Issue - meetings

Annual Safeguarding Report - Children's Services 2019-20

Meeting: 11/11/2020 - Children and Young People Select Committee (Item 154)

154 Annual Safeguarding Report - Children's Services 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 101 KB

For the Select Committee to pre-scrutinise the annual safeguarding report for Children’s Services before consideration by Cabinet.

Additional documents:


The Committee received the Annual Safeguarding Report – Children’s Services 2019/20 (Item 7 in the Minute Book) for pre-scrutiny before being presented to Cabinet on the 24 November, from representatives of the Director of Children’s Services.  A presentation also accompanied the report.


The item was introduced, and it was explained that the annual report sought to provide assurance of safeguarding activity to Members and the response to this in Hampshire.  The presentation highlighted key aspects of the report which included the recent Ofsted judged ‘Outstanding’ inspection of Children’s Services, with safeguarding being a key aspect of the inspection.  It was heard that Children’s Services continue to improve and develop services, and its response to safeguarding issues for vulnerable children.  Key developments included the response to Covid-19, and the three phased approach to this was set out on page 6 of the presentation slides.


The issue of child exploitation was explained and the many elements which encompassed this.  Members attention was drawn to ‘County lines’, and it was heard that there had been an increase in this activity in Hampshire, as well as nationally, and a specialist social work team and specialist police team continued to work hard to disrupt this activity and to safeguard children, but this remained an area of significant concern.  The national and local issue of missing children was also highlighted, and Members noted that the numbers of children going missing has reduced and positive progress has been seen in this area.  In relation to Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC), it was explained that Hampshire has been a supporter of the National Transfer Scheme and this was detailed further, as well as the Home Office national consultation of the future of the scheme, and Hampshire’s response to this. 


Members heard further about performance and activity levels, and page 11 of the presentation slides showed the yearly numbers of social work assessments, with the timeliness of these being undertaken and completed at 92%.  This was above the regional average level and compared strong nationally.  It was heard that whilst the number of children on child protection plans had reduced annually, these numbers as well as the numbers of children coming in care had started to increase since April as a result of Covid-19 lockdown, which reflected the extra pressure and vulnerabilities experienced by families.  Officers were confident that this should reduce going forward with strong social work and multi-agency practices.  Page 12 of the presentation slides highlighted the Quality Assurance Framework, and the work to ensure quality standards were maintained was noted.


Local developments around recruitment and sector led improvement were presented, and in relation to the recruitment of social workers it was heard that the Hampshire vacancy rates were currently 13% compared to the national figure of 20%.  The support given to newly recruited social workers in Hampshire was also explained.  Members also noted the work of Hampshire’s Children’s Services as a ‘Partner in Practice’.  Page 15 of the presentation slides explained further the Transformation programme for children’s  ...  view the full minutes text for item 154