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Appointment of substitutes
To be informed of the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.
There were no substitute members
To receive any declarations of interest
You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.
You are also requested to complete the Declarations of Interests card available at the meeting and return it to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.
You are also invited to disclose any dispensation from the requirement to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda
There were no declarations of interest.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2021.
Resolved that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 18 November 2021 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.
To provide an update to the Children, Education and Skills Sub-committee in relation to work undertaken in 2021 around exploitation including: Missing, Slavery, Exploitation (both criminal and sexual) and Trafficked (MSET).
The Committee considered a report in relation to work undertaken in 2021 around exploitation including: Missing, Slavery, Exploitation (both criminal and sexual) and Trafficked (MSET).
The report detailed the current key priorities, work that had been completed to date by North Tyneside and Partners in response to exploitation and provided an overview of the current cohort of children and young people at risk of exploitation and the interventions being completed with them.
Throughout 2021 significant progress had been made by Children’s Social Care and all partners to build on the actions taken in 2020 to strength the response to all children at risk of exploitation.
In early 2021, the new MSET policies and procedures had been agreed, and copies of the Missing, Slavery, Exploited, Trafficked (MSET) Strategy 2020-2022 had been circulated with the Report. Training for social workers, Early Help Practitioners and other professionals in relation to the new policies and procedures was facilitated by the Service Manager for Social Work.
There were robust measures in place to identify, monitor and review children and young people who go missing and to consider proportionate and proactive responses to their missing behaviours in light of the risks of exploitation.
Children’s Social Care and Early Help managers received daily information about any child/ young person resident in North Tyneside who had gone missing in the previous 24 hours. This allowed for early identification and close monitoring of repeat missing behaviours and ensured all workers and managers were sighted on young people who were at risk of exploitation.
Between January 2021 and 7 December 2021, there were 982 reported missing incidents by 367 young people. This referred to all children and young people resident in North Tyneside, so included children/ young people missing from home, children and young people missing from North Tyneside care and children and young people placed in the North Tyneside area by other Local Authorities.
All missing episodes of children and young people were either responded to via the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) (Early Help), if the child was unknown, or via their allocated worker if they were known to services.
In reply to a question regarding North Tyneside’s number of missing incidents compared to other Local Authorities it was noted that North Tyneside had traditionally had high numbers due to over reporting and changes had been made to reporting and there were 419 missing episodes for children in 2020/21, reduced from 541 missing episodes in 2019/20.
However the number of missing episodes were high this year and a comparison with other Local Authorities could be provided when the national data was available.
Significant work had been undertaken throughout 2020/21 to streamline and improve the process for notification of missing episodes and the offering and recording of Return Home Interviews (RHI’s).
Where the child was looked after, an independent Return Home Interview (RHI) was offered and facilitated if wanted via the Advocacy service. Where the child or young person was consistently missing and at risk of significant harm, ... view the full minutes text for item CES23
The Sub-Committee considered a report on the Relationships Education,
Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education Policy, online
safety concerns, the Ofsted review main findings and work being done as a
result of the findings of a recent safeguarding audit sent to schools on peer on
To help children and young people to learn the skills and knowledge to live healthy, safe and happy lives in modern society, in September 2020, the Department for Education (DfE) made Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools, Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools and Health Education compulsory in all state-funded schools.
In 2020, a website called Everyone’s Invited was created, aimed at providing a safe place for young people who had experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment in education settings to share their experiences. The anonymous testimonies of thousands of young people uncovered the prevalence of sexual violence, sexual harassment including online sexual abuse, in schools, colleges, universities and society generally. This predominantly impacted on girls and young women but was experienced by young men too.
As a result of the Everyone’s Invited Campaign, Ofsted were asked by the government to carry out a rapid review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges. The review included visits to 32 settings, interviews with over 900 children and young people and conversations with school leaders, teachers, parents, governors and Local Safeguarding Partnerships (LSPs).
The Ofsted review highlighted the prevalence of online sexual abuse that children and young people experienced, especially being sent sexual pictures or videos that they did not want to see.
Following this review, Ofsted made a number of recommendations for schools and college leaders, multi-agency partners, the government, inspectorates and Local Safeguarding Partnerships. The DfE guidance on Keeping Children Safe in Education was updated in 2021 to reflect these issues. This was underpinned by the reviewed 2021 guidance on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment between children in schools and colleges. Subsequently, the Ofsted framework was updated to ensure schools addressed peer on peer abuse, sexual harassment on and off line and sexual violence.
The recommendations made by Ofsted have been shared with schools in North Tyneside through head teacher briefings, Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL’s) briefings, PSHE lead networks and electronic communications.
The importance of the PSHE education curriculum in preventing sexual violence and sexual harassment in schools has been highlighted and curriculum resources provided to help schools strengthen this provision. PSHE networks have been used to discuss how to address this issue and schools have had the opportunity to share good practice.
The ‘RSE Ready?’ survey highlighted the need for further staff training particularly in secondary schools. Colleagues in both primary and secondary schools reported they would benefit from training and support in dealing with and education about peer on peer abuse, sexual violence and harassment and online safety and relationships.
Work underway to support the White Ribbon Accreditation in North Tyneside had highlighted a need for more targeted work with boys and young ... view the full minutes text for item CES24
To receive an update on Signs of Safety
The Sub-Committee considered a report on Signs of Safety which North Tyneside Children’s Services had adopted as their agreed model of practice in 2017.
The Signs of safety approach was a relationship-grounded, safety-organised approach to child protection practice, created by researching what works for professionals and families in building meaningful safety for vulnerable and at-risk children.
The purpose of the approach being:
‘To enable professionals to undertake all child protection practice with a rigorous focus on child safety by equipping agencies to establish their practice, policy, procedures and organisation so that professionals can do everything humanly possible to put the parents, children and everyone naturally connected to the children at the centre of the assessment, decision-making and planning and give them every opportunity to come up with and apply their ideas before the professionals offer or impose theirs.’
It was an internationally used model and was the model of practice in the majority of local authorities across England and Wales.
The oversight of Signs of Safety Implementation was via a monthly Steering Group which was chaired by the Senior Manager for Social Work Practice. Representatives from all the service areas and workforce development attended the Steering Group. The Group agreed the priorities for the year ahead, monitored progress against them, agreed the training calendar and was also responsive to emerging practice needs and issues. In the last 12 months the priorities had focused on Networks, Supervision, Early Help and Harm Risk Matrix in the Front Door.
Since 2020 there had been a strong focus on the use of networks in the Children’s service’s practice. Having a network of people who could help and support a family and in so doing build more safety for the child / children was a real strength of the Signs of Safety approach. This was challenging for both parents and practitioners as it required a family to be open and honest about what the worries were, what the safety goals were and what the bottom lines were. Parents needed to use the network not just to help and support but also to demonstrate that the child / children would be and were safe.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic the use of networks had been a key feature in building safety for children when professional oversight was more limited. Practitioners in North Tyneside were both creative and innovative about the use of networks and while there was further work to do, practice with regards to networks, was now very well embedded.
North Tyneside Children’s Services were approached by the DfE to do some further study and analysis around lessons learnt from working during the pandemic, that could be shared and used across the sector. In partnership with Professor Eileen Munro, Professor Andrew Turnell and Marie Devine, the Council worked with three other local authorities to explore:
What helps and hinders practitioners build safety through naturally connected networks during a pandemic when professional contact is limited?
The study was small in size and consequently the ... view the full minutes text for item CES25