Minutes for Children's Safeguarding Policy and Practice Advisory Committee meeting, Sep 8 2009, 7.30PM official page
Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions
Contact: Maria Fletcher Telephone : 020 8489 1512Items No. Item
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Lister.
The Chair will consider the admission of late items of urgent business. Late items will be considered under the agenda item they appear. New items will be dealt with at Item 11 below.
There were no items of urgent business.
Declarations of interest
A member with a personal interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is being considered must disclose to that meeting the existence and nature of that interest at the commencement of the consideration, or when the interest becomes apparent.
A member with a personal interest in a matter also has a prejudicial interest in that matter if the interest is one which a member of the public with knowledge of the relevant facts would reasonably regard as so significant that it is likely to prejudice the member’ judgement of the public interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
Minutes PDF 67 KB
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2009 as a correct record.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2009 be agreed as an accurate record.
A verbal update will be provided with respect to agenda items for the November meeting and proposals for changing the date of the meeting.
· That the date of the next meeting be changed and a new mutually acceptable date circulated to Committee members.
To receive a breakdown of ethnicity data in relation to contacts, referrals, initial assessments and child protection plans based on a monthly sample.
The Committee received a report providing details of the ethnic breakdown of children entering and passing through the care system in Haringey, set within the context of national trends. Haringey data shows significant under-representation of referrals from white British and Irish and Asian children and over-representation from all other ethnic groups, in particular mixed ethnic origin children, who are additionally significantly more likely to become subject to a child protection plan. These over- and under-representations to a large extent reflect patterns observed on a national basis and with extensive research failing to provide a definitive explanation for the differences. In response to a request as to whether further sub division of ethnicity categories could be undertaken, the Committee were advised that this was likely to generate such small results as to be statistically insignificant.
· That the report be noted.
To receive training as necessary from the Independent Panel member relevant to items for consideration on the agenda, including an overview of initial assessments.
The Committee received a training session from the Independent Committee Member on Initial Assessments (IA) and considerations underpinning the safeguarding assessment process. The Government Framework for Assessment provides for a systematic approach to be used by local authorities to determine whether a child is in need and is suffering or at risk of significant harm. This is based around a series of key principles such as inter-agency working and a conceptual map focusing on the child’s development needs, parenting capacity and family and environmental factors when assessing information.
The Committee were advised of key elements required for IAs, including seeing the child and family, information gathering and analysing etc. IAs are required to be completed within 7 working days, and the Committee were advised of the difficulties experienced nationally by local authorities in meeting this target within the allocated timescale, whilst maintaining necessary quality of work.
In response to a query regarding the definition of significant harm and assessing the impact of neglect, confirmation was provided that the judgement of harm was considered as a continuum, in accompaniment with threshold considerations guiding what constitutes significant harm. A revised threshold document was currently being drafted, with approval to be sought by the Local Safeguarding Board in October, along with roll out of a threshold training programme for partner organisations. It was advised that for situations where the threshold for significant harm was deemed not to be met but where harm could potentially be detrimental to a child, support services were available at a lower level of intervention, for example referral to parenting intervention programmes, children’s centres etc.
· That the training session be noted.
Exclusion of the press and public
That the press and public be excluded from the meeting for consideration of Items 9-10 as they contain exempt information as defined in Section 100a of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by Section 12A of the Local Government Act 1985); paras 1 & 2; namely information relating to any individual, and information likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
· That as the following items contained exempt information (as defined in Section 100a of the Local Government 1972; namely information likely to reveal the identity of an individual, and information relating to any individual) members of the press and public should be excluded from the remainder of the meeting.
Case file quality auditing
To consider the advice relating to Member’s access to case records.
The Committee received a draft protocol document to guide scrutiny of individual case files undertaken as part of the remit of the group and linking in with priorities identified in Ofsted’s report ‘Inspection of progress made in the provision of safeguarding service’. The protocol was developed in consideration of advice obtained by Legal Services.
· That the draft file auditing protocol be approved.
The Committee considered key documentation from the five referral case files selected to be tracked by the Committee on an ongoing basis.
· That the Independent Member of the Committee make attempts to obtain feedback from service users and referrers through contacting individuals involved with the five referral cases being tracked forward by the Committee. The Committee to receive a summary report at the next meeting.
· That the Committee receive a summary report of findings from local monitoring of service user views and feedback undertaken at Haringey such as from Child Protection Conference forms, ‘TellUs’ survey outcomes etc.
· That a copy of the Children Act Complaints Annual Report setting out complaints made under the Children Act procedures for 2008-2009 be forwarded to Committee members.
Recommendations to Cabinet
A verbal update will be given on any recommendations to be made to Cabinet on referrals and initial assessments.
The Committee considered draft recommendations to be reported to Cabinet to take forward improvements to the safeguarding of children. The Chair would be meeting with the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People to discuss the draft recommendations prior to informal presentation of the recommendations at the special Overview and Scrutiny meeting on child protection on 17 September.
Recommendations would include:
· That a review and necessary improvements be made to GP attendance at multi agency and NHS child safeguarding training.
· The development of explicit exit strategies in conjunction with partner agencies for the closure of cases previously subject to a Core Assessment.
· Ensuring training for council and partner agency staff as necessary in the new referrals threshold guidance.
· Improving systems for obtaining the views of service users, in particular those in receipt of social services but who are not CiC.
· Improving the transition from children to adult social services, in particular those in receipt of social care services but who are not CiC. In addition that communication between children’s and adult social services be reviewed and improved as necessary.
· That the Council lobbies government in relation to issues identified with the initial and core assessment process including the format and focus of the forms and deadline for completion.
· That the Council lobbies government in relation to the definition of ‘significant harm’, particularly in relation to the long term effects of neglect.
· That the draft recommendations to be reported to Cabinet be noted.
New items of exempt urgent business
To consider any items admitted at 2 above.
There were no items of exempt urgent business.
Any other business
To raise any items of AOB and confirm dates of future meetings.