Essex Safeguarding Children Board – Key messages from Board meetings

The Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) meets 4 times a year. In these meetings the Board - which is made up of different agencies - discusses matters that affect children young people and their families in order to find ways of better protecting them from harm. It does not discuss individual cases but rather overarching themes.

Here, we want to share with you some of the key themes discussed at each meeting.

March 2017

Supporting Care Leavers in Essex

A report on Care Leavers in Essex revealed how they face a number of difficulties, including coping with a tenancy and the risk of homelessness for a number of these young people.

On a national level, forthcoming Government legislation means councils will take on more responsibility to help prevent homelessness and in Essex, funding has already been received to help tackle the issue.

How care leavers can be provided with further support and what the Board can do to help ease the difficulties they face will be discussed at the June meeting. 

Home Education

The Board was briefed on some of the procedures that must be followed when parents decide to home educate a child and how any concerns are addressed. 

There are approximately 1000 children being home educated in Essex. Parents of these children are invited to attend workshops to inform them of correct procedures which include the following:

  • When a parent decides to home educate a child, they must write to the school to advise them of their decision
  • If there are concerns, parent/s will always receive a letter in the first instance, outlining what they must adhere to when home educating their child

Governance Review

In light of the Children and Social Work Bill and the removal of the statutory footing for Local Safeguarding Children Boards, the Board in Essex is looking at how it can make changes to further improve the way it works to help keep children and young people safe.

Proposals for avoiding duplication of work and better engagement with local areas were agreed in principle; a plan of how this can be achieved will be discussed at the next meeting in June.

December 2016

Addressing Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) within Essex

An update was presented to the Board on progress made to tackle CSE in Essex. 

This included information from research on Missing Children, showing that there is an increased risk of children who are not in school getting drawn into crime or anti-social behaviour and they are more at risk of exploitation.

The Board will therefore continue its work on understanding exploitation, including gathering the views of children and young people to help inform plans for support. 

We will also re-launch the award-winning “I Didn’t Know” CSE campaign in March 2017. 

Inspired by a video project created by the Essex Children in Care Council, this campaign was set up in 2016 between Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding Children Boards and Essex Police. It aims to raise awareness about CSE as well as support communities in recognising it, and knowing what to do to get support.

Tackling child sexual exploitation requires a commitment by everyone. To find out about the campaign and where to get advice, please visit the CSE pages on our website.

Safer Sleeping Campaign

The Board agreed to continue a publicity campaign to raise awareness of safer sleeping to reduce the  number of child deaths occurring each  year.

 A successful campaign across Facebook and Twitter took place over the Christmas season, with  agencies and members of the public joining together in a short space of time to share #YearofSaferSleep messages. This reached over 450,000 people.

To access downloadable tips on safer sleeping habits please look at our safer sleeping pages  on our website.

ESCB Strategic Planning

One of the ways the Board works is to have a plan in which we list the areas we want to focus on over the coming year. This enables us to put in place actions to tackle any issues that may affect the safety of children and young people. 

We agreed that some of these areas for the coming year would include:

  • Young people’s mental health and wellbeing
  • Online safety
  • Child Sexual exploitation, gangs and bullying