Fortnightly Safeguarding Briefing

23rd September 2019

Safeguarding Network - Confidence in safeguarding

Welcome to your latest briefing

One of the changes that we have mentioned previously was bought back to the fore this week when we were asked what impact the changes to the local Safeguarding Partnerships would have on escalating concerns.

You may remember that when Working Together was revised last year it set out that Safeguarding Children Boards would become safeguarding partners.  Accompanying the publication was transitional guidance which set out the expectation that such transitions should be completed by the end of this month.  There are three statutory safeguarding partners (Social Care, Health and Police) and then dependent on local agreement there can be additional voluntary partners.

In the first instance escalation policies should be relatively unchanged as the lower levels are usually discussions directly between agencies.  Should you not be able to resolve the concern at lower levels then you will need to approach the partnership business manager for immediate guidance as to how to proceed (more likely than not to be the same person as when it was a board).  Over time further guidance should be issued by each partnership.

In this briefing:

  • Homelessness and poverty
  • Childhood obesity - a safeguarding issue?
  • Knife crime
Council housing

Homelessness and poverty

In the last briefing we covered the recent report by the Children's Commissioner (Bleak Houses) and the numbers of children and young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (approx 5% of all children in England).  Shelter have a good working definition of homelessness that encourages us all to think beyond the typical image of people on the street, instead thinking about people who do not have a permanent place to call home for a number of different reasons.

Homelessness can have a significant impact on children and young people, both in terms of their mental health, their self-worth, self-esteem and also their physical health.  Research has shown that younger children who are homeless tend to recover from the experience quicker than older children with less resultant impact on their academic attainment.

Homelessness and poverty can often be found side by side, with there being many similar impacts on children and young people.  As with homelessness we know from research that these are often "hidden" issues with parents and children rarely saying what is happening for them.  It is therefore important that we are aware of what potential indicators may be and have an open and inclusive environment where support is available.

Safeguarding Network has resource pages on homelessness and poverty, and for members there is a staff update package now available.

Fridge of sugary drinks

Childhood obesity - a safeguarding matter?

There has been a significant push by government over recent years to raise our awareness about the amount of sugar and other unsuitable foodstuffs we are consuming due to the impact that obesity is having on the NHS.  Attempts to persuade us to willingly change have been replaced by introduction of taxes and making producers responsible.  Underneath it all is an argument that obesity is a health issue and not a safeguarding matter.

A serious case review in Manchester however showed how in some cases parents response to obesity or lack of it can cause it to become a safeguarding issue.  In a safeguarding insight, we look at childhood obesity, its increasing prevalence and a framework that can be used to start thinking about occasions when you may have to follow safeguarding procedures.

Read more in our safeguarding insight.

Image of knife

Knife Crime

Following a research project by Ofsted earlier in the year around knife crime in education, West Midlands Police have released a video (YouTube) for use with young people.  The video features Sadam, a young man who at the age of 15 got into a fight and killed someone with a knife and subsequently received a life sentence.

Sadam is clear that he was carrying the knife for protection and didn't think that he would ever use it, however it took just 30 seconds to change his life forever.  Sadam talks about how he would prioritise his mates over his family, but now that he is in prison the only ones standing by him are his family.

The aim of the video is to get young people to think about what might happen by carrying knives.

Who are we?

Safeguarding Network recognise that the demands on schools are increasing from every aspect. Safeguarding is no exception. Using our front-line safeguarding experience and knowledge we develop resources to help schools meet their safeguarding requirements with the aim of helping lighten the load.

Visit https://safeguarding.network/subscribe for more information.

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