Children’s Commissioner and LGA Safeguarding Adult Lead join Havering safeguarding conference

Published: Friday, 26 May 2017

The Children’s Commissioner of England, Anne Longfield, gave a key note speech at the Safeguarding Children’s and Safeguarding Adults’ Boards conference yesterday (Wednesday 24 May).

Joining Anne Longfield were Adi Cooper, the Local Government Association’s lead on Safeguarding, and Brian Boxall, Chair of Havering’s Safeguarding Board.

Other speakers included several people who have used Havering’s services and two Autism Ambassadors from the Sycamore Trust.

During her speech Anne Longfield said:

“We are not working in a system designed around the child. 

“And that means children often don’t fit into the system we have created for them. Children who are the victims of crime don’t fit easily into a courts system designed as a battle between two parties. Children requiring mental health support don’t present as neat patients who know what to ask for.

“This is because children don’t see themselves as service users: they don’t segregate their needs between health and education between support and protection.

“And that’s why I am really pleased with today’s event: because you are bringing together people from across the local authority to discuss, collectively, a fairly disparate set of issues facing children and to involve young people directly in these discussions.”

Adi Cooper spoke about the transition between childhood and adulthood, saying:

“Thinking about what makes a difference to a successful transition to adulthood is crucial to protecting vulnerable young people, whether they be looked after children or young people with SEND as they move into adulthood.

“What we know is that historically local authorities have struggled to get this right, and it is often a complex issue that requires us to fundamentally rethink how we organise and deliver provision for children and young people if we are to equip them to adequately deal with the complexities of adulthood.

“In essence we must develop a much greater focus in our work with vulnerable children and young people towards how their experience of childhood can help them to be ready for the world that they will live in as adults.

“There is a profound challenge contained within this however in that each child or young person is unique and to help them prepare for adulthood we need to have a real understanding of how they might cope with the risks and difficulties of adulthood. Giving young people the resilience to deal with problems, to learn how to think about them in a manner that produces solutions, rather than panic and withdrawal, has to be one of our key objectives.”

Andrew Blake-Herbert, Havering Council’s Chief Executive Officer, said during his speech

“We are ambitious about shaping our services to ensure that they are organised in a manner that supports the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children; whilst promoting the wellbeing of the whole community.

“We have been working hard in the last two years to develop our provision, focusing upon building our workforce and developing their skills. As many of you will be aware, we have recently been awarded over £2 million Innovation Fund Grant from the Department for Education.

“The focus of the Innovation programme is to develop services working with Children on the Edge of Care, In Care, and Leaving Care, with a specific focus on the transition to Adulthood.”

The day-long conference - Conversations into Adulthood: Rethinking Reframing and Remodelling the journey to adulthood – took place at the Romford Salvation Army’s Church.