This annual report has been informed by safeguarding partners and scrutinised by myself as Independent Chair. This is to ensure independent scrutiny of the report to provide additional assurance in the interest of safeguarding children and families. This report is an opportunity to provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the safeguarding arrangements and sets out what has been achieved because of the arrangements, including on Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews, and how effective these arrangements have been in practice. Therefore, this report considers areas related to priorities, progress, impact, strength of the Partnership and areas that require improvement. I hope you find this report to be open and transparent as this approach enables greater protection for vulnerable children and families, who remain at the heart of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Partnership.
The safeguarding system across Leeds is strong and this report provides identified areas requiring improvement which you would expect within a system constantly challenged. This report highlights many themes, and I would like to highlight four key messages, that are informed by this report, that the partnership should consider as a priority. To meet the needs of children earlier, so to prevent statutory intervention. To ensure schools remain fully engaged across the safeguarding system and consistently informs the partnership. To ensure statutory partners and the Third Sector are fully aware of how to escalate cases of serious concern. To seek assurances related to service provision and the experiences of care leavers who continue to experience poorer outcomes. The LSCP has a strong system of gathering learning, but there is a need to ensure dissemination that clearly monitors and can evidence impact and changes in practice, because of the learning. I am confident that the commitment of all partners and the strong leadership evidenced within the Executive will continue to ensure the areas that require improvement are addressed to ensure the most vulnerable children continue to be safeguarded.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight and give credit to the strength of the Leeds safeguarding partnership arrangements. An indicator of this is that partners can and continue to build on having open, transparent, and often challenging conversations. The Executive and Practitioners demonstrate strong leadership and effectively manage differences of opinion between partners. This was clearly evidenced following a case escalated for notification where there were clear differences of opinion. I appreciate difficult conversations are not easy, but they enable greater outcomes in the interest of those we serve. These discussions led to a review of the notification systems and processes that have led to significant local improvements, that include changes in partners understanding and awareness of processes and strengthened how partners work together. The debate in Leeds also influenced national debates and policy, leading to the National Safeguarding Children Review Panel issuing additional guidance in September 2022. Finally, I wish to end by thanking you all for working tirelessly to safeguard children and young people and especially during the period of this report during the unprecedented time of Covid 19.
Jasvinder Sanghera CBE,
Independent Chair LSCP