Eleanor Schooling introduced the annual report on behalf of the Independent Chair of the Islington Safeguarding Children Board (ISCB).
The following main points were noted during the discussion:
· The Islington Safeguarding Children Board, an independent multi-agency body, was required by law to submit its annual report to the Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.
· Given the limited resources available to all local agencies, it was suggested that there was a need to ensure resources were focused on the most vulnerable children. A discussion was had on the prioritisation of targeted and universal services.
· The Board commented on the ISCB priorities and how these could align with the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the work of Health and Wellbeing Board members. It was noted that there was no specialist programme in the Borough to support children with the impact of domestic abuse.
· A discussion was had on the sensitivities surrounding child sexual exploitation. For example, it was queried if agencies should question teenagers about their relationships when providing free contraception. It was noted that authorities had a duty to safeguard all children against sexual exploitation, including those over the age of consent.
· Attention was drawn to high profile cases of child sexual exploitation identified in other areas. The Board noted the national cultural change in regard to child sexual exploitation and agreed that it was important to learn from mistakes made elsewhere.
· It was suggested that the Health and Wellbeing Board should also consider the Safeguarding Board’s priorities in light of the Council and CCG’s Child Health Strategy; as safeguarding children was essential to ensuring the wellbeing of children and maximising their life chances.
· There were also linkages to be made to the Youth Crime Strategy, as it was known that young offenders were often vulnerable people who may either be suffering from abuse, mental health conditions, or parental drug and alcohol dependency.
· The importance of early intervention to both protect children and secure their health and wellbeing was emphasised. It was commented that the Safeguarding Board’s priority to ‘address the consequences and harm that children and young people suffered as a result of domestic violence, parental mental ill-health and substance abuse’ was being addressed through the Council’s early intervention and prevention approach set out in its Corporate Plan.
· It was advised that local healthcare professionals had recently received IRIS (Identification Referral to Improve Safety) training, which aimed to detect and support victims of domestic violence through General Practice. It was commented that although healthcare professionals may be able to identify abuse and neglect through physical symptoms, it was more difficult to identify cases of emotional abuse.
· Although the CCG could facilitate safeguarding training for healthcare professionals, further thought was required as to how safeguarding matters could be taken into account when commissioning other health services.
· The importance of schools in identifying abuse and neglect was highlighted. In response to a query, it was advised that it can be more difficult to identify instances of abuse and neglect of Islington children attending schools in neighbouring boroughs.
· The Board was advised of the Pause project which supported women who had multiple children taken out of their care.
· It was noted that child exploitation was not only sexual. Children could also be exploited through radicalisation, or groomed into committing crime.
1. That the draft Islington Safeguarding Children Board annual report be received.
2. That the future Islington Safeguarding Children Board priorities be noted.
3. That members of the Health and Wellbeing Board submit annual reports to the Islington Safeguarding Children Board on their work to safeguard children, in light of the Islington Safeguarding Children Board’s annual report.