A multi agency partnership which oversees the welfare of Telford and Wrekin’s children has developed a programme of work to help organisations identify, tackle and prevent child sexual exploitation.
The Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board is leading the response to recommendations made by Telford & Wrekin Council’s Children and Young People’s scrutiny committee.
The 100 page Scrutiny Review was published earlier this year following Operation Chalice - a significant investigation into the exploitation and trafficking of young girls in the borough.
This investigation resulted in the successful prosecution of nine men, who were jailed for a total of 49 years.
The Scrutiny Review made 38 recommendations aimed at achieving better practice over a broad range of issues.
Now a report going to the council’s Cabinet on July 21 says that the Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board will be responsible for monitoring the recommendations and ensuring progress is made.
An interim report will be made to the Telford & Wrekin Council Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee in December, with a full progress report being brought forward in May next year.
Partners who work together on the Safeguarding Children Board are already working to deliver the recommendations and progress includes:
• Utilising child sexual exploitation (CSE) data and intelligence to target perpetrators has led to effective disruptions of behaviours associated with CSE
• Raising awareness of CSE has resulted in taxi drivers attending Driver Awareness Training
• Reviews of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Sexual Health Services have been carried out and access to support for CSE victims and their families will be improved as a result
• The CSE care pathway has been reviewed and improved
• Supervision for professionals working with children abused through exploitation is now the same quality as social works received due to the complexity of the work and emotional impact it has
Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children, Young People and Communities, said: “We very much welcomed the Scrutiny Review that took place as it is absolutely essential that we strive to improve how we work together and tackle this extremely serious issue.
“The review found that organisations in Telford and Wrekin have been working well to tackle and prevent child sexual exploitation.
“However our number on priority in all of this is the safety and welfare of our children so it is absolutely right that we continue to strive to ensure our systems are robust and in the best possible shape to protect our children and young people.
“Lots of good work has already taken place since the review got under way and that will continue in the coming months as we ensure that the review’s recommendations continue to be acted on or implemented.”
Andrew Mason, chairman of Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Children Board, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to commend the Scrutiny Committee for their excellent report.
“It identifies the good work that has already taken place while highlighting those areas where further improvements could be made in making better use of data and intelligence, raising awareness and in improving access to mental health services.
“The Board will continue to treat CSE as a priority and at its June meeting accepted all the report’s recommendations and restated its commitment to ensuring that they are all effectively delivered.”