5b attached).
The following witnesses were invited to the meeting:
Bob Dyson, Independent Chair, BSCP
Mel John-Ross, Executive Director, Children’s Services, BMBC
Debbie Mercer, Service Director, Children’s Social Care & Safeguarding, BMBC
Nigel Leeder, Barnsley Safeguarding Children Partnership Manager, BMBC
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson – Children’s Services
Tracy-Ann Taylor, Named Nurse Safeguarding Children, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BHNFT)
Angela Fawcett, Designated Nurse Safeguarding Children and Looked After Children, Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
Emma Cox, Assistant Director of Nursing, Quality & Professions, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SWYPFT)
Chief Superintendent Sarah Poolman, Barnsley District Commander, South Yorkshire Police (SYP) attempted to join the meeting; however, was unable to due to technical issues.
In the ensuing discussion, and in response to detailed questioning and challenge the following matters were highlighted:
Bob Dyson introduced the report, explaining that this is the first report of the Barnsley Safeguarding Children Partnership (BSCP) which replaced the Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board (BSCB) from the beginning of April 2019, bringing together senior representatives from the statutory, voluntary, and community sectors with a responsibility for delivering services to children and young people. Managers and the BMBC design team were thanked for their contributions to the report.
Members were informed that the Partnership works in a similar way to the Board, with similar sub groups and working in a similar way. When the Board changed to a Partnership, the biggest change was that safeguarding was no longer the sole responsibility of the Council but is now a shared responsibility between the Council, Health and the Police. These three partners have stepped up to the mark with joint governance responsibility. The work of the partnership is constantly evolving in response to new threats, risks and guidance. The safeguarding of vulnerable children remains a priority and whilst there have been no cuts to funding, there is a need to ensure that partners continue to resource the partnership sufficiently to keep people safe. The Barnsley safeguarding partnerships (Adults and Children) have the smallest budgets in South Yorkshire and the lowest staffing levels, thus representing value for money, albeit with a smaller population. The Board Manager and Trainer have developed an innovative income stream for the partnership through providing training for the Safeguarding Lead Officers in schools. Although the Board Manager is very busy, the partnership is not looking for more money to support the partnership.
In terms of the 17-25 age group and transition arrangements, there are a number of children who will not meet the criteria for services but are nonetheless vulnerable. A new multi-agency panel is being developed and will meet later this month (having been impacted by Covid and the summer period). Terms of Reference have been agreed and the panel will look at young people who may have been involved with social care as younger children and who may find the transition to adulthood difficult. The Panel will bring together services such as work, training and college to ensure a seamless positive move into adulthood.
Although there appear to be no specific cases of children in Barnsley being exploited through online gambling, online exploitation of children does happen in Barnsley and is always addressed, primarily through schools and through the PREVENT officer. Where Members are aware of any type of exploitation of children, whether online or in the community, they should contact social care. A Member highlighted that the online gambling market equates to £14bn annually and can impact on the whole family. The PREVENT Officer can provide Members with an update in terms of what is being done on internet safety, which has become more of an issue during Covid-19 when children aren’t at school. The difficulty is that apps change so quickly and move to different platforms, which leads to difficulty in providing up to date advice. CEOP keep up to date with changes and give very helpful advice on their site and are the professionals in this field. It was acknowledged that social media in particular is difficult to police and although they may be made aware of the risks, some people will always be prepared to take that risk.
The Independent Chair is confident that all organisations are committed to keeping vulnerable people safe but that does not prevent incidents from taking place. It is not possible to keep every child safe. There may be an incident which cannot be predicted and could happen in a family not engaged in services. Cases are audited which raises issues and learning which is then picked up in training.
The Central Area Council has commissioned the Youth Association to work with young people in the area on a variety of issues. Whilst the Partnership itself is not operational, individual agencies within the partnership may be interested in working together on these types of issues. The audit of cases has included those where a decision has been made not to progress as a safeguarding issue. The audit showed that appropriate decisions are being made.
Although there have been some changes to staffing, many of the staff in the Police and Social Care are the same, which ensures continuity, whilst in other areas (such as the hospital) new people are around to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes and bring about new energy and perspective.
The Children in Care Council have raised an issue around bullying in schools. The Partnership has a strategy and action plan in place which is currently being revised and will be shared with young people at the Partnership/TEG awayday in November. It was highlighted that every school carries out a section 175 self-assessment every year and is provided with a checklist of areas which should be covered. All schools have an anti-bullying policy in place which fits with their own circumstances and plans are in place to ensure that the voices of all children are heard.
(i) Members note the update and
(ii) Witnesses be thanked for their attendance and contribution