Agenda item

Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership - Update

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services which provides an update on Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) activity. This follows discussion at the Board’s 8 March 2023 meeting where it was resolved that a further update would be brough to the Board in the Autumn.


The report of the Head of Democratic Services set out to the context and background of the Board’s past interest in the work of the Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (LSCP).


In 2022/23 the Board considered a number of work items in relation to the Notification of Serious Child Safeguarding Incidents. The board requested and received updates from the LSCP Executive throughout this period the last of which was during the meeting on 8 March 2023.


Following discussion, and recorded in the minutes from the meeting held on 8 March 2023, agreed actions that formed the basis of the latest update report and presented to the Board were:


  The findings from the LSCP Executive’s twelve-month review of its revised notification processes, which will be undertaken in July 2023.

  Progress on the work being undertaken around practitioner escalation and resolution of concerns.

  Capturing the voice of the child and evidencing how the learning stemming from reviews is being disseminated and is improving outcomes for children and young people.

  Addressing the use of language and jargon and understanding the use of definitions used in the sector.

  The work being undertaken to ensure the use of accurate and timely risk assessments and improving awareness and understanding amongst practitioners around differing risk assessment processes.

  The Leeds input into the review of the Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 guidance, with an update on progress dependent upon the timing of the national review process.

  Clarification of the levels of oversight, including democratic oversight, that surrounds those Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews that are notified to the National Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.


The following were in attendance for this item:


  Julie Longworth, Director of Children and Families

  Jo Harding, Director of Nursing and Quality, NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board

  Councillor Pryor Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education

  Phil Coneron, Interim Business Unit Manager for the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership

  Rebecca Roberts, Section Head of Social Care Legal and legal adviser to the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership


Responding to question from members the following discussion points were raised:


  Members were interested in hearing more detail about how the child’s voice is captured by the partnership as discussed under section 3 of the submitted report and specifically around how feedback from children and young people has impacted the findings of reviews and the wider work of the LSCP. The Board were informed that feedback can vary depending on the age of the child involved but through the independent authors that are commissioned to conduct Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews (CSPRs) meetings with the child or young person do take place and also feedback is provided to them on learning that has resulted from their case. It was acknowledged that when recommendations are made during CSPRs there is more work to do in terms of ensuring that reviews impact practice and make a difference on the frontline and outcomes for children and young people. Further work is planned over the coming year on quality assurance and the impact that the reviews have had on practice in Leeds.

  More generally the Board were assured about the voice of the child being a central theme in the work done by Children and Families in terms of consultation from the Voice and Influence Team on key strategic policies such as the Children and Young People’s Plan and ensuring the child’s voice is heard in Looked After Children Reviews with feedback incorporated into practice through a ‘you said, we did’ approach which clearly shows how services have responded to feedback.

  The ILAC inspections that are carried out by Ofsted also involve detailed reviews of case files through which an assessment is made on how the voice of the child has impacted on services and impacted on practice. Section 11 inspections are also relevant in ensuring services in the LSCP capture the voice of the child these are carried out under Section 11 of the Children Act (2004) and contained in those is a question on how the voice of the child is used to shape and develop services which informs service development and improvements.

  The Board sought clarification in relation to paragraph 7 of the submitted report which related to the notifying of child safeguarding cases to the National Panel and who decides on the threshold that is reached that leads to a national notification. The Board were informed that this is a joint decision at the Review Advisory Group (RAG) of the three partners on the LSCP, Health, Police and Children and Families services supported by legal advisors and the involvement of the independent scrutineer who participates in the RAG decision making process. This is further supported by consideration at the LSCP Executive who have oversight of RAG decisions on notifications. If the decision is to notify to the national panel rationale for this decision is also provided. For those cases that are not at the threshold of national notification, these are subject to further action at a local level comprising of lessons learned reviews or local thematic reviews. It was also noted that when a case involving significant harm arises a strategy meeting takes place involving all partners and this can lead to referral to the RAG and independent scrutineer, this can be to consider a national notification but also where learning and review will be beneficial and lead to improvement in practice. Professional judgement is the key factor in determining referrals to the National Panel or other courses of action.

  Board members sought further details on the involvement of the third sector in the work of the LSCP in particular the involvement of Women’s Aid and their recent work. It was noted that input from the Third Sector would be welcomed by the LSCP and that contact should be made via the LSCP Business Manager and would lead to the involvement of the Third Sector Safeguarding Group. It was also noted that the newly appointed independent scrutineer has a particular interest in third sector organisations which could offer an opportunity for further links to the work of Women’s Aid.

  A further area of interest was around collective decision making and how disagreements about notifications between the three LSCP partners are resolved. Over the past 12-18 months this has been the subject of significant development and scrutiny at both the Executive Board and at this Scrutiny Board. It is still the case that the local authority is the responsible body in terms of making a notification, but it was stressed that these decisions are reached collaboratively between the three partners and there has not been a situation over the past 12-18 months where a consensus has not been reached on a particular case. Effectively the legal duty is for the Director of Children and Families to make a decision on notifications but in practice this is a collaborative process through which a consensus is reached on whether to make a notification to the National Panel or other courses of action.

  Responding to further questions on the Review Advisory Group (RAG) the board were informed that where a decision not to undertake a Child Safeguarding Practice Review is made this is subject to wider scrutiny at a national level which acts as a ‘sense check’ on those processes.

  The Board recognised that over the past year and more the processes surrounding national notifications have improved and that democratic oversight both through this Board and more widely has played a significant part in that.




a)  Members noted the content of the report.

b)  Agreed that an annual update on LSCP activity should feature on the Board’s work programme each municipal year.


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