Summary of the CSCP Meeting 3rd December 2020
The meeting was held via Zoom and was hosted by Di Smith, Independent Chair and Scrutineer of the CSCP who noted the good multi-agency attendance.
Di encouraged attendees to make use of the opportunity to raise important issues around the safeguarding of Croydon’s Children with the Executive Group and the Director of Education all of whom were present at the meeting. She also pressed the importance of the partnership role to share the learning and reflections from the Rapid Reviews.
The Annual Report of the CSCP 2019/20 has now been published, this can be found on the CSCP website via this link:
Di Smith requested all partners to review and share the publication.
A slide pack including all the presentations can be found here:
CSCP Partner Updates
Debbie Jones Interim Director (Children’s Social Care & Early Help) introduced herself.
New to Croydon since October 2020 Debbie has extensive experience of various roles within local authorities, including six director of children’s Services roles.
She commended Croydon for raising itself from an Inadequate Ofsted judgement to a Good but cautioned against feeling complacent, noting how the strength of the partnership will be tested due to Covid and the challenging financial position Croydon finds itself in.
Covid alone was not responsible for the financial issues The Report in the Public Interest highlighted the historic issues. A section 114 notice has also been issued, which amongst other financial implications, includes the setup of a spending panel, restricting spending to essential, statutory functions only.
Debbie explained that the Improvement Board had been re-established, chaired independently by Eleanor Brazil, this Board is key in maintaining standards for Children’s Social Care. The recent meeting focused on performance where it was noted that referral numbers had increased as anticipated, with cases being more complex. The recent Practice Week within Children’s Social Care Services had highlighted some excellent work with children and she was confident that the proposed changes to the Single Point of Contact would be positive.
Neil Cochlin Detective Superintendent (Safeguarding South area BCU presented next, providing details of how the police have been affected by Covid and how they have prioritised safeguarding strands of work.
Approximately 10% of the safeguarding workforce were not deployed during Covid, many due to having to self-isolate. Child abuse figures for March and April decreased, but rose in September and after a slight decline, have remained comparatively high. Domestic Abuse reports are at a high level and remains a significant challenge. He noted the domestic violence initiative – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence where a number of police resources had been mobilised to support the campaign.
Neil introduced the new safeguarding team, the Predatory Offenders Unit whose role is to pro-actively target the highest harm offenders. This unit is part of the work of the Public Protection Portfolio.
Neil advised that the HMIC are due to carry out an inspection of the Met Police in early 2021. The inspection is expected to focus on progress made internally since 2016 and the police are not yet clear on what partner involvement may be included.
Sally Innis (Associate Director of Safeguarding Croydon CCG & CHIST) provided a presentation (see slides 6-10 in slide pack)
The presentation showed how the Health partners have been prioritising safeguarding across the health economy, with a focus on hidden harm. The concern being that due to reduced attendance at unscheduled care settings and changes in arrangements for home visiting, there has not been the same opportunity to see children and any presenting safeguarding issues.
Sally also updated the meeting on the CHIST (Croydon Health Integrated Safeguarding Team). This was now a year into its existence and the findings of the review in the summer of 2020 included optimism regarding the integrated approach as well as opportunities to strengthen the team and service.
Shelley Davies – Interim Director of Education & Youth Engagement reported that the Education Team had been proactively supporting schools with guidance following government announcements – as well as in their risk assessments for both key worker and vulnerable children who returned to school. Assistance in how to maintain contact for those children who did not attend was also provided.
The Education Team has also supported schools in the provision of food for families where a need was identified.
Young Peoples Mental Health Needs
Di Smith reminded attendees that mental health is a shared priority with the Safeguarding Adults Board. There then followed 3 presentations by Zoe Barkham-Manlow (Improvement Officer, Health & Wellbeing) on the Mental Health Trailblazers Project. Jack Bedeman (Consultant, Public Health) on Mental Health First Aid and from Becca Lydon (Safeguarding Adults & Children Lead SLAM) on Transition into Adult Mental Health Services.
There followed a session where meeting attendees were separated into 3 break out rooms to discuss the following;
- How can we better understand the MH needs of 16 – 18 year olds moving into adult services and what support / service is needed?
- How can we get effective messages about mental wellbeing to families?
- Thinking of school age children, are there any other ways we can offer help to children and young people?
A summary of the discussions will inform future CSCP work plans.
Attendees were brought back into the main room where Debbie Jones responded to a specific issue raised by Tracy Andrews (John Ruskin College) about the disproportional support given by Croydon to UASC. This has been subject to recent discussion at the Improvement Board and is largely due to the geographical location of Lunar House in Croydon.
Iain Lowe (Head of SPOC & Assessments) provided a presentation on the new ‘Thorpe model’ for the Croydon Single Point of Contact or ‘Front Door’. In essence the intention is to change from a written referral, to a conversation. Which will follow a script to ensure the content appropriately addresses need. Work is continuing to ensure appropriate templates to satisfy a future audit trail on the conversations. This change is expected to significantly reduce the number of ‘not appropriate’ contacts to the SPOC.
The work already underway, where a CAMHs worker is represented in the SPOC, to support the Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health referrals will continue under the on-line portal system.
The presentation is included in slides 41-53 – and a further update is available on the CSCP website here.
Iain offered to facilitate future service meetings and that several sessions to update professionals had already taken place.
Learning from Croydon Rapid Reviews
Maureen Floyd (CSCP Manager) presented an informative handout prepared by Anita McGrath
Croydon currently has 6 live reviews and the need to disseminate the learning from reviews was highlighted in the 2017 Ofsted Inspection. Di Smith reminded the attendees that it is their responsibility to disseminate and cascade the learning back to their organisations, including taking responsibility for evidencing what they are doing.
Di Smith ended the meeting by thanking the attendees and presenters.