Agenda item

Hillingdon Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report 2021-2022


The Chairman of the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the Executive Director of Children’s Services introduced the report on the Hillingdon Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report 2021 – 22 and provided a detailed update on the work undertaken to support adults with support and care needs and vulnerable children and their families.


The Committee heard about the actions in place to prevent abuse and neglect, the joint approach to safeguarding, the challenges and learning from the Covid - 19 Pandemic, partnership working and the focus on learning and development work. It was reported that the priorities for the Safeguarding Children Partnership for 2022 – 23 were:


·         Stronger Families

·         Child Sexual Abuse

·         Contextual Safeguarding


Shared Priorities included:


·         Practice Development Forum

·         Joint Strategic Safeguarding and Trafficking

·         Domestic Abuse

·         Self - neglect and capacity


Members welcomed the Safeguarding Partnership Communication and Engagement Strategy that involved children and young people rewriting sections of the website. Members were pleased to see the involvement of children and young people in shaping services.


Questions were asked around children and young people acting as carers, work being done to tackle gang grooming and safeguarding concerns in education settings. It was explained that there were provisions specifically designed to support young carers including support groups and assessments were undertaken through the Stronger Families Hub where the appropriate support was identified and implemented. The Local Authority had provisions such as the AXIS Team and the partners work closely with the police and outreach teams focussing on prevention and early intervention for children being impacted by gang grooming and other forms of criminal exploitation. It was highlighted that there had been a decrease in the number of first-time entrants into the youth justice system which demonstrated the early intervention and identification mechanisms in place. Any concerns regarding education settings were raised by Ofsted and addressed directly with the education setting.


In terms of contextual safeguarding and aspects of concentration such as peer on peer abuse, it was reported that raising awareness of contextual safeguarding in communities was a priority. There was an emphasis on early intervention and prevention prior to escalating.


It was recognised that the Covid – 19 Pandemic had led to challenges and an increase in residents requiring support. Further information was requested on how the pressure on services had been accommodated and the increase in safeguarding activity on hidden harm had impacted a demand in services. It was confirmed that a family tree structure detailing all the different subgroups would be made available to Members. Nationally, there had been a change in services following the Pandemic and an increase in needs and hidden harm. This requirement was being addressed through shared learning from the Pandemic and adapting services and engaging with residents in different ways. Many of these ways worked better such as meetings with professionals and residents virtually. Creating  community teams and hubs was also a good way to provide early intervention and support to residents and a multi-agency approach was being applied. It was also noted that there had been challenges in recruitment and staff retention and this was being explored.


During Member discussions, it was reported that the Stronger Families Portal was  an interactive tool children services signposting anyone who needed support , information or advice. Once a resident or professional had completed an eform, the eform was uploaded automatically into the electronic recording system and this, in turn,  which triggers  notifications to relevant teams who assessed the information and made decisions on the next steps. There was also the option to call the Stronger Families Hub that offered a 24/7 triage and advice service.


In terms of coordinated approaches and interventions to meet resident needs, the steps being taken to mitigate challenges in the different services and the increase in domestic violence, it was explained that a coordinated response worked well and the Children Act placed a duty on professionals working in safeguarding to escalate concerns in the appropriate manner.


There was a clear pathway in the Stronger Families Hub portal that triggered relevant assessments. The Children Partnership Board was attended by statutory partners and other organisations such as GP representatives and NHS Primary care providers. All providers worked together to share information and identify needs early, address concerns and coordinate intervention.


The Committee commended the Partnership for its work on the Joint Strategic Safeguarding and Trafficking and Operation Warm Welcome.


It was confirmed that the number of cases reported for Child Protection and safeguarding pre-Pandemic and to date would be provided.


The Committee thanked officers and all the teams that had contributed to the comprehensive, complex and detailed report. It was noted that comparative numbers rather than percentages would be useful when comparing data and statements from the voice of children and young people were welcomed.




That the Committee:


  1. Noted the report and was assured that the partnership continues to provide leadership and scrutiny of the safeguarding arrangements for Hillingdon residents.
  2. Was updated regarding the way in which the partnership has responded to the challenges posed by changing local, national and international contexts.
  3. Was informed of the strategic priorities for safeguarding for 2022-23.  
  4. Delegated to the Chairman, in conjunction with the DSO (and in consultation with the Opposition Lead) to agree comments to submit to Cabinet.


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