About the Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership

Find out more about how you can help to safeguard children.

The latest advice and information around safeguarding children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This information was last updated 9 July 2021.

Safeguarding children and young people at risk of abuse or neglect is a priority for all agencies in Northumberland. Some vulnerable children and young people may be particularly at risk, due to isolation, increased use of technology, domestic abuse, and other forms of abuse. It is important that everyone is aware of these risks and knows how to reduce or report them.

Please continue to report any concerns about a child, young person, or vulnerable adult who at risk of neglect or abuse in Northumberland by using the following details:

If you are worried about a child or adult's immediate welfare, who lives in Northumberland, contact our Onecall service on 01670 536 400

What is Onecall?

Onecall brings together adult social care and healthcare staff from the NHS Foundation Trust with Northumberland County Council staff from children’s services, and partners in Northumbria Police. Our priority is providing help at the earliest opportunity before the situation becomes more serious.

When do I use Onecall?

Onecall aims to help the most vulnerable people to keep safe and well 24 -7.
For example, if you need help with:
  • Living safely and independently at home
  • Looking after someone who is ill or disabled
  • Caring for a child or young person
  • Family support, if you are concerned about a child or young person
  • Reporting abuse or neglect of a child or adult
  • Finding alternatives it you can't live at home
  • Recovering from an illness or injury at home 

If you need medical advice and support fast, but it's not life threatening, call your GP or NHS 111.

You should always call 999 in an emergency - for example, when someone's life is at risk, or someone is seriously injured or critically ill. 

What happens if I contact Onecall?

When you first contact Onecall, we will work with you to direct your call to the right person. Depending on your query we might need to gather more information about what’s wrong before we can direct you to someone who can help you.
Our experienced team includes social workers, district nurses, therapists, early help workers, or specialists in mental health, telecare or home improvement depending on the nature of the enquiry.

Click here for more information about Onecall.

Professionals should continue to report safeguarding children concerns in the usual way, by completing the children's services social care referral form. 

You should always call 999 in an emergency.

Information for those self-isolating or shielding

If you or a family member are self-isolating or shielding, it is important that you are aware of the increased risks at this time, and who you can contact for support:

Please click on the links below for useful information relating to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation:

Domestic Abuse support and advice

It is recognised that this is a time of increased risk for those living with domestic abuse. There are a range of national and local services and support available. Please click on the links below for more information:

Other useful websites 

Please click on the drop down boxes below to find out about how to be mindful of coronavirus scams and information for volunteers.

National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams have highlighted a number of scams they are currently aware of. They warn that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post of online:
  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19). Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy. People impersonating other professionals such as Social Workers, charity workers etc.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect you or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give you updates on the virus but instead, they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
Tips to avoid being scammed
  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door.
  • Take your time; don’t be rushed.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity or other organisations, ask them for ID, and contact their office to check their identity. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone attempts you into accepting a service they are unlikely to be genuine. Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if you are unsure.
  • If you are online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Make sure you type the addresses in and don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you don’t know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
The National Trading Standards Team and Friends Against Scams have produced a poster “Wash your hands of Coronavirus Scams!” which contains some useful guidance.
Further information can be found on the following websites:
The role of volunteers is crucial at the present time, not only in supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities, but also in recognising and reporting any concerns. 
It is important to be aware that some people are at increased risk of abuse or neglect at this time, and some vulnerable people may be exploited by others.
Where possible volunteers should offer their help or support via local or national co-ordinated schemes such as Northumberland Communities Together (01670 620015) or NHS Volunteers Responders.
If you are a volunteer, or an organisation supporting volunteers, it is important that you are aware of some of the key messages about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and how to report concerns. 
Waltham Forest have produced and shared a short video to support and train volunteers in relation to safeguarding adults and children. The video is available below and on Youtube. The key message for volunteers is for them to report any concerns to their single point of contact, or report directly using the contact details above.

This page contains details of the Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership (NSSP).

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 places a duty on the three Safeguarding Partners for Northumberland: Northumberland County Council; Northumbria Police; and Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to make arrangements to work together, and to work with any relevant agencies, for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their area.

