1 Introduction by Independent Chair
I am very pleased, once again, to introduce the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (SGSCB) Annual Report for 2014/15.
The task of safeguarding children and young people continues in a challenging climate of ever more complex abuse situations, organisational change and continuing pressures on service capacity. The challenge for us all, nonetheless, is to ensure that the essential work of protection is maintained through effective practice.
The challenges of responding to the risks of child sexual exploitation and missing children have been particularly prominent nationally during the past year. South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board has participated in a development workshop to promote better understanding of the risks associated with such exploitation. In addition the Board has commissioned the development of a new strategy and action plan which will contribute to enhancing the local multi-agency response. This will continue to be developed and strengthened during 2015/16.
2014/15 has been a period of ongoing change within the partner agencies of the Board. Organisational change and re-structuring within Avon & Somerset Constabulary, South Gloucestershire Council, the NHS and the two tier Probation Service model have had some degree of impact on the consistency and continuity of the work of SGSCB. Notwithstanding the context of change, the Board has been determined to maintain a commitment to effective joint working underpinned by a culture of challenge and ‘learning and improvement’.
The Annual Report outlines the activity of the Board and its sub-groups. Whilst much has been achieved in the past year, SGSCB remains committed to an agenda of work aimed at the further improvement of local multi-agency practice. The report identifies our continuing priorities and areas for development in the business plan for 2015/16. These include improving the safety and well-being of vulnerable groups; engaging with families and communities and ensuring that the ‘voice of the child’ influences what we do; developing an effective response by agencies in protecting our children and young people and working together effectively as a partnership through learning and improving practice.
There are ongoing expectations on parents, carers and all professionals to ensure a safe environment for children and young people. South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board remains committed to strengthening the responses of all those concerned with children and young people through evaluating the impact of training on practice, the adoption of a ‘Signs of Safety’ approach and a commitment to strengthening integrated working with partner agencies.
The importance of effective joint working by partner agencies requires us to have clear priorities, hold one another to account and ensure we continue to learn and understand the impact of what we do from case reviews, audits of practice and quality assurance. These tasks remain an important focus for the Board in promoting safeguarding.
This Annual Report provides an outline of the work of our Board during 2014/15 and I commend it to you for your consideration.
This will be my final report as Independent Chair of the Board. It has been my privilege to work with many highly dedicated colleagues over the past five years whose help and cooperation I have greatly valued in our collective task. I wish the Board well in its continuing effort to promote the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in South Gloucestershire.
I also wish to highlight the support, hard work and commitment that all members of South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board, its sub-groups and staff team have demonstrated during the past year and to acknowledge their contribution with thanks and appreciation.
South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board