Agenda item

Agenda item

Oxford City Council Safeguarding Report 2022/23 and Safeguarding Policy 2023-26

Cabinet, at its meeting on 12 July 2023, will consider a report from the Executive Director (Communities and People) on progress made on Oxford City Council’s Safeguarding Action Plan for 2022/23 and presenting an updated Safeguarding Policy for 2023-26. Cllr Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, Richard Adams, Community Safety Manager and Laura Jones, Safeguarding Coordinator, have been invited to present the report and answer questions. The Committee is asked to consider the report and agree any recommendations.


Cllr Jarvis arrived at the meeting.

The Committee agreed to take items 7, 8 and 9 next on the agenda, followed by items 5, 6 and 10.

Cllr Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, presented the report which reported on progress made on Oxford City Council’s Safeguarding Action Plan for 2022/23 and presented an updated Safeguarding Policy for 2023-26.  She highlighted that the annual report to Cabinet sets out how Oxford City Council would fulfil its statutory safeguarding duties and the new processes put in place for this year to deliver this function more effectively.

Cllr Aziz, Richard Adams, Community Safety Manager, Laura Jones, Safeguarding Coordinator and Ian Wright, Head of Regulatory Services and Community Safety, answered questions as follows:

·         Safeguarding Champions attend quarterly internal Strategic Safeguarding meetings to review safeguarding concerns and best practice scenarios.

·         Trends identified through MyConcern, outcomes from the annual staff safeguarding questionnaire, or trends identified from Board meetings, are incorporated into the training for Safeguarding Champions.  Trainers meet quarterly to update the training material to ensure it is up to date.

·         Any allegations made against Safeguarding Champions would go to a designated safeguarding lead, as per the Safeguarding Policy and Allegations Policy procedures.

·         The Council’s safeguarding coordination function moved from the Policy and Partnership Team to the Community Safety Service, within Regulatory Services and Community Safety.

·         The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Child Exploitation Subgroup meetings, attended by the Community Safety Manager, receive quarterly reports detailing trends in child exploitation safeguarding concerns, which would include information gathered from language schools, however it would be dependent on the language school to report any concerns raised.  However, languages schools are overseen by Oxfordshire County Council Education Safeguarding Advisory Team, and Oxford City Council works closely with them.

·         The only significant changes to the policy were to governance and the change of responsibilities within the team.  The section outlining procedures had been taken out and put into a separate document for the policy to read in a more structured way.

·         All staff received full safeguarding training and would refer to the procedure document when raising any concerns.  A summary was available for staff on the intranet page.

·         When adults are moved from exploitive situations, they would be supported by a multi-agency response team, supported by the Council’s Anti-Slavery Coordinator.  Further detail on the types of removal were not included within the report.

·         Longitudinal studies for local data was not available, however this could be followed up with the Anti-Slavery Coordinator to ascertain whether it could be produced and included within future reports.

·         Contextual data regarding the number of adult exploitation cases would be provided in future reports.

·         The Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) Accreditation project was currently underway, and works across the whole organisation and further information could be provided at a future Scrutiny Committee meeting.

Cllr Arshad arrived at the meeting.

In response to a question regarding the responsibility of ensuring any youth group organisations commissioned by the Council had adequate safeguarding policies and practices in place, Richard Adams confirmed this was an area under review, and he would report back in due course.

Cllr Arshad left the meeting and did not return.

The Committee resolved to make the following recommendations on the report for Cabinet:

1.    That the Council adds context to the section on adult exploitation to give a flavour of the situations and responses; and uses available local, regional and national data to frame the figures so that they tell a story.

2.    That the Council undertakes a longitudinal study of victims and survivors of adult exploitation to gain an understanding of the impact that support has in positively changing the course of lives, which is grounded in data.

3.    That the Council actively works with the voluntary sector and community groups to ensure they have adequate safeguarding policies in place and have access to suitable safeguarding training and support.

4.    That the Council clarifies its procedure for reporting back to staff on changes to safeguarding procedures to ensure organisational awareness.

The Committee requested a report to a future meeting on the DAHA Accreditation, which could be joined up with an update on the recommendations made by the Domestic Abuse Review Group. The Committee requested that the Scrutiny Officer work with officers to schedule this in to the Work Plan.

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