Published: Wednesday, 10th October 2018

The partnership will work with the National Children's Bureau to implement the Government’s new 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' guidance.

A partnership between Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham has been named as one of 17 to become 'early adopters' of specific elements of new local children safeguarding arrangements before they are established across the country.

The partnership will work with the National Children's Bureau to implement the Government’s new 'Working Together to Safeguard Children' guidance and will involve local police, councils and health services.

New ways of working

The safeguarding partners involved in the new arrangements will trial new ways of working in respect of shared local priorities to meet the needs of local children and families and to protect children from abuse and neglect. Each local area will retain its own discrete safeguarding partnership board with independent scrutiny.

The new safeguarding arrangements will replace existing local safeguarding children boards.

Cllr David Gardner, Deputy Leader of Royal Greenwich and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, said: "I am very pleased that the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been chosen to contribute to shaping the future safeguarding arrangements in this country.

"Royal Greenwich has a strong and effective safeguarding board and we are proud to build on the dedication and commitment of all partners to be at the forefront of an innovative new safeguarding partnership. We will work to protect children and young people across Greenwich along with our local authority neighbours, the Police and health services.

"The new partnership will reinforce our existing safeguarding board and ensure that the wider neighbourhood arrangements retain effective local systems and focus on Greenwich children and families."

Bexley's Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Cllr Philip Read said: "By being a part of the early adoption process Bexley has the opportunity to continue trialling 'learning from practice' and improving our shared work with neighbouring authorities. Bexley places the wellbeing of children and their families at the heart everything we do and with these new arrangements I hope we will see increased benefits brought about by working more closely with our partners."

Dr Sid Deshmukh, Chair of Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Across the borough, NHS staff come into daily contact with children and young people, so health practitioners are in a strong position to identify welfare needs or concerns and provide support to individual children.  We strongly support the new safeguarding arrangements that will help local partners work together to ensure the system responds to the needs and interests of children and their families, and not the other way around."

Cllr Chris Barnham, Cabinet Member for School Performance at Lewisham Council, said: "We’re very excited to be part of a new approach to ensuring that safeguarding practice in our areas is the best that it can be. The opportunities to work with our neighbours will help us to better understand the needs of the vulnerable children and young people who rely on the services the partnerships provide to protect them and safeguard their welfare. This model of working will enable us to learn from each other and our diverse communities so that we are better placed to prevent harm as well as responding to children and young people who are most at risk."

Dr Krishna Subbarayan Greenwich GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added: "Across Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham, whether we work in the health service, in the police force or local council, we all bring our expertise, our experience and our commitment to ensuring children get the protection they deserve, and local families get the support they need.  NHS Greenwich CCG welcomes the new safeguarding partnership, and we welcome the opportunity to pioneer new safeguarding arrangements for children and local families."

Greenwich, Lewisham and Bexley Police Detective Superintendent Andrew Furphy said: "This is an exciting opportunity to work together in a truly cross borders fashion in order to improve and develop the way we safeguard and support young people in the boroughs of Lewisham, Greenwich and Bexley."