New tri-borough group to safeguard children at risk

Published: Monday, 1 July 2019

Havering teams up with Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge to support vulnerable children and families

New local safeguarding arrangements have been published as part of a plan to keep children safe across Havering and its neighbouring boroughs.

The Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge (BHR) Safeguarding Partnership is an agreement between the three boroughs, the NHS (Clinical Commissioning Group) and the Metropolitan Police to collaborate in a bid to keep children, young people and their families who are at risk of exploitation, knife crime and other pressing issues, safe.

New national guidance provides much greater freedom for local areas to manage the way they approach the partnership.

Each local authority area will have its own safeguarding group, but they will also work across the three-borough footprint when it makes sense to do so.

Councillor Robert Benham, Havering’s Cabinet member for Education, Children and Families, said:

“When it comes to safeguarding, the boundaries between the three boroughs are irrelevant. It makes sense for the three boroughs to work closely in this way when we have knowledge and expertise that we can share to ensure that immediate steps are taken to protect and safeguard the young people and families at greatest risk.”

In Havering, a new group will replace the existing local safeguarding board.

It will work directly with local partners and will be chaired by the Director of Children’s Services, Tim Aldridge. The local group will develop an annual work programme and identify the priorities, but a key focus will remain on the safety of teenagers and the risk presented by county lines, modern slavery and criminal exploitation.

An independent expert will also be commissioned to scrutinise the group.

The BHR partnership group will feature the directors from each local authority, the borough police commander, the clinical commissioning group’s chief nurse and will initially meet every six weeks.

Every local authority is required by law to publish their plan by the end of June 2019 and have the new arrangements in place by September 2019.