This paper sets out the emerging proposals for the new safeguarding partnership arrangements for children in Medway in accordance with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and associated statutory guidance. The Committee is asked to comment on these proposals.
The Director of People – Children and Adults introduced the report which set out the emerging proposals for the new safeguarding partnership arrangements for children in Medway in accordance with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and associated statutory guidance. He highlighted the key aspects and changes to the proposed arrangements, which were set out in the report, and welcomed the representatives from NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and Kent Police, who were also present to answer questions.
Members then raised a number of questions and comments, which included:
· Independent role – A number of members expressed concern about the loss of the Independent Chair, which was no longer a requirement. The Director of People – Children and Adults explained that all three partners were keen to retain an independent scrutineer, which was permitted under the new arrangements. The Chairman role of the new Partnership would be rotated between the three lead organisations who all held statutory responsibility and could evidence their commitment through clear leadership. In terms of selection for the Independent Scrutineer, officers were liaising with the Association of Independent Chairs for advice and support with this.
· Visits to Cookham Wood – in response to a question about whether planned and or unplanned visits would take place at Cookham Wood, officers confirmed that arrangements were in place already for such visits and to respond urgently to ad hoc events. Although access was controlled, unannounced visits were possible.
· Proposed structure – The Kent Police representative clarified that the proposed Executive would be the main business forum ensuring the partnership maintains its main focus and strategic priorities and would be led by the three safeguarding partners. The Leadership Group would be the large group providing the ability for wider partnership engagement through a conference setting.
· Voice of children and young people – in response to how the voice of children would be captured and its impact measured, the Director of People – Children and Adults explained that this was still under review but it would be through a range of various networks. Consideration was also being given to how the voice of younger children and parents could be captured. Part of the Independent Scrutineer’s role would be to challenge and ensure this was being captured and listened to.
· Relevant Agencies – officers supported a recommendation that Open Road be included in the list of relevant agencies due to the support they provide in relation to substance misuse and the common link this has with safeguarding issues.
· Funding to tackle gang and knife crime – in response to a request for more detail on this, the Kent Police representative explained that a Kent and Medway £1.3m bid had been successful in relation to tackling gangs and violent crime, with a particular focus to those gangs disseminating from London through County lines. Detail on exactly how the funding would be used was unavailable but it was confirmed that early intervention support, preventative work and education through schools would be included in the project.
The Committee noted the proposed timeline for consultation and approval set out at paragraph 7.2 of the report.