The Merton Safeguarding Children Partnership (MSCP) works together to agree how local child protection services are carried out.
The Partnership is also responsible for monitoring the performance of local agencies’ arrangements for safeguarding children as set out in section 11 of the Children Act 2004.
It is chaired by an Independent Person and has members from local services and people who represent the local community.
The Merton Safeguarding Children’s Partnership works closely with other organisations such as the Health and Well Being Board and the Merton Children’s Trust and other strategic partnerships across Merton.
The interim Independent Person who serves as the Chair of Partnership meetings is Mr. Keith Makin.
The full Partnership meets at least four times per year and the business of the Partnership is carried out through the following Sub-Groups:
Promote and Protect Young People (PPYP)
The Protect and Promote Young People sub-group supports agencies to consider a range of adolescent risks that occur in contexts beyond the family home (e.g., neighbourhood, schools, local shopping centres, youth venues etc.). These risks include child criminal exploitation, child sexual exploitation, serious youth violence, peer on peer abuse, harmful sexual behaviour and other overlapping forms of harm. The subgroup’s focus is to deliver against the priorities set out in the Contextual Safeguarding strategy.
Quality Assurance (QA)
The Quality Assurance sub-group seeks to ensure children and young people are safeguarded and protected by overseeing the quality of multi-agency approaches to safeguard and promote the welfare of children living and learning in Merton. It does so by analysing data reported as part of the Partnership’s agreed performance framework as well as overseeing the quality assurance of multi-agency activities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (including bi-annual s.11 audit activity). It oversees the Partnership’s statutory responsibilities in relation to the notification of serious incidents as well as the commissioning of independent or child safeguarding practice reviews where required.
Policy & Training (P&T)
The Policy and Training subgroup maintains oversight of all MSCP policies, multi-agency protocols and multi-agency guidance supplementing the London Child Protection Procedures and ensuring legislative changes and practice learning are reflected. It undertakes regular analyses of the safeguarding training needs of the agencies serving children and families in Merton as well as developing the MSCP Multi-Agency Training Programme (addressing the Partnership’s priorities, and to ensure that learning from local incidents is shared). Each year, the subgroup plans and delivers the MSCP Multi-Agency Annual Conference for practitioners and managers.
Early Help & Neglect (EH&N)
Early Help is part of a whole system approach and is based on a clear understanding of local need. Good early help will mean that children and their families will experience a high quality and coordinated service that meets their assessed needs and prevents issues from escalating into a safeguarding risk. The role of the ‘Early Help & Neglect’ sub-group is to address neglect and preventative approaches as part of system-wide Early Help responses. It provides a strategic and operational framework to improve the identification of early signs of neglect.
Domestic Abuse & Think Family (DA&TF)
The Domestic Abuse and Think Family sub-group monitors, coordinates and evaluates the work of partner agencies to safeguard children who are at risk of, or witnessing, domestic abuse. Its ambition is to work effectively with families, including victims and perpetrators of abuse to create and sustain a safe parenting environment. A key focus for the group is on effective co-ordination of work with related multi-agency groups that have responsibility for responding to domestic abuse.
There is a comprehensive Training Strategy and the MSCP provides an annual training programme.
There is an Executive Group which ensures that the work of the MSCP and its Annual Business Plan are being achieved satisfactorily.
The partnership is supported by the MSCP Business Support Unit, which includes a Policy and Partnerships Manager, officers and administrators.