Safeguarding and Independent Reviewing Service
In Walsall the Safeguarding and Independent Reviewing Service has two main responsibilities and as a result the staff have two roles. These are Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO’s) for children and young people who are looked after by the Local Authority and Child Protection Coordinators for children and young people who require a Child Protection Conference to decide if they are in need of a Child Protection plan.
All Children and Young People have the right to live safely and have their needs met.
The level of services a child or young person may need at any one time will vary and children and young people may move between levels of intervention as circumstances, needs and plans change. What is important is that
Children access the right services at the right time and Care/Pathway plans and CP plans meet children and young people’s needs and when they are no longer required children and young people leave services safely
Universal services play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare needs of children and young people. All those working with children and young people should support families to take up their entitlement to universal services.
At times families may need extra support to achieve this and may have some targeted service through a Child in Need Plan.
For a smaller number of children concerns about their safety and well being may be serious enough to mean they become Looked after by Walsall Local Authority or for a Child Protection Conference to meet to decide whether they need a Child Protection Plan.
In some instances children and young people may need to be protected through a Court Order or through the police exercising powers of Police Protection. In both situations children and young people may still become Looked After or have a Child Protection Plan.
Children and Young People Looked After by the Local Authority
All children and young people who are looked after by the have a Care Plan or Pathway Plan and it is the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer to oversee these plans and make sure that it meets their safety and welfare needs as well as their need for permanency and security. The plan is discussed at the child or young person’s Statutory Review meeting which is held at specified intervals. The Independent Reviewing Officer has a responsibility to challenge those involved in the plan if there is any delay or gaps in services provided or the plan lacks aspiration for their future.
Child Protection Conference
When there are concerns for a child or young person’s safety and those professionals involved in the child or young person’s life are worried about them a Child Protection Conference is arranged. This will take place after an investigation that is usually undertaken jointly between Childrens Social Care and the Police. A Child Protection Conference is a meeting to discuss information that has become available during a child protection investigation, decides what should happen next and if a child or young person needs a Child Protection Plan. The meeting is chaired by a Child Protection Coordinator. The meeting is attended by all professionals involved in the child or young person’s life, their parents or carers and whenever possible the child or young person. Every professional will be expected to provide a report and these should be shared before the meeting with parents and carers and the child or young person if they are of an age and understanding.
The Safeguarding and Independent Reviewing Service has an overarching responsibility to quality assure reports and plans and make sure that these make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in a timely and purposeful manner.
Contact Details for the Safeguarding and Independent Reviewing Service
10, Lichfield Road