West Berkshire Council

Council responds to Serious Case Review

Council responds to Serious Case Review published by the West Berkshire Safeguarding Children's Board.

The West Berkshire Safeguarding Children's Board has today (Wednesday 1 February) published a Serious Case Review identifying the learning from allegations of sexual offences against children relating to people in positions of trust. The review can be read online.

Responding to the report Councillor Roger Croft, Leader of West Berkshire Council said: "I welcome this comprehensive report from the Safeguarding Children's Board and accept the recommendations it makes for safeguarding practices. We recognise that there is learning for us and other agencies. The council has already started making the changes suggested for us.

"Protecting young people from harm is the priority for the council and one of the most crucial roles that councils perform. We have 25,000 pupils at school in the district and school safeguarding policies and procedures are very important to us. The interests of young people are at the centre of everything we do.  We work closely with schools to ensure we have plans which are robust and regularly reviewed. This review will help us further improve them."

"In working closely with schools the Local Authority's role is to both support them in improving and on occasions to challenge their performance with regards to safeguarding. We are committed to continually improving the safeguarding of all West Berkshire children wherever they are educated. We will work closely with all schools and through the LSCB to ensure this. I am very grateful to the West Berkshire Safeguarding Children's Board for this review and together we will ensure the recommendations continue to be implemented without delay."

Rachael Wardell, West Berkshire Council's Director of Children's Services added:"Anyone reading this report will be troubled to learn that agencies missed opportunities to protect some young people from harm.

"We really value the learning in this report and have been implementing changes as we identify opportunities for improvement. Safeguarding practices develop over time and are unrecognisable from those in place when the first offences were committed in the 1980s. However, we know that there are always ways to improve further.

"We have already taken steps to improve how we work and this includes an immediate review of all the agencies' safeguarding practices, a move to three-yearly DBS checks, more training and a refreshed toolkit for schools to conduct their own reviews.