7.1 Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth & Southampton (HIPS) Safeguarding Children Partnership Arrangements
Local partnerships arrangements:
- Desired outcomes
- Role of HIPS arrangements and relationship with Local Safeguarding Children Partnership
- Membership and frequency of HIPS Executive
- Chairing of a HIPS Executive
- Related groups
- Ways of Working
- Annual Business Plan
- Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report
- Monitoring and Inspection
Working Together 2018 (WT2018) allows more flexibility for safeguarding arrangements to operate across larger areas/multiple local authority boundaries. Early discussions in the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCBs) across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight indicated that each local authority area will retain responsibility for their own local safeguarding arrangements, under the auspices of the three new safeguarding partners (local authority, police and health via the CCG).
It was acknowledged that for many agencies and professionals who work across more than one of the local authority areas, there would be benefit in greater joined-up working on strategic issues and common themes.
Given that each local area was keen to retain some degree of local arrangement, partners agreed to form a new Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton (HIPS) Executive Group, supported by some specific four-area subgroups, to work alongside the four local partnerships.
The overarching outcome of the new arrangements is that children in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight should be safeguarded from harm. More specifically, the intention is that new ways of working are based on the following principles:
- be designed to ensure that services are delivered in the best interests of the child.
- not duplicate existing work, but provide strategic direction and challenge to enable enhanced co-ordination of activity and understanding of impact.
- provide a clear route for escalation of any system-wide issues and an agreed forum for the Safeguarding Partners to collectively fulfil their statutory duties.
- ensure that we make the best use of collective resources.
- be established within the existing resources (both financial and in people hours terms) and should not incur additional cost to agencies.
- local partnerships can continue to identify their own priorities in addition to any identified at a strategic level by the HIPS Executive.
- local areas ensure that the voices of children and families are clearly represented in local partnership work.
Role of HIPS arrangements and relationship with Local Safeguarding Children Partnership
The role of the HIPS Executive Group is to provide strategic direction and coordination of safeguarding activity across the pan Hampshire and Isle of Wight area, to promote best practice, implement local and national learning and identify issues requiring strategic intervention by the Safeguarding Partners across the HIPS area.
Membership and frequency of HIPS Executive
To support this role and relationship of mutual accountability, the membership of HIPS will be focused to the three Safeguarding Partners across each of the four areas, namely:
- Directors of Children’s Services from each of the represented local authorities. Directors of Children’s Services will represent education establishments (those who are maintained by the Local Authority) including Early Years services.
- Hampshire Constabulary, represented through the Chief Superintendent with lead safeguarding responsibility.
- Health, represented by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of West Hampshire CCG, Hampshire and Isle of Wight CCG, Portsmouth CCG and Southampton CCG. Clinical Commissioning Group representatives will represent the health sector in their local area. They will ensure dialogue with other health commissioning bodies across the HIPS area, namely NHS England (South East) and NHS England Specialist Commissioning.
- The Safeguarding Partners have also invited the Regional Schools Commissioner to attend the group to represent Academy educational establishments.
The Safeguarding Partners will act as the conduits and facilitate the flow of information and business between the HIPS Executive and the local Safeguarding Children Partnerships.
Chairing of a HIPS Executive
The HIPS Executive will be chaired by an Independent Chair newly recruited by the Safeguarding Partners for this role.
The HIPS Executive will convene four standing subgroups where there is a clear benefit to coordinating specific areas of business across the HIPS area:
- Health group – This group will coordinate safeguarding business across the health economy across the HIPS area. It will take the lead on the promotion and implementation of any best practice and learning for the health sector. It should be noted that the Isle of Wight will continue to hold its local Health Subgroup across Children and Adults but core members from that group, including the Chair, will attend the HIPS Health Group to ensure alignment and cross-communication of health themes.
- Child Exploitation group – The purpose of this group is to develop a shared understanding of the threat/need in respect of child exploitation, including patterns of activity that may reflect the organised exploitation of children; identify risks requiring strategic intervention and operational issues that can be dealt with more appropriately through the existing local structures; to drive forward the response to child exploitation through a tasking system that maximises the specialist skills and experience of staff across the pan-Hampshire and Isle of Wight area; to ensure that the vulnerabilities and risks associated with children who go missing are understood and incorporated within a consistent and robust multi-agency response.
- Procedures group – This group will develop all common multi-agency policies and procedures that inform single agency policy and practice across the HIPS area and lead on the Section 11 self-assessment audit.
- Child Death Overview Panel - This Group will perform the functions of the Child Death Overview Panel as outlined in Working Together 2018. It should be noted that this group will report to the HIPS Executive until the Pan Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System (ICS) is fully established, at which point the governance and reporting functions will transfer to the ICS.
Other workstreams, e.g. Quality Assurance, Workforce Development, and specific areas of business will be undertaken via Task and Finish or project focused groups. The partners remain committed to undertaking the Section 11 Audit process on a Pan Hampshire and Isle of Wight basis (see Figure on page 10).
Local Partnerships will commission and carry out their own local learning reviews. The learning and good practice arising will feed into both the local partnerships and the HIPS Executive to allow themes to be reviewed across the broad area and inform future initiatives.
The implementation and effectiveness of the new arrangements will be reviewed by the Safeguarding Partners in September 2020.
Ways of Working
The working practices of Safeguarding Partnership members will be considered locally with a view to securing effective operation of the LSCB functions and ensuring all member organisations are effectively engaged.
It may be appropriate for the Safeguarding Partnership to set up working groups or sub-groups, on a short-term or a standing basis to:
- Carry out specific tasks, for example: maintaining and updating procedures;
- Provide specialist advice, for example: in respect of working with specific ethnic and cultural groups, or with disabled children and/or parents;
- Bring together representatives of a sector to discuss relevant issues and to provide a contribution from that sector to safeguarding work, for example: schools, the voluntary and community sector, faith groups; and
- Focus on defined geographical areas within the Safeguarding Partnership boundaries;
- As a 'core group' or 'executive group' of Safeguarding Partnership members, to undertake some day-to-day business by local agreement.
Each Safeguarding Partner in the Consortium will establish local arrangements for working groups or sub-groups the details of which will be available on their respective websites.
All groups which are established by the Safeguarding Partnership should work to agreed terms of reference, with explicit lines of reporting, communication and accountability to the Safeguarding Partnership. This may take the form of a written constitution detailing a job description for all members and service level agreements between the Safeguarding Partnership, agencies and other partnerships. Chairs of sub-groups should be Safeguarding Partnership members.
Each Safeguarding Partnership should consider how to put in place arrangements to ascertain views of parents and carers and the wishes and feelings of children (including children who might not ordinary be heard) about the priorities and effectiveness of local safeguarding work, including issues of access to services and contact points for children to safeguard and promote welfare. The Safeguarding Partnership should also consider how children, parents and carers can be given a measure of choice and control in the development of services.
Annual Business Plan
Each Safeguarding Partner will produce an annual business plan setting out:
- A work programme for the following year to include measurable objectives;
- Relevant management information of child protection activity in the previous year;
- Progress against objectives established for the year ending.
Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report
The Chair must publish an annual report on the effectiveness of child safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the local area (this is a statutory requirement under section 14A of the Children Act 2004). The annual report should be published in relation to the preceding financial year and should fit with local agencies' planning, commissioning and budget cycles. The report should be submitted to the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, the local police and crime commissioner and the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.
The report should provide a rigorous and transparent assessment of the performance and effectiveness of local services. It should identify areas of weakness, the causes of those weaknesses and the action being taken to address them as well as other proposals for action. The report should include lessons from reviews undertaken within the reporting period.
The report should also list the contributions made to the Safeguarding Partnership by partner agencies and details of what the Safeguarding Partnership has spent, including on Child Death Reviews, Serious Case Reviews and other specific expenditure such as learning events or training.
Monitoring and Inspection
The Safeguarding Partnership 's work to ensure the effectiveness of work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children by member organisations will be a peer review process, based on self-evaluation, performance indicators and a joint audit. Its aim is to promote high standards of safeguarding work and to foster a culture of continuous improvement. It will also identify and act on identified weaknesses in services.
Where it is found that a Board partner is not performing effectively in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and the Safeguarding Partnership is not convinced that any planned action to improve performance will be adequate, the Safeguarding Partnership chair or a member or employee designated by the chair should explain these concerns to those individuals and organisations that need to be aware of the failing and may be able to take action.
As part of the monitoring and evaluation function of the Safeguarding Partnership, there is a requirement for each Safeguarding Partner to ensure appropriate links with any secure setting in its area and be able to scrutinise restraint techniques, the polices and protocols which surround the use of restraint, and incidences and injuries. Safeguarding Partnerships with a secure establishment(s) in its areas should report annually to the Youth Justice Board on how effectively the establishment(s) is managing use of restraint, the reports should be provided more frequently if there are concerns on the use of restraint. Consideration should be given to sharing the information with relevant inspectorates (HMIP and Ofsted. Where appropriate, members of the Safeguarding Partnership (with secure establishments in its area) should be given demonstrations in the techniques accredited for use to assist their consideration of any child protection or safeguarding issue that might arise in relation to restraint.
All incidents when restraint is used in custodial settings and in which results in an injury to a young person should be notified to, and subsequent action monitored, by the Safeguarding Partnership.
Individual services will be assessed through their own quality regimes. Annual performance assessment of council children's services (APA), by OFSTED, looks at the contribution of local authorities to outcomes for children, with an overall judgement supported by separate judgements on social care services for children and on education services. It draws on performance information, inspection evidence, other documents and self assessment. These inspectorates in their other work, plus other inspectorates such as the Healthcare Commission, and Her Majesty's Inspectorates of Constabulary, Prisons, and Probation, will have as part of their remit considering the effectiveness of their agencies' role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. The LSCB should draw on their work.
The Safeguarding Partnership will be able to feed its views about the quality of work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children into these processes.
The effectiveness of the Safeguarding Partnership itself should also form part of the judgement of the Inspectorates. This may be done, for example, by examining the quality of the Safeguarding Partnership's planning and determining whether key objectives have been met. It will be for the Local Authority to lead in taking action, if intervention in the Safeguarding Partnership's own processes is necessary.