Stoke-on-Trent Voluntary Sector Children’s Safeguarding Group

Safe from Harm

The voluntary and community sector has a vital role in keeping children and young people safe, protecting them from abuse and other forms of harm.   Member organisations recognise that they have a responsibility to ensure that people who use their services or who are involved in their activities are kept safe and not harmed because of their involvement and that all children and adults have the right to be safe from harm and should be able to live free from fear of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Purpose and Objectives

The Voluntary Sector Children’s Safeguarding Group (VSCSG) established September 2021 exists to contribute to the safeguarding of children and young people in Stoke-on-Trent. 

This will be achieved by:

  1. Increasing awareness of safeguarding, roles and responsibilities and promoting good practice across the voluntary and community sector to improve responses to safeguarding concerns.
  2. Encouraging the adoption of safeguarding standards across the sector, supporting training and achievement of the standards agreed by the SG Children’s Board / Partnership.
  3. Communicating the work of the SG Children’s Board / Partnership across the sectors.
  4. Sharing insights and experiences of the voluntary and community sector and those who use their services, especially children and young people to the SG Children’s Board / Partnership.
  5. Valuing lived experience, raising the voice and influence of children and young people ensuring that their voices are heard and are used to help shape and improve the services and support available to them.
  6. Promoting change in the interests of children and young people by identifying issues, barriers and concerns, working together with statutory bodies to address these.
  7. Contributing to the work of the SG Children’s Board / Partnership through its oversight of Safeguarding strategy, policy, procedures, and standards developed and promoted to protect children and young people from abuse and neglect.
  8. Taking a solution focused approach realising the benefits of partnership working to achieve this.
  9. Promoting the welfare of children and young people by protecting them from harm and educating them to recognised the risk of harm through, for example a better understanding of healthy relationships.
  10. Members of the group believe in the benefits of working together.  Members are committed to putting the needs and views of children, young people and families at the centre of their work.

Membership

The group has an open membership consisting of representatives from the Voluntary, Faith, Community and Third Sector who work with children and young people. 

Chairing Arrangements

The chair and vice chair will be agreed by the group and reviewed every three years.

The chair will represent the VSCSG at the Safeguarding Partnership Quality Assurance group.  Additional representatives will be identified as required to support relevant subgroups under Stoke-on-Trent’s Safeguarding Children Partnership governance arrangements, and any task and finish group as required by the partnership or the voluntary and community sector itself.

Member Responsibilities

All members recognise that:

  • Every Child and Young Person should be heard and feel valued, safe and happy.
  • Abuse is unacceptable and is committed to the protection of children and young people from harm.  To fulfil this commitment the group recognises and values the importance of:
    • mutual respect, trust, professionalism, and a desire for sensitive and appropriate information sharing and collaboration.
    • effective multiagency consultation on policy and practice.

Accountability

Whilst members are accountable to their respective organisation/group in which they work and represent, the VSCSG as a collective is accountable to the SG Children’s Board / Partnership.  Links will also be established with other local voluntary and community sector groups as appropriate.

Confidentiality

Members of the VSCSG may receive information ‘in confidence’.  Members acknowledge their responsibility to maintain confidentiality of all information that is shared and not in the public domain.

Frequency of meetings

The VSCSG will meet quarterly.  Additional meetings will be arranged as required to fulfil its objectives and to support the work of the Safeguarding Children’s Partnership.  Meetings will be a combination of virtual and face-to-face meeting with face to face seen as important networking opportunities.

Agenda, minutes, and papers

The administration of the VSCSG will be managed by a small working group of volunteers from across the membership.  The working group will meet at least 4 weeks prior to each meeting to review the previous meetings and actions, discuss topical issues and set agenda’s. 

Approximately 2 week prior to each meeting, agenda items and reports will be sought from members.

The agenda and supporting papers will be sent out 1 week prior to the meeting.

A record of minutes and actions from each meeting will be produced organised by the meeting chair. Where possible papers will be stored on a shared drive.