Top ranking officers in Oxfordshire to be directly responsible for children’s safety

The highest ranking officers in the police, local government and the health service in Oxfordshire are to make themselves directly responsible for arrangements shared by key organisations in Oxfordshire that oversee the safety of children.

New arrangements for keeping children safe have to be published in law by all parts of the country by the end of June 2019 – and the authorities in Oxfordshire are publishing theirs a month early.

Making strong arrangements even stronger

The county already has well established and robust partnership arrangements and the Government requirements are being seen locally as an opportunity to make strong arrangements even stronger - rather than seeking to implement widespread change. The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board, made up of all local partners, will remain central for engaging organisations across Oxfordshire in work to safeguard children.

The new local arrangements, which can be found here make clear that organisations believe that collaboration and partnership arrangements are key to making improvements and that better outcomes are achieved when they work closely together to support front line services.

One of the main enhancements is that overseeing the local arrangements will be the joint responsibility of the Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, Yvonne Rees, the Chief Executive of the Clinical Commissioning Group Louise Patten and the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, John Campbell.

The Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board will remain central for engaging organisations across Oxfordshire in work to safeguard children.

There’s also a continuation of the county’s strong track record in the delivery of training and learning events for staff and managers to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to carry out their roles.

Excellent track record

Yvonne Rees said: “When it comes to putting ourselves in the best position possible to keep the 143,000 children who live in Oxfordshire safe there can be no compromise. We have an excellent recent track record in Oxfordshire - the county council is rated highly by Ofsted for children’s social care. In fact we have been rated “good” three times in a row by inspectors following their visits to see for themselves the work of our dedicated and professional children’s social care teams.

“Having the most senior people directly in charge of this area is the proof that keeping children safe is our number one priority. I know that all of our partners at the police, the NHS and district councils passionately share that view.”

Chief Constable John Campbell said: “Across the Thames Valley we already benefit from strong partnerships arrangements and the new Working Together guidance enables us to continue to build on these to further protect children in our communities.

“Keeping children safe from harm is everyone’s responsibility but clearly the Police have a vital role to play. We will continue to make every effort to firstly prevent children from coming to harm and robustly investigating those who prey upon them.”

Louise Patten said: “NHS Health services across Oxfordshire are proud to be partners to the new local arrangements and we continue to actively contribute to the work of the Safeguarding Children’s Board. Working in close partnership with the local authority and TVP we oversee the excellent work undertaken by professionals and can ensure that safeguarding children remains a key focus as the local health and care system develops services in line with the ten year plan .”

Willingness and energy

Chairman of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children’s Board Richard Simpson said: “The new guidance for safeguarding requires greater leadership and visibility from senior leaders at Oxfordshire County Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group and Thames Valley Police. I have been very impressed at the willingness and energy that the senior leaders have demonstrated in so readily embracing this requirement and I look forward to working with them to safeguard and protect children in Oxfordshire”