Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board

Our Partnership Arrangements

Our Safeguarding Children Partnership Arrangements - introduction

mother and childAll children in Lewisham regardless of their background and circumstances, should have a happy and fulfilled childhood where they enjoy school and family life, learn, belong, grow and achieve so that they enter adulthood ready, willing and able to achieve their highest potential.

We believe that everyone and every agency who comes into contact with children has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action to safeguard them.

Safeguarding is everybody’s business.

For many years, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board has aimed to ensure that member agencies work together to keep children and young people safe, hold one another to account and ensure that safeguarding remains a priority.

During that time, it has successfully delivered against a substantial work programme to ensure the continuous improvement of the safeguarding of Lewisham’s children. This has been achieved through a culture where values and priorities are shared and understood and where cooperative and collaborative working is the norm. The LSCB has worked alongside the Lewisham Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership to deliver the borough’s Children and Young People’s Plan, where safety is a central theme.

In response to the Children and Social Work Act 2017, a new partnership has been created between the London Borough of Lewisham, the Southeast Basic Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police and Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group. Together we have a shared and equal duty to make arrangements to work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children in Lewisham. Effective 29 June 2019, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership will replace the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board.

Our work is underpinned by shared values and a determination and commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people.

We are committed to building upon what has already been achieved. In designing the new arrangements, we have been acutely conscious that a partnership is only effective if all partners actively engage and buy into the shared vision. In these times of austerity and pressures on services, it is vital that the arrangements make the best possible use of everyone’s time and that all activities demonstrably improve the quality and impact of practice so that that outcomes for children improve.

Working together with relevant agencies we want to ensure a system where children are safeguarded and their welfare promoted. As it says in the Lewisham Children and Young People’s Plan 2019-21:

“It is everyone’s business to ensure we support out children to cope with the complexity of life and emerge from challenging experiences with a positive sense of themselves and their future.”

jim foley

Jim Foley, Detective Superintendent Southeast Borough Command Unit, Metropolitan Police

sara williams

Sara Williams, Executive Director for Children and Young People, London Borough of Lewisham

martin wilkinson

Martin Wilkinson, Managing Director NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group

Our Strategy, Vision & Values

disabled childWith over 300,000 residents, Lewisham is the 14th largest borough in London by population size and children make up 24.5% of the population.

We are an ethnically diverse borough with over two thirds of the children in our schools being from black and minority ethnic backgrounds with over 170 different languages spoken by pupils.

Our aim, backed up by what children, young people, parents, carers and those whose job it is to support them have told us, is that children in Lewisham should:

  • Have the best start in life and be protected from harm
  • Have good physical and emotional health
  • Develop, achieve and be ready for adulthood
  • Feel listened to, understood and respected, in a context of community diversity

To deliver our goals, we will:

  • Put children and young people first every time
  • Together with families, we will have the highest aspirations and ambition for all our children and young people
  • Make a positive difference to the to the lives of children and young people

We will use evidence and analysis to set the Strategic Priorities which will form the focus of our activities. These priorities will be the areas that we believe are the key areas where, working in partnership, we can improve, develop and achieve our goals As a partnership, we are firmly committed to the belief that safeguarding of children is everyone’s business.

Our principles are set out in the Lewisham Children and Young People Plan 2018 – 2021.

We must:

  • have a clear and shared understanding of the data so that we have a shared language to articulate the challenges and the impact we want to make
  • Have a shared understanding of and approach to the management of risk to ensure that all partners can make timely and effective decisions
  • Ensure that services for children and young people must be designed and delivered in a way that reflects the richness of diversity in the borough, working with and listening to communities so that innovation can be harnessed, risk can be moderated, escalation of need can be prevented and life chances maximised
  • Have performance measures that are based on a shared understanding of what success should look like from the perspective of children, young people and their families

Our Organisational Structure

young childWe know that strong leadership and the right structures are critical for the new arrangements to be effective.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) names the local authority chief executive, the accountable officer of a clinical commissioning group and a chief officer of police as the lead representatives with accountability under the legislation.

The lead representatives may delegate the responsibility and authority for ensuring full participation with these arrangements to a senior officer, but remain accountable for any actions or decisions taken on behalf of their agency.

