Local Safeguarding Children Boards are now chaired by people who are independent of the local authority. This is to correct problems which arose in the past from having the Director of Children’s Services chairing the board which was meant to hold the authority to account.
However, the Chair is only required for 2-3 days a month, so Chairs can pick up more than one board and this this gives some individuals a great deal of influence. Several Boards are currently advertising for an Independent Chair. The typical day rate is £600. As far as I can make out, between them, 32 Independent Chairs are responsible for 75 Boards, with 9 chairing 3 Boards each and 1 chairing 4 Boards.
Does this small world have an impact on who is commissioned to write Serious Case Reviews?
Independent Chairs may also take on the role of independent overview author of a Serious Case Review.
One practitioner is quoted in recent research as saying “In my experience, LSCBs seem to have their favourite Overview Writers”. The research also quoted someone else saying “From a commissioner’s viewpoint, there remains a struggle to find suitable authors (often a case of ‘who you know’)”
A policy paper published by the Department for Education on January 14th 2016 said “We need a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of why mistakes occur and how the system can learn to avoid them. This requires overhauling the serious case review process...”
The Association of Independent LSCB Chairs was registered as a company limited by guarantee in August 2012.
One of the Association’s aims is “Acting as a national voice for Chairs, giving an informed response to government consultations and seeking to influence and respond to other policy development proposals on LSCB related safeguarding issues“. There are nine regional groups within the Association.
The National repository of published serious case reviews is a collaboration between the Association and NSPCC.
At the Capita Conference on Children Missing Education, July 2014 Jane Booth, Independent Chair for Lancashire and Rochdale LSCBs, gave a presentation in which elective home education featured heavily.
I attended the conference and reported afterwards that delegates had been told the NSPCC was going to publish a report on serious case reviews mentioning home education.
The home education presentation was included in the delegate’s pack and was flagged up here.
Home educators may recall that one of the earliest Independent LSCB Chairs was Graham Badman who was appointed to Haringey shortly before being commissioned to carry out an Independent Review of home education.
Many many Independent Local Safeguarding Children Board Chairs have more than one board
David Ashcroft Norfolk AND South Tyneside
Steve Ashley Hillingdon AND Rotherham
Sarah Baker Barking and Dagenham AND Tower Hamlets
Jackie Carnell Staffordshire AND Stoke on Trent
Christine Cassell Derby AND Derbyshire
Alan Caton Central Bedfordshire AND Islington
Howard Cooper Liverpool AND St Helens
Chris Doorly Lewisham AND Southend on Sea
Jimmy Doyle South Gloucestershire AND West Sussex
Sally Halls Shropshire AND Somerset
John Harris Doncaster AND Sandwell
Edwina Harrison North Lincolnshire AND Wakefield
Jane Held Birmingham AND Leeds
Reg Hooke East Sussex AND Portsmouth
Glenys Johnston Jersey AND Northern Ireland
David Peplow Thurrock AND Warwickshire
Phil Picton Hertfordshire AND Slough
Bron Sanders East Riding AND Kirklees
David Taylor Devon AND Torbay
Alex Walters Bracknell Forest AND Surrey
Simon Westwood Salford AND York
Audrey Williamson Knowsley AND Warrington
Maggie Blyth Hampshire AND Isle of Wight AND Oxfordshire
Jane Booth Lancashire AND Manchester AND Rochdale
Paul Burnett Isle of Man AND Leicestershire AND Rutland AND Nottingham
Richard Burrows Calderdale AND North Tyneside AND Northumberland
Keith Makin Merton AND Northamptonshire AND Southampton
Colin Morris Darlington AND Stockton on Tees AND Sunderland
Gill Rigg Bury AND Cumbria AND Kent
David Sanders Blackpool AND Sefton AND Newham
Cliff Turner Bournemouth AND Poole AND Dorset AND Wiltshire
Frances Gosling-Thomas Buckinghamshire AND Reading AND West Berkshire AND Wokingham