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How We Make Decisions

Brighton & Hove Family Help Right Support at the Right Time 

Please note that we are in the process of updating this page and changes are due to be complete by 30 June 2024.

A Shared Family Help & Safeguarding Vision

As Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) our vision is for a healthy city where children thrive. We strive for a better future for children and young people.

Our goal is to keep children safe, for no child, young person or family to be left behind and to ensure children experience high quality, inclusive and accessible services in the city.

Nothing is more important than children’s wellbeing. Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable, and loving home. Children who need help and protection deserve high quality and effective support. This requires individuals, agencies, and organisations to be clear about their own and each other’s roles and responsibilities, and how they work together.

We aim to oversee that the agencies in the city provide the right support at the right time to families.

Our shared vision for Brighton & Hove is to be a child friendly city in which children and young people are safe from harm in their families, their communities and their neighbourhoods.

We want Brighton & Hove to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in.

All our work is underpinned by a consistent and co-ordinated approach to safeguarding as well as being collectively committed to a child and family centred focus on improving outcomes across the city.

Children and young people, their wellbeing, protection and the promotion of their best interests are at the heart of everything BHSCP does.

This means BHSCP advocates and scrutinises that:

  1. Children and families anywhere in Brighton & Hove can expect to receive timely Family Help and Safeguarding services delivered in partnership, with a focus on the child’s needs and aiming for consistently good outcomes across the city.
  2. Children and families will be listened to, and their views taken seriously both when delivering Family Help, safeguarding services. Their views will be heard when collectively thinking about how we can improve those services, including those that we commission.
  3. Practitioners will “Think Family” and managers and commissioners should adopt a ‘whole system approach’ to planning services.

 Principles

Our Anti-Racist Practice Statement – BHSCP 

BHSCP anti poverty practice statement 2024

Why this is not called a ‘Threshold’ Document

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2023) states:

‘Safeguarding partners should agree with their relevant agencies the criteria for different levels of assessment to inform which services are commissioned and delivered in their local area and ensure that the right help is given to children at the right time. This should include services for children who have suffered or are likely to suffer abuse, neglect, and exploitation whether from within or outside the home. This should also include a range of appropriate services for disabled children and be aligned with the short breaks services statement.

 The safeguarding partners should publish a threshold document, which sets out the local criteria for action in a way that is transparent, evidence-based, accessible, and easily understood. This should include: • the process for early help assessments, and the type and level of early help and targeted early help services to be provided under sections 10 and 11 of the Children Act 2004.

 The criteria, including the level of need, for when a case should be referred to local authority children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under: section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (children in need, including how this applies for disabled children), section 47 of the Children Act 1989 (reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm), section 31 of the Children Act 1989 (care and supervision orders), section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (duty to accommodate a child).

 Clear procedures and processes for cases relating to: the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children, children managed within the youth secure estate and disabled children.[1]

BHSCP recognises this statutory need however believes language is important in describing how we deliver services to children. The ethos and aim is always, the right support at the right time.

Therefore, we do not call our Family Help Document a ‘threshold’ as we believe this is too prescriptive of when a child or family’s needs meet a criterion of a Social Work assessment under Section 17 of the Children’s Act. We aim to scaffold support across our Family Help services, including Social Work oversight, to provide continuity for families from the professional network around them.

Where safeguarding situations are complex and require a clear Social Work assessment or need to be considered under Section 47 of the Children’s Act a Social Work assessment will always take place. The close working of Family Help services, Health, Police and Social Work is essential and is covered through the Family Help Strategy.

 **Include link to Family Help Strategy on BHSCP website

**Include link to Vision of Family Help and Relationship-Based Model of Practice on BHSCP website

BHSCP believes that continual assessment supported by our Relationship-Based Model of Practice is the best way of identifying and responding to the needs of children and young people. A rigid check list and threshold approach is mechanistic and identifies weaknesses. It doesn’t take into consideration the complexity of individual situations and can overlook strengths.

When a child’s needs cannot be met by Universal Services alone, quality professional relationships strengthen and improve decision making and joint working to provide the right help at the right time for families.

This is better than the use of predetermined thresholds to define service responses as:

  • Thresholds cannot take account of the complexities of individual children’s lives.
  • They give a false sense of certainty based on limited rule-based assessments.
  • They are based on unrealistic models of decision-making.
  • They can produce incentives to pass on responsibility by raising or lowering thresholds or tailoring referrals.

Our integrated multi agency Front Door For Families is the gateway for Family Help and Social Work services. This ensures a single point of access to support that shares relevant knowledge and analysis of a child or family’s needs. The right support at the right time.

BHSCP have not named our Family Help document a threshold document, rather an agreed Relationship Based Practice approach to ensure that the right help is provided at the right time.

The BHSCP monitors and will continue to monitor this approach to ensure that responses are timely and appropriate.  It is also scrutinised through Ofsted inspection processes such as ILACS and JTAI.

[1] Working together to safeguard children 2023: statutory guidance (publishing.service.gov.uk)

New Documents for use: 

B&H Family Help RS@RT Poster FEB 2024

Combined B&H 7Cs Vision Comm of Practice May 2024 v1

Previously used documents for reference: 

Helping Children and Families, Threshold Document

Interactive Online Thresholds Framework which contains more information and links to further support and guidance.

The framework can also be printed as an A3 poster for quick reference

Mental Health Threshold Document

The Brighton and Hove Helping Children and Young People Mental Health Threshold Framework