In Lewisham, the lead representatives have named the following senior officers who will have delegated responsibility to work together to promote multi agency safeguarding within the borough of Lewisham:

London Borough of Lewisham
Sara Williams
Executive Director for Children and Young People

NHS Lewisham CCG
Martin Wilkinson
Managing Director

Metropolitan Police
Jim Foley
Detective Superintendent, Southeast BCU

Together with Senior Advisors, they will form the LSCP Executive Group which will be responsible for:

  • Setting the vision, strategy and policy direction for Lewisham’s safeguarding arrangements
  • Ensuring wider accountability across services
  • Delivering a fully accountable multi agency system for safeguarding and protecting children in all settings

The Executive Group will meet four times a year and will be supported by, and work closely with, the Partnership Group.

Members of the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership Group will be drawn from relevant agencies and provide monitoring and challenge to their own and other agencies. They will be required to speak with authority and take decisions on behalf of their agency, commit them on policy, resourcing and practice matters and hold their own organisation to account on how effectively they participate and implement the local arrangements.

The Partnership group will meet four times a year and be chaired by a member of the Executive in yearly rotation.

Organisation Representative
London Borough of Lewisham - Joint Chair Executive Director for Children and Young People
NHS Lewisham CCG - Joint Chair Managing Director
Metropolitan Police - Joint Chair Detective Superintendent Safeguarding
Children's Social Care Director Children’s Social Care
Youth Offending and Community Safety Director of Public Protection and Safety
Commissioned Children’s Services including Children’s Centres Director of Joint Commissioning and Early Help
Early Years, Primary, Secondary and Post 16 Education, SEND and inclusion Director of Education Services
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children
NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group Designated Doctor for Safeguarding Children
Schools and Academies Headteacher and Governor Representative
NHS England Director of Nursing for South London
South London and Maudsley NHS Trust Lead Clinician
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Chief Nurse
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector, Safeguarding
Probation Area Manager
Community Rehabilitation Company Area Manager
Public Health Director of Public Health
Housing Director of Housing
Community Christ the Rock Ministries
Phoenix Community Housing
Local Authority Cabinet Member for School Performance and Children’s Services

Four subgroups will report to and inform the work of the Executive Board and Partnership.

  • Monitoring, Evaluation and Service Improvement
  • Learning from Practice
  • Schools’ Safeguarding Network
  • Concern Hub

In order to minimise bureaucracy and learn from practice, time limited Task and Finish Groups will be convened when needed.

Monitoring, Evaluation and Service Improvement including Audit

The purpose of this group is to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of what is being achieved the partners, individually and collectively. Multi agency audits help to measure the quality, effectiveness and outcomes of safeguarding work across the partnership. Members of this group participate in audit activities including case audits, interviews with children, young people and parents, surveys, consultations and discussions with practitioners and triangulate this information to establish the quality of safeguarding delivery, identify areas that require further improvement and influence system change.

Learning from Practice

The Learning from Practice group is part of our commitment to a dynamic and self-improving system where excellent practice is the norm. It has responsibility for identifying and reviewing incidents that raise issues of improvements to practice, conducting rapid reviews and, where appropriate, notifying incidents to the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and commissioning and publishing local child safeguarding practice reviews.

The Learning from Practice Group has a key role to play in improving collective knowledge about where there is good practice and also whether there are systemic issues and how policy and practice might change to address them.

Our focus is on evidence and analysis, not who did or didn’t do what and when, but on ensuring that learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and that changes to practice can be implemented.

Schools’ Safeguarding Network

Schools are a vital and central part of the safeguarding partnership as they have a crucial role to play in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, given the intensity of the contact with children, young people and their families. The Executive Director for Children and Young People represents schools on the Executive of the partnership.

The Schools Safeguarding Network is responsible for communicating the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children to all schools within Lewisham. It will monitor safeguarding activities across all the schools, across the phases to improve outcomes for children, provide a communication channel between all schools and the Lewisham Learning and Development Partnership and act as a source of peer support in meeting safeguarding responsibilities. The chair of the Schools Safeguarding Network will then sit on the Partnership Group.

