Agenda item

Darlington Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report 2021/22

Report of the Group Director of People


The Group Director of People submitted a report (previously circulated) for Members to consider and comment on the Annual Report of the Darlington Safeguarding Partnership (DSP) for the period 2021/22.


It was reported that Local Safeguarding Partnerships are required to produce an Annual Report to account for the Partnerships achievements over the previous year and make an assessment of the effectiveness of multi-agency safeguarding arrangements within the local area.

The Annual Report summarised and reflected on the work of the Partnership over the period 2021/22, drawing upon a range of data and information, to outline the progress made and to illustrate the effectiveness of multi-agency safeguarding partnership arrangements across Darlington; and highlighted that the Covid-19 Pandemic had continued to pose a significant challenge throughout the year ensuring children, young people and vulnerable adults were safeguarded. 


Ann Baxter, Independent Chair of the Darlington Safeguarding Partnership attended the meeting to outline the Annual Report and answer Members questions thereon.


A Member questioned the current scrutiny arrangements following the revised Partnership Governance arrangements and the subsequent exclusion of schools and external bodies and how the new arrangements were working.   Ann expressed some concern over the changes to the legislation regarding the exclusion of education but advised that during the pandemic arrangements had been strengthened with schools and there had been improved engagement with the education sectors, however felt that there had been some loss of voice from the wider partners.


Ann advised Members that the Children’s MASH Operational Group focused on a number of key themes being seen through the Children’s Front Door and that engagement was one of the areas highlighted for the multi agency group meetings.  It was also proposed that an elected member from this Scrutiny Committee be invited to attend the multi-agency meeting.


The Independent Chair also advised Members that she had attended Primary and Secondary Heads meetings to address any concerns, however did acknowledged that over this reporting period, and as a consequence of covid, direct contact with young people had been missed.


The 11-19 Partnership representative confirmed that education colleagues were satisfied with the front door service, however also felt that education should be a statutory partner as some of the most vulnerable young people were in schools.


Discussed also ensued on the Gypsy Roma Travelling (GRT) Community and Members sought reassurance that the voices of the traveller families were being heard, especially in relation to education.  Ann confirmed that the Elective Home Education (EHE) advisor worked closely with the GRT Education Service and that this was also an area of focus for the multi agency group.


The Assistant Director of Education and Inclusion advised that Darlington was one of a few local authorities that maintained a GRT Education Service and that 50 per cent of EHE were from the GRT community.


RESOLVED – That the Darlington Safeguarding Partnership Annual Report for 2021/22 be noted.


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