Councillors will be updated on vital partnership work to safeguard children and vulnerable adults in County Durham when they meet next week.

Durham Safeguarding Children’s Partnership (DCSP) and the County Durham Safeguarding Adult Board (CDSAB) will present their annual reports to Durham County Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday, 14 October. Both partnerships are made up of representatives from Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary and local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), along with other agencies with a role in safeguarding. The reports cover the 2019/2020 period and outline key achievements against priorities set the previous year.

They also highlight the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and identify key ambitions for the future. Cabinet will hear about how DCSP and CDSAB acted quickly to work alongside partners to adapt services in the wake of the pandemic and to address the increased risk of domestic abuse during the lockdown.

The DSCP report is the first since its transition from the County Durham Local Safeguarding Children Board and examines progress within five key areas, which are set out in its vision. These are: prevention through early intervention; joined up response; listening; identifying; and challenge.

The voice of the child is at the heart of the DSCP vision and Cabinet will hear how the partnership was the first in the country to appoint a Young People’s Commissioner. Amy Waites took up this apprenticeship position in September 2019 and has been working closely with DSCP to support and influence priorities, as well as engaging with young people. Amy also plays a key role in the independent DSCP Scrutiny Panel. In addition, work has progressed to set up a County Durham Youth Council to address local and national issues identified by children, such as climate change, mental health and poverty.

The report also looks at work to raise awareness of the signs of neglect, which is the single greatest cause of children needing protection and care in County Durham.

CDSAB fifth’s annual report also details work undertaken to ensure the voices of adults and carers are heard, as well as examining progress made against other key priorities, including prevention and early intervention; raising awareness; performance, quality and governance; and reviews, learning and training.

A major focus for partners over the last year has been increasing understanding of self-neglect and how to tackle it. This was the theme of a biennial practitioner event and the first in a series of briefings about important safeguarding issues.

Raising awareness of the signs of abuse, how to report safeguarding concerns and the support available is another integral role of CDSAB. Over the last year newsletters and e-bulletins have been issued and website resources have been improved to help communicate key messages. Partners also joined forces with DSCP, Safe Durham Partnership and local voluntary organisations for County Durham Safeguarding Week, and hosted presentations on issues such as domestic abuse and coercive control, illegal money lending, county lines and mental health.

Sharing information between agencies involved in safeguarding is critical for DSCP and CDSAB. Both annual reports detail the work that has been undertaken to improve processes and communications between partners, as well as the many training courses and multi-agency events that have taken place.

Looking ahead, DCSP and CDSAB emphasise the continued importance of existing priorities but also recognise the ongoing challenges the pandemic presents to health and social care services.

Cabinet will be asked to consider both reports and recommend them for publication.

To report concerns about the welfare of a child or vulnerable adult in County Durham, call First Contact on 03000 267 979.

For more information about health and social care services, visit

Cabinet will meet virtually at 9.30am on Wednesday 14 October. Members of the public can view the meeting on the council’s YouTube channel at