The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board and its safeguarding partners are continuing to ensure that children and young people are safeguarded and protected across Bedford Borough during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Board will be seeking assurances that agencies are working together to protect frontline services, keep their staff safe and key services running.
Our response to the Coronavirus outbreak
Safeguarding vulnerable and exploited children and those at risk continue to be a priority for us in Bedfordshire and remains an absolutely necessity during this isolation period; we will continue to keep children and young people safe, we will continue to proactively look for children who go missing and continue disrupting those who exploit.
Across Bedfordshire, all blue light services (police, fire, and ambulance), NHS organisations, councils (Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire) and other key stakeholders such as the voluntary sector, work together in coordinating responses to emergencies.
The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board and its safeguarding partners along with Central Bedfordshire and Luton’s Safeguarding Children Boards’ are continuing to ensure that children and young people are safeguarded and protected across Bedfordshire during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Board will be seeking assurances that agencies are working together to protect frontline services, keep their staff safe and key services running.
Bedford Borough Council Children’s Service’s core service delivery and changes
Their focus is to continue to provide essential and critical services safeguarding services to children, young people and their families. They are currently going through the process of ensuring that children and families open to children’s social care and Youth Justice Service are risk assessed so they can safeguard those most in need. Their contact will include a combination of face to face contact where it is safe for their staff to do so, as well as making full use of mobile technologies and in partnership with other statutory partners.
They are prioritising the provision of the critical services including; the Integrated Front Door and Assessment service - advice and information on children at risk of harm, experiencing harm or causing harm to others experiencing harm including families fleeing from domestic abuse.
Professional meetings will continue as will the Multi Agency Bedfordshire response to Child Sexual Exploitation and Child Criminal Exploitation; through Skype and other platforms.
Bedfordshire Police are urging communities to follow national advice by staying in and supporting one another to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.
They are working closely with their partners across Bedfordshire and are providing reassurance that officers and Police staff are still working 24/7 to protect the community and fight crime.
With further restrictions on movement to slow the spread of the disease, health workers, emergency services, local authorities and businesses are also changing the way they work in order to effectively protect the most vulnerable.
To keep updated on what they are doing to protect, they have launched #KeepingBedsSafe. They also have a page for activities where they are asking children to get involved and help them become police officers #KidsKeepingBedsSafe
Bedfordshire Police - CSE Disruption Team
From a CSE Disruption Team perspective Bedfordshire Police continue to engage with Children’s Services and partners through a bi-weekly Single Point of Contact meeting to discuss current and emerging issues. They are maintaining Operation Make Safe work through virtual/telephone contact and also have the technology/facility to conduct real time virtual face to face meetings with individuals.
Regarding Missing Persons, its business as usual. However partner meetings are now completed over the phone or via Skype. They are risk assessing each request for a Return Home Interview but in general are completing these direct with the missing person to ensure they get as clear a picture of the situation as they can. Moving forward this may be amended to use Skype or GoodSAM.
Bedfordshire Police - Analytical Team
In the analytical team they are doing a lot of additional scanning around the impact of COVID-19 in a number of thematic areas. This is being reported on to various meetings/groups on a daily, weekly and fortnightly basis. They are looking at areas that they do not normally scan for, such as the impact of this crisis on those with Mental Health issues. They are also being asked to make predictions on how likely new perceived potential threats will occur. This is used by senior officers to help them police effectively, taking account of and being aware of changes to criminal behaviours.
VERU (Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit)
The VERU like many other agencies are still operating, although remotely. Their YIS (Youth Intervention Specialist) Team are providing ongoing (virtual 1-2-1) support for existing cases and have the capacity to support more. Specific to their 1-2-1 support, they have a Specialist Counsellor also available and will continue during this time.
Link to Change
Link to Change continues to operate, but as is the case for many, they are not providing any face to face services. They continue to take referrals and maintain contact with clients and professionals via telephone contact and videoing calling if agreeable. They are still participating in multi-disciplinary meetings using Skype and other like services and all workers are operating from home currently.
While Bedfordshire Police, Bedford Borough Council Children’s Services and other safeguarding services may have to operate in slightly different ways, their focus is still firmly on protecting people and fighting crime, especially protecting the most vulnerable in Bedford Borough. They urge victims of crime, particularly of domestic or sexual abuse, to come forward despite the Coronavirus. They will listen and support victims and lock up those who cause harm to others.
Domestic Abuse (DA) voluntary sector partners in Bedfordshire are still operating and taking referrals from clients.
- Group activities for existing clients are moving into a virtual space. New group work is on hold whilst restrictions from Covid-19 are in place.
- All other work is over the phone / video link platform.
