Report of the Chief Officer for Children’s Services (CS/17/18) on the County Council’s statutory safeguarding responsibilities in the proposed new partnership arrangements, attached.
(Councillors Connett and Hannaford attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Chief Officer for Children’s Services (CS/17/18) on the discharge of the County Council’s statutory safeguarding responsibilities within the proposed new partnership arrangements.
Members were advised that Devon’s existing children’s partnership structures – the Devon Safeguarding Children Board (DSCB) and the Children, Young People and Families Alliance (the Alliance) - had been reviewed and a new streamlined partnership structure, fit for purpose, had been developed, seeking to strengthen partnership working in Devon, address the weaknesses identified locally and nationally and remove overlapping structures by merging the functions of the aforementioned bodies. The new structure, which would need to be endorsed by all partner agencies and had been discussed with HMI and Ofsted, incorporated the statutory requirements for Devon to have an LSCB.
The proposed new arrangements, which were set out in more detail in Appendix 1 to the Chief Officer’s Report encapsulated both the spirit and the detail of the Wood Review and its recommendations and
· assigned stronger leadership responsibility to three key partners, health, police and local authority: responsibility having previously rested with the local authority;
· separated more clearly the co-ordination and monitoring functions of LSCB and deployment of the role of the independent chair purposefully in monitoring and quality assurance,
· located the co-ordinating function with the statutory Director of Children’s Services and located responsibility for all children within the partnership, balancing well-being (universal), safeguarding (targeted) and protection (specialist).
The arrangements would necessarily be reviewed in the light of further Government guidance, expected later in the year.
The Chief Officer and the Cabinet Member for Children's Service and Schools responded to comments about the Council’s expectations for the exercise of its statutory safeguarding responsibilities, reiterating their commitment to achieve the highest standards possible, constantly seeking to ‘raise the bar’, consistent with the Council’s ethos of seeking continuous improvement.
The Head of Service’s Report indicated that a full Impact Assessment would be carried out in respect of the forthcoming Children's Plan which would set out the priorities for the new partnership in order that Cabinet might, as part of its determination of the next steps, have full regard to the responsibilities placed upon it to exercise its Public Sector Equality Duty under s149 of the Equality Act 2010, where relevant, recognising also that, at this stage, no unmanageable impacts had been identified in the establishment of the new partnership.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Officer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
It was MOVED by Councillor McInnes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
RESOLVED that the Cabinet is satisfied that the proposals now endorsed allow the County Council’s statutory safeguarding requirements to be satisfactorily discharged through the new arrangements under the auspices of The Devon Children and Families Partnership.