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Berkshire West Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements

 

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.

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 read the Berkshire West Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements here.

Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire are great places to grow up. There are 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.

You can download our children and young people document here.

Berkshire West was a national pilot for reviewing how safeguarding arrangements in
education could be maximised in the change to national arrangements.
To support this Education Safeguarding Groups have been established in the Reading and
Wokingham areas, led by schools, mirroring a prior arrangement in the West Berkshire area
which has been slightly expanded.

The common functions of these groups are to:

  • Enable the views, experience and risk (as perceived by Headteachers) to inform the
    safeguarding leadership of the Berkshire West Safeguarding Arrangement (previously
    referred to as the LSCB) and vice versa.
  • Identify risk and mitigation of issues relating to schools will be explicitly monitored by
    the group; this will include problem solving.
  • Review national changes in guidance or regional/national partnership learning of
    relevance to schools’ safeguarding.
  • Supporting the design and overview of the annual event for schools to share local
    learning and good practice.
  • Oversee the effectiveness of education safeguarding and protection arrangements for
    children and young people by developing and monitoring s175 related improvement.
  • Ensure effective two-way communication with their existing sectors and forums.
  • Contribution to training needs analysis and the effective sharing of resources where
    applicable

In addition, schools’ engagement with and voice on Independent Scrutiny sub-groups that
will provide crucial resource to fulfil the ‘Independent Scrutiny’ and quality assurance
functions, is being strengthened.

Local Authority education leaders (with statutory accountability) have worked together with
school leaders to consider how S175/S11 self-assessment processes can be adapted within
this context. The view and experience of School Leaders in Wokingham, Reading and West
Berkshire has directly shaped and informed this planning.

Berkshire West partners have historically valued the voice of independent scrutiny and challenge of safeguarding arrangements. In the new Berkshire West Safeguarding Arrangements the role of the LSCB Independent Chair will be superseded by Independent Scrutineer functions.
Effective Independent Scrutiny relies on:

  • Effective analysis of performance information
  • Multi-professional audit or reflective learning discussions
  • Understanding the lived experience of local children and young people
  • Understanding the frontline experience, strengths and challenges of frontline staff and volunteers.

Berkshire West partners are keen to ensure that all safeguarding partners are actively engaged in Independent Scrutiny. There is a partnership emphasis on ensuring that the scrutiny is objective, acts as a constructive critical friend and promotes reflection to drive continuous improvement. In particular, the Independent Scrutiny arrangements consider how effectively the arrangements are working for children and families as well as for practitioners, and how well the safeguarding partners are providing strong leadership and agree with the safeguarding partners how this will be reported. It is an expectation that the learning from Independent Scrutiny is published in an annual report.

Please find the links to our Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) below. 

If you need medical help and are unsure what to do, call NHS 111 for help and advice. They are available 24 hours a day.