Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 9 January 2017
11:00 a.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Councillor D J Branson, Councillor D Davison, Councillor S Dean, Councillor J Goodchild, Councillor A Hellaoui, Councillor L Lewis, Councillor M Storey, Councillor Z Uddin
C Breheny, A Brown, Geoff Watson and Gary Watson.
Apologies for absence:
Councillor F McIntyre
Declarations of interest:

None declared

Item Number Item/Resolution

The Minutes of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 19 December 2016 were submitted and approved as a correct record.



ORDERED that, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule No 5, the Committee agreed to vary the order of business to deal with the items in the following order: Agenda item 5, Agenda item 4 and Agenda item 6.


The Chair reminded Members that as part of the panel’s review on the topic of sexting / youth produced sexual imagery it had been agreed that a questionnaire would be provided to all schools on this topic. The aim of the questionnaire was to gain an understanding of the current prevalence of this issue in primary and secondary schools, to examine how the issue was currently being addressed, whether schools had developed any best practice and what more the Council could do to support young people and parents on this issue.


The Chair explained that following the last meeting she had met with the Council's Assistant Director of Safeguarding & Children’s Care, Assistant Director of Education & Skills, Risk and Reduction Manager and Chair of the Local Children's Safeguarding Board to discuss the proposals. A copy of the questionnaire compiled in partnership with the relevant officers was presented to the panel for comment. The four sections of the questionnaire covered awareness and training, prevention, identification and monitoring systems and good practice as follows:-


Awareness and Training
How does the school keep abreast of new and emerging technology and its impact in this area? e.g. one person or a specialist teacher is responsible for environmental scanning and training staff, input from external organisations, trainers (LA or other), collaboration across schools, other method (please describe in as much detail as you can)?
What training is provided to Governors and Staff members
What work is being done with parents and carers to inform and raise awareness?

The DFE document ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ emphasises the promotion of safeguarding and highlights the need for staff to be able to deal with specific types of issues, including ‘peer on peer’ abuse and ‘sexting.’ What is being done to help prevent these two specific areas of abuse?
In August 2016 UKCCIS published an advisory document entitled ‘Sexting in Schools and Colleges’. What is the school doing in response to the recommendations made?

Identification, monitoring systems
What systems does the school have in place for children and or staff to report concerns e.g. Toot Toot?
How, as a school would you respond to an incident or disclosure made by a child or YP a schools perspective
Does school Use C-POMS? If not Why not? If yes, To what extent?

Good Practice
Can the school give an example(s) of good practice that it has deployed in either of the following areas:

  •  Preventative
  • Dealing with incident

Is there is any further support that schools would like for which the Council may be able to help facilitate/coordinate good practice.

The Chair advised that it was the panel’s intention to use the questionnaire to complete face to face interviews with approximately 7 or 8 schools including Middlesbrough college before seeking written submissions from all schools across the town. The panel was invited to make comments on the proposed questionnaire and put forward any further comments / amendments Members wished to make.


The Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board queried whether consideration had been given to sending the questionnaire to other relevant groups including the Guiding and Scout Association, Hemlington LINK, Middlesbrough’s Youth Member of Parliament and the Looked After Children’s Council. The Chair welcomed this suggestion and acknowledged that the questionnaire would need to be amended and rewritten in child friendly language if it was circulated to youth groups and young people directly. In response to a query the Business Manager for Middlesbrough Children’s Safeguarding Board (MCSB) advised that the MCSB fully endorsed the work undertaken by the panel and would share it with the Board once completed. A Member of the panel queried whether a covering letter would be sent along with the questionnaire.


It was advised that the an introduction to the questionnaire had been drafted as follows:-



Under their legal duty to safeguard all children and young people in Middlesbrough, and following high profile cases of Exploitation in other parts of the UK, Middlesbrough Council commissioned work in 2014 through the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel. This work was designed to assure elected members that awareness, training, and operational practice in this area was as good and as effective as it could possibly be.
The current work of the scrutiny panel focuses specifically on ‘sexting and youth produced sexual imagery’ and the following questions were designed to help inform elected members to understand how children were safeguarded from the harms caused by such activity.

The Chair confirmed that a copy of the covering letter and questionnaire would be sent to all members of the panel in advance of its distribution.


A member of the panel expressed the view that there may well be schools across the town which have responded very proactively to this issue and have developed effective policies and procedures. It was queried as to whether efforts could be made in advance of approaching the schools where face to face interviews would take place to find out what work had already been undertaken on this issue. The Chair confirmed that in advance of any visit the Members involved would have the opportunity to visit the school’s website and find out what policies / policies were in place. The comment was made that many parents were unaware of what sexting was or what measures they could put in place to protect their child. The point was made that one of the questions in the questionnaire related to the work undertaken with parents and carers to inform them about this issue and raise awareness.


The MCSB Manager advised that the MCSB had recently undertaken a piece of work on esafety and a copy of the Teeswide Esafety strategy, which had recently been finalised, was presented to the panel. It was advised that one of the big challenges facing MCSB was reaching out to parents and although Chelsea’s Choice programme had successfully engaged young people in Middlesbrough it had not reached their parents. In other areas parents had been involved in the programme and more work was needed on this issue.


The MCSB Manager provided the panel with copies of the quarterly briefing for schools on CSE as well as a copy of the Tees Valley Esafety Strategy. The panel was informed that the Esafety sub-group was currently chaired by a Head Teacher and training session on esafety were widely available through the MCSB to colleagues in the Local Authority, Police, Health, Education, Social Care and the Colleges. The MSCB Newsletter was sent to all agencies and a School Safeguarding Briefing note had been sent to all schools and colleges which included information on CSE. It was advised that the work of the panel could be highlighted in the quarterly briefing note to schools to raise awareness of the panel’s work. The point was also made that it was important that key people raised questions about any concerns they had at an early stage so schools and young people were better able to cope with these issues. It was advised that esafety multi -agency training was available electronically to all Members via the MCSB.


AGREED as follows:-

  •  That the Democratic Services Officer send a link to the MCSB Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children Training Programme 2016-17 to all Members of the panel. 
  •  That the questionnaire prepared for schools be re-written in child friendly language for use with youth groups and young people directly including the Looked After Children’s Council, the Guiding and Scout Association, Hemlington LINK, Middlesbrough’s Youth Member of Parliament and the Teesside Junior Football Alliance.
  • That once the panel had completed its review on the topic of Sexting / Youth Produced Sexual Imagery a copy of the panel’s report be presented to the Tees Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

The Chair explained the purpose of the agenda item was to receive an update on the multi-agency response to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and give consideration to any further action required in respect of this topic. The Assistant Director of Safeguarding & Children’s Care was in attendance to provide the update.

The Assistant Director of Safeguarding & Children’s Care confirmed that she was in attendance to provide the latest in the panel’s six monthly updates. The report presented covered what actions had been taken locally and strategically at a Tees Valley level. It was stated that the work undertaken by the Tees Strategic Vulnerable Exploited Missing Trafficked (VEMT) had gained momentum and there had also been discussions around extending the ‘See Something Say Something Campaign’ to address the wider issues of trafficking and domestic slavery.


Reference was made to the Tees Strategic CSE Action Plan and the panel was informed that Middlesbrough continues to focus on the actions and tasks contained in that plan. The Middlesbrough Tees Strategic VEMT continued to be well attended and the VEMT Practitioner Group focused exclusively on how young people were supported and how the risks to them were managed. It was advised that there had been a significant increase in the intelligence information gathered by the MSCB Strategic VEMT and the group worked effectively to jointly disrupt potential perpetrators. Often this work was focused around premises, for example, hot food takeaways and some very positive work had been undertaken with the Police and Barnardo’s in addressing this issue.

The panel was informed that another key piece of work was in respect of children repeatedly missing from home and it was explained that the VEMT Practitioner group monitored these children very closely. Keeping track of where they had been whilst and whether similar names were being mentioned enabled agencies to spot patterns, themes and hotspots. Children missing from school also often became missing for longer periods and these cases were also actively monitored. The Assistant Director of Safeguarding and Children’s Care expressed the view that mutli-agency information sharing was key along with what was going to be done by the agencies collectively to keep that young person safe.


Since the last update the panel was advised that the following progress had been made:


  • Commissioned Barnardo’s to complete independent return interviews for children who had gone missing from home or care.
  • Rolled out of a Cleveland Police CSE Team enabling development of expertise within the Police force.
  • Tightened procedures within Middlesbrough to establish when other Authorities place children and young people in our area.
  •  Rolled out compulsory Safeguarding training for Taxi licensing.

In respect of the independent return interviews now conducted by Barnardo’s this was having a really positive impact in terms of the quality and number of returns. The young people tended to be more open with Barnardo workers and making that link had hugely improved the work taking place. It was explained that there was still some work to do when young people from out of the area went missing in Middlesbrough.


Reference was made to the Cleveland Police’s CSE Team and it was explained this specialist team had now been in place for 3 to 4 months. A Chief Inspector represented Cleveland Police on the Middlesbrough VEMT and it was confirmed that the Council had a very good working relationship with Cleveland Police. The Police CSE Team were involved in working with both victims and perpetrators and it was confirmed that where young people placed in Middlesbrough from out of area went missing their cases were still discussed. As often these young people befriended young people in Middlesbrough.


The Assistant Director of Safeguarding and Children’s Care advised that compulsory safeguarding training for taxi licensing had recently been launched. As a result all licensed drivers would be expected to undertake the safeguarding training and plans to extend that training to other licensed premises were in place. The Chair thanked the Assistant Director for the update and expressed the view that the panel felt reassured by the work currently taking place in Middlesbrough.


A  discussion ensued and the following issues were raised:-


  •  A Member of the panel made reference to the increasing use throughout the UK of Uber and expressed the view that consideration needed to be given to this as a potential future safeguarding issue. It was agreed that this point would be taken on board and advice would be sought from the Council’s Head of Licensing, who was part of Middlesbrough’s VEMT.
  •  In terms of pubs and clubs the intelligence gathered to date indicated that there tended to be more of an issue with takeaway premises than pubs and clubs. Hot food takeaways tended to change ownership frequently and it was the premises that was licensed and not the individual. Extending the safeguarding training to other licensed premises was certainly on the agenda.
  •  A query was raised in relation to the need for other local Authorities to report to Middlesbrough Council when children placed in our area went missing. It was confirmed that in such cases the duty to complete the return interview is Middlesbrough’s and that these interviews were most effective if undertaken soon after the child returned.

AGREED as follows:

  1. That advice be sought from the Council’s Licensing Manager on the frequency requirement of Safeguarding Training for taxi drivers. The suggestion was put forward that a 3 yearly requirement in line with the current frequency of DBS checks seemed appropriate.
  2. That the information provided be received and noted.



It was agreed that the next meeting of the Community Safety and Leisure Scrutiny Panel would take place on Monday, 6 February 2017 at 11.00am.

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