Understanding and Using Data to Support Improved Outcomes

Croydon CSCB’s Vulnerable Adolescents Thematic Review reflected qualitative analysis of the lives (from birth) of 60 young people who had been identified by practitioners as being particularly vulnerable. The findings of multiple childhood adversities and multiple (often poorly coordinated interventions) has informed the development of the work to enhance integrated responsive services through the Vulnerable Adolescents Priority Group.

The CSCB report is available here: https://croydonlcsb.org.uk/2019/02/croydon-vulnerable-adolescent-review-report-2019/#the-executive-summary-report-can-be-read-here.

Camden was able to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the needs and experience of its adolescent population, which shaped service provision and drove performance improvement. Prominent within the data-set was information drawn directly from young people reflecting a strong emphasis upon participatory approaches and co-production.

Harrow’s analysis and application of data in relation to adolescent safeguarding led to partnership commitment to the Violence, Vulnerability and Exploitation (VVE) Strategy and the development of the VVE team (see below).

Wandsworth has used data analysis of risks and needs of its vulnerable adolescents to provide renewed focus upon both responses to missing and school exclusion with evidence of improved outcomes in each area as a result.

Hillingdon points to the value of its Axis software in collating data sources and soft intelligence to better support risk management in the borough.

Developing a Coherent Adolescent Safeguarding Practice Approach

Hackney has the most developed approach to embedding contextual safeguarding as a result of longstanding interest and DfE Innovation Programme funding, which, in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, has sought to embed a contextual approach as core to adolescent safeguarding practice. A range of tools and adaptations to the assessment, planning and intervention model have been introduced to reflect the contextual risks faced by adolescents. This work with the University of Bedfordshire to embed contextual safeguarding has been extended to a number of other sites in London including supporting Hounslow’s PEACE project (see below)

Camden has developed its integrated adolescent approach which through its Partner in Practice work supports other authorities to improve their service provision to vulnerable young people. Camden is in the process of expanding its integrated adolescent approach to one which is underpinned by a single multi-agency adolescent framework.

Lambeth has developed Young People’s Safety Plans which are led and held by the young person who is subject to child protection or child in need processes. Lambeth cites greater levels of engagement by young people and planning which is more responsive to their needs. Lambeth also points to the impact of the application of its Heart of Practice model in promoting a young person-centred and relational approach which amongst other benefits has led to a significant reduction in missing episodes for its most vulnerable adolescents.

Hillingdon describes a ‘paradigm shift’ from CIN/CP plans to Young People’s Plans. This supports a move away from process driven approaches to interventions centred around empowerment and active involvement of young people and their parents.

Camden has an innovative approach to provision of its missing children services which carefully risk assesses and targets return home interviews and subsequent services. Camden describes its missing response as well integrated with its wider safeguarding responses and aligned to its relational practice model. The impact has seen reducing missing episodes as a result of interventions.

Bromley puts relational practice at the heart of its missing responses and in doing so it believes the value of its return home interviews has been enhanced.

Risk management and decision-making panels

Merton undertook a full review of all of its panels and decision-making fora in 2018 resulting in the development of the Multi-agency Risk Vulnerability and Exploitation (MARVE) Protocol and Panel. MARVE provides an ‘umbrella’ process that covers the previous protocols and panel processes in regard to CSE and persons of concern, serious youth violence and criminal exploitation and harmful sexual behaviour. The MARVE has been reviewed with participants with positive feedback on the changes as a result of its implementation.

Hackney has developed an Extra Familial Risk Panel (EFRP) following the work of the Contextual Safeguarding Project, which brings together analysis and develops multi-agency plans for young people at risk of CSE, criminal exploitation, harmful sexual behaviour, affected by gangs, serious youth violence and modern slavery.


Ealing describes a recent review of its joint decision-making and risk management fora which has successfully brought multi-agency attention to the most vulnerable adolescents, while also proving more efficient and effective in safeguarding adolescents.

Croydon has developed a Complex Adolescents Panel (incorporates MACE) that is for adolescents who are being exploited, going missing or offending ie risk outside of the home. Attendance is from CSC, police, CAMHS, YOS, gangs team, housing, health, NSPCC, Barnardos.

Hillingdon describes a journey to streamline its risk management architecture which it believes is supporting more effective safeguarding responses.

Redbridge has developed a daily risk management meetings in the MASH which reviews actions and developments in relation to priority children in order to manage risk through a dynamic multi-agency approach. The range of agencies contributing to the daily meeting is seen as an important strength in supporting risk management decision-making.

Harrow has similarly committed to multi-agency Violence, Vulnerability and Exploitation daily briefings in the MASH which aid real time information sharing and tasking.

Bromley has developed the MEGA (Missing, Exploitation, Gang Affiliation) Panel: MEGA is a weekly operational multi-agency panel that maintains oversight for safeguarding children / young people at risk of significant harm through exploitation (CSE & Criminality), missing from home and care, trafficking and gang affiliation / serious youth violence. 

Lambeth also utilises a daily multi-agency intelligence and tasking approach in the MASH through its Daily Intelligence Briefing. Alongside this Lambeth has increased the attention given in safeguarding to the identification and disruption of perpetrator activity and has extended the scope of its MASE to encompass intelligence and action against perpetrators.

Engaging and Supporting Schools

Hackney has adopted reducing school exclusions as a key priority for the Council, and developed a No Need to Exclude Strategy which sets out the Council’s aims. A multi-agency Reducing Exclusions Board has been established to oversee and implement the strategy and is currently reviewing the strategy which will be reframed to provide greater focus on inclusion.

Bexley has designated lead social workers assigned to every school.  This helps in identifying young people who may be at risk of exploitation, and provides advice regarding those young people who are already known or open to social care. Schools have benefited from master class training on contextual risk delivered by the University of Bedfordshire. In addition Bexley’s No Need to Exclude protocol commits the borough’s schools to work towards no exclusions.


Bromley also describes the benefits from head of service link in children’s social care for head teachers in every school within the borough. This, allied to enhanced education welfare officer links to schools, has had an impact on exclusions and supporting the safeguarding within schools.

Lambeth’s Social Workers in Schools project (funded by the What Works Centre) which has been operational since February 2019 in 5 Lambeth secondary and 3 primary schools. The authority reports it is beginning to demonstrate positive outcomes for young people and there is evidence of reduced referrals from schools into CSC, as a result of more onsite intervention and support for young people. Lambeth’s schools social worker project is embedded in its hyper-local approach to early intervention and neighbourhood problem-solving.

Kensington & Chelsea / Westminster in partnership with the Contextual Safeguarding Network and 8 primary and secondary schools are participating in a project named ‘Beyond Referrals’. Contextual Safeguarding Network tools are used in schools to have conversations with children and young people about their worries, vulnerabilities and what can assist them to keep safe.  The aim is to increase effective safeguarding planning for children, embed stronger relationships between schools and children’s services and to inform strategic developments.