Report of the Executive Director for Children
and Learning requesting that the Panel note the progress made in
reviewing local thresholds and the next steps in embedding the
The Panel received and noted the report of the Executive Director of Children and Learning which requested that the Panel noted the progress made in reviewing local thresholds and the next steps in embedding the Pathways document.
Robert Henderson, Executive Director Wellbeing – Children and Learning, Southampton City Council; and Julian Watkins, Service Manager – Children and Families, Southampton City Council; were present, and with the consent of the Chair, addressed the panel.
In discussion the Panel noted that:
· In June 2021 only 16% of contacts received through the front door had become referrals. The number of Section 47 assessments carried out by the service was high but many of the assessments completed did not progress to Child Protection Plans.
· Over the last six months a working group had been established which included a range of local partners and had developed a network of trust and collaboration in the city. The working group had reviewed the Thresholds document and developed it into a Continuum of Need document.
· The focus had moved to a needs-based assessment of children and families, instead of a threshold meeting assessment, so that support was targeted to meeting the child’s needs and not delayed until they meet a threshold
· The language used in the document had been changed so that professionals were invited to provide information about the needs of a child and then the service would help them find the right services which would provide the child with the right support to meet their needs which could be early help, community support or social work assessment and plan.
· The adoption of the Pathways document required staff and partners to make a cultural shift to thinking how do I work with this referrer to meet the needs of the child, instead of always taking on responsibility for meeting all the needs of that child with specialist intervention.
· There would still be resource challenges and ways to resolve these challenges would be required. There was a richness in the voluntary and community sector, but it was fragmented. The Executive Director for Children and Learning wanted to invest in building capacity in that sector to ensure that services were delivered in the communities where they were needed.
· The children who were already in the system were essentially already in the right place, but should they be re-referred into the system then they would come across this new approach.
· The Continuum of Need and Pathways document had been sent to the Local Safeguarding Children Board and to Hampshire County Council Children’s Services for review
· The Children and Families service would be hosting a launch event in October for the children’s resource hub (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) which would reflect the new emphasis on partnership and early intervention approach instead of just safeguarding.
· This was one part of the success measures that had been put forward for improvement, and all of the success measures would be reviewed by the Panel as part of the 2022-2023 schedule of meetings.