Agenda and minutes

Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee
Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford

Contact: Helen Phillips  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were none at this meeting.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 11 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 136 KB


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee held on 11 December 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Minutes of the Joint Safe & Strong Communities and Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committees meeting held on 18 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 136 KB


The minutes of the joint Safe and Strong Communities and Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committees meeting held on 18 December 2018 were agreed.


Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Staffordshire pdf icon PDF 357 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People


[DCI David Giles (Staffordshire Police) and Megan Richards (Stoke City Council) also in attendance for this item]


The Select Committee regularly received updates on Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) since 2014. This report updated Members on:

·         the Child Sexual Abuse Forum (CSAF);

·         outcomes from the Staffordshire County Council Children’s Services focused visit from Ofsted in June 2018 and the subsequent action plan;

·         CSE Action Plan, including the Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) audit and HSB Steering group, the work of the Joint Strategic Coordinator and changes implemented following the publication of revised Working Together guidance in July 2018;

·         the CSE Outcomes framework;

·         communications;

·         workforce and development;

·         Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE);

·         youth produced sexual imagery (sexting);

·         learning and improvement;

·         work progressed by Staffordshire Police, including Operation Safenet, the Child Protection and Exploitation Team and abduction notices;

·         work progressed by Families First and Commissioned Services; and,

·         CSE and licensing.


Ways of working have developed across Police and social work teams to more effectively address some complex cases involving child sexual exploitation and grooming. Details of a recent successful prosecution resulting in an eight year sentence were shared with Members. This had involved an adult grooming and abusing boys and had required cross border, cross social work team and cross agency working. The boys had been from a number of locations across Staffordshire and had no connection to each other. These types of enquiries create an onerous workload for social work teams as they can involve large numbers of child witnesses who require interviewing where social workers support those interviews. The service area are considering any long term capacity impacts of this growing area of work.


Members heard that whilst acknowledging the work of the CSE Panels, the Ofsted focused visit had suggested consideration needed to be broadened to cover all vulnerable teenagers. The challenge was how to include the wide range of service areas and partners, considering a broadened group of vulnerable young people, in a manageable way, particularly when the existing workload of the CSE Panels resulted in Panel meetings lasting a full day. However the joined up inter-agency working of the CSE Panels had been successful and the learning and development from this way of working would help in developing the wider panel groups.


A review of transition arrangements had been undertaken for children affected by CSE. A benchmarking tool, designed by the National Working Group (NWG) that looked at multi-agency approach to safeguarding 16-18 year olds and transition, had been sent to frontline professionals. Findings would be collated by the Joint Strategic Coordinator with a multi-agency working group planned to create a position statement around the current transition arrangements and proposed next steps.  The benchmarking tool and audit of transition would help ensure a consistent approach across the County. The audit was across partner agencies which added to the complexity, with data currently with the Business Analyst. The intention was to develop joint protocols across adult providers and commissioners as well as children’s services.


The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.


Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report 2017 - 2018 pdf icon PDF 267 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People

Additional documents:


The Select Committee received the Annual Report 2017-2018 of the Staffordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board. This set out the work undertaken and the progress made by the partnership between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. Since the last annual report the SSCB had engaged in a range of activities that targeted groups of children and young people who had been identified as being vulnerable due to sexual abuse and exploitation, or to neglect as a result of parental alcohol misuse, substance misuse, parental mental health and/or domestic abuse.


Members noted that, following the Wood Report and national consultation, the Government published a revised Working Together 2018. In July 2018 the SSCB had been successful in their bid to the DfE to become an early adopter to re-focus the work of the Board across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and to bring together six Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), numerous acute trusts and community and mental health providers.


The Select Committee noted the SSCB budget was derived from contributions from a number of partners, including the Staffordshire County Council’s Children’s Services, Staffordshire Police, Staffordshire Probation, the Prison Service, CCGs, Youth Offender Service (YOS) and District Councils. There was no funding formula as such, with levels of funding from each organisation being historic and considered appropriate at the time the Board was set up. As part of the new arrangements from April 2019 it was anticipated that a funding formula would be produced. Statutory partners under the new arrangements would be the County Council, Police and the NHS. Members noted that although the six CCGs still existed, they were now working as one combined group for commissioning arrangements.


