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What to do if you are worried about a child

About the BWSCP

The Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs’) have been replaced nationally by a safeguarding partnership/board.

Local Authorities, Police and Clinical Commissioning Groups are the statutory partners and have a shared responsibility to safeguard children and promote their wellbeing, in line with guidance from the Department of Education (DfE) Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018.

West Berkshire, Reading and Wokingham Councils along with the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group and Thames Valley Police agreed to merge as a partnership and published their new arrangements via the Berkshire West CCG website in March 2019 to become the Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership (BWSCP).

Berkshire West Multi-Agency Safeguarding new arrangements

Berkshire West partners are strongly committed to the shared responsibility to safeguard and protect children and young people. Berkshire West benefits from excellent inter-agency engagement, and proactive leadership, of this shared safeguarding agenda. We commit to working as partners to ensure all children and young people can live safe, happy and positive lives, achieving their potential and being respectful to others.

Please click on the below link to view our new arrangements.

BWSCP Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements

Please click on the below link to view our child and young person friendly version of the new arrangements.

BWSCP Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements - CYP Version

Alternatively, you can view our new arrangements via the link in the right hand box.

There’s a team of people working across the area, from the police, schools, health and council, whose job it is to safeguard and protect children and young people. They are based at centres in Reading, Wokingham and Newbury so have first hand knowledge of the areas you live in. Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire are great places to grow up. There’s loads of opportunities and most children and young people here are safe and happy, have fun and reach their goals in life. But we all go through times when things are hard, and when that happens, getting the right help from the right people and at the right time, really matters.

There have recently been some national changes to safeguarding and this is making us all think carefully about how we work together, looking at what works well and what needs re-thinking to work better.

What matters most is that all our children and young people are safe and protected, so your needs are at the very heart of everything we do. And the best way for us to know what you want is for us to talk to you and your friends, not just once in a while, but whenever you’d like.

We promise we’ll listen and take your ideas and comments to our safeguarding meetings where we can share stuff and also learn from any mistakes we’ve made along the way.

And to keep a close eye on everything we do, we’ve asked a couple of outside experts tohelp us, because sometimes when we’re so busy helping children every day it’s not easy taking a step back to see things clearly. They will have a fresh eye on everything and canalso tell us about things working well in other areas that we might want to try out here.

If we do feel the need for improvements or we want to try new things, then we’ll talk to you first to make sure you think they are practical and will make your lives better. 

And once any changes happen, we’ll keep a close eye on things over the course of six to 12 months, to make sure they have made a positive difference to your lives. If we don’t think they’ve worked very well, and you agree, then we’ll think again. 

In the next year our plan is to train more than 500 children and young people so they can help us make improvements to services where we know we need to make things better - children’s emotional health is a key one.

Vision and Values

Berkshire West partners are strongly committed to the shared responsibility to safeguard and protect children and young people. Berkshire West benefits from excellent inter-agency engagement, and proactive leadership, of this shared safeguarding agenda. We commit to working as partners to ensure all children and young people can live safe, happy and positive lives, achieving their potential and being respectful to others.

Berkshire West partners are fully committed to keeping the child or young person at the heart of all that they do. Partners want to see the voice and lived experience of children making a tangible difference to all aspects of safeguarding, and ensuring that Independent Scrutiny arrangements expect children’s experience to be fundamental in quality assurance and development activity of the partners and is the founding principle underpinning local arrangements.

Local learning has encouraged partners to be clear that their understanding of the local safeguarding and protection arrangements must be timely and responsive. Partners are keen to avoid unnecessary delay in responding to safeguarding concerns and risks and being timely is of real local and collective importance. Partners have also learnt that ensuring that commitments they make are followed up, to understand the extent to which change has been embedded and the difference changes have made to local children and young people are all elements of an effective safeguarding system.

Whilst the national arrangements propose leadership from Police, Local Authority and CCG, Berkshire West’s experience and good practice demonstrates that a collective partnership ownership of safeguarding including schools, the breadth of the health economy and voluntary, community and faith sector partners, is essential to continually improving local arrangements. The structure of the Berkshire West Safeguarding Arrangement is intentionally designed to maximise partnership leadership.

Local leaders recognise that the way in which we work together matters. Leaders recognise that the three locality areas covered by the Berkshire West arrangement (Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire) are in very different stages of safeguarding development, with different risks and opportunities, working effectively as leaders together are essential to fulfilling the function.

How we will work together

Berkshire West leaders recognise that the crucial work of the partnership often rests on how senior leaders work together to support and challenge each other, to identify risk and mitigate it together, and to problem solve systems issues. Senior leaders in Berkshire West will be trained in, and seek to model, a restorative approach to safeguarding leadership, clearly defining risk and keeping the child at the centre of decision making.

In order to promote the welfare of, and safeguard, Berkshire’s West’s children and young people effectively, we will:

  • Listen with care to our children and young people, and to each other
  • Hold each other to account through respectful support and challenge
  • Collaborate and co-operate with each other to improve outcomes for children
  • Spot problems and difficulties early, problem solving together, recognising we have shared responsibility for our children
  • Identify risks in our system and mitigate them together
  • Be efficient and timely in our responses to each other and to needs arising from our local communities
  • Recognise that each locality area (Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire) are different and Independent Scrutiny needs to operate differently in each area, but also recognise that we have much to learn from each other and ultimately are stronger together.

In the change to national guidance local leaders have noted the changes around the non-participant observer role, but have also recognised the importance of ensuring the Lead Members for Children’s Services continue to fulfil their statutory responsibility. Ensuring Lead Members for Children’s Services receive information, and assurance, about the sufficiency of local safeguarding arrangements impact on outcomes for children is a priority for partners. There are examples of excellent independent scrutiny and challenge from Lead Members in some parts of Berkshire West and these new arrangements embed this insight and experience in a way that is right for each locality.

Our shared priorities

Quality Assurance, scrutiny and challenge are at different stages of development across Berkshire West. Designing and implementing new Independent Scrutiny arrangements for each Berkshire West Locality, will be the most important and first priority for Berkshire West Safeguarding Arrangement. It is an expectation that these arrangements will seek to understand the lived experience of local children and young people, and the practice learning from frontline staff and volunteers, specifically but not exclusively on the following areas of practice and policy:

  • Domestic Abuse
  • Children in Need
  • Effectiveness of Early Help
  • Missing and exploited children and Return Home Interviews (RHIs)
  • Understanding contextual safeguarding in the lives of adolescents and in the context of schools

What success looks like

Our foremost priority is that children and young people are safe and protected from harm, living happy fulfilled lives and achieving their potential.

Berkshire West partners are committed to understanding that the different decisions they make, the way services or support is organised, makes to positively improving outcomes for children. In particular senior leaders anticipate that a measure of success of these shared arrangements for safeguarding will be the extent to which partners problem solve and find solutions together, to improve outcomes for children. This will include effective partnership challenge and support. Where risks are identified they will be closely monitored, together, in partnership.

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About the SCP

Please click on the below link to view our new Berkshire West Safeguarding Children Partnership arrangements.

Berkshire West Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements