Key strategic documents and plans
Family Services works with partners to help ensure that children and young people:
- are kept safe
- receive good quality education
- with any additional support needs are identified early and addressed
A number of partnership and Family Services plans support our work. These can be downloaded from the documents below.
Profile of Children and Young People in Barnet
The Children and Young People section of the Barnet Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) brings together information from different organisations about the needs of Barnet’s children and young people. It includes data on:
- demographics and deprivation
- education and attainment
It informs the Children and Young People Plan and underpins our service planning and commissioning.
Barnet Children and Young People Plan
The Barnet Children and Young People Plan is the key partnership document which sets out our ambitions and priorities for children and young people in Barnet. It identifies what all partners will do to deliver this and how we will measure our success.
All other plans and strategies in Barnet’s Family Services build on the Children and Young People Plan, which is consistent with Barnet Council’s Corporate Plan.
Early Intervention and Prevention
Barnet’s Children and Families Early Help Strategy 2023 to 2027 has been developed by the multi-agency partnership working in the borough in collaboration with children, families, local communities and Barnet’s political leaders.
Our strategy sets out our shared vision, values and ambition for every child, from pre-birth to adulthood and beyond, to be healthy, happy and to thrive.
Using our shared knowledge and experience and informed by research and evidence about child development and what works in early intervention, we have produced this strategy to provide a framework for delivery of Early Help Services in the borough.
The framework is in place to ensure Barnet’s Early Help services:
- Deliver our priorities and vision
- Achieve the outcomes identified for children and young people
- Continually drive the building of resilience with children and families
The children and families Early Help Strategy is overseen by the Children and Families Early Help Partnership Board and the group oversees the implementation of the strategy by setting out a work plan and KPIs based on priorities that have been developed by the local hub advisory groups.
This strategy was approved at the Children and Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee in March 2023.
Corporate Parenting Strategy 2021 - 2023
Our vision is for all children and young people in Barnet to live their lives successfully with the right support, as set out in our Children and Young People Plan 2019-2023. This supports this work, focusing on our responsibility for our children in care and care leavers.
In Barnet we want the same things for the children and young people in our care as any good parent would want for their child. We want our children to be resilient; by that we mean for you to have a healthy and happy childhood, to feel valued and loved, and to have the chance to grow, develop and learn so that you can find your own way in the world as an adult.
For this strategy, we spoke to some of you about what success looks like, and what we, as corporate parents, can do to help you get there. This is the foundation of this Corporate Parenting Strategy, which sets out our priorities over the next 3 years. Our strategy focuses on resilience, aspirations and independence as you move through from care into adulthood.
Corporate Parenting Annual Report 2022 to 2023
The Corporate Annual Report is about the progress and outcomes achieved over the last year. It is for:
- the children and young people in our care
- people who've experienced being in care
- our partner agencies
Never before have any of us experienced the challenges and changes that the last few years has brought our way.
I am extremely proud of our children and young people who have showed great resilience.
Thank you to all the professionals that had to adapt to new ways of working with our children and young people and managed to maintain those important relationships under tough circumstances.
Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2022 to 2025
The Domestic Abuse and Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2022 to 2025 sets out our vision for Barnet to be a borough where everyone can live free of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.
The Education Strategy provides a framework for schools, education providers and others to work together to achieve the ambition set out in Barnet's Children and Young People Plan.
Cultural Education Strategy for Barnet
Extensive consultation took place over the course of a year to find out what was important to children and young people in Barnet as our society recovers from the pandemic. This was led by the Barnet Cultural Education Partnership Steering Committee.
Four key themes came out that go well with the Barnet Plan themes of Education & Learning, Health & Wellbeing and Life Chances.
The new Cultural Education Strategy is created for the children and young people of Barnet through consultation with schools, youth arts groups, arts organisations and professionals across the borough.
The strategy has themes of engagement, employability, wellbeing and advocacy. It emphasises priority groups to include those removed from mainstream education, young people with learning disabilities and those faith and home educated.
The ambitions that need to be met by 2027 are set out in the paper. These include:
- every school in Barnet welcomes an annual artist residency, enriching cultural life in the school
- every child and young person in Barnet has access to music lessons, dance classes, visual arts classes, theatre and museum trips
- the cultural economy of Barnet has expanded, the borough is rich with collaboration and innovation, diverse communities are engaged and centre-place
- young people are supported to consider creative careers and enabled to live a rich cultural life supporting self-expression, talent development, self-confidence and wellbeing
Other strategic documents
This protocol outlines how Barnet Homes, Family Services, Revenues and Benefits and other key agencies each play a full role in providing the resources and support to care leavers to support a successful transition to independent living.
Good housing underpins success in other areas of life. Secure, safe and stable accommodation is an essential building block for success and achievement in education, training and employment, and has a direct impact on emotional health and wellbeing. It is therefore essential that a multi-agency approach is adopted when securing accommodation for care leavers; agencies must work together to meet their statutory duties and corporate parenting responsibilities, in order to provide a safe and supportive pathway to independent living.
Care leavers need to be well prepared to live independently, and their housing needs must be addressed before they leave care via pathway planning and joint assessment. We are therefore proud to publish this protocol and will ensure that Barnet Homes, Family Services, Revenues and Benefits and other key agencies each play a full role in providing the resources and support to care leavers.
This protocol will also ensure that every effort is made to avoid using the homeless route which is inappropriate when assessing and meeting the housing needs of care leavers.
We have a statutory duty to ensure, as far as it is practical, that there is sufficient accommodation for children in care within the local area. We need to address gaps in provision through robust plans and commissioning strategies (Statutory Guidance on securing sufficient accommodation for Looked After Children 2010).
The Placement Sufficiency and Commissioning Strategy outlines how we intend to fulfil our duty.
Barnet council is required by law to report annually to elected council members on how they are meeting their duty to secure sufficient childcare. We must make this report available and accessible to parents. This report meets this duty.
The above strategy continues to be operational during 2022/23 as its intended aims could not be fully met during the Covid pandemic. The strategy provides the overriding objectives and frameworks of our approach in Barnet. It also shows how we collectively respond to the harm caused to children by criminal and sexual exploitation, county lines, missing episodes and group offending.
This document focuses on the following 7 priorities:
- Multi-agency Leadership (strategic, operational and practice leadership)
- Engaging Children & Young People (participation, co-production and Trusted Relationships)
- Tackling Disproportionality (tackling the criminalisation, exclusion and adultification of Black boys)
- Predict and Prevent (early identification of risk and early intervention)
- Identify and Intervene (Trusted Relationships, effective interventions)
- Disrupting and Stopping Perpetrators (bringing those that cause harm to justice)
- Transitional Safeguarding (support into older adolescence – up to 25 years)
Tackling Violence and Exploitation: Keeping Young People Safe Strategy 2023 to 2026
We will be consulting and co-creating with children, young people and parents, key stakeholders, local community groups to develop our new Tackling Violence and Exploitation: Keeping Young People Safe Strategy 2023 – 2026 over the summer/autumn period.
The strategy will be further informed by research and learning reviews, the work of London Adolescent Safeguarding Board and the strategic needs assessments being undertaken this year by the Combatting Drugs Partnership and Safer Communities Partnership in response to the government’s From Harm to Hope 10-year drugs plan to reduce crime and save lives and the Serious Violence Duty ( Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022).
The updated Tackling Violence and Exploitation: Keeping Young People Safe Strategy 2023 - 2026 is expected to be published in December 2023.
Supporting Research, National and Pan London Guidance
The complexity of tackling Youth Violence and Exploitation requires organisations, leaders, practitioners, families and the community to work together in a multifaceted approach that helps support not only the child and family but also the community. Meaningful change can only be brought about through; collaborative, ecological, rights and strength based approaches.
Over recent years there have been significant development of guidance which includes:
The appendix lists local and national services that can be accessed by practitioners and parents/carers a full list of these can be found here:
Above is a copy of a range of services and, information sources and support that can be accessed by professionals, parents and young people. However it should be noted that there is no “silver bullet” that supports harm and risk reduction; exploitation is extremely difficult to disentangle children from, such is the fear, control and coercion that they are subjected to. The approach and quality of relationship with professionals supporting them may be more important than the services on offer.
This is set out in Firmin’s principles of contextual safeguarding. Children who have achieved positive outcomes, the following factors are present:
- Children are engaged, and the risk of extra familial harm was picked up relatively early
- Children and their immediate family networks were engaged and visited intensively
- There is evidence of a ‘trusted relationship’ between a child and adult and how this has supported perceptions, reflection and has influenced positive choices
- There is collaborative approach to working between the practitioner, family and child which promotes rights and builds autonomy
- There are strong supportive familial networks around the young person, and carers/parents provide a secure base.
If professionals require any further advice and guidance it can be sought through contacting CEAM@Barnet.gov.uk
We have a joint partnership protocol for incidents of serious violence that occur in our borough and involve young people and adults up to the age of 25, it can be found here:
Our Tackling Violence and Exploitation Operational Protocol has recently been updated we would like to draw your attention to some important changes to the previous version it replaces:
- Updated terms, definitions on exploitation, and important name change of our Tackling Violence and Exploitation Panel, (Previously VARP)
- Greater focus on contextual safeguarding and suggested guidance to help professionals construct plans to tackle extra familial harm,
- New processes and systems to support young adults 18 - 25 who may remain at risk of exploitation or become involved in serious violence.
- Outline on our Restorative Justice, Victims Support and Community Capacity Coordinators, and how to access them.
- Emphasis around ensuring plans from Child Exploitation and Missing Meetings (CEAM’s) are included in the central plan for the young person.
Our Annual Tackling Violence and Exploitation Report will be released very shortly. The report will contain important information as to how the shape and landscape changes on a year basis for young people in Barnet who are at risk of extra familial harm, and how we are working to tackle it across the partnership.
Serious Incident Response Meetings (SIRMs) provide a coordinated response to incidents of serious violence that occur in the Borough where the suspect or victim is in an incident involving a weapon or firearm discharge, kidnapping or serious assault, with the incident being potentially linked to gangs or exploitation. SIRM’s are held for all incidents involving young people up to the age of 19 years, or up to 25 years if they are care experienced, or if there is a child in the victim/suspect household.
The meeting facilitates an immediate risk assessment of:
- The risk management of potential incidents of reprisal due to the incident,
- The risk to immediate families/siblings and friends of both the victim and suspect,
- Safety and discharge planning if the victim is in hospital due to the injury,
- Community response actions
For young people missing from care or home our practitioners or partners are referred to our:
Youth Justice Plan 2023 to 2025
The Youth Justice Plan 2023 to 2025 sets out how the multi-agency partnership of Barnet’s Youth Justice Matters Board will meet the 7 key priorities of our Plan and how we will fund and deliver services to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime and violence and support those in the youth justice system to reduce risk of re-offending.
Local transformation plans across the country set out how local services will improve children and young people’s (CYP) mental health and emotional wellbeing across the “whole system”. These plans are ‘living documents’ and as such a number of the services and transformation ambitions are either currently underway or being co-produced, planned for or implemented at the time of writing this document.
Improving support for children and young people with emotional wellbeing and/or mental health concerns is a key priority for North Central London’s NHS and the five local authorities in the North Central London area, Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington. This document sets out what we’ve done so far and our plans to improve care and support further.
In the past, we published a plan for each borough, and in our last plans each borough included a NCL section setting out shared priorities. This year’s plan sets out priorities shared across boroughs, alongside priorities in each borough, as we increasingly work together to meet our population’s needs.
We have more information about accessing local children and young people’s mental health services in your area.
For more information email North Central London Integrated Care System, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The SEND Strategy 2021 to 24 has been co-produced with all partners across the SEND community in Barnet, including parent-carers, children and young people with SEND and professionals in education, health and social care.
The strategy is for everyone involved with special educational needs and disabilities including families, headteachers, governors, SENCos in schools and settings, professionals across health, education and social care and the voluntary sector. It covers the Local Area of Barnet, and includes the local authority, schools, early years settings, further education, the clinical commissioning group (CCG), and specialist services in health.
Our vision for all the Looked After Children of Barnet is for them to be safe and healthy in a caring environment where every child and young person can have access to services that recognises and addresses their needs in terms of:
- ethnic origin
This will enable them to realise their potential and enhance their life opportunities.
Foster carers make a hugely valuable contribution and are provided with preparation, training and support to carry out their role to maximum effect. Foster carers value, support and encourage children and young people to grow and develop as individuals as well as promoting their health and general well-being.
The Statement of Purpose has been written in accordance with the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and relevant statutory provisions. It details what services are provided, the governing principals and who manages and provides the services. Barnet’s Fostering Service aims to provide high standards of care in a family environment for all children and young people placed within the service.
The Statement of Purpose has been written in accordance with the National Minimum Standards for Adoption Services and relevant statutory provisions. It will detail what services are provided, the governing principals and who manages and provides the services.
We believe that children are entitled to grow up as part of a loving family who can meet their emotional, physical and developmental needs throughout their life. When children cannot achieve this within their own birth families, we are committed to finding them such a family.
Adopt London North (ALN) is a specialist Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) partnership between the London Boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey and Islington and is hosted by the London Borough of Islington. It provides a shared adoption service to all six partner local authorities.
The London borough of Barnet is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children who are privately fostered.
Children who are in such arrangements are often particularly vulnerable. We endeavour to ensure that private fostering arrangements are safe and suitable for children, and children in such arrangements are protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Raising awareness of private fostering across all communities within Barnet is our very important mission and through collaboration with our safeguarding partners we want to achieve a position where everyone in Barnet understands what private fostering is and why children in these arrangements can be vulnerable and need safeguarding.
In accordance with the National Minimum Standards for Private Fostering (Standard 1), which sets out its duties and functions in relation to private fostering and the ways in which they will be carried out, all local authorities have a duty to publish a written Statement in respect of its private fostering service.
This statement sets out the London Borough of Barnet’s Statement of Purpose on Private Fostering and aims to demonstrate that the requirements laid down in relevant legislation and regulations are complied with and the minimum standards met and to highlight the design to raise awareness about private fostering.
New Carers and Young Carers Strategy
Family Services have worked in partnership with Adults Social Care, Young Carers and Barnet Carers Centre to develop the new carers and young carers' strategy.
This strategy included a range of methods to hear young carer views and understand their lived experiences in the borough. We worked closely with young carers to co-design outcomes and actions for this strategy that can lead to long lasting, positive changes for them.