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Case Study - WSCC Safeguarding children

The Client: West Sussex County Council’s Children’s Services department is responsible for children's social care services, Think Family partnership, youth justice, the Youth Service, and community health and health liaison for children and families.

The Challenge: Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children requires effective co-ordination at a local level, and the Children’s Act of 2004 states that every local authority must establish a Local Safeguarding Board.  West Sussex County Council was keen to extend and improve its services in this area, and sought to provide a solution that would respond to the needs of employers in the sector.

The Project: To ensure that it was making the best provision for child safety, the board at West Sussex County Council (WSCC) teamed up with the University of Chichester to develop and launch a module on safeguarding children.

Pia Parry, Head of The University of Chichester’s Department of Childhood, Social Work and Social Care, worked with Lesley Bennett of Early Childhood Services at WSCC to develop the course and to provide an opportunity for people in the workplace to take the module.

The resulting course, designed by the university and shaped to the specific requirements at the county council, perfectly illustrates the collaborative approach taken by the university, and was a true partnership with WSCC and the course participants.

“It really is amazing. The comments from the participants suggest that the experience made a difference in their levels of confidence. I feel it has encouraged colleagues here to design new courses that the participants have asked for – and I was delighted to have Lesley Bennett [of WSCC] on one of my safeguarding courses.” Pia Parry, Head of Childhood, Social Work and Social Care, University of Chichester.

The Results: This module provides participants with basic experience in child protection and the opportunity to extend their knowledge. It also offers distinct advantages over equivalent courses elsewhere as it gives a strong base for anyone thinking of applying for the foundation degree in early childhood and a taste of what this type of course at university entails – thus ensuring that the very best educational opportunities are given to everyone working in this important sector.

The flexible delivery of the course – for example, it was structured to be delivered one day a week over four consecutive weeks, rather than in the evenings – means that it perfectly meets WSCC’s requirements. WSCC has already commissioned further courses, giving students the opportunity to build credits and work towards their degrees when it suits them and their employers.

 “A knowledgeable, enjoyable course that re-affirms your awareness of safeguarding whilst having a fantastic opportunity to liaise with fellow colleagues, enabling individuals to take important and relevant training back to settings.Natalie Chuter, course participant.