Manchester City Council

Agenda item

Agenda item

Annual Report of Manchester Safeguarding Children Board April 2018 - March 2019

Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services and the Former Independent Chair of Manchester Safeguarding Children Board

 

This report provides an overview of Manchester Safeguarding Children Board’s Annual Report which is for the period April 2018 - March 2019.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services and Julia Stephens-Row, the former Independent Chair of Manchester Safeguarding Children Board (MSCB) which provided an overview of the MSCB Annual Report for the period from April 2018 - March 2019.  The full report was appended.

 

The main points and themes within the report included:

 

  • Background information;
  • Business priorities; and
  • Future challenges and improvement.

 

Julia Stephens-Row informed the Committee that the report would be submitted to the Health and Wellbeing Board at the end of October and that the Committee could provide its comments for that meeting.

 

Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:

 

  • That this was a good, comprehensive report;
  • To ask whether there had been any prosecutions in Manchester in relation to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM);
  • Work to address neglect and child obesity;
  • The importance of partnership working, particularly in relation to tackling “county lines” (where vulnerable young people from the city were exploited by criminal gangs to transport and sell drugs in other areas), given the way this crossed borders into other local authority and police areas;
  • The importance of consistent, effective training for teachers and other professionals on recognising signs of neglect or other safeguarding concerns; and
  • The work of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), who managed allegations against adults who worked with children.

 

Julia Stephens-Row informed Members that there had only been one successful prosecution for FGM in the country, which had not been in Manchester.  She reported that she had attended a conference on FGM where the North West Chief Crown Prosecutor had outlined the challenges in pursuing prosecutions for FGM but that she had been reassured that the Crown Prosecution Service would pursue prosecutions as necessary.  She advised Members that, in her view, the key focus of work in this area, was to encourage women and girls to come forward and ensure that they were supported and protected.

 

Julia Stephens-Row reported that the MSCB had refreshed the Neglect Strategy and was continuing to fully roll-out the use of the neglect tool, which had already been used in a number of cases.  She informed Members about a range of work to address child obesity, primarily lead by the Population Health Team.  She advised Members that this included a refresh of the Obesity Strategy which linked into the MSCB’s Neglect Strategy.  The Strategic Head of Early Help reported that early intervention was the best approach to tackling obesity so, in addition to learning from serious cases, work was taking place to reduce obesity through the Early Help Offer. 

 

Julia Stephens-Row reported that work to address county lines required good links between organisations across the country as young people were being moved across borders.  The Strategic Head of Early Help informed Members about the ‘Trapped’ campaign against child criminal exploitation and outlined some of the work taking place to address this problem through policies, training and complex safeguarding operations.  She reported that it had been recognised that young people going missing from home was a significant risk factor so the established processes for dealing with children who went missing from home were now being used to enable early identification and intervention.  The Executive Member for Children and Schools recommended that the ‘Trapped’ video be circulated to Members of the Committee, to which the Chair agreed. 

 

The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services informed Members about the work of the Education Safeguarding team and how they worked with clusters of schools.  He offered to provide further information on this in a future report.  The Executive Member for Children and Education Services commented that partnership working and a change of culture were central to a lot of the issues raised during this item and suggested that, when the Committee received future reports on locality working and safeguarding arrangements, officers should include more information on these aspects.

 

Julia Stephens-Row reported that work had been done to raise the profile of the LADO role, although some organisations were better than others at referring cases.  She informed Members that the LADO provided advice to organisations on dealing with allegations and that not all cases progressed to investigations.

 

The Executive Member for Children and Schools and the Chair thanked Julia Stephens-Row for her work as the Independent Chair of the MSCB.

 

Decisions

 

  1.         To note the publication of the Manchester Safeguarding Children Board (MSCB) Annual report 2018–2019.

 

2.         To recognise the need to promote the importance of safeguarding of children and young people across the Council and in the services that are commissioned ensuring that safeguarding is at the heart of all that is delivered.

 

3.            To request that the ‘Trapped’ video be circulated to Members of the Committee.

 

4.            To request that an extract of the minutes for this item be provided to the Health and Wellbeing Board when they discuss this report.

Supporting documents: