Inspectors praise domestic abuse response in Wiltshire

By Joe Lepper

| 19 December 2016

Social care, health and justice organisations in Wiltshire have been praised by inspectors for their "robust" approach to tackling neglect and domestic abuse.

Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission, HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation praised the response to domestic violence incidents by agencies in Wiltshire. Picture: Phil Adams

A joint Ofsted, Care Quality Commission, HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation inspection, following visits in October and November, found that agencies all had a "strong and committed partnership" and a "relentless commitment to improvement".

A letter outlining the findings of the inspection singled out the area's multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) for particular praise for being "well resourced, well thought-out and represented by a wide range of appropriate agencies" and a place where "referrals progress swiftly and delays are minimised".

As well as police, health, education and social care involvement, the MASH also features representation from housing services, child and adolescent mental health services, and a local support service for families experiencing domestic abuse called Splitz.

Probation services, adult mental health professionals and army welfare personnel, due to the large number of services families living in Wiltshire, are also involved in in the MASH.

Inspectors cited a daily domestic abuse conference call - where the MASH partners discuss all such abuse calls that took place in the previous 24 hours - as an example of "highly effective practice".

Despite the praise, inspectors noted some areas where improvement is needed, in particular around better recording of the views of young children.

Inspectors were also concerned that adult mental health services electronic recording system did not effectively record details about children.

Laura Mayes, Wiltshire County Council's lead member for children's services, said: "We have a zero-tolerance approach to domestic abuse across the whole partnership.

"This letter acknowledges how our joined-up working is having a positive impact and I hope the findings from this inspection will increase the level of confidence that children and families will have in our services, and will encourage them to seek support when this is needed.

"We take the areas for further improvement extremely seriously and we are committed to ensuring that all children, including those living in challenging circumstances, are protected and have the right support to thrive and achieve their potential."

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