As you may have seen, last month his Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published its latest inspection on how we protect children.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share more information on the findings, particularly given the vested interest many of you have in this area. Also, a lot of the work we’re undertaking is in partnership with a number of your agencies. Your contribution and continued engagement is valued and is helping to shape some of the future improvements I have outlined below. Thank you.
The re-inspection took place in March, after an initial inspection in 2021 found systemic failings and made 15 recommendations for improvement.
We have been working diligently through these recommendations, and following their latest visit, inspectors found that in some areas we have significantly improved the way we protect children.
We developed a comprehensive action plan to improve our services to children which has seen us make improvements to our structure and leadership and develop a performance framework. IT systems are being used more effectively, and we have delivered bespoke training around spotting the signs of neglect and hearing and recording the voice of a child. In addition, our contribution to multi-agency child protection arrangements are more effective, as is our response to online child sexual abuse following investment in more staff and development of our processes. Finally, HMICFRS praised our management of registered sex offenders.
However, there were a number of areas identified in the initial inspection that we were still working on at the time of the re-inspection. Consequently issues were still present, which we fully accept and recognise there is still more to be done.
We continue to improve the quality of our investigations, to better safeguard children and bring those responsible for harming them to justice. We’re focused on a number of areas including our quality of investigations involving missing children, the identification of vulnerable children, and our information sharing with partners. We are working with a number of partners to redesign the system for information sharing to ensure we have clear pathways to enable frontline officers and staff to be able to access the right help and support from the appropriate agency at the earliest opportunity when we identify any concerns for the welfare of a child.
We continue to work closely with HMICFRS who are monitoring our progress, we will keep you updated with our journey and thank you for your support in striving to make children in our county safer.