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Welcome

This newsletter focuses on our Annual Report 2020, which covers our work from 1st January to 31st December 2020. Published today, the report provides information on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights patterns in practice and sets out our views about how effectively the system of child safeguarding practice reviews is operating.
 
Alongside this, we have published two supplementary reports:

The Department for Education, Home Office and Department for Health and Social Care have also published Sir Alan Wood’s report on the implementation of multi-agency arrangements to safeguard children.
 
We recognise that this was a year like no other, with the unique challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis shows that now, more than ever, it is vital that government departments and all those who work to safeguard children work together to tackle the most stubborn practice challenges, such as information sharing and risk assessment.

Reflecting these stubborn challenges, we’ve highlighted six cross-cutting practice themes that need to be addressed to help make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths caused by abuse or neglect.
 
In this newsletter you can download the report and sign up for a webinar about its contents. We’ve also provided the key messages and information about supplementary and commissioned analysis.

In This Issue

  • Annual Report 2020
    • Stubborn challenges
    • Key practice themes
    • Reflective questions for local leaders
    • Sign up for our next webinar
  • Analysis of Safeguarding Partners' yearly reports
  • A commissioned analysis of Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (LCSPRs) and Rapid Reviews
  • Published LCSPRs
  • Panel Updates
  • Stakeholder News
  • Have Your Say
Annual Report 2020 

Our second Annual Report covers our work from 1st January to 31st December 2020.

Stubborn challenges 

In this exceptional year, local safeguarding partners have shown resilience, creativity and adaptability in the way that they have supported vulnerable children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the analysis shows that there is an urgent need for all agencies involved in safeguarding children to address the stubborn challenges which have too often undermined the quality of child protection practice; these issues include weak information sharing and risk assessment.
 
When there is a lack of appropriate and timely sharing of information between agencies, the needs of and risks to children will either not be recognised or not responded to appropriately. Examples include initial risk assessments not being updated in response to new information about parental mental health concerns and alcohol and substance misuse, or information about previous convictions for sexual offences not being shared due to a lack of understanding about GDPR and data protection regulations.
 
This is why we’re prioritising risk assessment and decision making in our 2021 work programme, but we recognise that these stubborn challenges are complex matters that cannot be tackled by individual agencies, departments or sectors working in isolation, so coordination at all levels of the safeguarding system is vital. We will be working closely with stakeholders to see how these perennial problems might be best addressed.
 
We are also working with the independent review of children’s social care to ensure that any recommendations take due account of the patterns and trends from serious safeguarding incidents.
Key practice themes

We have highlighted six key practice themes to make a difference in reducing serious harm and preventing child deaths, when abuse or neglect is a factor. These themes are not new, but they are the most urgent, and also the most difficult.
 
Underpinning all of them is the importance of effective leadership and culture – dimensions which too often are left unexplored in the case reviews that we see. We expect these six themes to be a focus for shared learning with safeguarding partnerships, and nationally, to improve the safeguarding system.
 
•           Understanding what the child’s daily life is like
•           Working with families where their engagement is reluctant and sporadic
•           Critical thinking and challenge
•           Responding to changing risk and need
•           Sharing information in a timely and appropriate way
•           Organisational leadership and culture for good outcomes
Reflective questions for local leaders

We all have a responsibility to make sense of and learn from the most serious incidents of abuse and neglect so that we do all we can to prevent and reduce the likelihood of similar tragic incidents happening again.  This requires a learning culture where organisations and professionals are honest when things go wrong for children, where partners are properly held to account without scapegoating, where there is time and determination to reflect and learn, and where that learning translates quickly into policy and practice.
 
We invite everyone involved in safeguarding children to engage with the analysis and learning in our report and have set out some reflective questions to prompt discussion about how well we are safeguarding children and what more we need to do.
  1. How do safeguarding partners model personal leadership of, and accountability for, the dissemination and embedding of learning in their local area?
  2. How do you know that the new system of learning is making an impact? What are the key barriers? How can the Panel work with you to address them?
  3. How can we make better use of national reviews to support learning and improvement in your area? 
  4. How can we work together to give practitioners a sense of confidence, support and progress in addressing the stubborn challenges in child safeguarding?
Sign up for our next webinar
 
Our next webinar will take place on Thursday 17th June, 14.00 to 15.30 to discuss our annual report. This will be an opportunity for those who work to safeguard children to ask questions and share views about how the findings impact on practice. Places are limited.
Analysis of Safeguarding Partners' yearly reports

Working Together 2018 (WT 2018) requires safeguarding partners to publish a report at least once in every twelve-month period and send copies to the Panel and the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC).
 
A joint evaluation by WWCSC and the Panel found that 49 reports of the 68 reports published by January 2021 fully or partly evidenced Working Together 2018 requirements.
 
The report is now available on the WWCSC website, along with a blog by our Chair Annie Hudson, outlining what this analysis means for safeguarding partners. You can download the report here.
 
A commissioned analysis of LCSPRs and rapid reviews

As part of our pre-work for our Annual Report, we commissioned a joint team from the University of East Anglia and the University of Birmingham to undertake an independent analysis of rapid reviews and LCSPRs.
 
The aims were to:
  • provide an overview of key themes, issues and challenges for practitioners and agencies;
  • draw out implications for policy makers and practitioners;
  • assess how well the rapid reviews and LCSPRs achieve the tasks required of them;
  • analyse the sample of LCSPRs available to us in order to increase understanding of the root causes of systemic strengths and vulnerabilities within local practice; and,
  • generate findings and questions for local safeguarding partners and the Panel to support them in their work to improve child protection practice.
This report is available to download here and we would ask safeguarding partners to have regard to the rapid review and LCSPR case studies.
Published LCSPRs

As we have moved into a new financial year, it is our intention to share published LCSPRs with the sector in a timely way. Therefore, we have added a new section to this newsletter, which lists published LCSPRs between 1st January and 30th April 2021.
London: Bexley, Child O; Ealing, Child ‘James’; Waltham Forest, ‘Khalsa’.
South West: Devon, Child A; Gloucestershire, Thematic Review on Child Sexual Exploitation
South East: Milton Keynes, Child F; Oxfordshire, ‘Jacob’; Slough, ‘John’; Surrey, Child Z
East: Thurrock, ‘Leo’ 
West Midlands: Dudley, Child T
North East: Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees, Child M, Child T and 'Emma'.
North West: Knowsley, Child ‘Paul’

We will keep this method of sharing LCSPRs under review, and you can feedback on this via the form at the bottom of this newsletter.

Updates
  • The Panel has updated its pool of reviewers. The list is available
    online.
  • The Wood Report on multi-agency arrangements has been published today by the Department for Education, Home Office and Department for Health and Social Care. Having been regularly consulted on the report in the lead up to publication, we feel this is an important document that highlights key information for local safeguarding partners. We would urge all partners to read and have regard to its contents.
Have Your Say
 
If you have any feedback on this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to email us at Mailbox.NationalReviewPanel@education.gov.uk.
 
Your colleagues can sign up to our newsletter online here: http://eepurl.com/g6z_Tf

Do you have any information you would like to cascade to safeguarding partnerships through future versions of this newsletter?

If you have informal news or examples of effective practice to share, which you think will help other areas improve their safeguarding practice, please contact us at amina.makele@education.gov.uk

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Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel · Sanctuary Buildings · Great Smith Street · London, London SW1P 3BT · United Kingdom

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