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8 Spotlight on safeguarding services promoted by SGSCB

This section covers additional information shared with Board Members for dissemination.

Children affected by parental imprisonment

200,000 children every year experience the imprisonment of a parent. Research increasingly demonstrates the impact that a parent being in prison can have on these children – such as poorer outcomes, stigma, isolation, health and financial difficulties. Children affected by parental imprisonment are twice as likely as their peers to suffer mental ill health and 65% of boys with a father in prison go on to offend themselves.

The national i-HOP service delivered by Barnardo’s in partnership with POPS (Partners of prisoners and families support group) provides support and advice to professionals working with these children and families. As well as an online directory listing all the services, resources, policies and protocols around children of offenders, it also provides a free helpline for practitioners seeking advice (0808 802 2013) and awareness raising workshops for professionals who would like to learn more.  In South Gloucestershire contact polly.wright@barnardos.org.uk for more information and read their briefing for Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards.

Counselling service for children and young people

Young people in South Gloucestershire who suffer from anxiety, depression or obsessive compulsive behaviours can now access a new counselling service being piloted in their area.

The service provides free, confidential and easy to access counselling for 11 to 15-year-olds.

It is delivered by Off the Record Bristol and has been commissioned by NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and South Gloucestershire Council.

Dr Jonathan Hayes, Chairman of South Gloucestershire CCG, said: “We are delighted to announce this newly commissioned counselling service for young people.

“The self-referral service is designed for 11 to 15-year-olds who experience anger, anxiety, depression, eating problems, low mood, self-harm or obsessive compulsive behaviours. The therapists will also be able to help young people struggling with bullying, education, their identity, relationships and substance misuse.”

Young people will be offered six weeks of therapy, and in some circumstances, where it is clinically appropriate, an extension to 12 weeks of treatment will be provided.

Dr Kate Mansfield, Clinical Lead for Children and Maternity at South Gloucestershire CCG, said: “We are thrilled this valuable new service is now up and running.

“We are working hard to develop and improve services for children and young people in South Gloucestershire. Our focus is on early help for young people to give them the best possible start in life.”

For further information visit the South Gloucestershire CCG NHS website.

Neglect Strategy

Neglect has been identified as a priority for both the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board (SGSCB) and the Children’s Trust Board.  The Neglect Strategy has been developed in conjunction with multi-agency partners and sets out the strategic aims and objectives of South Gloucestershire’s approach to tackling neglect:

  • To secure collective commitment to addressing neglect across all partner agencies and to demonstrate effective leadership in driving forward the appropriate system, culture and process changes
  • To improve awareness and understanding of neglect across South Gloucestershire. This includes a common understanding of neglect and the thresholds for intervention which will allow effective and meaningful peer challenge
  • To improve the recognition, assessment and response to children and young people living in neglectful situations before statutory intervention is required, including the appropriate use of the Neglect Toolkit and assessment tools
  • To ensure the effectiveness of service provision

The strategy should be considered alongside other key strategies, policies and procedures, such as the South Gloucestershire Neglect Toolkit (designed to support practitioners in identifying, assessing and working with neglect), the South Gloucestershire Early Help Strategy, the Common Business and Delivery Process (including the Single Assessment for Early Help – SAF), the Multi-Agency Thresholds Matrix and Guidance and the Learning and Improvement Framework.

Practitioners who work directly with children, young people and their families or those who come into contact with children and young people through work with parents/carers should read the strategy and understand the relevance to the work that they are doing.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

In Partnership with Avon and Somerset Police, children’s services across the region have been considering models for implementing a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub approach.

A Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub or a MASH as they have become known, is a way of organising initial Safeguarding responses and have been widely adopted across the UK. There have been positive evaluations and a great deal of research has already been undertaken. A MASH acts as the single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in the area. It brings together expert professionals, from services that have contact with children, young people and families, making the best possible use of their combined knowledge to keep children safe from harm.

South Gloucestershire integrated children’s services and our partners are currently at the stage of considering what models may best work for our authority and are exploring options. We are members of the regional project board and will be carrying this project forward over the next six months.

Her Majesty’s Inspection of Probation

In August 2014 Her Majesty’s Inspection of Probation published a thematic report entitled ‘An Inspection of the work of Probation Trusts and Youth Offending Teams to protect children and young people’. This report was presented to and discussed at the Safeguarding Board at its February 2015 meeting. The South Gloucestershire Youth Offending Service and the National Probation Service/Community Rehabilitation Companies gave separate presentations as to how their services compared to the findings within the report and what actions they intended to implement in response to the report’s recommendations. The Safeguarding Children Board acknowledged the report contained specific recommendations to which it had to respond.