As part of the transition from a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) to the NSSP, the three Safeguarding Partners have to publish Northumberland Safeguarding Partnership Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements, which are available at the following link. The Terms of Reference can be found here.

The Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) is now known as the North and South of Tyne CDOP (the CDOP) will typically review at least 60 deaths per year which will better enable thematic learning in order to identify potential safeguarding or local health issues that could be modified in order to protect children from harm and, ultimately, save lives. An overview is available here.

To support this transition process, Paula Mead, the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) Independent Chair, will continue to chair the Northumberland Safeguarding Children Committee (NSCC) and support the transition into the new arrangements.
This is the structure for the NSSP.
The vision for the NSSP is for all partner agencies in Northumberland to be at the forefront in terms of delivering effective safeguarding practice; recognised for the culture of review and reflective learning; and positively acknowledged by children and young people for the work that supports their safety and welfare.

The Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) was graded by Ofsted in its last inspection as good and whilst we wish to retain this effective and robust local arrangement, there is a drive over the next three years to work more effectively together. Within Northumberland, this would be in partnership with the Safeguarding Adults Board and the Community Safety Partnership; sub-regionally, with neighbouring Local Authority areas, currently being driven forward by the Strategic Safeguarding Partners from all six Local Authority areas. The goal over time is for this sub-regional Strategic Partnership to take over responsibility from the Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership (NSSP). 

Many issues that keep children and young people safe from harm are not restricted by geographic and organisational boundaries and a sub-regional approach will ensure that children and young people are kept safe and protected by strong regional approaches to complex safeguarding issues that cover more than one Board or Local Authority area of responsibility.

In Working Together there are a number of working principles that will guide the way we work together to safeguard children. 

These include:
Demonstrating a collective leadership and governance ethos;
Utilising robust evidence and intelligence sources, such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, to respond to children’s needs;
Ensuring adequate funding and resourcing for the NSP arrangements;
Maintaining a robust, consistent multi-agency commitment to safeguarding;
Keeping effective communication links with influential bodies, boards and groups to effect change across the wider NSP landscape;
Welcoming and encouraging the participation of children and young people and their families, and listening to their views and feedback;
Fostering a culture of challenge and accountability and welcoming independent scrutiny of NSP arrangements and impacts;
Escalating concerns in accordance with agreed protocols where it is right and proper to do so;
Focus on evidencing improved outcomes for children and young people;
Using evidenced learning and improvement from audits, reviews and performance;
Information to underpin change in frontline leadership and practice fostering a strong learning and improvement culture.
The three accountable Safeguarding Partners in Northumberland, which form the NSSP are:
Northumberland County Council
Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
Northumbria Police
The role of the NSSP is to:
Provide strategic leadership, direction and governance for the delivery of safeguarding arrangements in Northumberland through equal and joint responsibility;
Agree on ways to coordinate their safeguarding services;
Act as a strategic leadership group in supporting and engaging others; and implement local and national learning including serious child safeguarding incidents;
Over the next three years identify areas of complex safeguarding issues that may benefit from a joined up sub-regional approach, including the potential for partnership at this level with neighbouring authority areas.
The statutory requirements for lead representatives for partners of the partnership board are the Local Authority Chief Executive, the Accountable Officer of the CCG, and a Chief Officer of Police, with equal and joint responsibility for safeguarding arrangements. 
In Northumberland, these functions are delegated (with full responsibility and authority for ensuring full participation with these arrangements) to: the Executive Director of Adult Social Care and Children's Services; Director with responsibility for Safeguarding; Northumberland CCG; and Chief Superintendent for Safeguarding.
The NSSP also have responsibility to make safeguarding arrangements which allow all schools (including multi-academy trusts), colleges and other educational providers in the local area to be fully engaged. Northumberland County Council also assumes responsibility for ensuring that Youth Offending Services, and registered providers of residential provision for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, are fully engaged in safeguarding. Northumberland CCG will have responsibility for overseeing the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements across primary, secondary and tertiary NHS services.
In supporting its working principles, Public Health exists as both a function to the NSSP and as a commissioning partner with relevant agencies to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for children. A public health approach will promote and encourage the Board and its relevant agencies to maintain those working principles by remaining outcome focused, maximising prevention, promoting greater integration of services and utilising epidemiological and other forms of intelligence, research or evidence to support planning and decision making.
Relevant agencies in Northumberland are those that have been identified as organisations with key responsibilities for partnership working to support the effective safeguarding of children and young people and who will be required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Identified relevant agencies will be reviewed annually as part of business planning for the NSCC. Relevant agencies may include specified voluntary, charitable and faith organisations and private sector organisations. Safeguarding Partners may also include any local or national organisation or agency in their arrangements, regardless of whether they are named in relevant agency regulations.

Relevant and named agencies in Northumberland are:
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company
National Probation Services
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service
Barnardo’s North East
Action for Children North East
Northumberland College
Northumberland Adult Social Care
Northumberland Community Voluntary Action  - North East Youth
Lay Members
Northumberland Public Health
Northumberland County Council Housing
Northumberland County Council Safer Northumberland (Community Safety Partnership)
The relevant agencies list is not static and may be amended following guidance set out in the Child Safeguarding Practice Review and Relevant Agency (England) Regulations 2018
The NSCC may require any person or organisation or agency, including but not limited to those Relevant Agencies listed above, to provide them with specified information, including as related to local and national child safeguarding practice reviews. The person or organisation to which a request is made must comply with such a request and if they do not do so, the Safeguarding Partners may take legal action against them.
The expectation is that organisations and agencies that are not named in the relevant agency regulations, whilst not under a statutory duty, will cooperate and collaborate. Public bodies that fail to comply with their obligations will be held to account through local scrutiny and challenge as well as national regulatory and inspection regimes. In extreme cases, the NSSP retains the right to refer matters of non-compliance to the Secretary of State.
The NSCC, through its Board and Partnership Forum membership, will have links to the Northumberland and North Tyneside Safeguarding Adults Board and the Safe Northumberland Partnership Board, to ensure an all-age focus is embedded across safeguarding activities. Membership links will also offer access to clinical expertise from named and designated professionals, where relevant to audit, scrutiny, learning and review activity.
The purpose of Northumberland’s local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements is to support and enable local organisations and agencies to work together in a system where:
All Northumberland children and young people are safeguarded, and their welfare promoted;
The views of and feedback from children and young people and their families are used to shape safeguarding support and services;
All our partner organisations and agencies collaborate, share and co-own the vision of the Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership;
All our organisations and agencies challenge appropriately and hold one another to account;
There is early identification and analysis of new safeguarding issues;
Learning is promoted and embedded in a way that local services for children and families can become more reflective and implement changes to practice;
Information is shared effectively to facilitate a more accurate and timely decision making for children and families;
Accountability for delivery of the multi-agency safeguarding arrangements will be facilitated through the governance arrangements (see 7.2 of the Northumberland Safeguarding Partnership Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements).
The NSP has agreed the following strategic priorities to improve outcomes through the partnership arrangement; they are not listed in any particular order and should be considered as having equal status within all work to progress the multi-agency safeguarding response to children, young people and their families.
  1. Mental Health, Self-Harm and Suicide – including social media and bullying
  2. Neglect 
  3. Safeguarding children who are less than 1 year old – including non-accidental head injuries and co-sleeping
  4. Impact of Domestic Violence on children and Child to Parent Violence and Abuse (CPVA)
Within each priority, to also understand how Covid-19 has impacted on safeguarding children and young people – including, but not limited to, poverty, increased service demand, and accessing health services – and the multi-agency responses to it.
The NSCB meet six times per year. Meeting dates are set out as follows:

  • 22 January
  • 14 March
  • 16 May
  • 25 July
  • 24 September
Form September, the NSCC plan to meet four times per year. Meeting dates are set out as follows (extra meetings held due to Covid-19):

  • 9 January
  • 12 March
  • 29 June
  • 15 September 
  • 12 November
  • 12 January
  • 9 March
  • 13 May
  • 13 July
  • 24 September
  • 16 November
The minutes of the NSCC and NSCB meetings are recorded and scrutinised by the multi-agency representative members. We intend to provide information about local child protection issues, highlighting any endorsed decisions and objectives.

