Central Bedfordshire Response to COVID-19

Bedfordshire's Response to COVID-19

Safeguarding vulnerable and exploited children and those at risk continue to be a priority for us in Bedfordshire and remains an absolutely necessity during this isolation period; we will continue to keep children and young people safe, we will continue to proactively look for children who go missing and continue disrupting those who exploit.

Across Bedfordshire, all blue light services (police, fire, and ambulance), NHS organisations, councils (Bedford, Luton and Central Bedfordshire) and other key stakeholders such as the voluntary sector, work together in coordinating responses to emergencies.

The local Safeguarding Children Boards’ and its safeguarding partners are continuing to ensure that children and young people are safeguarded and protected across Bedfordshire during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Board will be seeking assurances that agencies are working together to protect frontline services, keep their staff safe and key services running.

Children’s Service’s core service delivery and changes

Our focus is to continue to provide essential and critical services safeguarding services to children, young people and their families. We're currently going through the process of ensuring that children and families open to children’s social care and our Youth Justice Service are risk assessed so we can safeguard those most in need. Our contact will include a combination of face to face contact where it is safe for us to do so, as well as making full use of mobile technologies and in partnership with other statutory partners.

We are prioritising the provision of the critical services including; Our multi agency safeguarding hub and assessment service - advice and information on children at risk of harm, experiencing harm or causing harm to others experiencing harm including families fleeing from domestic abuse.

Our Professional meetings will continue as will our Multi Agency Bedfordshire response to Child Sexual Exploitation & Child Criminal Exploitation; through SKYPE and other platforms.  

Bedfordshire Police - CSE Disruption Team 

From a CSE Disruption Team perspective Beds Police continue to engage with Social Services and partners through a bi-weekly SPOC meeting to discuss current and emerging issues.  We are maintaining our Op Make safe work through virtual/telephone contact, they also have the the technology/facility to conduct real time virtual face to face meetings with individuals.

Regarding Missing Persons, its business as usual.  However partner meetings are now completed over the phone or via SKYPE.  We are risk assessing each request for a Return Home Interview but in general are completing these direct with the missing person to ensure we get as clear a picture of the situation as we can.  Moving forward this may be amended to use SKYPE or GoodSAM.

Bedfordshire Police - Analytical Team

In the analytical team they are doing a lot of additional scanning around the impact of COVID-19 in a number of thematic areas. This is being reported on to various meetings/groups on a daily, weekly and fortnightly basis. We are looking at areas that we don’t normally scan for, such as the impact of this crisis on those with Mental Health issues. We are also being asked to make predictions on how likely new perceived potential threats will occur. This is used by senior officers to help them police effectively, taking account of and being aware of changes to criminal behaviours.

VERU/ VOSON

The VERU like many other agencies are still operating, although remotely. Our YIS (Youth Intervention Specialist) Team are providing ongoing (virtual 1-2-1) support for our existing cases and have the capacity to support more. Specific to our 1-2-1 support, we have our Specialist Counsellor also available and will continue during this time.

Link to Change

Link to Change continues to operate, but as is the case for many, we are not providing any face to face services. We continue to take referrals and maintain contact with clients and professionals via telephone contact and videoing calling if agreeable. We are still participating in multi-disciplinary meetings using Skype and other like services and all workers are operating from home currently.

Bedfordshire Police

We are urging communities to follow national advice by staying in and supporting one another to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are working closely with our partners across Bedfordshire and are providing reassurance that our officers and staff are still working 24/7 to protect you and fight crime.

With further restrictions on movement to slow the spread of the disease, health workers, emergency services, local authorities and businesses are also changing the way they work in order to effectively protect the most vulnerable.

To keep you updated on what we are doing to protect, we have launched #KeepingBedsSafe.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse voluntary sector partners in Bedfordshire are still operating and taking referrals from clients.

  • Group activities for existing clients are moving into a virtual space. New group work is on hold whilst restrictions from Covid-19 are in place.
  • All other work is over the phone / video link platform.
  • There is a Bedfordshire DA providers meeting each week by conference call chaired by the CBC DA Strategic Manager to discuss issues, trends, emerging problems and joint initiatives.
  • There is a national DA conference call each week with statutory and voluntary providers, linking with the Home Office and DA Commissioner – this raises awareness of what is going on and lobbying for changes / resources.
  • Bedfordshire DA Partnership website is updated with Covid-19 and domestic abuse information and links.
  • DA Twitter and Facebook pages updated throughout the day with any changes.

Central Beds DA Service provide a weekly update for all front line officers and partners on any service changes / guidance / provider updates – this is then cascaded to Bedford, Luton and partners.

Further Information around the response to COVID-19 in Central Bedfordshire can be found on the Central Bedfordshire Council COVID-19 website page.

Other Useful Links:

Tri.x - The company that provides the online Child Protection Procedures for Bedfordshire have an online COVID-19 Resource Centre which  provides relevant information and relevant changes to key procedures.

The Central Bedfordshire Council website also provides lots of information regarding volunteering opportunities at this current time: Supporting voluntary effort.

Waltham Forest Council have produced the following video - for volunteers who have safeguarding concerns in relation to vulnerable people they come in to contact with whilst volunteering: https://youtu.be/HHQG8CJROhU

Remember...

If you are worried about a child please contact :

Central Bedfordshire Access and Referral Hub on 0300 300 8585 (during office hours)

Our office hours: 

08.45 until 17.20 Monday to Thursday
08.45 until 16.20 on a Friday

If you urgently need help outside office hours you can contact Social Care Emergency Duty Team on 0300 300 8123

Bedfordshire Police on 101 or in an emergency 999.

NSPCC 0808 800 5000

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