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Joint Inspectorate Review of Child Protection Arrangements (JICPA): Newport, December 2019

Our findings of the effectiveness of partnership working and the work of individual agencies in Newport.

Together with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) and Estyn, we carried out a joint inspection between 2 and 6 December 2019 on the multi-agency response to abuse and neglect in Newport. This was the first pilot inspection in Wales involving five inspectorates reviewing child protection arrangements.

This inspection included an evaluation of how local services responded to child exploitation. Please note this publication has been delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Strengths

We found staff and professionals demonstrated a good understanding of the nature of work in relation to children and families who are at risk or are experiencing exploitation.

Inspectors found the police force and local authority, Newport City Council, have worked together to co-locate personnel at the safeguarding hub which enables improved and timelier decision making.

We found the police force has made a significant investment to make sure the team responsible for investigating child abuse is fully staffed. Officers have been provided with specialist child abuse investigator training, as have their supervisors.

There was effective joint-working between school leaders through established groups such as the ‘managed moves’ group, and more recently, the involvement of multi-agency leaders at the ‘School Exclusion and Exploitation Partners’ group and the ‘Serious Organised Crime’ group.

The Youth Justice Service has access to good information about the service it delivers and the information manager provides information to the board and team managers to help plan service delivery.

Areas for development

  • More work needs to be done to ensure all agencies are represented at the safeguarding hub.
  • The police force needs to do more to check decisions being made about children are in line with their expectations.
  • Newport’s multi-agency approach to supporting and safeguarding vulnerable pupils who receive their education in Welsh-medium schools is too reactive, there needs to be a consistent approach in the support available for pupils in English and Welsh medium provision.
  • The role of the Youth Justice Service works to the Protocol for Looked After Children. This protocol and role needs reviewing to ensure a consistent approach to case recording.

Next steps

We expect the local authority to prepare a written statement of proposed action to address the findings identified in this inspection. This should be a multi-agency response involving the National Probation Service, Youth Justice Service, Aneurin Bevan University Health Trust and Gwent Police.

To view all our findings and recommendations, read the full letter below.