Child welfare boards praised

AGENCIES that work together to protect children across Hartlepool have been praised by a Government watchdog.

Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards (LSCBs) involve a host of local agencies and partners teaming up to share their knowledge and expertise to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

The work of boards in Hartlepool has been hailed as some of the best in the country in a new report by schools and young people’s watchdog Ofsted.

Hartlepool Safeguarding Children’s Board includes the council, health authorities, police, crime and community safety and voluntary sector.

Ofsted said the Hartlepool board and health services hold each other to account by working closely and deliver action plans for how to review serious cases.

The work of the Durham board was also included and singled out for praise for developing a “thematic tool” to analyse actions taken and focus on hot-spots that need attention.

The Ofsted highlights the very best examples of working across a range of areas, including how LSCBs are governed, scrutinising the quality of their own and others agencies’ work, how they learn lessons from serious case reviews, and training opportunities.

They are based on evidence from Ofsted inspections of safeguarding children’s services and visits to local authorities.

Gail Hopper, vice chair of Durham LSCB, said: “I am delighted to see that Ofsted has acknowledged the very positive practice that takes place in Durham, particularly around our approach to performance management and learning from serious case reviews.

“Our approach ensures that local mangers work together to address issues that impact on children and families.

“A serious case review occurs when a child tragically dies or is seriously injured. It is critical at such time that professionals’ learning is not delayed and where changes in practice are necessary, these are taken forward immediately.

“Any delay or failure by individual organisations to address such issues are robustly challenged by the LSCB with the full support of its membership.”

Ofsted chief inspector Miriam Rosen said: “This report provides many rich examples of how Local Safeguarding Children Boards can help to bring about improvements which ensure that the needs of children in their area are well-served”.

The report says good practice is also found when children and young people are actively involved with local safeguarding services.

The findings come just days after the Hartlepool Mail reported the number of youngsters in Hartlepool subject to intervention by child protection specialists has dropped by a third over the past year.