Inspectorates inspect multi-agency response to CSE and missing children at South Tyneside
Too much social work time is spent gathering key information about children at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation due to the quality of referrals from partner agencies, an inspection has found.
The first joint inspection of the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council by Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and HMI Probation and Constabulary highlighted that while the majority of contacts from partner agencies are timely, the quality is variable
“This was seen to be an issue across agencies, including health, police and schools,” said the report. “This means that too much social work time is spent in gathering key information to inform judgements about the appropriate level of service response.”
The report also highlighted that it is not clearly and consistently recorded that, where parental consent is required for a referral to children’s social care, it has been sought by the agencies making the referral, such as health, schools and voluntary agencies.
In addition, when children are referred for early help, it is not recorded by children’s social care whether parental views and agreement for early help interventions have been provided.
The inspectorates, which carried out a ‘deep dive’ focus on the response to child sexual exploitation and those missing from home, care or education, in the new joint inspections said that where parental consent is required, it needs to be more clearly identified at the point of initial contact by the referring agency and needs to be confirmed by social care if the information is passed on to the Multi-agency Allocation Team.
The inspection identified a number of strengths across the partnership in relation to raising awareness in the community about the risks of child sexual exploitation, leading to increasing identification of those at risk and effective responses to children when risks are first identified.
Increasing numbers of children have been identified as at risk of CSE from 12 in 2014/15 to 38 in 2015/16.
Key strengths identified at South Tyneside included:
Areas for improvement included:
South Tyneside Council will respond with proposed action following the inspection.
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