WSCB is made up of professionals who work in services for children and families including health, education, police, fire and the voluntary sector. Members meet regularly with the aim of providing effective community and professional leadership and influence in relation to safeguarding across all partner agencies.
WSCB has set out the following strategic priorities:
- Developing scrutiny of safeguarding arrangements to better understand the journey of the child
- The development and effective discharge of the Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy and action plan
- Prevention of abuse and neglect particularly though ‘hidden harm’
- Promote and strengthen the engagement of early help and early intervention services and the use of process
- Provision of a comprehensive multi-agency training programme to support front line staff in their work with children and young people who are vulnerable, at risk, and suffering significant harm
The WSCB Business Plan sets out in more detail the work taking place to meet these priorities. WSCB delivers its work through a number of structured sub groups and also through quality assurance, audit and complaints, serious case reviews, training and workforce development.
WSCB Sub groups
The work of the Board is delivered through its sub groups. Terms of reference for each group are in place with membership from representatives of relevant partner agencies. Sub group Chairs meet regularly to share work and raise issues with the Chair and Executive Board. Currently we have the following sub groups:
Quality assurance is part of WSCB’s core business and it’s main function is to monitor the effectiveness of safeguarding practices, recognise areas of good practice that can be shared and built upon and identify areas which there may be policy, training and developmental needs.
There are a number of tools WSCB uses to do this:
- Multi-agency dataset
- Multi-agency audit programme
- Agency Walkabouts
- Section 11 Audits
In addition WSCB is developing a Quality Assurance Framework to create an understanding of how practice affects outcomes rather than simply measuring how well we have complied with processes and procedures.
A Serious Case Review (SCR) is undertaken when abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected; and either the child has died; or the child has been seriously harmed and there is cause for concern as to the way organisations worked together. The purpose of a SCR is for agencies and individuals to learn lessons that improve the way in which they work both individually and collectively, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The Serious Case Review Sub group oversees and quality assures all the SCRs undertaken by the Board, and provides advice on whether the criteria for conducting a review have been met. In addition to SCRs, WSCB undertakes Partnership Reviews. These reviews do not meet the SCR criteria, but are considered to offer good opportunities to identify relevant learning and ways in which multi-agency practice to safeguard children and young people can be improved locally. These reviews are also overseen by the SCR Sub group.
To find out more see Serious Case Reviews.
This is a joint sub group with Wiltshire’s Community Safety Partnership with a role in ensuring a coordinated, streamlined and multi-agency approach to service delivery to prevent domestic abuse and its impact in Wiltshire. All domestic abuse impacts on children. The work of the group intends to:
- Safeguard and ensure good outcomes for both:
- Children and young people (directly or indirectly effected by domestic abuse)
- Reduce the risk of reoffending and harm and encourage recognition of perpetrator behaviour and the impact that it has
- Monitoring the implementation of the Domestic Abuse Strategy ensuring it represents a co-ordinated and partnership approach to reduce all forms of domestic abuse, to problem solve and find solutions if there are blocks to progress
The group is currently working on a revised Domestic Abuse Strategy for 2017.
For more information see Domestic Violence and Abuse.
WSCB provides a multi-agency training programme and this sub group oversees the quality and impact of this. Its role is to ensure the right training is on offer so that the workforce working with Wiltshire’s children and young people has the appropriate skills and knowledge to do their job.
Practitioners should also receive training within their agency and this sub group reviews this provision to ensure it is sufficient.
The WSCB Training Strategy 2015-2017 sets out our priorities for training and workforce development.
This sub group focuses on Child Sexual Exploitation and Missing Children including oversight of the development and implementation of WSCB Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy and local action plan. There has been substantial work to develop our response to CSE and protect missing children in Wiltshire, the group does this through scrutiny of:
- Monthly and quarterly reporting on missing children and return home interviews
- Development and impact of the Emerald Team (Wiltshire’s Specialist CSE Team)
- Partnership Profile for Wiltshire – see here for a summary of the profile for 2015
There is a joint Swindon and Wiltshire CSE Strategy and local action plans which are monitored by the CSE Sub groups in each area.
For more information see CSE.
Ensuring children and young people get help at the earliest opportunity is key to preventing issues escalating and is a more effective way to provide support. This sub group sets out to safeguard and ensure good outcomes for children and young people in Wiltshire by coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Early Help Improvement Plan, part of the Early Help Strategy. The focus of this work includes:
- Ensuring that all staff who work with children and young people, and adults who are parents, are aware of the thresholds for social care and early help and use the Thresholds Document (MATD)
- To ensure early help processes are effective including the use of the CAF and the Lead Professional role
- To ensure all staff understand the early help offer and how to access it.
This sub group also reports into Wiltshire’s Children’s Trust.
This new group has been set up to achieve the following outcome:
Professionals working with children, young people and their families have the knowledge and skills that inform their practice in relation to CSA; they understand CSA, can identify the signs and indicators of CSA and know how to robustly assess risk and to respond to it.
Their key tasks are to:
- Understand multi-agency knowledge and practice in relation to CSA within Wiltshire
- Raise awareness of CSA to ensure risks are understood and managed
- Consider how we assess and work with perpetrators (adults and children) and non-abusing adults
- Review national research – what it tells us and how this links to practice locally
- Review tools available to practitioners working with CSA and consider whether this is sufficient
- Develop clear practice guidance and or procedures to support understanding and management of CSA across agencies
- Develop a guide for practitioners regarding how to work directly with children subject or at risk of CSA (How to ask difficult questions)
- Review training offer for practitioners and consider if this is sufficient and if not commission additional training and development opportunities
- Consider disabled children specifically in all areas of work
Through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary review of child deaths, the Wiltshire and Swindon Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) aims to better understand how and why children in our locality die and to use the findings to take action to prevent other deaths and improve the health and safety of our children.
In carrying out activities to pursue this purpose, the CDOP will meet the functions set out in Chapter 5 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) in relation to the deaths of any children normally resident in Wiltshire; namely, collecting and analysing information about each death with a view to identifying:
- Any case giving rise to the need for a Serious Case Review
- Any matters of concern affecting the safety and welfare of children in our locality
- Any wider public health or safety concerns arising from a particular death or from a pattern of deaths in the locality
In order for children and young people to have a voice and influence the work of the Board, WSCB have set up a Youth Safeguarding Board. We sit approximately every 2 months and are currently focussing on 3 key topics:
- Keeping safe whilst gaming online
- Social media safety
- Sexting – what you need to know
Visit the children and young people page for more information.
The practitioner sub group is being piloted in Salisbury and will provide a link between practitioners and the WSCB Executive Board in order that WSCB will understand how well practitioners work together in safeguarding and protecting children and young people and the barriers to this. The sub group has representatives from all the key agencies in the local area and has the following key tasks:
- To provide a voice for practitioners in the work of WSCB
- To explore what is and what is not working and the reasons why
- Support the WSCB Quality Assurance Framework by joining up practice with audit process
- To learn from best practice case examples; identifying what made the system work well including exploring the activities and behaviours of those involved
- Explore key safeguarding themes as relevant