What we do
Our job is to make sure that all children and young people in Norfolk can expect to stay safe and that the appropriate action will be taken by relevant organisations, if children are in need of help. We are funded through partner agencies funding contributions and assistance in kind.
We undertake a number of responsibilities by ourselves, alongside a number of NSCP Sub-Groups. Key functions include:
- The development of policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
- Creating thresholds for intervention
- Training of persons who work with children
- Recruitment and supervision of workforce
- Safety and welfare of children who are privately fostered
- Co-operation with neighbouring children’s services authorities
- Communication and raising awareness
- Monitoring, evaluations and serious case reviews
We are committed to continuous improvement, ensuring that we learn from good practice, as well as serious case reviews and child deaths. This enables us to co-ordinate, develop and monitor our safeguarding arrangements in Norfolk.
In addition, the NSCP provides safeguarding training both to professionals working with children and families and to local organisations and charities. Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB’s) adhere to the government guidance set out in Working Together.
Partners in Norfolk have a long and successful history of working together to protect children and to promote their wellbeing. We wish to build on these achievements in establishing new safeguarding arrangements that are effective, flexible, proportionate and inclusive. We wish to reduce duplication and bureaucracy and to involve children, young people and families, alongside professionals, communities, citizens and volunteers in working together to keep children safe.
Safeguarding for children and young people in Norfolk has previously been successfully led by the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB). Over the past six years the NSCB has championed effective collaboration between agencies working in child protection and promoted the wider development of support for families and young people. The NSCB has overseen the implementation of Signs of Safety as a common basis for working with children across all partners. It introduced an imaginative approach to thresholds – a child-centred framework for making decisions – and has pioneered a thematic learning framework for conducting serious case reviews, which is now also used in reviewing adult safeguarding and domestic homicide cases. The past annual reports have set out the range of scrutiny and challenge work that is undertaken, highlighting NSCB’s achievements as well as some of the deficits and gaps that remain.
The imperative for change
The Wood Review in 2015, the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and subsequent government guidance (Working Together to Safeguarding Children, 2018) now require all local areas to review their safeguarding arrangements and revise these accordingly. Partners in Norfolk have reviewed the requirements and the greater discretion created in this new legislation and guidance and are seeking to enhance the current arrangements and build on the foundations that have been established. The three statutory partners are seeking to improve by evolution rather than through wholescale change.
Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership
In September 2019 the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Board transitioned to the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership.
The Partnership will operate in line with the requirements of the Children and Social Work Act, 2017 and the statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2018. The Partnership will cover the geographical area of the county of Norfolk as defined by local authority boundaries. This footprint corresponds with that of the Norfolk Constabulary and that of the five Clinical Commissioning Groups, which also cover the district of Waveney in Suffolk. The strategic lead CCG for children’s services is currently Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG and these arrangements will be supported through any reconfiguration of CCG governance. The safeguarding partners and other relevant agencies and organisations included in these arrangements will fulfil their statutory duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children from Norfolk who live or are placed outside the local authority area. The Partnership will continue to seek assurance that all relevant partners meet their duties under Section 11 of the Children Act, 2004, where this applies, or have equivalent standards.
The three local safeguarding partners jointly leading the Partnership are:
- Norfolk County Council: represented by the Executive Director of Children’s Services, Sara Tough
- Norfolk Constabulary: represented by the Temporary Assistant Chief Constable, Nick Davison
- The five Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups: represented by the Director of Children, Young People and Maternity, Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, Rebecca Hulme.
Prevention and Early Help
Norfolk sees prevention and early help as an integral part of effective safeguarding. It is estimated that over two million children in the UK today are living in difficult family circumstances. These include children whose family lives are affected by parental drug and alcohol dependency, domestic abuse and poor mental health. It is crucial that these children and their families benefit from the best quality professional help at the earliest opportunity. For some families, without early help, difficulties escalate, family circumstances deteriorate, and children are more at risk of suffering significant harm.
The MASA will continue to support and monitor the local multi-agency Early Help offer, for individuals and families. This is a multi-disciplinary approach that brings a range of professional skills and expertise to bear through a place-based approach.
Thresholds of Need
The NSCP is aligned to the Norfolk Threshold Guide, which has been designed to encourage early discussion and dialogue when we have emerging worries about children. The Guide has been developed to acknowledge that all professionals will need a framework to help them recognise risk and agree an appropriate response. All agencies will be required to ensure that their staff undertake training and professional development to keep their safeguarding knowledge up to date.
In Norfolk we are working to a model of staged intervention which reflects four tiers of need. The purpose of the guidance is to help match the response to the child’s needs, and is not a check list of concerns, but a way of supporting consistent and clear responses to children’s safeguarding and wellbeing.
Whole system approach
In parallel with the review of new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements, Norfolk County Council has been developing a broader vision for practice and working to improve all children’s lives.
The Vital Signs for Children are:
- Signs of Safety (Protection)
- Signs of Well-Being (Prevention)
- Signs of Stability (Permanence).
Click here to view the vital signs for children.
To achieve this we must have a whole system approach and whole family practice that is based on a positive learning culture. We will build on learning from local Serious Case Reviews undertaken under Working Together 2015, and will be underpinned by trauma informed leadership ensuring that practice is both risk aware and risk sensible.
Our work with children and families will be:
- Relationship based
- Strengths orientated
- Outcome focused.
Success will mean that children:
- Build positive and long-lasting relationships
- Receive family-based care
- Are prepared and able to learn.