Agenda item

Joint Targeted Inspection - Feedback and Letter of Findings

To understand the feedback received from the recent inspection of multi-agency arrangements for children at risk of abuse and neglect in Hampshire, including a deep dive on the approach to children living with domestic abuse.


The Committee received a report (Item 8 in the Minute Book) from the Director of Children’s Services and his representatives providing details of the outcomes of the Joint Targeted Area Inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Hampshire.


It was heard that this was a new framework for inspection; it was the first time that Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services had been subject to an inspection with its multi-agency partners, the first time that the inspection team had been led by OFSTED but included other inspectorates  with a responsibility for protecting children, and it had seen only six other Local Authority areas subject to this type of inspection before.


The outcomes of the inspection had been exceptionally positive, with Hampshire receiving the strongest report so far, with a substantial amount of good feedback on arrangements in the County. There had been some minor recommendations across all partners for improvement, and these had been placed into an action plan being led by the Assistant Director, Stuart Ashley, in conjunction with partner representatives. Monitoring was taking place of these through regular group meetings. It was agreed that a copy of the action plan would be made available to the Committee.


A few questions from Members further explored the meaning of the recommendations for partners, and clarifications were provided.


In response to questions, Members heard:

  • That many of the recommendations made through the inspection would require working together through collaboration and partnership. Hampshire County Council did not have the ability to require the changes recommended to partners, but it would be able to work closely with others to influence change.
  • There were many other forums for partnership in Hampshire other than the group monitoring the actions, such as a strong Safeguarding Children Board, and the Hampshire Children’s Trust.
  • Some wider issues around how Hampshire Constabulary manage Domestic Abuse cases had been raised through a recent HMIC report on the force, and similar issues had been raised through the Joint Area Targeted Inspection.
  • The findings of the inspection team in relation to the stepping down of a very few ‘child protection’ cases to ‘children in need’ were not agreed with by the Department, as it was the decision of multi-agency partners to step children down from being in child protection. Of the 150 cases OFSTED audited, they felt that two had been stepped down to being a ‘child in need’ too quickly, believing that the decision had been over optimistic. Since receiving this recommendation, the Department had audited other cases to ensure that appropriate processes had been followed, and to date evidence had not been found to suggest that the correct judgements had not been used.


Discussion was held on the possibility of Members in future being given the opportunity to review case studies of children subject to child protection plans, in order to understand the complex decision making that sits behind them.


It was agreed by the Committee that the report was overwhelmingly positive and officers and teams should be commended for their work in achieving it.




That the Children and Young People Select Committee note and welcome the letter and supporting report.


Supporting documents: