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Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership

Bedford SCP children

The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership want to make sure children and young people feel safe and cared for in Bedford Borough. Find out more about our partnership and its work:

If you have any suggestions on how to improve the information we provide, please contact us at lscb@bedford.gov.uk and let us know what other information would be helpful to you. We hope that children and young people, families and communities will use this website as well as practitioners working with children and young people.

Our Threshold of Need: Guidance for Effective Support for Children& Families in Bedford underpins the Bedford Borough vision to provide the right support for children, young people and their families at the earliest opportunity - right through to specialist and statutory interventions, when needed. The Thresholds of Need Guide explains the different levels and how practitioners and their organisations should work together to offer Early Help to prevent matters from getting worse for a child, young person or their family.

Bedford Borough Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children Arrangements

Working Together 2018 sets out requirements for new collaborative working arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and families which will lead to improved outcomes and experiences. The new arrangements in Bedford Borough will still be named the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership (BBSCP).

The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership’s Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (MASAs) (PDF) were implemented in September 2019.

The MASA sets out the arrangements for safeguarding partners to work together with other agencies to identify and respond to the needs of children in Bedford Borough, and the three safeguarding partners Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police and the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK ICB) have equal and joint responsibility for local safeguarding arrangements.

With the requirements of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 the responsibility for ensuring that Child Death Reviews are carried out when a child dies will be the responsibility of the local authorities and BLMK ICB, please see this statement from Bedfordshire CCG (Word).

BBSCP Contact Details

Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership Business Unit Contact Details 

Email: LSCB@bedford.gov.uk 

Telephone number: 01234 276346

Threshold Document

Thresholds of Need Guide: Effective Support for Children and Families in Bedford Borough.

Serious Child Safeguarding Cases

A function of the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Partnership (BBSCP) is to consider whether to conduct a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review (CSPR) after a child has died or is seriously harmed as a result of abuse or neglect who’s permanent residence is within the Local Authority area.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Panel Review Guidance for Safeguarding Partners and Pan Bedfordshire Interagency Child Protection Procedures set out the arrangements that are in place to respond to these reviews and what happens once a notification of a serious incident is made to the BBSCP under Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018).

The purpose of reviews of serious child safeguarding cases, at both local and national level, is to identify improvements to be made to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Reviews seek to prevent or reduce the risk of recurrence of similar incidents. They are not conducted to hold individuals, organisations or agencies to account.

‘Serious child safeguarding cases’ are those in which:

  • Abuse or neglect of a child is known or suspected
  • The child has died or been seriously harmed

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) states that serious harm includes (but is not limited to) serious and/or long-term impairment of a child’s mental health or intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. It should also cover impairment of physical health. This is not an exhaustive list. When making decisions, judgement should be exercised in cases where impairment is likely to be long-term, even if this is not immediately certain. Even if a child recovers, including from a one-off incident, serious harm may still have occurred.

Meeting the criteria does not mean that BBSCP must automatically carry out a local child safeguarding practice review. Locally it is for the Case Review Group, on behalf of the BBSCP, to determine whether a review is appropriate, taking into account that the overall purpose of a review is to identify improvements to practice.

CSPRs will be published on this website to enable the sharing of learning across the children’s workforce. All reports are anonymised for publication.

Notifications of Serious Child Safeguarding Events

Where a local authority in England knows or suspects that a child has been abused or neglected, the local authority must notify the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel (the Panel) if:

  • the child dies or is seriously harmed in the local authority's area; or
  • while normally resident in the local authority's area, the child dies or is seriously harmed outside England.

The duty to notify serious child safeguarding events to the Panel rests with the local authority. Information on the process to be followed using the Child Incident Notification System can be found on GOV.UK.

The local authority must notify the Panel of any event that meets the criteria within 5 working days of becoming aware that the incident has occurred. The local authority should also report the event to the safeguarding partners in their area (and in other areas if appropriate) within 5 working days. Where the child was Looked After, the local authority must also notify the Secretary of State and Ofsted that they have died, regardless of whether abuse or neglect is known or suspected.

Referring a case to BBSCP Case Review Group

Each agency must have arrangements for identifying cases where the agency considers that criteria for either a local or national CSPRs may be met (see sections 4 and 8). It is important that any practitioner is able to discuss a case with their agency Case Review Group representative if they think a CSPR may be required.

The Case Review Group representative should notify the BBSCP Business Unit of a referral and confirm this in writing within 48 hours using the referral form.

The BBSCP Business Unit will request agency information to assist in the Rapid Review of the case. Locally the three Safeguarding Partners have ultimate responsibility for deciding whether to conduct a local review or not. The Independent Chair/Scrutineer will also be informed to allow independent scrutiny of the decision making process.

Please see the Pan Bedfordshire Serious Incident Notification & Rapid Review Process flow chart for further information.

A case may be referred by the local Child Death Overview Panel to the Case Review Group that appear to meet the criteria and which they consider is likely to have important lessons for multi-agency working.

The BBSCP Case Review Group

Any partner agency may refer a case to the Case Review Group if they believe that there are important lessons for multi-agency working to be learned from the case.

The Case Review Group has several functions and tasks delegated to it. In summary, the Case Review Group will coordinate the following inter-related activity:

  • Making recommendations to the three Safeguarding Partners as to: - whether a CSPR should be carried out and the methodology to be used. Or whether a CSPR should not be carried out but another type of review should be undertaken and the methodology to be used, or - whether other action should be taken by the BBSCP.
  • Commissioning CSPRs, positive learning review or other types of reviews on behalf of the BBSCP.
  • Monitoring partner agency and the BBSCP’s action plans following the publication of a CSPR or completion of another type of review.
  • Using the learning from local and national CSPRs to inform policy, practice and the BBSCP learning and development programme.

Local Reviews

Serious Youth Violence Thematic Review

Learning Briefing in regards to a Thematic Review of Serious Youth Violence (SYV) commissioned by the BBSCP following two incidents of SYV which resulted in the death of one young person and the serious injury of another.

For both young people there were concerns about drug misuse/selling and potential involvement in gangs. The BBSCP was keen to ascertain if issues for vulnerable young people including county lines and other forms of exploitation, drug misuse, SYV and involvement in gangs are being identified and responded to early enough.

The cases of these young people have provided a lens through which to consider current service responses, informing a wider case audit of young people identified as vulnerable or at risk of SYV.

Dr Julie Harris from University of Bedfordshire was commissioned to lead the Review and sought support and advice from colleagues within the International Centre Research on Child Sexual Exploitation, Violence and Trafficking.

Whilst completing this Review the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel’s It was hard to escape – Safeguarding children at risk from criminal exploitation which looked at common patterns, similarities and differences between the approaches taken in local areas (including Bedford Borough).

Following the BBSCP signing off this Review the learning and recommendations have and are being addressed by the partnership and monitored by the Partnership’s Case Review Group.

Examples how the BBSCP and partners are working together to address all forms of exploitation and the risks posed to children in Bedford Borough:

  • Pan Bedfordshire Exploitation and Missing Strategic group and their Violence and Exploitation Strategy and Action Plan.
  • Child Exploitation and Missing Reduction Group.
  • Joint Serious Youth Violence Panel with Central Bedfordshire.
  • Bedford Borough Contextual Safeguarding Meetings.
  • Work of the Violence Exploitation and Reduction Unit (VERU) and their Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) Campaign.
  • Research by University of Bedfordshire to include work on Contextual Safeguarding by Bedford Borough Council as good practice.
  • There is collective responsibility for disruption and action within the partnership.
  • Close work between partners and the Bedfordshire Police Boson and Public Protection Teams.   
  • The use of the Pan Beds Multi-Agency Information form to provide the Police with information to build a picture of exploitation and other issues.  
  • Proactive use of National Referral Mechanism.  

National Case Review Repository

The NSPCC hold the National Case Review Repository which provides a single place for published case reviews to make it easier to access and share learning at a local, regional and national level.

The NSPCC has put together a series of themed briefing documents highlighting the learning from published reviews. Each briefing focuses on a different topic, pulling together key risk factors and practice recommendations to help practitioners understand and act upon the learning.

Index of all pages: