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Solihull joint targeted area inspection (JTAI): BASW England synopsis

The JTAI was published on 21 February 2022

On 5 December 2021, the Secretaries of State for Education, Health and Social Care, the Home Office and Justice requested a joint targeted area inspection (JTAI) in Solihull, following the court case into the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The JTAI was instructed to look at how local agencies are working together. The focus has been on the entry point to the child protection system across all agencies in Solihull. The organisations involved in the JTAI are Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services and HMI Probation. This inspection took place from 10 to 14 January 2022.

The independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel are undertaking a separate national review and will examine the circumstances leading up to the deaths of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson. This review will address local and/or national safeguarding practice and systems issues. The national review will report by the end of May 2022.

Headlines from JTAI

The inspection found that:

  1. The current MASH workforce is committed and knowledgeable.
  2. Solihull has faced long-standing difficulties in recruiting social workers to the MASH. These difficulties have increased since the court case in December 2021. Staff face immense pressure to meet their daily demands, and this reduces their ability to respond swiftly to all concerns.
  3. The MASH is significantly under-resourced by all partner agencies. The findings are long-term and systemic. Weaknesses in the joint strategic governance of the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) have led to the lack of a cohesive approach to structuring and resourcing the MASH. The report notes that partners within the LSCP have previously raised challenge about insufficient health and police resources in the MASH.

The JTAI requires leaders of the LCSP to take urgent action to understand and identify the initial needs and risks of children presenting to Solihull’s ‘front door’ services. This includes,

  • Ensuring sufficient multi-agency capacity within the MASH
  • Ensuring that comprehensive performance information and a robust audit programme, relating to practice and impact for children in the MASH, are delivered and regularly considered by the LSCP
  • Ensuring that the right agencies are represented in the range of the LSCP’s activities and that there are sufficient resources to support the LSCP to carry out its statutory functions.
  • West Midlands Police have been advised to take urgent action to improve the quality of information held on the ‘Connect’ system so that risk to children can be clearly seen, recognised and shared when appropriate.

The full report can be read online. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council is required to respond to the findings of the JTAI by 30 May 2022. This should be a multi-agency response involving key partner agencies. The response should set out the actions for the partnership and, when appropriate, individual agencies.

Support for social workers

This report highlights the significant pressures practitioners are working under. The BASW Professional Support Service is a confidential service providing support by social workers for social workers.