Welcome from Independent Chair Phil Picton - September 2017

Hi, I’m Phil Picton, Independent Chair for the Essex Safeguarding Children Board (ESCB) and I’d like to welcome you to the Board website. Whether you are visiting the website for professional reasons, or as a parent or young person we hope you find the information you need.

Before joining the ESCB in June 2016, I was a Director in both Police and NHS organisations and also chaired safeguarding boards in three local authorities – Hertfordshire, Slough and Central Bedfordshire.  

All of these roles have really made me aware of how important it is that organisations and professionals work well together if they are to keep vulnerable adults and children safe. I see my responsibility as helping the thousands of professionals in Essex to work together and to make sure that they have every opportunity to learn better ways of safeguarding people.

So why is the work of the ESCB so important? The Board has an important strategic role to co-ordinate safeguarding activity across a very wide partnership in Essex and to provide challenge when it is needed. The Board will bring agencies together to work effectively and share information, setting policies and procedures, and organising multi-agency training. 

The Board does not get involved in specific safeguarding cases – this is for the individual organisations to carry out. However, we are the organisational body that would undertake a review into a case where a child or young person may have died or been seriously harmed and where abuse or neglect are thought to be a contributory factor and where there may be multiple agency implications. These reviews are usually referred to as Serious Case Reviews.

As a Board, we are committed to safeguarding in all its different forms from abuse and neglect to other causes of injury or death; and that is where the work of the Child Death Overview Panel comes in. As a sub-committee of the Board, part of their work has been to produce various Child Safety Resources including Safer Sleep guidance, Water Safety guidance and the like. These resources are available to parents to access and also for professionals to download and use in their organisations.

2017 Priorities and New Board Structure

We have a very active Board in Essex and its priorities for the coming 12 months, are:

The Local Safeguarding Context - Children and young people at risk of specific vulnerabilities in Essex are seen, heard and helped. They are effectively protected from harm by robust and coordinated multiagency intervention and support.

Early Help & Early Intervention - Children and young people receive effective early help and appropriate interventions when needs are identified and/or problems arise.

Emotional Health & Well-being - Children and young people are safe through having access to appropriate services and support.

Strong Leadership & Strong Partnership - Making the Invisible Visible: ALL children and young people are seen, heard and helped; with the public and professionals alike being alert to risk, being able to identify it and knowing how to respond to make sure children are safeguarded.

The coming year for the Safeguarding Board is a likely to be a complicated one.  Following the Wood Review of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, the law and statutory guidance for Boards is changing and some of the detailed consequences are only likely to be known late in 2018. However, we know that there will still be every expectation that partners work together effectively to safeguard children and that the partnership work in Essex will continue to scrutinise and coordinate that effort. 

In preparation for the changes, we have restructured our Board to give more attention to local safeguarding working through Stay Safe Groups and to create a Strategic Executive to respond to new challenges and drive the safeguarding agenda.

I do hope that you find the information you are looking for on our website. Please do let us know if you have any difficulties and we will try our hardest to help you and improve the site for any future use.

Phil Picton,

Independent Chair