Whilst understanding that the new arrangements were being developed, Members asked for details of what the anticipated changes would be and how this Select Committee could continue in its scrutiny of the Board’s work. The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People offered to forward a paper to Members that had recently be shared with the SSCB. He also agreed to discuss the future scrutiny arrangements with the Chairman and Vice Chairman at the next Triangulation meeting.


Members welcomed the booklet produced by the Joint Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP). Feedback from this had been very positive, with favourable comments on the new layout, format and style.


Members noted the work with taxi drivers by the District Safeguarding Subgroups. The Chairman raised concerns the Select Committee continued to have around the licensing policy of Wolverhampton City Council. Previously the Select Committee had heard from Mr Robert Simpson, Customer Services Group Manager, Stafford Borough Council, and the work of the Responsible Bodies Group who had invited representatives from Wolverhampton Council to attend their meeting to discuss their licensing approach. Mr Simpson had sent an update for Members explaining that, following concerns raised by a number of councils throughout the West Midlands Region, the Chief Environmental Health Officers Board for the region had agreed to invite Wolverhampton Council to address them. This would enable the discussions to take place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Adult Safeguarding Partnership Board Annual Report 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Report of the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing

Additional documents:


During the course of the reported year (2017-2018) in Staffordshire there had been 4908 occasions when concerns had been reported that adults with care and support needs may be at risk of, or were experiencing, abuse or neglect. The total figure had decreased by 621 occasions from the previous year. The reported average per month was 409, however there had been a reduction of nearly 50% each month from December 2017 onwards, due mainly to the change in recording practice. Of those individuals subject of a Section 42 enquiry, those aged 85-94 (26%) represented the largest cohort, closely followed by 75-84 years (25%) and 65-74 years (12%).


Neglect continued to be the most prevalent factor leading to concerns being made, followed by physical abuse. Financial abuse referrals were increasing and concerns were shared with Members that this was an under reported  abuse category. Financial abuse was a new strategic priority for the Board during 2018-2021. Members queried whether banks were involved in raising issues of potential financial abuse as they may be well placed to identify concerns. DCI David Giles informed members that banks had a duty to report any fraudulent or unusual activities and that the Police received referrals from them.


The issue of recognising abuse and understanding how to report concerns was raised. Work was ongoing with engagement and prevention, with a number of communication avenues supporting this. Difficulties were also discussed around the tension between an individual’s right to choose how they lived and removing that choice as a safeguarding measure. A specific case study was discussed around an individual who had chocked to death and Members were informed that choking awareness training events had been held in response to this case.


The Select Committee queried whether the Board provided training for voluntary groups on abuse recognition. Whilst the Board wasn’t funded to provide such training they had developed a free level 1 safeguarding package which was available on their web site. It was also suggested that, where voluntary groups were part of the Support Staffordshire umbrella, Mr Gary Jones (also a member of the SSASPB) may be able to help with appropriate training.


Members queried why transition from children to adult services was not to be a priority for the Board going forward. This had been a strategic priority for three years, with a review commissioned and LAs responding to this. Project and delivery plans were now in place and the infrastructure around transition had been recognised. It was felt that, over the three year period when transition had been one of the Board’s priorities, enough work had been undertaken and assurances receive to now close the work and move to a new priority area.


RESOLVED – That the Annual Report 2017-2018 be received and the Board be congratulated on their report.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 319 KB


The Select Committee received a copy of their current work programme. Members agreed the following additions:


·         Ofsted Children’s Services focused visit;

·         SEND inspection;

·         transition/preparation for adulthood and safeguarding issues throughout this process;

·         care packages, the speed at which these are put in place and communication barriers between the north and south of the county; and,

·         future scrutiny of the children’s safeguarding board under their new arrangements.


RESOLVED- That the work programme be amended to include the additional items.


Exclusion of the Public

The Chairman to move:-


“That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below”.



Part Two

(All reports in this section are exempt)


RESOLVED - That the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business which involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 indicated below


The Committee then proceeded to consider reports on the following issues:


Exempt Minutes of the meeting held on 11 December 2018 (exemption paragraphs 4 & 5)


RESOLVED - That the exempt minutes of the Safe and Strong Communities Select Committee held on 11 December 2018 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.