Agenda item

Agenda item

Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report 2019/20

Cabinet, at its meeting on 16 June, will consider a report on the Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report 2019/20. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations thereon.

Councillor  Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Healthy Oxford; Dani Granito, Policy & Partnerships Team Manager; and Laura Jones, Safeguarding Coordinator, have been invited to attend for this item.



Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for a Safer Healthy Oxford, introduced the report. As a Council which, through its many and various ways of working, comes into contact with a significant number of vulnerable people, it has a statutory duty to keep them as safe as possible. In order to do that, its safeguarding processes are reviewed annually and that audit is made public. All Councillors will have the opportunity to undertake safeguarding training which makes clear the responsibility of everyone to be an active participant in safeguarding our community and which draws attention to the “My Concern” reporting mechanism. The latest audit draws attention to the particular safeguarding issues and challenges resulting from the pandemic. Safeguarding was a matter in which the Council worked in close partnership with other agencies, notably the County Council, the Police and Health Service, all of which are represented on the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (OSCB) and the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (OSAB). The safeguarding duty should extend beyond just ensuring the basic welfare of our citizens and from beyond their surviving to their thriving.

Dani Granito, Policy & Partnerships Team Manager, noted that overall responsibility for safeguarding in OCC now lay with the Head of Corporate Strategy. The report drew attention to the safeguarding work delivered via the locality hubs during the pandemic. This included, for example, the provision of 210 laptops to pupils who could not otherwise access remote learning. A continuing national and local concern was that of neglect; the majority of local children on a child protection plan were experiencing neglect in some form. A considerable effort (via external peer review among other things) was being made to see how best to support those young people and prevent them experiencing neglect. All members of the partnership were now required to produce a Neglect Action Plan and a three monthly account of progress with it.

The OSCB and OSAB required the Council to conduct an annual safeguarding assessment. It was pleasing to note that the most recent assessment had, for the 4th consecutive year, concluded that the Council demonstrated best practice in all 5 subject areas.

The requirement to report “any suspected victims of exploitation (slavery or human trafficking) to the Secretary of State” was of concern to the Committee which sought reassurance that it would not be subverted and used as a means of enforcing immigration controls. Officers emphasised that this reporting requirement fulfilled a statutory obligation and was seen a positive measure, providing a pathway to support. Nonetheless the Committee repeated its wish for the assurance mentioned above.

Officers confirmed that the many voluntary organisations providing support via the locality hubs were subject to the same safeguarding controls, awareness and training as Council employees.

Background was given to the Serious Case Review mentioned in the report and the key findings which had emerged from it.

The report celebrated some examples of positive safeguarding outcomes in numerical form. The Committee suggested that those data would be more meaningful if presented in context and  alongside data  giving  the number of occasions when those outcomes were not positive.

The following recommendations were AGREED:

1)         That the Council ensures that the information it shares with the Secretary of State in relation to slavery and human trafficking is consistent with the City’s status as a City of Sanctuary and is not used for immigration enforcement.

2)         That the Council amends for its publicly available version of the Annual Safeguarding Report the section on outcomes for those who use statutory services to provide the contextual data needed to judge the effectiveness of these service interventions rather than the quantity of positive outcomes.


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