Brent Council child protection scheme gets Department for Education backing to tune of 1.9million

Cllr Ketan Sheth.

Cllr Ketan Sheth. - Credit: Archant

Improving children’s lives is the chief aim of a Brent Council supported schemeA which has been backed by the Department for Education.

The council has been awarded – along with nine other local authorities across England – £1.9M over two years to help fully embed and sustain Signs of Safety (SoS), a tool intended to help practitioners with risk assessment and safety planning in child protection cases.

In partnership with child protection consultants and creators of Signs of Safety (SoS), prof Eileen Munro, Andrew Turnell and Terry Murphy – collectively referred to as ‘MTM’ – the council has been working to implement lasting reforms that deliver better outcomes for vulnerable children and their families.

The council’s community and wellbeing scrutiny committee recently reviewed its SoS practice, which was very well received by MTM and contributed to the phase two submission.

Ofsted inspected the council’s children’s services in 2015 and reported that, when the SoS approach was used, the assessments that resulted were “mostly good”, in contrast to cases where it was not used.

Cllr Ketan Sheth, who is chair of the community and wellbeing scrutiny committee, said: “I am impressed by the way that Brent is engaging so wholeheartedly in developing the expertise to engage better with families and improve children’s lives.

“Brent will also benefit from the continued support from MTM, the creators of SoS, who have greatly helped our journey so far.”

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Along with Tower Hamlets Council, Brent is the only local authority in London taking part in the England Innovations Project scheme, which is also being piloted in Norfolk, Wakefield and Bristol.

“As well as helping fund project capacity and training and the recognition that comes with being involved in the project, this award will give the council an opportunity to share learning and work with other participating local authorities,” Cllr Sheth added.

From the outset the MTM team identified the increasing rate of state intervention in families lives and the unsustainable cost of child protection system, prompting them to push through with their SoS project, which aims to give more support to families.