Agenda item

Update on peer on peer abuse recommendations

To receive an update on the recommendations and progress arising from the reviews in respect of peer on peer abuse.



The interim director children and families introduced the item and explained that the guidance issued to schools was still in draft and should not have been published. The guidance would be formally signed off through the safeguarding partnership and a final version published once it had been approved. The interim director apologised to the committee and stated her commitment to ensure that the guidance was fit for purpose.


The committee received an update from the assistant director children’s safeguarding quality and improvement, supported by the assistant director education development and skills. The committee heard about progress in the following areas:

·        Since the report had been published a provider had been identified for a family mediation council but the contractual arrangements were still being worked through;

·        An online training module was being drafted for use in staff induction which could be used for temporary staff;

·        the wider issue of contextual safeguarding needed to be considered, as peer on peer abuse was not just a schools issue;

·        A community forum would be established which would be a forum for consultation with the public and bring peer on peer abuse into the community so it could be managed as a whole.


During the course of the debate and questioning of officers the committee noted the following principal points:

·        The reconciliation process needed to deal with truth and reconciliation for those families where failures had occurred;

·        The mediation process was open to anyone who was a victim of any abuse;

·        An investigation was under way into why the CSO report in 2017 was not shared with councillors;

·        The terms of reference for the investigation had been drafted by officers then shared with and approved by the investigator, the commissioning officer was the acting deputy chief executive – chief finance officer;

·        As an officer commissioned investigation the terms of reference had not been approved by Cabinet;

·        The interim head of legal services would provide a written update on timescales and the terms of reference for the investigation;

·        It was important to start with the victims in any process;

·        It was important to factor in the Equalities Act and the Human Rights Act and how they applied to the children involved, both victim and perpetrator.


With the chairperson’s discretion a member of the public in attendance spoke to highlight their experiences and the need for consultation with affected families to ensure the mediation service would meet their needs. Officers confirmed that the community forum would be a forum for such consultation and that they were happy to have ideas from the committee or members of the public as preparation for the establishment of that forum.


The recommendations below were proposed by Councillor Jennie Hewitt, seconded by Councillor Elizabeth Foxton and unanimously approved by the committee.


RESOLVED: the committee recommends:


a)     An update on the investigation into the historic lack of sharing by the council, including the terms of reference, be shared with the committee by the July meeting;

b)     That consultation take place with families ahead of the signature of the contract for the mediation service;

c)     A quarterly update on peer on peer abuse be shared with the committee, ahead of the July meeting if possible;

d)     A list of consultees and approvals be included in the final guidance to schools and included as standard in any similar documents produced in future;

e)     That the offer from a member of the public to share their understand of the Human Rights Act be reviewed at the next committee meeting.

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