Our Partnership Functions
How 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 LSCP 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.
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 ICS and the Borough Commander for the Police Southeast Basic Command Unit.
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 ICS Governing Body. It will be published on the Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership, Lewisham Council and Lewisham ICS 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.
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.