Agenda item

Family Safeguarding Model Implementation Update

To receive the presentation of Darren Knibbs (Strategic Lead, Practice Development and Innovation).


The Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning will also attend for this item.


The Committee heard a presentation from the Strategic Lead: Practice Development and Innovation on the progress of the Family Safeguarding Model implementation. It was outlined that the Model sought to implement a partnership approach that used innovative methods focused on providing timely and high quality specialist support for families. Underpinning this was a single database for shared recording and case supervision.

The Strategic Lead: Practice Development and Innovation reported that during the implementation stage they had held 32 workshops, which were attended by 745 members of staff across Children’s Services. This was in addition to 21 motivational interview training sessions that were attended by a further 88 staff. There had also been extensive efforts to recruit specialist staff. Through significant engagement with those who were involved in or governed services, it had allowed them to understand the needs of key partners. Members heard how they also took part in a peer review on current practices as they started working in a different way under the new Safeguarding Model.

The Strategic Lead: Practice Development and Innovation informed the Committee that, although implementing the Model under recent circumstances had been difficult, it had been supported by the team and partnership which allowed the Family Safeguarding Model to go live on 28 June 2021.

Members posed a number of questions:

Did Social Services still fall under Telford & Wrekin Council?

Service areas such as Early Help and Family Safeguarding all operated under the umbrella of social services. The Family Safeguarding Model formed part of the continuing support within children services but were all under the same organisation.

Was there a good record of staff retention throughout the Coronavirus pandemic?

Staffing levels had remained relatively stable despite ongoing challenges. When compared with other areas in the region, the picture in Telford and Wrekin remained positive. It was noted that the recruitment drive for family safeguarding had been successful, bringing in new skilled staff.

How had the impact of Covid-19, particularly on children’s mental health been incorporated into the Family Safeguarding Model?

In the early stages of the pandemic modelling was carried out to predict how increased demand would have been handled. There had been no indication of a spike in Looked After Children (LAC) or demand for services, but the Authority were prepared should it occur. Emphasis had been placed on working together with partners and conversations around children’s mental health. This involved working with schools to ensure that that children’s voices were heard about how the pandemic effected them using the Big Ask Questionnaires. Schools in the region had embraced this and continued to engage.

Were there concerns that instances of domestic abuse had not been picked up on whilst children were not attending school during the pandemic?

A large media campaign called ‘Don’t be Silent’ ran throughout the pandemic which appealed to neighbours, encouraging them to report anything of concern. Additionally, school staff remained on high alert to this, which was illustrated in the data the team had received.

The Committee thanked the Strategic Lead: Practice and Development and the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning for their attendance and answering Members’ questions. Members expressed an interest to review this in the future.