Working together to safeguard children: Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs

A government review of procedures to identify children and vulnerable adults at risk of abuse was published yesterday (Tuesday 29 July).

Several high-profile cases, including the death of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, have highlighted the tragic consequences which can result when information indicating risk is held by one agency and not appropriately shared with others.

Many areas have established Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs (MASHs) to mitigate the risk of anyone slipping through the safeguarding net, and they and others have requested guidance on best practice.

The review found MASHs support professionals to ‘join the dots’ and understand threats so they can take action to prevent them.

Stopping abuse

The report states multi agency working is key to early and effective identification of risk, improved information sharing, joint decision making and coordinated action. The document gives examples of how agencies are working together to stop abuse before it occurs.

However it also concludes multi agency approaches do not supersede a single agency’s duty to identify, protect and support a child or vulnerable person.

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker unveiled the report at a stakeholder summit at the Home Office.

He said:

“This coalition government is determined to tackle child abuse in whatever form it takes, and Multi Agency Safeguarding Hubs have a clear role to play in this.

“This report sets out evidence from a wide range of approaches across hundreds of local authority areas. As a result, local agencies are now better placed than ever before to make informed decisions about how best to ensure children and vulnerable adults are protected from deplorable abuse and exploitation.

“And I want to send a clear message today – if it’s a choice between data protection and child protection, child protection must come first.”

Over the next 12 months the findings of the report will be disseminated to professionals through a series of regional roadshows.

The government is reviewing guidance for practitioners and managers to dispel mistaken beliefs which prevent information being shared appropriately and effectively.

In addition the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing has been commissioned to work with local areas to provide targeted support to MASHs to ensure effective information sharing.

And a review has been launched into how application of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 impacts on safeguarding vulnerable adults from sexual abuse.


Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons will roll out their joint inspection of multi-agency arrangements for the protection of children in England from April 2015.

These inspections will focus on the effectiveness of local authority and partners’ services for children who may be at risk of harm, including the effectiveness of early identification and help.

More Black Country roadworks start tomorrow

PUBLISHED by Express and Star:: July 29, 2014 12:59 pm

Drivers will face up to two months of roadworks in Willenhall with two major schemes due to be carried out around the corner from each other.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the works being carried in the area out as both water and gas projects start this week.

It is the latest in a series of roadworks to hit the town with Noose lane already closed for six weeks this summer for Network Rail to carry out level crossing works, prompting complaints.

The latest projects will see water mains work start along The Hayes, Pool Hayes, from tomorrow and is expected to take until September 16 to complete.

Also starting this week is a gas project which is being carried out along the busy Pool Hayes Lane and is expected to take until at least the end of August.

Drivers have been warned of delays and diversions while the works are completed which are taking place this month to coincide with the school summer holiday period to try and reduce disruption.

The installation of new pipes is being carried out in sections along The Hayes by contractors on behalf of Severn Trent Water to enable access to residential properties.

Temporary traffic signals will operate throughout work on behalf of National Grid Gas in Pool Hayes Lane.

Willenhall councillor Ian Shires said it will have an impact on traffic flow in the area. Councillor Shires said: “It is going to have an impact on people because of the extent of it. It is not going to help they are being carried together.

“We need to make sure they are being monitored. But it is work that is needed to be done.”

He also encouraged drivers to look for alternative routes around Pool Hayes Lane while the roadworks take place.

“Despite the school holidays that is a major route that people take through the area to get between parts of Short Heath, over into Wednesfield and Wolverhampton,” he said.

The work on Noose Lane in Willenhall has already caused problems with a five-minute walk to the bus stop turning into a mile-and-a-half long trek for residents.

The level crossing has been shut during the project meaning people have been struggling to get to the bus stop on Willenhall Road.

The crossing equipment is being renewed and more modern and reliable signalling equipment installed.

Walsall College supports new £55,000 scheme to tackle rise in gang culture

Published by Walsall Advertiser  |  Posted: July 29, 2014

Walsall College has supported a new scheme to tackle the rise in gang culture across Europe.

Walsall College has supported a new scheme to tackle the rise in gang culture across Europe.

A NEW £55,000 scheme which is designed to prevent the rise of gang culture has received the backing of Walsall College.

The college is a partner of the EUGANGS scheme, a European funded project which will train professionals to work with younger, vulnerable people.

And over the next three years, a training package will be created for professionals working with young people in gangs or those at risk of engaging in gang activity.

“This project will offer professional development for people in a range of agencies as well as those in the community already dealing with gang related issues,” said associate researcher Colin Isham, who is leading the project at Walsall College.



LibLink: Alex Proud – “If you believe politicians are useless, you’ll end up with useless politicians”

Published on Liberal Democrat Voice By  | Mon 28th July 2014 – 4:50 pm

In the Telegraph today, Alex Proud — who self-describes as “A lapsed Liberal and a rugged, Gladstonian Liberal who likes free markets and the odd gunboat, but a Liberal nonetheless” — reflects on his recent meeting with Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes:

… sitting between Simon Hughes and Nick Clegg I was reminded for the first time in ages just how inspiring good politicians can be. They force us to think outside the box of our own petty concerns and project ourselves onto a national and even global stage. They remind us that we can change the world for the better. They actually made me feel like a teenager again – raging against Thatcher while still admiring her steeliness and her ability to bend the country to her will. Dare I say it, they even ignited a spark of nostalgia for a time before my birth, when we felt we could stand up to dictators, end war and make the next generation fairer and healthier.

It was a great feeling. My brain snapped out of its usual slough of grubby, realpolitiking despond. I stopped wondering how many thousandths of a foreign CEO’s opinion my own vote was worth and felt a rush of new ideas and fresh thinking. It was a bit like the hit you get from a couple of lines of coke, without the nasty selfishness, the inane bullshit and the desire to smoke a thousand cigarettes. I wanted to roll up my sleeves and start solving the country’s problems. And I experienced all this within a few minutes of sitting next to someone who is often reviled as a useful idiot.

That’s the point, though. He isn’t. Clegg is a capable, intelligent and deeply decent man. Simon Hughes, who was on the other side of me, is, if anything, even more decent. Now the Justice Minister, he’s the Lib-Dems’ longest serving MP. He’s passionately pro-London, passionately fair and renowned for helping the people of his Southwark constituency, regardless of their political stripe. We discussed the capital and some of what I’d written on its problems. Sitting next to him, I was struck by how much this man (who was clearly so much wiser and more accomplished than me) was willing to listen. Even if he was just humouring me, he did it for so long and so well, he’s still a far better person than I am.

Clegg spoke about the £2bn the government will spend on getting the very poor into education early and seemed genuinely excited, not to have won an argument, but to have done something good. And this was the tone of the whole evening. It wasn’t about scoring party political points. It was about making life better for British people. I went in cynical and bored with the coalition and angry about what it had done to my party and left loving politics and wanting to make Britain great again.

His unexpectedly happy experience contrasted sharply with the scornful cynicism his mention that he was due to meet Nick Clegg drew. It prompted him to suggest that maybe the armchair cynics might want to give our politicians (regardless of political stripes) a bit of a break:

… in an age where it’s fashionable to be utterly cynical about politicians, I think that perhaps we should start giving them the benefit of the doubt again. Recognise that they’re only human and stop holding them to impossible standards. Remember that we react to circumstances, change our minds and often find it impossible to follow though on our promises. Clegg screwed up over tuition fees (and he knows it) but that doesn’t mean we should all hate his guts. Blair may not believe he screwed up over Iraq, but, that aside, he was our most talented leader since Thatcher and did a great deal of good.

Even if we’re not going to do it for them, we should do it for ourselves. If we always believe our politicians are corrupt, venal and useless, we wind up with a kind of political nihilism. There are plenty of countries where you see the results of this, but one of the worst in the developed world is Italy. When the majority really believes that nothing good can come out of the system, that’s when nothing does. You end up with a political class that’s riddled with corruption, sex scandals and criminality and, ultimately you get leaders like Berlusconi. Politicians who really are only good for slagging off. Is that what we really want?

It’s a fair question. You can read Alex Proud’s article in full here.

* Newshound: bringing you the best Lib Dem commentary published in print or online.

Opinion: UKIP are a blessing in disguise for pro-Europeans

Published on Liberal Democrat Voice By  | Mon 28th July 2014 – 10:54 am

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder works harder than nine UKIP MEPs put together. She speaks more sense than their entire delegation, of course, but in terms of turning up to vote, it’s official: the number of European Parliament divisions she’s taken part in since the election is more than the combined total of nine of their lot.