The Concern Hub

In Lewisham, we recognise that exploitation can take different forms. We know that children and young people are at significant risk of many different forms of exploitation when they go missing, are associated with criminal exploitation, serious youth violence or missing education. It is important that we do not look at risk factors in isolation and also that practitioners recognise that children with additional needs such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder or mental ill-health, can be more vulnerable.

The Concern Hub focuses on prevention, intervention, diversion and disruption in order reduce the impact and risk of child exploitation across the community. It seeks to ensure that across the multi-agency partnership, the risk to young people of child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, serious youth violence and of being missing from home, care or education is consistently understood, recognised and responded to.

young childSafeguarding Partnership Support Team

The day to day work of the LSCP will be undertaken by Safeguarding Partnership Support Team reporting to the Head of Safeguarding and Quality Assurance in the Council. The unit will provide organisational and administrative support for the Executive and Partnership Boards and well as sub groups and be responsible for the day to day running of the Partnership.

A member of the support team will have responsibility for supporting with data analysis to ensure understanding of need, emerging issues and relevant service performance, in particular answering the questions:

  • How much have we done?
  • How well did we do it?
  • What difference has it made?

Arrangements with Greenwich and Bexley

Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley will have discrete Multi-Agency Safeguarding Partnership Arrangements but the three boroughs will work closely together to share learning and improve innovation, collaboration and efficiency.

At the most senior level, this will work through a Triborough Strategy Board that will meet twice annually to consider the areas where a triborough focus can most efficiently and effectively improve safeguarding and where possible align priorities.

Our Partnership Functions

young childHow we will work as a Partnership

Although all partners share the same vision for children, they have different remits and resources.

We believe that vulnerable children are best protected when professionals clearly understand their individual responsibilities and collaborate effectively.

Lewisham has a strong tradition of effective multi agency working and a shared commitment to improving services to children at risk of harm. All partners are committed to ensuring that this continues and develops further under the new arrangements.

We believe that children are best safeguarded when partners have a shared language and understanding, but continue to maintain different perspectives. Our challenge is to ensure that those perspectives are used to enrich our understanding of complex situations and lead to deeper learning.

All members of the partnership are committed to openness and honesty and will strive to ensure a balance of respect and challenge. We will resolve conflict through conversations with maturity and restorative approaches.

The LSBP will work closely with the Safer Lewisham Partnership, Lewisham Adult Safeguarding Board and Lewisham Health and Well Being Board to develop better integration and more efficient and effective safeguarding arrangements throughout the borough.

All of our activities and processes are designed to facilitate and drive action beyond institutional and organisational boundaries.

Although different professionals will have areas of specific, and sometimes statutory, responsibility we aim to ensure that there is no hierarchy of professional identity but instead an understanding of professional and cultural differences and how the range of backgrounds complement each other.

We want to ensure that legitimate professional challenge ensures that there is a true multiagency dimension to complex decision making in safeguarding children.

We know that safe and effective practice is rooted in purposeful quality assurance and challenge. Our goal is for staff in all agencies to feel supported to be part of an a self improving safeguarding culture.

Safe and effective practice is rooted in purposeful quality assurance and challenge and purposeful challenge is rooted in mutual respect, transparency and honesty.

When there are weaknesses in the system, our focus is on evidence and analysis, learning for the future, not blame and recriminations.

Funding

Partners and relevant agencies will contribute funding and services in kind to support the implementation of our priorities. In the first year these will be equal to the previous year.

The local authority will act as the host agency for funding, receiving contributions and making payments for expenses incurred on behalf of the partnership.

Role of the Scrutineer

Legislation and statutory guidance require us to ensure the effectiveness of our arrangements through scrutiny by an independent person. This role is designed to provide critical challenge to:

  • Provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of services to protect children
  • Assist when there is a disagreement between agencies
  • Support the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership to be a learning organisation

Independent Scrutiny will be provided by a single individual with a view to generating usable learning for system improvements.

The Scrutineer will attend Executive and Partnership Meetings as an observer and will be free to read any documentation and attend any meetings that she deems appropriate to satisfy herself of the effectiveness of the arrangements.

The Scrutineer will publish their assessment as part of the Annual Report and will have regular meetings with the Mayor of Lewisham, the LeadCabinet Member, the Chief Executive of the Council, the Chief Operating of Lewisham CCG and the Borough Commander for the Police Southeast Basic Command Unit.

