The 3 safeguarding partners are responsible for determining local arrangements. The role of independent scrutiny will form part of these arrangements and do the following:
- Provide assurance in judging the effectiveness of services to protect children
- Assist when there is disagreement between the leaders responsible for protecting children in the agencies involved in multi-agency arrangements
- Support a culture and environment conducive to robust scrutiny and constructive challenge.
The role of independent scrutiny in Bexley is to:
Working closely with the 3 safeguarding partners
- Assess whether the 3 safeguarding partners are fulfilling their statutory obligations
- Provide the 3 safeguarding partners with the necessary assurances regarding the robustness and effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements for the borough
- Ensure that the 3 safeguarding partners provide independent, robust and effective challenge to partners.
Assessing the effectiveness of partnership arrangements
- Evaluate arrangements for the operation of the safeguarding partnership, including the purpose and functions of board meetings, and recommend and implement appropriate changes
- Assess how well organisations come together to cooperate with one another to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and to hold each other to account for effective safeguarding
- Confirm, or not, that effective performance management, audit and quality assurance mechanisms are in place within partner organisations which will support the 3 safeguarding partners to fulfil their statutory objectives, and which will enable the partnership to identify and measure its success and impact
- Assess the effectiveness of the help being provided to children and families including early help
- Contribute to the content of the partnership’s annual report on the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements, their performance and the effectiveness of local services.
Encouraging innovation, learning and the voices of children, young people and families
- Support the development of innovation in the system in respect of relationship based practice
- Support the implementation of the findings and outcomes of any safeguarding reviews, providing professional input to the development of any changes to existing models of delivery
- Ensure that the voices of children, young people and their families are appropriately represented and heard in the work of the partnership.
The above list is not exhaustive and the description and role of independent scrutiny is expected to evolve over time.
Bexley’s current scrutineer is Nigel Richardson who can be contacted via Bexley S.H.I.E.L.D.