Agenda Item No. 10

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 3 September, 2018

 

Report of the Leader

 

Corporate Safeguarding Annual Report 2017/18

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To update Cabinet  on the work that has been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults who require specific Council services and to ensure that these arrangements are effective.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet notes the work that has been undertaken to improve corporate arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children and adults.
  2. That Cabinet continues to receive six-monthly reports on work carried out to improve corporate safeguarding arrangements and the effectiveness of relevant policies.
  3. That the report is referred to the Social Care and Health, Learning and Culture and Corporate Performance and Resources Scrutiny Committees for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To ensure that Cabinet is aware of recent developments in corporate arrangements for safeguarding.
  2. To allow Cabinet to exercise effective oversight of this key area of corporate working.
  3. To respond to requests that each Scrutiny Committee is provided with update reports.

Background

  1. The Corporate Safeguarding Working Group was established in this authority to learn lessons from the 2011, Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) and Estyn joint report following their investigation into the way Pembrokeshire County Council was managing allegations of professional abuse and its arrangements for safeguarding and protecting children in education.
  2. The group has been working through an action plan to improve safeguarding across the Council.  This year it has developed and implemented the Corporate Safeguarding Policy and members have been offered training on this important area. 
  3. Cabinet agreed a Safer Recruitment Policy for the Council and Schools (January 2013).  It has been adopted by all Vale of Glamorgan schools and throughout the Council.  The attached Annual Report (Appendix 1) clearly outlines the sustained improvements for safer recruitment policies across the Council, including education and demonstrates that practice continues to improve.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. In the past, safeguarding activity by different parts of the Council has been reported separately to Cabinet, relevant Scrutiny Committees and Corporate Management Team.  Attached at Appendix 1 is the annual report that brings together safeguarding activity undertaken by the Resources and Safeguarding, Learning and Skills and Social Services Directorates.  This provides a more holistic representation of safeguarding activity across the Council.  During 2017/18 the Environment and Housing Directorate joined the Corporate Safeguarding Working Group.  This directorate already takes a key role in a number of safeguarding and protection approaches and this activity will be included as part of this reporting arrangement from 2018/19.
  2. The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 was implemented in April 2016. This has brought about changes in particular relating to the introduction of a 'Duty to report' which has meant a revision of the corporate safeguarding policy to bring staff's attention to this duty.
  3. The new 'Working Together to Safeguard People Guidance' under Part 7 of the new Act is now published.  Guidance on handling individual cases (volumes 5 and 6) to protect children and adults at risk was launched for public consultation by Welsh Government on 31st January 2017.  The guidance provides advice on what should happen if an individual has concerns about the well-being or welfare of a child or an adult at risk. The guidance was published in 2018.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no direct resource implications arising from the Corporate Safeguarding work.  However, the increased awareness of safeguarding and the responsibility to respond to concerns of those who may not be eligible for our services has brought about significant pressures within social services teams. Consequently we need to review processes to ensure clarity for people raising concerns about individuals who are considered 'at risk', but are not known or eligible for our statutory services.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There is no sustainability or climate change implications arising directly from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The law relating to the safeguarding and protection of children from harm is set out in a variety of legislation, secondary legislation and statutory and other guidance.  This includes the Human Rights Act 1998, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, The Children Act 1989 and 2004, The Adoption and Children Act 2002, Safeguarding Children: Working Together under the Children Act 2004 and Education Act 2002.
  2. In relation to safeguarding of adults who are at risk, Part 7 of The Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014 (The Act') sets out these requirements.  The Act requires a Local Authority to investigate when they suspect an adult with care and support needs, or who appears to have care and support needs, is at risk of abuse and/or neglect.  The Act makes provision for a new Adult Protection and Support Order to authorise entry into premises (if necessary) for the purpose of enabling an Authorised Officer of the Local Authority to assess whether an adult is at risk of abuse or neglect and if so, what to do about it. 
  3. The Act requires there to be Regional Safeguarding Boards for adults and children.  The Annual Report of the Regional Safeguarding Board is attached at Appendix 2.  There are various regulation making powers granted to Welsh Ministers to underpin those parts of the Act applied to safeguarding of adults.  When exercising functions under the Act in relation to adults who need care and support and carers who need care and support, the Local Authority must have regard to the United Nations Principles for Older Persons as adopted by the General Assembly of United Nations (the UN Principles for Older Persons).
  4. Funding for a revision of the All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008 was awarded to the Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Safeguarding Adult and Children's Boards in June 2017.  Revisions of these procedures are well underway and also encompass procedures for the protection of adults.  These procedures are currently being referred to as the All Wales Safeguarding Procedures.  The Welsh Government has also commenced a review of the Safeguarding Children and Young People from Sexual Exploitation (SCE) Statutory Guidance.  The outcome of the review will require the successful contractor to provide recommendations to the Welsh Government in relation to what changes, if any, are required to the Statutory Guidance (and the definition of SCE) and the Sexual Exploitation Risk Assessment Framework (SERAF).
  5. Legislation requires Local Authority and Partner Agencies to make arrangements for ensuring the function to be discharged by them, having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  The Act and Codes of Practice issued under the Act, whilst making it clear that Safeguarding Children and Adults at risk of abuse and neglect is everyone's responsibility, state that the Director of Social Services must show leadership to ensure effective safeguarding arrangements are in place, both within the Local Authority and by its relevant Partners.  The Director of Social Services must oversee and report to Councillors, on a consistent basis regarding the operation, monitoring and improvement of child and adult safeguarding processes within the Local Authority.  Defined arrangements with other Officers within the Local Authority, particularly the Head of Adult Services and Head of Children Services must be clear in relation to delegation and reporting arrangements relating to safeguarding issues.
  6. In relation to DBS arrangements, key elements of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 have been implemented.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. Any application for employment for those posts included within the definition of regulated activity by candidates who are included on the relevant barred list will be considered a criminal act and reported to the Police and relevant registration body (if appropriate).

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The Safer Recruitment policy legitimately excludes consideration for appointment of all applicants for posts within regulated activity whose criminal actions/convictions mean that they are deemed unsuitable or who are included within the barred list.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The work of the Corporate Safeguarding Group assists the Council in meeting the following corporate objectives:

Well-being Outcome 4: An Active and Healthy Vale

Objective 8: Safeguarding those who are vulnerable and promoting independent living:

  • develop and implement a corporate policy on safeguarding to provide a clear strategic direction and lines of accountability across the Council.
  • work with partners through the Cardiff and Vale Local Safeguarding Children's Board to develop a Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy.

"We have a responsibility to safeguard our vulnerable residents and we will continue to work with partners to improve the wellbeing of our most vulnerable residents, their families and carers."

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. This is an issue which affects all areas of the Vale of Glamorgan.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Social Care and Health, Learning and Culture and Corporate Performance and Resources.

Background Papers

The All Wales Child Protection Procedures (2008)

The All Wales Protection of Vulnerable Adults Interim Procedures (2013)

Working Together to Safeguard People Guidance under Part 7 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

Handling Individual Cases to Protect Adults at Risk https://gov.wales/docs/dhss/publications/180511adultsatrisken.pdf

Handling Individual Cases to Protect Children at Risk

https://gov.wales/docs/dhss/publications/180511childrenatrisken.pdf

Contact Officer:

Natasha James, Operational Manager, Safeguarding & Service Outcomes

Officers Consulted

Corporate Safeguarding Group

Responsible Officer:

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services