Since the new Parliament started at the beginning of July, MEPs have faced 39 roll-call votes in the plenary. This is where all MEPs come together to speak and vote, usually in Strasbourg. Catherine, our sole representative in the European Parliament, has voted on all 39 occasions. She has a perfect 100 per cent record.

Contrast that with UKIP. Amongst their MEPs, Louise Bours, Nigel Farage, Raymond Finch, Nathan Gill, and Paul Nuttall have each voted five times, Mike Hookem four times, Jane Collins three times, with William Dartmouth and Jill Seymour registering no votes at all, not even against Lithuania adopting the euro. That’s nine MEPs who, between them, have voted just 32 times, seven fewer than Catherine has clocked up on her own. All voting information here is taken from

The records of all 24 UKIP MEPs show us that since the election they have, collectively, missed a combined total of 335 European Parliament votes. That’s excellent news for pro-Europeans: 335 opportunities for UKIP to express its hard Eurosceptic position have been squandered. Good.

Their performance gets even shakier when you look at some of the MEPs to whom UKIP have handed policy portfolios. Take their MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, Jane Collins. She now speaks for the party onemployment, but earlier this month she missed 17 votes in the European Parliament on youth unemployment. Her colleague for the same region, Mike Hookem, has just been given the defence brief, yet missed seven parliamentary votes on Ukraine.

In the first Nick v Nigel debate, Farage said, “But, Nick, the rules change every week… yet another small chunk, albeit small, and it’s incremental, yet another small chunk of our ability to govern our country goes to the institutions of Brussels.”

So, how have the parliamentary foot soldiers of the self-proclaimed People’s Army fought against this relentless Brussels onslaught? Take just one example: the resolution on youth unemployment, mentioned above. This resolution, passed by the European Parliament, calls for common, EU-wide minimum standards for apprenticeships and for increases in EU spending on employment programmes. This is precisely the kind of incremental accumulation of power (as Farage would see it) that he was warning about.

Yet, where were his MEPs when it came to voting this through or voting it down? Where was Farage himself? The record shows that nine UKIP MEPs, including Farage, did not take part in the vote.

With the British media now having forgotten that the European Parliament exists, all this will go unreported. That doesn’t mean however that they can’t make the news. In an act of wantonly obnoxious rudeness, typical of the British right-winger coming face-to-face with Johnny Foreigner, UKIP’s MEPs childishly and theatricallyturned their backs on an orchestra playing the European Anthem at the opening of the newly-elected Parliament.

Their antics are an embarrassment, and when we think about the superb Liberal Democrat MEPs who were defeated in May – in the case of Sir Graham Watson by just 0.4 per cent of the vote – it can be hard to stomach. Let us be thankful however for small mercies. We are lucky to have the anti-European opponents that we do. I would far rather have this ineffectual bunch more interested in childish theatrics than exerting influence. Their collective indolence is a blessing for pro-Europeans. Just think of what damage they could do if each of them worked as hard as our own Catherine Bearder.

* Stuart Bonar is a member of Plymouth Liberal Democrats.

An update on what Ed Davey’s been up to
I write this while on a visit to India.  A few weeks ago I was in the US, and I’ve just left China.  Why?  These three countries are the world’s biggest emitters and the series of meetings I’m having all focus on paving the way for a global climate change deal next year.  In the UK, and with our partners across the EU we are gaining momentum for an ambitious deal, which I hope will result in a domestic EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.  But, the EU acting alone will not be enough – we need to take the rest of the world with us.

Back in the UK I’ve just announced two significant wins for Lib Dems in government, the first of which is very much about reducing emissions and tackling climate change.   I have confirmed the 4th Carbon Budget will remain unchanged.   This Budget sets out emissions caps for 2023-2027 and my predecessor Chris Huhne agreed that a review into the 4th Carbon Budget should be conducted to ensure the UK would not be out of kilter with the ambition – or lack of – of our European neighbours.  The findings of my review are consistent with those of the Committee on Climate Change – the evidence showed that no change was required.  We will not cut our climate change ambition.

Why is this an important victory?  It’s common knowledge that keeping the Carbon Budget unchanged hasn’t been a view shared across the whole of government.  Yet for the Liberal Democrats, Green NGOs, many businesses and investors, it’s been a priority.  Keeping the cap unchanged sends a clear message that we will stick with our ambition to tackle climate change as we look to bolster support for a global deal.  It’s been good to see my announcement welcomed by many of the Green NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth, alongside the CBIand many others.


