Safeguarding Partnership recommendations taken on board, following review of events leading to convictions

Children and young people’s safeguarding practice in North Yorkshire has been reviewed and improved further, since the arrest and conviction of two Northallerton teenagers on serious charges in 2018.

North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children partnership

Following a detailed examination of the timeline and nature of events leading up to the convictions, the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) representing the County Council, North Yorkshire Police, Clinical Commissioning groups and including schools, colleges and a wide range of community groups, has today published a number of recommendations on future safeguarding procedures.

The Partnership has published these recommendations as a result of a formal Learning Review which scrutinised the incidents leading up to the conviction of two 15-year-old boys in 2018, on charges of conspiracy to murder, with a separate charge against one of the teenagers of unlawful wounding.

The report looked at what lessons should be learned, so as to improve practice in the future, while acknowledging improvements in practice already made following the convictions. Many of its recommendations have already been acted on by the organisations involved.

In particular, the report focuses both on how information was shared between different agencies, and responses to the incidents which had been reported prior to the arrest of the two boys, who were aged 15 at the time of their conviction.

The review involved representatives from organisations including the North East Counter Terrorism Unit (NECTU), NHS agencies, North Yorkshire County Council, North Yorkshire Police and the families involved. The work done was overseen by the NYSCP Executive Group.

The full Learning Review Report contains highly sensitive details and personal information relating to a number of young people, who would be identifiable from the information within the report. Making such identifications public would potentially compromise the safety of family and other people connected to the young people concerned. As a result, as is common practice in such reviews nationally, the full report will not be made public. The key recommendations, requirements on all agencies to learn necessary lessons, a record of actions taken to date and details of next steps were today published on the NYSCP website.

Progress has already been made on the recommendations.

NYSCP has put together fresh guidelines and training programmes on the thresholds at which young people may pose a risk to themselves and/or third parties.  Cases where those thresholds are met will go before a multi-agency screening process so that appropriate action can follow.

A great deal of work has taken place with schools and educational settings in North Yorkshire on putting appropriate support plans in place for vulnerable pupils including those at risk of exclusion, tackling bullying, supporting victims and intervention. 

A training and awareness programme helping all professionals to improve their identification and management of abusive, coercive and controlling relationships between children and young people under the age of 16 has also already begun across the county through the provision of master classes and other events. Youth organisations are also continuing to work with children and young people on ways to recognise, and keep themselves safe from, negative relationships.

The safeguarding partnership is now carrying out monitoring and auditing to ensure the new strategies are being implemented successfully. The NYSCP Executive will continue to oversee this progress.

Dr Maggie Atkinson, Chair of the NYSCP Executive and Independent Scrutineer for the NYSCP, said: “The impact of the circumstances surrounding this case were serious and long lasting, in particular for a number of young people and their families. The impact of this case was also felt by professionals from many services involved in North Yorkshire. Those services have been closely involved in this review and have worked and continue to work together to ensure lessons are both learned and applied. 

“In my role as former North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board Chair and now the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Executive Chair and Independent Scrutineer, I have had detailed oversight of the findings of the review and recommendations, and have regularly received information about the work being undertaken by the services and agencies concerned with this tragic and complex case. 

“By law, I must seek concrete and detailed assurance that such work is completed appropriately, professionally and sensitively.  In relation to this case, I can confirm that I am assured of this. 

“I am also clear that the findings and recommendations in relation to the review of this case have been - and continue to be - acted upon to strengthen existing professional practice.”

The full Learning Review Report cannot be published due to the risk of young people being identified, but the key recommendations and actions have been published online.

This story was published 2 September 2020