27 July 2017

Council statement on the publication of W&X Serious Case Review

Executive Director of Families, Children and Learning at Brighton & Hove City Council, Pinaki Ghoshal, said:

"Our thoughts are first and foremost with the family of W and X. We are continuing to do everything we can to support the family.

"We accept the findings of the serious case review, and welcome the opportunity it has given us to reflect further on the services we offer and the level of protection we deliver.

"We also welcome the review’s recognition of the ‘strong and coordinated’ responses that followed the two young people travelling to Syria, and the ‘sound leadership’ of our senior management at the time.

"This level of response showed us to be among the very first local authorities in the country to recognise radicalisation of children as a form of coercion or exploitation and therefore as a child protection issue.

"Since the events described in the review no young people from Brighton & Hove have travelled to Syria.

“In 2014 we were the first local authority to make use of wardships to help protect young people. This was in connection with a local child who was at risk of being coerced into travelling to Syria.

“Similar legal action we took in 2015, backed up by high levels of support to protect another child from the city, received strong praise from the High Court judge who considered the case.

"We have implemented significant changes to our working practices in recent years that are consistent with the review’s recommendations, and we are committed to making all the other changes it has called for.

“The changes we have already made have been praised by Ofsted, who identified it as an example of best practice nationally.

"The report makes clear that in early 2014, when W and X left the UK, there was little recognition nationally of the risk of young people being radicalised and coerced into travelling to Syria. National guidance on this did not appear until 2015. The report suggests that the family themselves had no idea that their children were planning such action.

"Within this context, at that moment in time, the report suggests that the lack of awareness among the various local agencies of this potential outcome was understandable.

"We are committed to working in ever closer partnership with local community and faith groups, Sussex Police and other agencies both local and national to offer support to young people who are at risk of all forms of exploitation."