- There is a Bedfordshire DA providers meeting each week by conference call chaired by the CBC DA Strategic Manager to discuss issues, trends, emerging problems and joint initiatives.
- There is a national DA conference call each week with statutory and voluntary providers, linking with the Home Office and DA Commissioner – this raises awareness of what is going on and lobbying for changes / resources.
- Bedfordshire DA Partnership website is updated with Covid-19 and domestic abuse information and links.
- DA Twitter and Facebook pages updated throughout the day with any changes.
Central Bedfordshire DA Service provide a weekly update for all front line officers and partners on any service changes / guidance / provider updates – this is then cascaded to Bedford, Luton and partners.
Further Information around the response to COVID-19 in Bedford Borough can be found on the Bedford Borough Council COVID-19 page.
Talking to children and young people about Coronavirus
The Officer of the Children’s Commissioner has issued a helpful guide, which you may all find useful. You can be read it at: Childrens guide to Coronavirus.
Other useful links:
Tri.x, the company that provides the online Pan Bedfordshire Inter-Agency Child Protection Procedures, has an online COVID-19 Resource Centre which provides relevant information and relevant changes to key procedures.
Waltham Forest Council has produced the following video for volunteers who have safeguarding concerns in relation to vulnerable people they come in to contact with whilst volunteering:
If you are worried about a child please contact:
Bedford Borough Integrated Front Door (previously MASH) on 01234 718700 (office hours).
Our office hours: 8.45am to 5.20pm Monday to Thursday and 8.45am to 4.20pm on Fridays
If you urgently need help outside office hours you can contact Social Care Emergency Duty Team on 0300 300 8123
Bedfordshire Police on 101 or in an emergency 999.
NSPCC 0808 800 5000
If you have any concern for a child or young person then please see the ‘Report a safeguarding concern’ section below.
It is important that you use official sources of information for updates and advice.
- For information what to do if you think you have coronavirus go to www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
- For advice and updates from the government, including stay at home advice and guidance for employers, employees and businesses, go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board Independent Chair
We want to make sure children and young people feel safe and cared for in Bedford Borough.
Working Together 2018 sets out requirements for new collaborative working arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and families which will lead to improved outcomes and experiences. The new arrangements in Bedford Borough will still be named the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board (BBSCB).
The Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board’s new Multi Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (MASAs) were published on 30 May 2019 and will be implemented from September 2019.
The MASA sets out the arrangements for safeguarding partners to work together with other agencies to identify and respond to the needs of children in Bedford Borough and the three safeguarding partners Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police and the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group have equal and joint responsibility for local safeguarding arrangements.
With the requirements of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 the responsibility for ensuring that Child Death Reviews are carried out when a child dies will move from LSCBs to Local Authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) please see this statement from Bedfordshire CCG (Word).
Report a safeguarding concern
Contact the Integrated Front Door (previously MASH)
- Office hours: 01234 718700
- Out of hours: 0300 300 8123
You can also email a completed Integrated Front Door (previously MASH) referral form (Word) to Multi.Agency@bedford.gov.uk
In an emergency, phone the police on 999.
View our page on reporting a safeguarding concern.
Safeguarding Children Board
We want to make sure that children and young people feel safe and cared for in Bedford Borough.
By law every local authority must have a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) looking after the safety of children and young people in their area. Ours is called the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board.
Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board is made up of local multi agency representatives. Our role is to ensure that local agencies provide the best possible services for safeguarding children and the young people of Bedford Borough by ensuring:
- Our community is fully aware of what safeguarding measures which include child protection we have in place for all children up to 18 years old, including unborn babies
- Our practitioners including paid and unpaid get access to information on inter-agency procedures, training courses including e-learning, national guidance and local guidance and useful links and resources.
Find out more about our board and its work in:
- the Working Together to Safeguard Children guide (PDF)
- our board structure and groups (PDF)
- BBCSB Strategic Plan 2021 - 2023 to keep children and young people in Bedford Borough safe. (Word)
- BBCSB Annual report 2019/20 (PDF)
- Child Death Overview Panel Annual report 2017-18 (PDF)
- our local poster (PDF)
- Serious Case Reviews
- Our latest Learning Improvement Framework (PDF)
Our aim for this site is to provide a useful resource for the community of Bedford Borough whether you are a practitioner, child or young person, parent or carer. We want you to find this site helpful in supporting, providing you with information and keeping you appraised of the changing world of safeguarding children.
If you have any suggestions on how to improve the information we provide, please contact us by telephone on 01234 276512 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what other information would be helpful to you.
We hope that children and young people, families and communities will use the website as well as practitioners working with children and young people.
Jenny Myers - Independent Chair of the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children Board
Contact the Safeguarding Children Board
Tel: 0300 300 6676