Agenda item

London Borough of Hillingdon (LBH) response to National Safeguarding Review


It was noted that the Chairman had requested that this item, previously presented to the Corporate Parenting Panel, be brought to the Committee.


Officers outlined the report into Hillingdon’s response to the National Safeguarding review. In October 2022, the Child Safeguarding Practice Panel published Phase 1 of its review into the safeguarding of children with disabilities and complex health needs in residential special schools which are also residential homes. It looked specifically at the experiences of 108 children and young adults from 55 local authorities at three specialist residential settings between 01 January 2018 and 21 March 2021. The settings were located in Doncaster and run by the Hesley Group. As the report uncovered serious findings, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel asked Directors of Children’s Services to initiate urgent assurance actions about children placed in similar types of provisions. Directors of Children’s Services were asked to report the findings of their review to the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the Corporate Parenting Panel. It was noted that this report was brought to the Corporate Parenting Panel on 24 January 2023 and was also presented at the Safeguarding Children’s Board on 11 January 2023.


The first part of the review was an assessment of the care provided within the residential special schools. It was noted the independent review was conducted by the Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and Hillingdon had three children within similar types of residential settings, and that there were no concerns over the care received.


The second part of the review was to identify if any such residential settings were based in Hillingdon and, if so, conduct a review over any allegations that had been made in relation to the care provided to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). As none of the residentials were based in Hillingdon, no review was required.


The third part of the review was to report these findings to the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and to the Corporate Parenting Panel. These actions were completed as described above.


Members commended the report, and highlighted the table in paragraph 2.1, on page 10 of the report, where one provider had an Ofsted care rating of ‘requires improvement’ and questioned what was being done to improve this. Officers clarified that they were already aware of the standard prior to the visit and were working with the provider on this. Members also noted the ‘good’ Ofsted rating of the other listed schools and asked about ways in which good providers can strive to be excellent. Officers referenced Regulation 44 visits as a critical part of management monitoring.


Members referenced paragraph 2.2, on page 10 of the agenda, which stated “A’s placement Requires Improvement for Care”, while the Table stated a ‘Good’ care rating. Officers clarified that the sentence should have read “A placement Requires Improvement for Care”, as it was referring to Initial C in the table. Additionally, Members questioned, and officers clarified that the last sentence of paragraph 2.4 should read “C is described…”, not “A is described…”.


Members questioned what was included in the quality and safety review, and how much notice was given in advance of the provider visits. Officers clarified that Ofsted visit without notice; referred to Regulation 44; and in terms of this review, the IROs spoke to staff, parents and children in collating their responses.


Members also questioned the possibility of looking into young people who had previously used the system. Officers clarified that the national review was ongoing – Part 2 of the review was due to be published in November 2023, and that the review included looking at historical placements.


Members noted that the review looked at a relatively small number of cases. Officers noted that the sample included all Hillingdon children who met the criteria of the request.


Members asked about contact with young people placed at greater distances and officers clarified that Hillingdon tried to keep placements within the Borough, or where possible, within 20 miles. However, it was noted that sometimes it was necessary to place young people further afield. Contact with family members was promoted where it was safe to do so, and professional visits also took place.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the content of the report and the outcome of the review.

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