I have also published details on how we intend to tackle fuel poverty in the long-term.  While fuel poverty has fallen every year since 2010, there is of course more to do.  The new definition of fuel poverty allows us to effectively target the fuel poor as it focuses on households with low incomes and high costs.   Let’s not forget that under Labour their definition of fuel poverty was so off the mark that the Queen was said to be fuel poor!

The new proposals focus on driving up the energy efficiency of people’s homes and getting as many of them as we can up to an energy efficiency level of ‘Band C’ by 2030.  But given far too many people live in Band G & F homes, this will not be easy.  This will be bolstered by interim targets to again get as many as we can to Band E by 2020, and D by 2025.  Again, it’s good to see the general welcome that these proposals have received from bodies including the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.

Alongside this we’ve proposed that from 2018 landlords will only be able to rent out properties meeting certain energy efficiency standards and that tenants have a right to request energy efficiency improvements from 2016.

So, when people ask you on the doorsteps what Lib Dems in Government have delivered, add tackling climate change and tackling fuel poverty to your list, which if you read my last post should already include delivering on green energy and green jobs.

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change & MP for Kingston & Surbiton.

Vince Cable: We are on track to eliminate the deficit in 2017/18
 Vince Cable writes about the good news regarding the rise in Britain’s economy:


At some point over the last month or so, we passed, without fanfare, one of the most important economic milestones of the last six years – the UK economy is now bigger than it was before the recession began in 2008. Today’s GDP figures are the official confirmation that we have now returned to pre-recession levels.

It has taken six years of hard work by British businesses and workers to recalibrate our economy. The recession was deep and the effects were felt throughout the UK, not least here in the South West, where the local economy, rather than growing shrank by 2.2% between 2008 and 2009.

But it is also a source of encouragement. It is a reminder of how far we have come since the depths of the recession in 2009. Growth is up, investment is up, business is innovating more and unemployment is now at its lowest level for five years. In particular, a revival in private business is underpinning the UK’s recovery and creating jobs – over a million new jobs in the last year alone.

The South West is no exception. More than 77,000 jobs were created here between March 2012 and March 2014, showing the resilience and promise of the region.

The coalition government was formed to tackle an economic emergency. In 2010, the Government faced an enormous deficit as a result of a collapse of Government reserve after the failure of the banks, under the last Labour Government. Although there is much still to do, we are on track to eliminate the deficit in 2017/18. This has required painful and difficult choices to be made.  But the country is now in a much safer position.

But deficit reduction alone was never going to be enough. That is why my Department has been working on a long-term plan to support companies growing and investing, job creation, and training our future workforce, from apprentices to PhD scientists.

At the heart of this has been a new industrial strategy for the UK which my party the Liberal Democrats has championed across government, building a stronger economy and a fairer society. Industrial strategy is a long term partnership between government and business, which attempts to work beyond the usual short term political timetables. We want to make sure that the UK is able to earn a living through our world beating industries such as cars in the Midlands or the oil and gas supply chain in Scotland, or marine industries in the South West. We aim to show that the UK is the right place to set up companies, invest and create long term jobs.

We are also working to ensure that the workforce is ready to take the new opportunities being created as the economy recovers. Almost two million new apprenticeships have been started since we came to office in 2010 and we are investing in colleges like Bournemouth and Poole College, to ensure everyone has access to the skills they need to succeed in the world of work, vocational and academic alike.

But there is more to do. Our recovery needs to be better balanced. Growth needs to be sustainable and we need every part of the UK to be firing on all cylinders, including the South West. We cannot risk a repetition of the disastrous growth paths of the past when it depended on consumption financed by growing personal debt, depending in turn on inflated house prices. The emphasis must be on exports, investment and new technologies.

We must stop small and medium sized businesses being suffocated by the lack of bank credit. I speak to companies with world-beating ideas, including in Weymouth, Christchurch or Gillingham, which cannot get the financial backing they need to seize the opportunities offered to them. So two years ago I launched a new British Business Bank to open up new avenues of finance for business who are struggling to get anything from the high street banks. We are also investing in British supply chains through the Regional Growth Fund. And we are promoting new green technology through the Green Investment Bank which my party has long championed and which we set up at the start of this government.

