Bucks child protection body reports step-change improvements

Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children’s Board told the County Council’s Cabinet on Monday (14 November) how it has improved and strengthened its role in helping to ensure that all children in the county are protected and supported.

Fran Gosling-Thomas, the Board’s independent chair, presented its annual report to Cabinet, and detailed to the meeting the ways in which the effectiveness of the Board has been transformed in the two years since an Ofsted inspection found its performance to be in need of improvement. The meeting heard how partnership working, once held to be weak, was now a key strength of the Board, giving it a strong voice to support best practice in child protection across the county.

Speaking of the annual report, Fran Gosling-Thomas said: “I’m absolutely delighted that this is such a different report from the one we presented a year ago. This year we can set out the significant improvements that we have made in a number of areas, including the development of solid governance and infrastructure, and a step-change in the power of the Board to influence change. Our partnership working has become much stronger too, allowing us to champion best practice in safeguarding with both individuals and organisations across Bucks. But we’re not complacent – we need to keep improving if we’re to fulfil our role to the full.

“Our annual report is not only a statutory requirement, but also provides accountability and assurance for those inside and outside of Buckinghamshire on our performance in developing and maintaining policy and practice that will secure the best outcomes for children and young people.”

Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council Martin Tett said: “Safeguarding the children of this county is one of the top priorities we have as a cabinet – and indeed as a council – and the Safeguarding Children Board has a pivotal role in this. It’s very reassuring to hear today of the wide-ranging improvements that have been achieved under Fran Gosling-Thomas’s chairmanship.”

The Safeguarding Children Board has a statutory duty to coordinate and monitor the work of all organisations and agencies in Buckinghamshire that work with or support children, and sets the policies and procedures that ensure that the safety and welfare of each child is always paramount.