If you require further information about the minutes, or if you have any other queries, please email us: nssp@northumberland.gov.uk

Click on the links below to view our Board meeting minutes:

NSCC meeting minute​s 2021
NSCC meeting minute​s 2020
NSCB meeting minute​s 2019
NSCB meeting minute​s 2018
NSCB meeting minute​s 2017
NSCB meeting minutes 2016

Business Plan 2018-20

This plan builds on the work of the Partnership undertaken since its inception in 2006; you can find a detailed account of the progress and learning achieved in the 2018-19 Annual Report (see below).

Unusually, this plan only covers a one-year period, due to the NSCB being abolished in the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and Working Together 2018. .

Annual Report 2019-2020

The NSSP has a statutory duty to prepare and publish an Annual Report which analyses and assesses how our partners safeguard vulnerable children and young people.

This document sets out progress and learning over the past year and also serves as a review of the previous priorities.

Serious Case Reviews (SCRs)

Set out below are the SCRs from Northumberland published during the last 12 months.

SCRs are a statutory process and are governed by Chapter 4 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015). They are part of the reviewing and investigative function of Safeguarding Boards, set out in Regulation 5 of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards Regulations 2006.  
​Child Safeguarding Practice Review
Multi-Agency Deep Dive Reviews (MADDRs)

MADDRs are reviews of cases falling below the SCR threshold. Cases can involve incidents where a child has been harmed and there are concerns about multi-agency practice, or involve incidents where multi-agency practice is considered to be good (after a child has been harmed or where a child has been prevented from being harmed) and agencies seek to identify the characteristics and enablers of that good multi-agency practice.
Case Reviews

Case reviews provide a valuable tool for learning and for improving practice and policy in relation to safeguarding children. One of the ways in which the Northumberland Safeguarding Partnership will share information about case reviews is through the publication of leaflets that highlight lessons learned and set out implications for practice from key local, regional and national case reviews. The leaflets below have been produced by the serious case review panel to facilitate learning. It is recommended that they are discussed in team meetings and supervisions, where appropriate, to ensure they are embedded in front line practice. 
  Regional National While every effort has been made to protect the confidentiality of individuals involved in these cases, we ask that persons accessing these documents show due respect to the families concerned when reading and sharing content.

Joint targeted area inspection of the multi-agency response to child exploitation in Northumberland

2 August 2019

An inspection of the multi-agency response to child exploitation in Northumberland has praised the strong commitment demonstrated by all agencies to working together to safeguard children.
Inspectors from Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) visited the county in June to assess how council, police, health, probation and youth offending services are working together to identify, support and protect vulnerable children and young people.
In a report published this week, inspectors highlighted:
Children are involved in and influencing their own plans and the development of services, with inspectors commenting that children’s voices are well represented in records and their health records are enhanced using their actual words.
Co-location of agencies in the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) was facilitating timely information-sharing and consideration of the needs of the whole family.
Inspectors also praised proactive work being undertaken to reduce risk, prevent harm, and improve understanding of child sexual and child criminal exploitation.
Paula Mead, Independent chair of Northumberland safeguarding children board said:
“The responsibility of safeguarding children and young people does not rest with a single agency, and this report highlights the strong commitment demonstrated by all the Northumberland safeguarding agencies to working together to safeguard children.
“It is particularly pleasing that inspectors found that children are being listened to, and their words are being recorded and acted upon. It is right that children’s views and feelings should be at the heart of what we are all doing.
“The report also notes where further work is needed, and a number of these actions have already been completed. Going forward we will build on those recommendations to continue to make further improvements to keep children and young people safe.” 
Robin Harper-Coulson
NSSP Business Manager
County Hall
NE61 2EF

Email: nssp@northumberland.gov.uk