We also need to ensure that the UK can pay its way in the world economy, by boosting the exports of goods and services and bringing back production that went overseas over the past decades. As a country we still import far more than we export. Helping firms in Dorchester, Bournemouth and Poole to navigate new markets in China, South America or India is at the heart of our strategy.

Finally, the Liberal Democrats in Government are making sure that the economic recovery benefits everyone in the form of improved take home pay. Despite the effect of the economic crisis on living standards, the Liberal Democrats have cushioned the impact by lifting 2.7 million people out of income tax all together and given a £700 tax cut to more than 20 million people. So far in the South West, wages have only grown by 0.1% in the last year. Until this picture changes, we will not tire in our efforts to raise productivity, to ensure people have the skills and the opportunities to succeed in the world of work, and to expect their incomes to grow as a result.

Britain has world beating scientists and while we have protected science investment, we recognize that in the past, Britain has not been as good as competitors like Germany in turning ideas into wealth creation. So we are investing in advanced technology centres which help commercialise cutting edge innovations in sectors like cell therapy, aerospace or advanced manufacturing.

The recovery is in full swing. The challenge now is to ensure that the good news story is one about every part of the UK and is sustained over the long term.

Two men have been arrested following an armed robbery at a Black Country petrol station.
WM Police

For latest news follow @wmpolice on Twitter

Issue Date:26/07/2014

Two men have been arrested following an armed robbery at a Black Country petrol station. 

Police were called to Esso on Willenhall’s Wolverhampton Road West just before 4.30am this morning (Saturday 26 July) following a frantic 999 call from staff reporting a knife point raid.

Officers raced to the scene and locked down the area as a description was quickly circulated.

Two local men aged 26 and 34 were stopped and arrested on nearby Clarkes Road on suspicion of robbery. Cigarettes and a quantity of cash were recovered by officers.

Detective Constable Gerry Maley, from Force CID, said: “Fortunately no one was injured during the raid but the male member of staff who was working at the time was left badly shaken.”

The petrol station was closed while forensic experts combed the building for clues. CCTV has been secured and enquires continue.

Anyone with information which may aid Det Con Maley should call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Businesses can get free anti-raid advice at: </

Police are issuing a car crime warning after crooks stooped to a new low

Police are issuing a car crime warning after crooks stooped to a new low by stealing a teddy from the back seat.



The Peugeot 308 had been left unlocked on the drive of a house in Willenhall when thieves struck overnight.

A cuddly dog from the animal charity RSPCA was taken when access was gained via the boot. Nothing else was taken in the crime.

Sergeant Gurmit Nagra, from Walsall police station, said: “The teddy is the latest example of the unusual items thieves will steal if the opportunity presents itself. In December last year we revealed how a lunchbox and even a packet of Starburst sweets had been taken in separate crimes in Birmingham.”

Over the past month there have been 11 car crimes reported in Willenhall with the peak days for crimes being Saturday and Monday in the early morning between 5am and 10am and in the early evening between 5pm and 9pm.

In most cases a side window is smashed to gain access to the car but officers are noticing a new trend in cars being left unlocked and unattended.

Number plates, sat navs and other electronics are the most common items stolen.

“While the property taken may seem inexpensive and insignificant, the people whose cars are targeted are often left with expensive repair bills,” added Sgt Nagra.

“In many cases, insurers will not cover the repairs or the cost of replacing stolen property because the policy has been forfeited by leaving items on display or their vehicle unlocked.”

Sgt Nagra has this advice for drivers:

• Don’t leave keys in the ignition when the car is left unattended
• Lock your car when you leave it
• Don’t leave anything on display
• Take your satnav with you when you leave the car and remove any marks left by satnav suction pads
• If you have a garage, use it!
• Never leave valuables in the glove box

Officers have been working hard to put the brakes on car thieves. Between April 2013 and March 2014 Walsall Police investigated 1,948 crimes down 2,744 offences from a high of 4,692 in 2002/2003.

For free car security tips visit:

The crime happened between 9.30pm on Saturday 14 June and 0700am on Sunday 15 June

Labour and the economy: they just don’t get it
Ed Balls has no idea what he is doing with your lives.  Do you really want him running HM Treasury next year?