Agenda item

Brent Local Safeguarding Children Board Closing Report

To receive and consider the Brent Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Closing Report for the period of April 2018 – September 2019 and note that as of 21 September 2019 the LSCB has been replaced by new safeguarding arrangements.



Mike Howard (Independent Chair, Brent LSCB) introduced the report, which covered an extra 6 months due to the changes made to children’s safeguarding arrangements. He explained that the government had changed legislation meaning that Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCB) were to be replaced with Multiagency Safeguarding Partner arrangements. Mike Howard expressed that it had been ensured the Safeguarding arrangements in Brent continued as they had before, with strong relationships developed with schools and the Metropolitan Police. A statutory responsibility of the board was to ensure all agencies had policies that focussed on children at greatest risk of harm, which he was confident continued with the new arrangements.


Looking to the key points within the Closing Report, Mike Howard felt that a big improvement had been the number of people receiving training. A new software to book training, had been purchased and was being built upon. Mike Howard thanked Pam Stewart, the Co-Chair of the Learning and Development Advisory Group, for the work done on training and for the community BBQ organised to raise awareness of safeguarding in the community. He felt that an achievement of the board was the development of stronger relationships with schools in the Borough, with 2 Brent Safer School’s Officers receiving recognition for their work from the Metropolitan Police following his recommendation. Mike Howard also drew the committee’s attention to the Safeguarding Survey that was jointly commissioned by the LSCB and Safeguarding Adults Board. It focused on the application of safeguarding knowledge. The BMG, who had conducted the survey, had produced a dashboard of the results which would allow for easy interrogation of the data, which Mike Howard hoped would take place over the following 3 months. He informed the committee that 2-3 schools had excelled in the survey.


The committee were informed that the definition of serious harm had been broadened Mike Howard explained that as a result of the widened definition, the number of rapid reviews were likely to increase, and had increased, which had resulted in a strain in the resources of the board and, going forward, the forum. He highlighted the tight timescales of rapid reviews (15 working days from a notification to the convening of a review), explaining that he was often flexible with those timescales to ensure he was sourcing the right people to make decisions. He informed the committee that he had recently commissioned another case review.


Mike Howard had been asked to continue the role of independent convenor for the new arrangements throughout the transition period until May. He was of the opinion that he had progressed the board in his time, enabling better engagement and awareness of the board and making a difference to the children in Brent.


The Chair thanked Mike Howard for his introduction and invited members of the committee to ask questions. The following issues were raised:


·         In response to requests for reassurance that there was a smooth transition period, Mike Howard explained that over the year he had attended meetings with the statutory partners to keep them informed of what the Safeguarding Board was doing. He felt that there had been a seamless transition, and the priorities for the next year would be discussed at the next meeting. The statutory partners would set those priorities and it would no longer be the responsibility of the Safeguarding Forum, but Mike Howard believed that the forum would be able to influence those priorities. He felt that there could be a closer relationship between the 2 Safeguarding Boards, and they had already worked on a transitional safeguarding workshop together. He felt that children’s safeguarding needed to do work on contextual safeguarding and believed that work would lead to closer collaboration between the 2 safeguarding boards.


·         Regarding how the forum and partners were working together, Mike Howard answered that it was early days and arrangements were happening in tandem with the old arrangements. There would need to be discussion with the safeguarding partners regarding arrangements for the commissioning of case reviews, which would be the responsibility of the statutory partners going forward.


·         Answering requests for Mike Howard to return in a years’ time to report on the new arrangements, Gail Tolley (Strategic Director Children & Young People) confirmed that Carolyn Downs (CE Brent Council), Barry Loader (Detective Superintendent, Head of Safeguarding, North West Basic Command Unit), and a CCG representative would present such a report, as they were now accountable for safeguarding arrangements.


·         Mike Howard answered committee concerns regarding how disputes might be resolved between the independent convenor and partners with regard to the flexibility Mike Howard had allowed for rapid review timescales. He explained that he had received no criticism for those decisions. He felt that disputes would not be an area of concern as the purpose of meetings regarding case reviews was to gather collective wisdom, experience and knowledge. Mike Howard highlighted the view that if an issue arose, the strong relationship that had been built would allow partners to hold constructive conversations around it, and that they would work in the spirit of co-operation. Mike Howard confirmed that his role would be to prioritise what cases to review.


·         It was agreed that to ensure the report was more robust, pertinent aspects of the governance structure could be recorded within the document, such as reporting mechanisms.


·         In response to questions regarding prioritising transitional v contextual safeguarding, Mike Howard told the committee that, under the current definitions, transitional safeguarding was the responsibility of adult safeguarding, however felt that they would attempt to hold a more realistic view regarding safeguarding needs for young people, who would be likely to have safeguarding needs into adulthood. Gail Tolley added that the 3 new statutory partners of the multiagency arrangements were at the transitional safeguarding workshop held in early November.


As no further questions were raised, the Chair thanked the committee for the questions and the presenting Officers for their responses and invited the committee to make any recommendations.


The following recommendations were unanimously agreed:


i)             To ensure that the Multiagency Statutory Partners for Safeguarding prioritise Transitional Safeguarding within the new arrangements, with a particular focus on young people aged between 18-25 years old.

ii)            To note the contents of the Closing report.


Supporting documents: