Feedback from the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Forum

Feedback from the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership Forum which was held on Wednesday 11th September, by Nick Harwood, Chief Executive at Young Somerset:

Julian Wooster (Director of Children’s Services, Somerset County Council) gave an overview of the new safeguarding arrangements and an outline of the forum’s Terms of Reference. He also outlined the context within which the forum would operate – looking at Serious Case Reviews in Somerset.

The bulk of the forum was input from Dez Holmes (Director, Research in Practice) – an inspiring presentation on the safeguarding message from research and current thinking. This was followed a workshop discussion focused on system-wide assurance: what could we, as sector leaders, look to improve: focusing on:

  • What values & characteristics do we want from our staff?
  • What can managers / leaders do to role-model these?
  • What barriers do managers / leaders face that get in the way of this?
  • What does the system need to change to support?

The date of the next meeting is to be confirmed, but we will publish further updates when they become available.

New Grants Feed Grass-roots Action

Somerset’s County Councillors will have £2,000 each to fund community projects that improve lives under a new scheme launched this month.

The Improving Lives Grants Scheme has been created to kick-start and support voluntary and grass-roots initiatives that bring people together and help communities stay connected and thrive.

Whether it’s a project to reduce isolation, give parenting support, prevent falls or enhance emotional health and wellbeing – each of Somerset’s 55 county councillors can award up to four grants using their £2,000.

The £110,000 of investment is coming from the authority’s £1m Prevention Fund, set up to finance Council work and community projects that prevent issues, problems and needs developing or escalating. The aim is to improve lives while reducing future demand on the Council’s services – helping the authority remain sustainable in the long-term.

Grants can be used to ‘lever in’ funding from other sources but cannot be used to pay salaries. They can only be awarded to groups or organisations, not individuals. Any individual who has an idea for a potential project should contact their local County Councillor.

Councillor David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “One of the most important things we can do to strengthen our communities is support locally-led projects built around bringing people together.

“Our elected members understand their communities and these grants will give them some financial muscle to make a real impact.

“We’re not being too prescriptive, but the initiatives put forward should be ones that engage their communities and improve people’s lives. Schemes that support vulnerable, less-advantaged or traditionally isolated groups will be especially welcome”.

Councillors can make applications to the Improving Lives Grants Scheme from 1 September up until 30 November. Applications will be assessed to ensure that they meet the criteria before funding is agreed.

Applications are encouraged from community groups promoting and providing opportunities for people to be socially connected, more physically active, eat well, enjoy the outdoors, be more independent and better informed about health and wellbeing.

It is expected that the majority of grants will go to Parish Councils and voluntary sector organisations; established bodies that can make a big impact at local-level.

Applications can only be made by elected County Councillors and have to benefit their own division.

Click here to find out who the elected Somerset County Councillor is for a particular area and their contact details to discuss your interest in the fund. 

For further guidance click here.

Conclusions of the Joint VCSE Review

The Joint VCSE Review was initiated in November 2014 by the Department of Health, Public Health England, and NHS England to describe the role of the VCSE sector in contributing to improving health, well-being and care outcomes; to identify and describe challenges and opportunities, and make recommendations for national government, local government and the NHS.

The conclusions of the review have now been published. The key message from the report is that a fundamental shift is needed is towards codesigning a new health and care system with the people who use it most, and those who miss out most often. Statutory organisations have not consistently shifted resources and power from their own bureaucracies towards citizens: effective community organisations are essential partners in this

You can read the full report here.

The Future of Social Care Workshop Update

Following the two-part Panorama documentary films about the pressures facing social care, the VCSE Strategic Forum ran a workshop to engage with Adult Social Care Commissioners. There were 56 attendees who represented a variety of organisations.

The workshop included:

  • Exploring the challenges faced, and hearing from Stephen Chandler, Director of Adult Services outlining why Somerset chose to engage with Panorama;
  • Understanding what initiatives are already in place and how the VCSE can get involved;
  • Seeking views from the VCSE on how to collaboratively rise to the challenge.

The presentations from the day can be viewed here.

Key themes which came up in group discussions are below, and a summary can be accessed here.

  • How to focus more on prevention and early intervention;
  • The need for better awareness as some people were unsure of what Community Connect is and also Somerset Direct;
  • Commissioning;
  • Communications and engagement and strengthening links at a local/community level, particularly with parish/town councils.

As requested, Adult Social Care have produced information regarding Community Connect which can be viewed here.

For further information about support available, click here or call 0300 123 2224.

Further to the workshop, if you have had any additional reflections or thoughts on how we can collaboratively work better together or other innovative solutions you are keen to make us aware of, then please email communities@somerset.gov.uk.

An Update from the Safer Somerset Partnership

The latest edition of the Somerset Domestic Abuse Newsletter, which contains updates on local and national domestic abuse related matters, is now available to download here.

Somerset Community Connect Website now Live

Connecting you… A new way to plug-in to Somerset’s growing Community Connect movement is now available!

The Somerset Community Connect website is full of information and advice that can help you and the individuals you work with, to make local links that will help make life better. Whether you’re supporting someone who is looking for groups and activities or community transport; struggling with loneliness, financial issues or arthritis; the site provides information that could make all the difference.

It’s a new way to be part of Community Connect, which is all about promoting independence and improving people’s lives by working with our communities – harnessing the skills and expertise of a huge range of organisations and volunteers.

A ‘What’s relevant to me?’ search feature helps individuals to find what they are after, whether it’s for themselves or someone they might know.

Some of the key things you’ll find on the site include:

  • A directory of Micro-Providers – the growing network of small-scale, often single-person, care providers who can help with care at  home.
  • A list of drop-in events being run by a huge range of community and voluntary organisations in your local area
  • A directory of registered home care and care home providers
  • Information about support for carers
  • Help to access equipment through the county’s two Independence and Advice Centres

The team behind the site are keen to further enhance what is available and continuously improve the quality of information they are providing to our communities. Therefore if you have any feedback and ideas for development, please get in touch!

Somerset VCSE Community Safety Forum

On Tuesday 2nd July members of the VCSE community and the public sector in Somerset came together for a Community Safety Forum at Long Sutton Golf Course. More than 50 people attended and heard updates from:

  • Lucy Macready, Somerset County Council – Safer Communities Partnership and Referral Pathways
  • Amy Hurst, Sedgemoor District Council – Serious and Organised Crime including County Lines
  • Any Lloyd, Somerset County Council – One Teams
  • Simon Billington, Redeeming Our Communities (ROC) – Rough Sleepers Project

Attendees also had the chance to input into how the VCSE community can engage with the Community Safety agenda across Somerset.

A copy of the presentation slides from the event can be found here.

VCSE Update: Somerset Children’s Trust Board

VCSE representative, Nik Harwood, attended the meeting of the Somerset Children’s Trust on 14th May 2019.

You can read his summary below:

  • Closing statement on Children’s Plan 2016-2019 was shared with achievements and areas for improvement (including those ported into the 2019-2022 plan, which is now published)
  • Theme for forward planning with heavy emphasis on ensuring the voice of child/young person is embedded into all strategic thinking & decision-making: also an indicator about bringing on-the-ground practice closer to strategic thinking
  • Update on Safeguarding Partnership (replacing Safeguarding Children’s Board) from October 2019 – statutory duty for 3 partners: LA, CCG, Police – planning and thinking around how this will work operationally (including dynamics above) in-hand, and proposal to central government by end of  June 2019
  • With now no statutory requirement for Children’s Trust Board and Safeguarding Children’s Board, this is an opportunity to streamline governance and Board level meetings – this discussion is ongoing & aligned with point above
  • Update on child exploitation from working groups & workshops on future shaping & prioritisation (including a captured voice of 2 x YP engaged with Team 8 – YP unable to attend)

An update from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board

The latest newsletter from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board is now available.

This edition includes:

  • News from the SSAB
  • SSAB Annual Conference
  • New Strategic Plan for 2019-2022
  • Mendip House Safeguarding Adult Review in the news
  • Changes to MARAC
  • Get the SSAB Website on your phone or tablet
  • Business Manager Blog
  • Learning Lessons
  • National: ‘Colin’
  • Regional:  Analysis of Safeguarding Adult Reviews in the South West
  • Local:  Sharing systems and best practices in relation to Never Events
  • Care about recruitment
  • Learning from Children’s Services
  • National News and Headlines
  • Training and Development
  • Useful Safeguarding Adults Links

You can read the newsletter here.

The Somerset Plan for Children, Young People and Families

This week, children and young people helped launch a document that will shape the way Somerset County Council and its partners support them over the next three years.

The voices of children and young people have been central to the creation of the Children and Young People’s plan for 2019-22 which outlines the challenges and dangers they face.

Supporting children and young people, keeping them safe and improving their lives, is one of the most important roles the Council and its partners in health and the police undertake.

The plan is there to help them achieve this and highlights issues such as exam stress, difficulties in education, lack of opportunities, bullying, abuse, exploitation, poverty and self-harm and family problems.

Children and young people from across Somerset – many of whom attended today’s launch – took part in a series of work shops and helped draw up the plan and set its priorities.

The plan will inform and focus the efforts of the Council, Avon and Somerset Police and Somerset NHS with the aim of improving the lives of children and young people by strengthening families and communities and tackling the numerous challenges they face.

The priorities chosen by children and young people and outlined in the plan covered better health provision and access to affordable activities to support health and wellbeing, support for parents, useful training and social skills, and ensuring schools and colleges were safe places.

The Plan’s overall vision is for Somerset’s children and young people to be happy, healthy and preparing for adulthood.

Somerset County Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Julian Wooster said: “The plan is critical for Somerset, it really focusses on the challenges facing families bringing up children.

“It’s so important we provide families with the right level of support to succeed in life and to bring up children so they can participate fully in education and other activities to prepare them for adulthood.”

Sandra Corry, Director of Quality and Patient Safety at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “One of the key things we’re doing in health is improving access to mental health services for young people and ensuring help is available at an earlier stage.
“We want to prevent young people possibly ending up in A&E because they have self-harmed.
“We want our GP practices, the Council and Public Health to really wrap services around the child and young person and how we support parents.”

Superintendent of Avon and Somerset Police, Mike Prior added: “This plan is all about giving children and young people the best possible start in life.
“We want everyone in Somerset to grow up safe, secure and looking to the future, able to contribute to society, make the county their home and in turn bring their children up here too.”

You can read the plan in full here