Thresholds

Everyone who works with or has contact with children has a legal obligation to keep children safe. The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership is committed to helping all practitioners understand their role and has published Thresholds for Intervention: Multi Agency Guidance on How Children, Young People and Families Can Access the Right Support at the Right Time in Lewisham.

This document aims to provide a clear framework and promote a common understanding for the provision of support to children with universal, additional, complex and acute needs. 

Annual Report and Review

In order to ensure accountability and transparency for children, families and practitioners about our activities and outcomes, we will produce an annual report.

This report will include:

  • Our agreed priorities and evidence of the impact of the work of safeguarding partners and relevant agencies on those priorities, including areas where there has been little progress
  • A report and analysis of training and effectiveness
  • A record of decisions and actions taken, or planned to be taken, to implement the recommendations of any local and national child safeguarding practice reviews, including and resulting improvements
  • Ways and which the voice of children and families has been used to inform work and influence service provision
  • Any agreed updates and proposed timescale for implementation to our published arrangements

Prior to publication, the report will be subject to independent scrutiny by the Scrutineer. It will be endorsed by the Lewisham Children’s Strategic Partnership Board and presented to the Council’s Children and Young People’s Select Committee and the CCG Governing Body. It will be published on the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership, Lewisham Council and Lewisham CCG websites and distributed through relevant partners’ communication systems.

A Culture of Respect and Challenge

Since everyone in the children’s workforce has a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership has a remit to ensure that there is a culture and climate that promotes safeguarding among all staff.

We recognise that no single professional can have a full picture of a child’s needs and circumstances and everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action in order to ensure that children and families receive the right help at the right time. We value the diversity of our workforce and the skills and experiences that the staff from different backgrounds and agencies bring.

Learning and Development

All of our processes and procedures will be designed to support learning that can be embedded consistently and coherently across agencies and systems. We want the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership to be a learning organisation and to create a culture where workers’ desire to improve and learn is linked to front line practice.

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership is designed to be a dynamic and self-improving system with learning from audits, deep dives, feedback, surveys, learning reviews and an annual conference used to inform the development of a single and multi-agency training. Multi agency and inter borough training and learning events will be organised by the operational team who will also report on effectiveness and impact.

To be effective, practitioners need to continually develop their professional judgement and be aware of new and emerging threats. We will offer high quality multi agency training, but understand that every interaction, with families and colleagues alike, is an opportunity for reflective learning.

Our approach is both challenging and supportive. We want to learn from what works as well as look openly and forensically when the system does not work as well as it needs to.

Safeguarding ChildenFuture Developments

Our commitment to learning and continuous improvement means that the arrangements as described in this document are not static.

Our principal priority is ensuring that our safeguarding arrangements work effectively for children and families.

We will consistently challenge ourselves to improve and will seek to learn from our own analysis and good practice in other areas,

We will formally review our arrangements each year and make changes whenever we believe that they will improve outcomes for vulnerable children. 

Our Annual Reports

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) brings together all the main organisations who work with children and families in Lewisham, with the aim of ensuring that they work together effectively to keep children safe.

The core legislation underpinning the work of the LSCB is the Children Act 1989 and the Children Act 2004. The LSCP’s objectives, as set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, are:

  • to co-ordinate the work of agencies to safeguard children and promote the welfare of children within Lewisham
  • to ensure the effectiveness of safeguarding children in Lewisham

LSCB Priorities & Task Groups 2017-2019

Child Death Overview Panel Annual Report 2016-17

LSCB Annual Report 2015-2016

LSCB Annual Report 2016-2017

LSCB Annual Report 2017-2018

Our Policies & Procedures

The Lewisham Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) is governed by, and adheres to different policies and procedures, developed in accordance with the "Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018" and other National Guidance.

London Child Protection Procedures provide standards for agencies and a framework to promote children’s welfare and protect them from abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding Disabled Children Practice Guidance

Children & Young People's Plan, 2015-2018

Children's Act 1989

Children's Act 2004

FACT SHEET: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

The Munro Review of Child Protection: A Child-Centred System

As you navigate around this site you will see we have done our best to ensure that relevant policies and procedures are included on our main pages to make them easier for you to find and read, depending on what information you looking for.

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