Agenda and minutes

Safeguarding Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 1st September 2020 10:00am

Venue: Teams meeting

Contact: Helen Phillips  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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There were none at this meeting.


Minutes of the Select Committee meeting held on 7 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 148 KB

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RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee held on 7 July 2020 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children's Board (SSSCB) Response to Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 289 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People



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At their meeting of 7 July 2020 Members requested details of the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board (SSSCB) response to Covid 19. Members were reminded of the changes to the Safeguarding Boards in 2018, with responsibility and accountability for the Board being shared between the Local Authority, Police Force (not the Commissioner) and Health (Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)). The changes had been made following Sir Alan Wood’s review of the role and function of safeguarding boards. Staffordshire had been one of the early implementors following the Review, with one of the changes being to rotate chairing the Board between partners rather than having one independent chair. There had been an emphasis on all statutory partners understanding and enacting their responsibilities with independent scrutiny possibly coming from the inclusion of an independent member to the Board in the future. Select Committee Members accepted that there was a difficulty in finding an individual with the right experience who was also independent of any of the organisations that made up the Board membership. Sir Alan Wood was in the process of revisiting his review to consider learning from the changes made. Statutory bodies governance routes and independent scrutiny processes were likely to be areas of consideration from this learning.


The steps introduced to control the spread of Covid 19 were recognised by the SSSCB as necessary. However, they also recognised the disproportionate effect these had on children as their sources of support, including schools, friends’ network and extended family members, were all removed. Additionally, there was an increase in family stress for households facing increased financial and social pressures. The SSSCB had used a range of mechanisms (including audit activity, questionnaires and surveys) to gain assurances from key partners that engagement had been maintained with those children and families that remained a concern. The wider children’s system had also been monitored to determine the approach moving forward, with an aligned partnership risk assessment produced.


Throughout the Covid19 restriction period the SSSCB had wide engagement with all safeguarding partners to ascertain the stages and remit of their recovery plans. Members were informed that no partner had withdrawn their services fully and that the commitment of the wider children’s workforce in maintaining levels of service for vulnerable children and their families had been outstanding. Examples were shared where officers and/or services had gone “above and beyond” what was required to ensure those most vulnerable were protected. This included refuges that had lost staff due to Covid 19, which had been able to remain running through the use of the volunteer workforce.


The Select Committee were pleased to note that the majority of services, though altered, had been maintained throughout the pandemic. Communication had worked well from the beginning of the crisis, with partners being quick to share information and work closely together to ensure services remained for those most vulnerable. Risk assessments had been completed for service users and contact maintained.  The SSSCB had increased the frequency of its meetings whilst continuing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 273 KB

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The Select Committee received a copy of their work programme.


RESOLVED: That the work programme be noted.