Brief update on progress following the Child Safeguarding Practice Review for Jacob
Since the publication of the Jacob Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) in January of this year, colleagues from across the safeguarding partnership have been working to implement the recommendations made in the report.
This has been divided into three workstreams; Education, Exploitation and Working Together. Everyone involved is keen to share what has been happening.
Activity since January 2021
Each of the workstreams is led by a group and has an action plan with clear timeframes and objectives. The groups ensure progress is maintained and each has senior level leadership.
The CSPR report recognised that in order to better protect our children and young people from exploitation, change is needed not only in Oxfordshire, but at a regional and national level. We have therefore also engaged with senior leaders at a national level.
There are already practical examples of where system change and improvement is taking place.
Youth Justice and Exploitation Service
This is a multi-disciplinary team that includes Thames Valley Police, health services, social care as well as mental health specialists. The Service works with partners to support young people through disruption, distraction, diversion, education, and enforcement activity, and is developing new ways of working with children and families. For example, developing a strengths-based approach in working with parents to safeguard their children from extra-familial harm; restorative justice, trauma informed and motivational interviewing practices.
Early positive signs include increases in the following interventions:
- ‘National Referral Mechanism’ referrals submitted for young people to help protect them from exploitation
- ‘Child Abduction Warning Notices’ to disrupt perpetrators known to pose a risk of young people, alongside use of Modern Slavery Trafficking enforcement powers
- Numbers of young people supported to live at home with a ‘Team around the Family’
‘Community around the school offer’
This term describes the multi-agency partnership working to help schools. One example of work-so-far relates to a primary school that raised concerns about potential drug supply in garages near school, and the journey to and from school for students passing this location. As well as disruption policing the local solutions included:
- Community Safety providing increased lighting in the area
- Thames Valley Police Schools Officers delivering assemblies focused on keeping safe
- Establishment of a parents fora to raise awareness of issues and provide information on how to report concerns about their children
This approach will be deployed more widely moving forward and was welcomed by the school concerned.
There is still much to be done over the coming months:
- ongoing dialogue with the Department for Education (DfE)
- bringing practitioners together to listen to the experiences of families and carers
- clarifying and streamlining how various groups and Boards in Oxfordshire work together
- bringing together local practitioners for a large-scale learning event in Spring 2022
- seeking the views of practitioners, families and communities in this work
- improving how we hear the voices and lived experiences of our children and young people